An example of fences and handrails on a chart of the Apostles

Although it’s best to always have a compass with you, if you have a detailed chart or map, you don’t always need to use it when you’re navigating. If you use handrails, fences (also call catches) and checkpoints during the day, you needn’t check your compass often. Handrails and fences are techniques and features that do […]


kayak ferrying under the seven mile bridge

The Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys connects the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys. Under the bridge, the water is shallow, and it seems like the 1,000 square miles of the Florida Bay flows through the opening on the tide generating up to 4 knot currents. In a kayak, the current is swift […]


BWCA campsite on Kek

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a million acre wilderness area in northern Minnesota established to protect pristine boreal forests and historic and recreational canoe routes. It has over 1,000 lakes and 2,000 campsites. If you use a GPS unit, finding GPS data for BWCA campsites and portages was difficult. Now, you can get […]


Chart used for navigation

Over the past few years, I’ve written articles about both canoe navigation and kayak navigation. I based the articles on the navigation classes I teach with the premise that navigation shouldn’t be confusing, and it isn’t confusing once you understand the basics. To help people learn during my classes, I concentrate on the results instead […]


Free Canadian Topo map example

This is a guest post from educator and wilderness guide Dave Freeman. Canadian topographic maps generally cost between $11 and $16 dollars each. When buying many maps for an extended camping trip, the costs quickly add up. Luckily, the Canadian government offers free electronic copies of all of their topo maps. By following a few […]


Part of a compass

When paddling, you use a compass to determine or identify courses, bearings and headings. Because the deck of a kayak or the workstation in a canoe is small, limiting the number of instruments used for navigation speeds up the process and reduces the chance of losing an item overboard. A baseplate compass combines a protractor […]