quote:I've tried using some of the newer better models out where I do my research, but the problem I've run into is that under certain terain, geography, and vegetation cover, they can't lock onto the satelites... in such an area, many of the forester's use a GPS system that's the size and form of a heavy backpack in order to get a signal (used mainly for developing logging roads and mapping location of ecosystems). Size, battery life, and signal are some biggies... but some of the models have such simplified programs in them, that under the right conditions, you can simply trace back the way you came and or just use the little arrow on the screne to point you in the direction of get to where you want go.
I had a summer job about 5 years ago where I hiked around the woods with a gps unit for making maps. The unit itself was actually pretty small. The antenna was a bit bulky, but pretty lightweight - it just stuck out of my backpack. The only time I ever couldn't get a signal was during a heavy hail/thunder storm in a dense forest.
Anyway, I actually used a compass an awful lot during that job because our GPS units didn't display the maps they were creating. I suggest going somewhere where you won't truly get lost, and that you have a map for. Practice sighting accurately with a compass and practice getting bearings from a map. Know the declination angle for the area you're in. Practice estimating how far you've walked based on the length of your strides. Then practice going from one landmark to another, through the forest, using the aforementioned techniques. Those are the basics.