HomeSurvivalCustom Private Land Navigation Class

Custom Private Land Navigation Class

by Aaron (Hutch) Hutchings


What a great weekend class we just had!

The Survival University was tasked with taking the navigation of Navy divers and ROTC Army Officer hopefuls to the next level. Of course, we spent a little time getting everybody’s idea of basic to the same level. We then spent the rest of the weekend filling in the gaps with commonly known methods of land navigation. With an upcoming certification test on our student’s horizon, we wanted to make sure they felt their upcoming required navigation certification test was more like an easy walk in the woods. Here are a few highlights of what this amazing group of individuals exceled at.

The wandering magnetic pole - Ocean Navigator
True North vs Magnetic North

Using things such as the Lakota navigation stick we completely replaced the need for map and compass. The traditional shadow stick was used as a back-up for dead batteries and lost compasses. We even showed them how the Athabaskans deal with declination and the shift from true north to magnetic north in such situation.

Phones and GPS were used to teach each student how to completely replicate satellite navigation both with and without modern tools.

Then there was the map and compass work, wow…just wow. We covered so much ground, finally ending the weekend by sending each student on a two-hour solo journey while being observed by the lead instructor from a hill with binoculars. At the end of the time, each student was sent Morse code from a bull roarer giving the coordinates for a completely unknown location. With 100 percent success, they arrived on time and enjoyed leftovers from the amazing Austere cooking class that had been out there the week before.

The positive feedback was overwhelming and my favorite comment was simply, “I would have never dreamed this type of orienteering was possible…and now it seems so simple! Can we go again?”

Custom Private Land Navigation Class is written by Jason Marsteiner for

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