Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bring GPS with you on day hike with kids

When day hiking with children, you may want to bring a hand-held GPS device with you.

By using satellites, the global positioning system can find your spot on the Earth to within 10 feet. With a GPS device, you can preprogram the trailhead location and mark key turns and landmarks as well as the hike’s end point. This mobile map is a powerful technological tool that almost certainly ensures you won’t get lost – so long as you’ve correctly programmed the information. GPS also can calculate travel time and act as a compass, a barometer and altimeter, making such devices virtually obsolete on a hike.

In remote areas, however, reception is spotty at best for GPS, rendering your mobile map worthless. A GPS device also runs on batteries, and there’s always a chance they will go dead. Or you may drop your device, breaking it in the process. Their screens are small, and sometimes you need a large paper map to get a good sense of the natural landmarks around you.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.