Wilderness Navigation Lecture

Lecture: Wilderness Navigation

Wilderness Navigation Lecture - Mountaineers Kitsap Program Center

The Navigation classroom session includes a lecture on map, compass and navigation principles and a student quiz in which you will use your Mountaineers-acceptable compasses and provided maps to work thru a series of exercises to build your knowledge and skills in wilderness navigation.

  • Easy
  • For Beginners (Getting Started Series)

1550 Rocky Point Road NW

The classroom session includes a lecture with plenty of opportunity for student questions.  Be sure to bring your Mountaineers-acceptable compass and your Wilderness Navigation book (see Required Equipment, below).  You will be given a quiz designed to demonstrate competency in map, compass, and navigation skills, so it is critical that students read and understand the principles covered in the book before arriving at the classroom session.


Mountaineers Kitsap Program Center

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Compass - required compass features

Each student must have a "Mountaineers approved" compass before attending the classroom session.  You will not be able to share a map or compass during the classroom session or the field session, and an acceptable compass is required in order to do the classroom exercises and the field exercises.  An "acceptable" compass has the following required features:  adjustable declination, sighting mirror, transparent base plate with direction of travel arrow, meridian lines, a full-length declination arrow or parallel lines, a bezel that is at least 2 inches in diameter and that is marked clockwise from 0 to 360 degrees in increments of 2 degrees or less.  Recommended but not required features include a liquid filled housing to reduce erratic needle movement, a sighting mirror, and an inclinometer to measure slope angle.  Some acceptable compasses include Brunton 15TDCL; Brunton Nexus Elite Compass; K&R Sherpa BW2 Sighting Mirror Compass; K&R Alpin Sighting Compass; Silva Ranger 515 CL Sighting Compass; Suunto MC-2D IN Mirror Sighting Compass; Suunto MC-2G Sighting Mirror Compass. 

It is best to shop for your compass well in advance of the classroom session, because acceptable compass models may be sold out or hard to find.  We recommend that you bring the list of required compass features and acceptable compasses with you when you shop to be sure you get the right compass.

The foregoing compass features will allow you to maximize your map and compass accuracy as you learn the techniques taught in this course and covered in the required textbook. 

Required Book and reading

BEFORE the classroom session, each student must purchase and read this entire book (~135 pages) : "Wilderness Navigation , Finding Your Way Using Map, Compass, Altimeter and GPS", 2015 (3rd edition), by Burns and Burns. It is a Mountaineers book, and can be ordered online from Mountaineers Books, with a 20 percent discount for Mountaineers members.

Mountaineers members can also purchase the book at the Mountaineers Bookstore in the Seattle Mountaineers Center.  Much of the material will be covered in the classroom session, and it is critical that you have read the entire book before the classroom session.

Trip Reports