Old 08-05-2021, 18:43   #1
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: In the fog
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Land nav. Looking for helpful tips

im looking for good writing markers to write on my map case with (plot points, label key terrain features, roads). Preferably ones that standout with red lens. We had a land nav course and it rained on us. the markers I used would easily erase when touched by water. I started writing on the map itself (pencil) but erasing it later affected the map with rips or erasing contour lines. Any tips on that would help.

Things I've learned : 1.aim small miss small. Try to have a check point every 400-600 meters when moving multiple klicks away.
2. Handrail roads if possible.
3. Keep a pace count.
4. Always be topped off on water
5. Label things on the map (water points, boundaries, anything that would help to distinguish where you're at)
6. Orienting your map. When you feel a little confused, Align yourself north with the map and go from there.
7. Foot care. Take time to take care of your feet before you head out.
8. Draw monsters are real. Anytime your heading down hill, most likely there is gonna be a draw near. Make sure your equipment is SECURED. I avoided the draws but got a little lost going around them. I had trouble seeing the Contour lines on my map (especiallyat night with red lens). I probably should of traces them with pencil, but didnt. I know if Streams are labeled on a map there's a draw there. I just need to improve on Identify where I am, when handrailing the draw.
9. Pay attention to detail. Cadre puts out information for a reason. (Certain things must be written on your score card)
10. Have a good map case. (Water proof), also maybe use a rubber band to tie your map to a peace of card board (MRE box) so it can stay flat and you can write on it or bring a small clip board if thats allowed.

There's probably more, but that's all I can think of right now. Thank you for your time. Any tips on anything would be appreciated. I didn't do too well on one iteration. But learned a lot. My point was in or near a draw. And I couldn't find it (day time).

I feel like I learned what to do and what not to do. Thank you for your time.
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Old 08-05-2021, 18:55   #2
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Nothing to add. Actually looks like a pretty solid plan.

Not any fancy method, not any fancy equipment, not a damn thing, will replace training and miles on your feet.

Get out in the woods and move from point A to B.
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Last edited by bubba; 08-05-2021 at 19:35.
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Old 08-05-2021, 19:52   #3
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Laminate the whole map (printing stores or Office Depot should have large sheet acetate) and write directly on it with semi-permanent (alcohol wipes will clean up) vis-a-vie marking pens (fine tip). Then put your map in the waterproof case so the backside of the map stays dry.
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Old 08-06-2021, 06:13   #4
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My advise don't handrail draws unless you are on the same side as your point. Cross them when you have the best opportunity at a 90 deg. Don't use the draw as your final attack point it is to big use it as a back stop come from high ground to low ground on final appoch and walk slow. Make up time on open ground with points not pace count
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Old 08-06-2021, 16:56   #5
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1. Sharpie alcohol soluble markers will not run/smear when wet from water. Carry a few alcohol wipes for when you eventually do want to clean your marked surface.

2. For decades before Sharpies were ever a map marking thing... so were grease pencils. Also known as china markers. Available at most big box hardware stores, local Walmarts, or any other office supply store aisle that sells pens/pencils/markers. Very inexpensive. Can be smudged/wiped off by finger pressure, but essentially impervious to water.


Grease pencils were the exact thing I (and thousands of others) used for land nav courses at both Ranger School and SFQC.

You can cut them down to a shorter length to more handily fit inside of a map case or waterproof bag.

Black is the most useful color to procure.
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Old 08-07-2021, 11:47   #6
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It has been many years since I was required to execute a land navigation course for Special Forces qualification, but I did well. (PM me if you want a citation to authority).

If you are staring down at a map the whole time, and looking perhaps 10 meters in front of yourself, you have the wrong mind set.

Part of being a Special Forces soldier is a developed sense of “situational awareness.”

At anytime in the course (land nav or otherwise) you should be able to lift up your eyes and say – maybe even out loud – “where am I, where am I going? what is the date and time?”

Each leg on the STAR land nav is not a meandering “bubble” of time/place/circumstance. You want to put yourself in the position of “looking down” on the route from several thousand feet overhead. It is a mission that you should be able to say:

“I’m starting at this hilltop. I’m going to travel 3,000 meters, that’s a bit bit under two miles. My path will take me downhill, then up and down two small ridges.* When I descend the second ridge, as suggested by my pace count, and as confirmed by my boots on the ground, then I’ll be in a draw/valley that runs 320-140 degrees. I’m going to turn uphill on the 320 side, and walk 100 meters to the flat top, trying to keep the slope equal left and right. The point I’m looking for will be just at or just in the treeline.”

Plan your walk, and walk your plan.

*Know your contour interval, Fort Bragg and the scrub oak and pineland of Camp Mackall are very nearly flat, a ten foot change in elevation is a big difference, while in the Great Smokies you can “up and down” 20 feet changes that won’t even be a bulge in the contour intervals.
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