In a word, yes

Rich Owings asks, “Does GPS navigation make you less geographically aware?”

Many times I’ve seen someone carry their GPS in their hand and focus on it instead of the trail. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve done that myself with my old GPS.

That’s why I don’t load topo maps in my new GPS. If I want to know where I am, I look around and then look at a map.

In fact, I clip my GPS to my pack’s shoulder strap and pretty much forget about it. Except to occasionally answer the question “I wonder how far I’ve hiked,” I never look it.

Eveready Bunny

A GPS is good for documenting the hike, like this.

I don’t mean to dismiss its value as a navigation tool. But once you begin to rely on it you lose more than just your awareness of your surroundings. You give up your map and compass-reading skills.

And doing that puts your safety in the hands of the Eveready bunny.


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