We’ve become dependent on our cell phones and GPS devices to help us get to our destination. But what if you’re out camping, hunting or hiking and your GPS quits?
Perhaps your batteries have died. Or you don’t have good service where you are. Or maybe “the big one” has happened.
Do you know how to find your way without modern technology? Do you know how to use a compass and a map? Your survival could hinge on these basic skills.
For DestinySurvival Radio I talked about land navigation, and more, with Glen Martin, author of Prepper’s Survival Navigation.
It’s about land navigation without the high tech gadgets. But it covers other basic survival skills as well.
Below I’ll share thoughts about the book and my conversation with Glen Martin.
Who Is He?
Walter Glen Martin is the name of the author given on this book. But most people in the prepper community know him as Glen. He chose to be formal and used his full name as an author.
In case you don’t know who he is, here’s a little background. I’m sure you’ll agree he’s well qualified to write this book.
“Born in California, Walter ‘Glen’ Martin was raised at the base of the Strawberry Mountains and later near the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. He spent his youth as an avid hunter and fisherman. Knowing how to live off the land, it was not uncommon for Glen to head up into the mountains on a hunting or fishing trip with little more than his rifle or fishing pole.
“After earning his degrees in architecture and mechanical drafting, Glen spent the next 30 years as a design consultant in several Western states, including Alaska. Now living in the mountains of northern Idaho with his fiancé, Glen has settled into an off-grid lifestyle. He owns and operates Prepper Broadcasting, a 24/7 Internet radio station devoted to self-reliance and independence. When not at his desk, you’re likely to find Glen somewhere in the mountains.”
Why Have This Book?
Watching videos and DVD’s about navigation is good, but I’m glad Glen’s instruction is in the form of a hard copy book.
If you plan on traveling, take it with you. Keep it with your compass in your bug out bag or pack. The info on direction finding, maps, making a shelter, getting water and dealing with medical issues makes it indispensable.
Prepper’s Survival Navigation wasn’t written to say using a GPS is all bad. In fact, according to Glen, if you have knowledge about navigation, you’ll better understand how to use your GPS.
But keep in mind that bad weather or low battery power can make it inoperative. Therefore, have along this helpful instructional guide.
- Finding North without a Compass
- The Topographical Map
- The Compass
- Movement and Routes
- Dead Reckoning
- Terrain Association
- Terrain Comparison and Navigation
- Exposure and Treatment While Navigating
- When You’re Lost
- Finding Shelter
- Obtaining Water
- Fire Craft
- Survival Medicine while Navigating
In each chapter Glen relates some of his own experiences. You know he’s not merely theorizing about wilderness survival.
But he told me, for something he didn’t know, or when he didn’t trust memory, he sought out credible information from military manuals and other survival experts.
You’ll find plenty of useful drawings and illustrations. References are mentioned within the text with a few more given at the end of the book. You’ll find the extensive index helpful, too.
How Do You Get There?
As good as Prepper’s Survival Navigation is, you and I need to practice. You need to know what to do if you should ever lose your way.
Land navigation can be fun for children to learn. And there are benefits throughout life to knowing these skills.
Glen told me about an event he’s planning a few weeks after this writing in which he would incorporate navigation into one of the activities.
Did you know you can determine which way is north by looking at the branches of a tree? That’s just one of the direction finding tidbits Glen has written about.
Could you use the sun to find which direction you’re going? Would you know how to tell time by the sun? Glen shows you how in his book. We also touched on it in our conversation.
Finding direction by the sun isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Changing seasons and weather conditions make a big difference.
Travel at night isn’t recommended, unless you know the stars. Even then, you’d better know what you’re doing. For example, did you know the Big Dipper looks different because it changes position from season to season?
If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, be familiar with the Southern Cross and its appearance throughout the year.
Glen recommends getting well acquainted with topographical maps. They give you a three dimensional view of a given area. He gives us a primer on reading these maps. Much of what he discusses throughout the book calls for their use.
And, of course, a compass is absolutely a must for land navigation. Get to know how yours works.
Your compass is a precious instrument. In the book Glen gives us tips on caring for your compass you might not have thought of.
You’ll also find explanations of important matters like declination, dead reckoning and terrain association.
During our visit he said not to walk and stare down at your compass needle. You won’t get where you want to go by doing that. Instead, find a reference point in the direction you want to go and walk to that point.
To understand declination, remember there is magnetic north and true north. A compass finds magnetic north. A topo map indicates true north. You have to know the difference between the two norths and account for it when plotting a course.
You can use dead reckoning when visibility is low or if you’re in thick woods. It involves traveling from one point to another a number of times. If you’re traveling with others, each person can act as point men.
Terrain association entails recognizing a landmark and plotting your way to it by associating the real landmark with the one on your map.
Glen explains these terms better than I can.
What Else Should You Know?
As noted above, there’s more to Prepper’s Survival Navigation than land navigation instruction. If you’re lost, you’d better know how you’ll survive.
The chapter on exposure points out the importance of having the right clothing. Pay attention to conditions to avoid over heating (heat exhaustion or stroke) or getting too cold )hypothermia).
The chapter on what to do when you get lost warns against being over confident. It can get you into big trouble. When your senses tell you something isn’t right, pay attention.
If you do get lost, stop, think, and observe your surroundings. Above all, stay calm. Don’t be motivated by panic to do something foolish.
You have two options when you’re lost. Stay put or get moving. In the book Glen discusses pros and cons of each option.
If you stay where you are, your first priority is finding or creating shelter.
When it comes to signaling, be creative. If you light a fire, or more than one fire, be careful not to lose control of the fire.
The shelter chapter gives a good survey of natural shelters and those you make yourself. Don’t overlook the simple poncho because it can serve more than one purpose.
But what about water? Glen has drunk from outdoor streams and has lived to tell us about it. But it’s not something he would recommend to the uninitiated. You and I had better know how to filter and purify water outdoors.
You’ll learn from the book how to find sources of water, make a primitive still, filter and purify water.
In our chat Glen reminds us that making a small still is a temporary measure to help you keep alive, hopefully until someone finds you. If you’re dying of thirst, you’d better know how to signal for help, too.
The best way to avoid dehydration is to plan ahead. If you can’t take enough water with you, know where to get it.
As you might expect, the chapter on fire craft tells how to start a fire a number of different ways. Several kinds of igniters are discussed. Find out how to make a Dakota fire hole.
The last chapter is on survival medicine and covers dealing with dehydration, finding food, hygiene, taking care of fractures, bleeding and insect and snake bites, and more.
As for his own wilderness experiences regarding medicine, cuts and scrapes are what Glen is most familiar with. So for the chapter on survival medicine, he went to the experts. Namely, Joe and Amy Alton–Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy.
Is There More?
Glen enjoys living off grid. It’s been a fun, learning experience. I asked him about his biggest adjustment when making that move. Find out his answer by listening to our chat.
Do that by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for May 18, 2017. (Right click to download.)
You shouldn’t have to worry about getting lost. Get Prepper’s Survival Navigation by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post.
Stay safe when you travel, and survive.