I like to keep things simple, especially when it comes to navigating my way through the wilderness or some unknown remote region of the world. I recently read a book titled Some Thoughts On Scouts and Spies, which covers how the 18th-century woodland scouts and spies navigated through enemy territory without being detected, and what gear they selected and why. The book really makes one rethink their modern-day loadout, and whether or not one really needs all that fancy high-tech gear. I recommend the book for any military MOS that is field-related, whether that’s the basic infantryman, scout/sniper, or reconnaissance unit.
With the lessons from that read fresh in mind, here are some of my suggestions for simple, available tools to get the job done. My navigation kit contains nothing that requires batteries, but will still give me the means to navigate, observe, and estimate range. Let’s take a look at the list of items I chose for my kit.
K&R M1 Sport Compass – The M1 Sport features a full-size compass capsule and triple-sighting system for improved accuracy, an unbreakable, polished-aluminum sighting mirror (most compasses have a glass sighting mirror), thermo-elastic capsule for durable, bubble-free performance, and luminescent navigation points. You can see the luminescent points in the image below.
Available at Amazon
Topographical Map – I use custom TOPO maps for my areas of operation. You can go to MyTopo and customize you own maps for the areas you operate in.
A 19th-century-style rangefinder – Made of solid brass with markings that are blackened for easy reading in the field.
Bushnell Powerview compact folding binoculars – Has a field of view of 300 feet at 1000 yards.
This all fits into a nice, compact package that goes with me whenever I go into the woods. It’s always good to practice your compass and range-estimation skills. Compass and Map work is a perishable skill and requires dirt time to stay proficient.