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Navigation Expert Blake Miller

Blake Miller is a veteran Navy officer and founder of Outdoor Quest, a business dedicated to backcountry navigation and wilderness survival.

land navigation, backstop story, stay found

Learn this tip to stay found in the wilderness

600 300 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

A baseball field backstop keeps the ball from going to far. Here is how to create a “backstop” in the wilderness to keep you from going in the wrong direction.

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I always carry a pencil and notebook in my compass setup. (Pantenburg photos)

Don’t get lost: Tune up your compass

348 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

There is no substitute for a good compass, and the ability to use it. Stay found to stay out of trouble!

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Bear spray has proven to be more effective than firearms for repelling bears.

How to survive a bear attack

600 218 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

What’s the best method for repelling bears? You might need some bear spray.

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Land navigation: How to keep from getting lost when you can’t see terrain features

355 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

A process called Dead Reckoning (DR) can be used to navigate and partially compensate for the loss of terrain features and important visual cues. DR is a method to determine one’s estimated present and future position.

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Blake Miller: Before you go, use this hunter’s gear checklist

150 150 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

All too often, Search and Rescue teams are tasked to locate folks who are lost, poorly prepared and are not carrying the right gear. Carrying the right gear in the backcountry is what I’d like to focus on for a moment.

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Communications: Do you need to add to your Ten Essentials?

600 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

So you’ve got your Ten Essentials and think you’re ready to head for the wilderness? Maybe. Have you thought about how you would contact Search and Rescue if you needed help?

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GPS Setup: Using the right coordinates for safe backcountry travel

150 150 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Datum? Coordinate systems?

To most beginner GPS users, these terms may be confusing, and subsequently ignored or not understood. But before you can effectively – and safely – you must be able to set your GPS with the information on your maps.

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Staying Found: Making sense of the declination diagram

500 375 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Topographic map users are familiar with the small declination diagram at the bottom of the map. Here is how to use it.

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Dead Reckoning: An important navigation tool

150 150 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Dead Reckoning is a method used to determine one’s estimated present and future position. Dead Reckoning can be done during periods of darkness, bad weather, in featureless terrain (e.g., the desert, whiteout conditions) or equipment failure (e.g., dead GPS batteries.)

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How to: Set a bearing with a magnetic compass

150 150 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

A bearing, or sighting, on a compass determines the direction to an object, and/or helps a hiker identify his position in the backcountry. Here’s how to set one.

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