46 forum posts
I didn't ask if the map and compass are obsolete because if you don't know a map is still needed, there is no hope for you.
But with so many people carrying smart phones and GPS devices with built in mapping software, do you still need to carry a compass? Some of you are probably thinking that's a stupid question, but the reason I ask is some of you think it's a stupid question because the answer is an obvious yes and some of you think it's a stupid question because the answer is an obvious no.
A couple summers ago, I was on a hike and had a big Suunto compass hanging from my neck. Another hiker, a guy that wasn't very young, commented that it had been years since he'd seen someone with a compass like that. I got the impression that it wasn't just an observation but he was making fun of me a little.
I'm going to take the stance that you still need a compass. I often don't carry navigation tools. If I'm in the Indian Peaks Wilderness or RMNP, I know all the trails and they are well marked. But if I'm on trails I'm not familiar with, I take a map and compass.
If you have electronic navigation why take a compass? Batteries fail. Electronics fail. Some places don't have good GPS reception. You don't have to turn a compass on or push any buttons, it's always ready to go. If you hang it around your neck or have it attached to a shoulder strap, you can take a quick look at it without even breaking stride. Even the big ones are very light. No reason not to carry one.