How to use GPS devices in the mountains safely

Posted by Carey Davies on 20/08/2015

You may have a GPS nestling in the palm of your hand when you read this - but can you use it in the hills and mountains? Chris Townsend takes us through how to use GPS in the outdoors safely, whether on a standalone device or your phone.

Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are ubiquitous today - you may even have one nestling in your hands as you read this on your phone. 

But what role do these devices have when it comes to navigating in the hills and mountains? Can you use your iPhone or Samsung to help navigate outdoors? Do you need to buy a standalone GPS device if you have a navigation app on your phone? 

One of the world’s most respected experts on long-distance walking and backpacking, Chris Townsend explains the different types of GPS and, most importantly, how to use them safely in conjunction with other navigational techniques. 

Chris is also the BMC’s first hill walking ambassador.

WATCH: How to use GPS devices safely

WATCH: Other videos in this series

How to take a grid reference

How to take a compass bearing

How to use GPS devices in the mountains safely

Emergency packing for hill walking

Emergency procedures for hill walking

Know your different jacket types

Know your hill walking footwear

How to pack a rucksack


We want to say a big thanks to every BMC member who continues to support us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t do it without you.

Did you know that we've launched a U27 membership offer for just £1.50 / month? And with full membership from £2.50 / month, it's never been easier to join and support our work: 

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/join-the-bmc-for-1-month-U27-membership


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