I'm new to this forum so I hope that I'm posting this in the correct spot. I am not new to hiking, camping, or the outdoors, but I am new to backpacking in the backcountry of western US. I've been trying to learn land navigation on my own and am having a hard time with it. There's so much information available that it's hard to find a beginning point. Ideally, I'd love to find a class to attend to get hands on instructions, but I'm striking out in my area. I live in Philadelphia and the nearest classes I can find are 2 hours away in north Jersey at REI. Does anyone know of any classes closer to Philly? If not, are the REI classes worth the drive? Also, if anyone has any online resources they would recommend starting with, I'd love to hear.
Again, I am just starting out with land navigation and any information or suggestions would help and be greatly appreciated.
Backpacker mag and Colorado Outward Bound have teamed for an online nav course (there are others as well, like first aid, etc). I read about it in the recent Backpacker mag. No idea how good the courses are, just happened to read about them.
Courses are here: Backpacker courses (no relationship with Backpacker or Colorado Outward Bound).
Awesome thanks guys! I never thought to look at LL Bean. I think im going to sign up for the Marsh Creek course on the 15th and then maybe the online course later on if I decide I need a deeper understanding before learning on my own. I'll let you know how the LL Bean course goes and what I think of it.
sounds great. Be sure to let us know how it went. Poking around LLBean's site I found a more advanced nav course (with the intro course as a requirement). You might want to check that out. They sure are a lot cheaper than the backpacking magazine course. $150 for no hands-on instruction seems a bit steep to me.
So I went to the LL Bean class on Saturday and I think it was definitely worth the $40. It was very basic (as expected) so some of it was a bit of a review, but I definitely learned a good amount and felt much more confident leaving the course. I am most likely signing up for the Advanced Course from LL Bean as well. It's a 5 hour course and costs $50; more than worth it in my opinion to learn and polish a skill that is absolutely necessary for hiking and camping in the back country.
Hello, I'm glad you found some useful courses. Here is a great list of free videos demonstrating the basic skills. http://www.croc.org/navigationvideos/ Also, I just want to add that going out with someone who can teach you is great too. Courses in a building can teach you a ton. But being in the field is best. If you don't know anyone try finding a local backpacking or hiking group on the Meetup app. Good luck!