I have lost count of how many reports I have read of Mountain Rescue retrieving people who were lost in the mountains, with just their smart phone GPS for navigation. I like to call these people STUPID! You cannot JUST rely on smart phones and GPS devices to find your way through the wilderness…
I am not saying that GPS isn’t useful and convenient, it is! I often use it myself; the difference being that when the battery runs out, or the weather closes in, I CAN revert to using my map and compass. My opinion is – if you cannot navigate with a map and compass, you shouldn’t leave the marked path. You have no place in the wilderness and you definitely shouldn’t take your family with you.
The good news is that learning to read a map in conjunction with a compass, isn’t too difficult once you know what you are doing. If your map and compass skills are a bit rusty (or non-existent!), Dan’s Depot have done an excellent post on navigating with a map and compass. The post also include several instructional videos.
Additionally, I also highly recommend: The Essential Wilderness Navigator: How to Find Your Way in the Great Outdoors
(Photo from: Dan’s Depot)