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Store Hours:
Monday-Friday 9 am-6 pm
Saturday 8 am-7 pm
Sunday 8 am-4 pm

Basic Map & Compass Class

The Basic Map and Compass Class is designed to give students the basic skills needed to use a map and compass to get around in the backcountry.

Course Description

The class will begin with an introduction to maps including how to make sense of the information around the edges of a map and how to read topography both on the map and on the terrain.

Next, we will go over the two major coordinate systems used in recreational navigation: latitude/longitude and UTM. This will include a discussion about when to use each one.

After this, we will discuss how to use a compass. Students will learn how to use the different parts of a compass and how to deal with declination.

The last part of the class will teach students how to determine their location using triangulation and basic route planning techniques.

Here's how to register.

Click the green "add to cart" button or swing by Basecamp to reserve your spot in a lesson.

Then click here to fill out our online waiver.

Finally, meet us at the Curt Gowdy State Park Visitor Center for your class. We recommend dressing in layers and packing a rain jacket, water bottle, and snack. Please bring your own compass.

Each class is $35.00. This includes all instruction and materials. We'll offer a full refund if we have to cancel a lesson due to inclement weather. 

Once you register, our instructor, Al Walsh will be in touch with more information.

Skill Level:
Skill Details:
We can tailor this class to meet your needs if you're an intermediate or advanced navigator.
Materials Included:
maps and instructions
Instructor Bio:
The primary instructor for all of these courses will be Al Walsh.

Al spent over 8 years on active duty in the Army as an Infantry Officer. He is a graduate of US Army Ranger School, was deployed to Iraq three times, and spent a year as a Company Trainer in the Mojave Desert. Being well versed in map reading and navigation was a fundamental part of being an Infantry Officer in general and particularly in the instances mentioned above.

He is also the co-founder of Just Trails LLC, known primarily for the website He has walked all the trails (over 1,000 miles) and made all the maps you will find on the Just Trails website. Additionally, he has written for the website on navigation related topics. He also moonlights as an attorney and the co-owner of Basecamp.

Finally, Al is a certified Wilderness First Responder. He received his certification through the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute.

Basic Map & Compass Class

$ 35.00