3. Introduction to Navigation

Introduction to Wilderness Navigation

Course Directors:  Ken Buscho/Bridget Mooney

Purpose: Many outdoor activities are dependent upon the ability to travel in road less areas  with only the aid of map and compass. It is extremely important that search & rescue personnel are expert in this area. This class introduces the student to use of the map and compass in the back country, and provides the basic tools for back country travel selecting routes & describing locations in a non-urban setting.  

Format: Class room lectures & labs, with field exercise. (8-10 hours) 

Skills emphasized: Map reading & interpretation; use of map scales; declination corrections; symbol interpretation; map care; finding and following bearings with a compass; using a compass with a map; fundamentals of terrain interpretation & route selection; describing your location to others; improvised direction-finding.

Prerequisites: None

Time, Date and Location

Please refer to our training calendar

Training Cal-ESAR.org

Saturday,  8:30 AM
Skyline Wilderness Park

2201 Imola Ave, Napa, CA
Meet at the "Social Hall" in the park found at the bottom of the 2nd park map on this page

Intro Nav Schedule

Saturday November 7
08:30    Arrive at Skyline Park Community Building
09:00    Training Starts
12:00    Lunch
13:00    Training Continues
15:30    Compass/Triangulation Practice
17:00    Shelter setup/Dinner at Skyline Park (bring your own dinner and stove (or share with a buddy)
19:00    Night compass exercise
20:30    Evening topics
21:30    Debrief/Review
22:00    Lights out

Sunday November 8
07:00    Breakfast (bring your own)
07:30    Shelter Eval/Take down
08:00    Triangulation Part 2
09:00    Field Exercise Briefing
09:30    Field Exercise (Lunch in the Field)
13:30    Exercise debrief/follow-up exercise
14:30    Course debrief/Upcoming Event briefing
15:00    Intro Nav Complete

Equipment List:

is a classroom and field day, Sunday will be a all day field day. 
  • Bring a pen and/or pencil.  Course materials will be provided.  
  • Bring your own meals for this, 2 lunches you can take in the field, plus a breakfast and dinner to be cooked at the campsite. 
  • Expect cold, windy weather, maybe wet?  Dress accordingly!  
  • The campsite has few or no trees, so plan to bring trekking poles or something similar.
  • Bring along your tarps/lines/stakes from Outdoor Skills to use for your shelter
Bring a mapping compass with a mirror if you have it.  Leave your lensatic or military-style compass at home, it will only get in the way and slow you down.  We have a limited number of loaners, so this will give you an opportunity to try out our recommended model before you go shopping.  Expect to walk a couple of miles.  Bring your notes and pens and pencils.

Compass- This compass is the unit standard. It is a excellent compass for our use and the price is significantly lower than you'll find anyplace else. If you'd like to order a compass the price is $45. Enter your name below and click the PayPal button. If you order 2 weeks before Basic Nav class you'll have for Basic Nav if we have inventory. If you order after Basic Nav delivery will be TBD, but we'll try to have for next training weekend.

Send questions and inquiries about this course to training@cal-esar.org.