Directions on How to Use a Lensatic Compass

Directions on How to Use a Lensatic CompassProper use of a compass is a basic but essential skill in backcountry hiking, which often involves getting off marked trails. The lensatic compass, the kind of compass frequently used by military outfits around the world, works much as an ordinary compass does. The difference is in the pair of extra tools--the compass's cover-mounted sight and the namesake lens--that greatly assist in taking an accurate bearing.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Lift the compass cover so that it stands at a right angle (90 degrees) from the compass itself. Lift the lens so that it sits at a 45-degree angle from the compass. The compass should now appear boxed in by the cover and the lens.
Step 2
Put your thumb in the thumb hook and create a stable platform for the compass.
Step 3
Choose a local landmark and align the center of the sighting wire in the compass cover with the center of the landmark.
Step 4
Read the degree measurement on the compass. Pay close attention that the compass does not become misaligned with the target landmark from Step 3. The lens will help you do that.
Step 5
Turn the compass bezel so the North-pointing arrow is aligned with the magnetic needle. You have now set your bearing.
Step 6
Follow your bearing and proceed toward the landmark, keeping the bezel arrow aligned with the magnetic needle. So long as these two are in alignment, you are moving in a straight line.
Step 7
Reset your bearing with a new landmark as necessary.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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