A recent and updated hiking map is a very essential part of your kit.
Below are some reasons why hikers and other outdoors users should always have one at hand.
- It will give you an opportunity to study the area and lay of the land in which you would like to hike, beforehand. Use it to plan your route.
- You can use it to determine your position and distances as well.
- Once you have set off, you may find that you are progressing slower than anticipated. Use the map to plot a shorter route instead, thereby maintaining your time frames.
- You could use your map to assist another party who may be lost or are just wanting to know more about a particular route that they are on.
- This party will be able to take a picture of the relevant section of your map, for reference later.
- A map is also useful for finding and sharing landmarks and places of interest.
- It is also important to have one for sharing your location with the rescue services.
- Is invaluable in cases of low visibility when the path ahead is not clear.
Important things to remember when using hiking maps:
- Use your map in conjunction with a compass.
- When reading your map, always face north (use your compass to assist you).
- In windy conditions, never use your map when you are close to an edge. It may just blow out of your hands. The same applies to coastal walks: be careful not to lose it over the water.
- Understand the map’s symbols and scales.
- Know how to interpret contour lines and contour intervals. These indicate cliffs, valleys, saddles, ravines, koppies etc
- Contour lines also indicate altitude.
- Please take special care of your map, and keep it dry at all times.
The most reliable maps are the ones in the Slingsby range. These have been tried and tested and are used by the Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR). Most of them are waterproof as well.
They are available at shops like Cape Union Mart and other outdoor and camping shops.
Please click here for more information about these useful maps.
Be out and be safe.