Now days you can take hikes on native trails with information downloaded with a free app to your iPhone or Android smartphone. Go to EveryTrail.com for the app to get up to date information for your trip. You can find points of interest, audio guides, clearly mapped routes, the weather, time, also works as a GPS receiver. If your backpacking there are no heavy travel books and no more paper maps to carry. Another app is called Accu Terra for the iPhone is even more detailed for hikers. But what would you do if your phone gets broken, no signal, gets lost or if the battery goes dead?
A compass can still be a good navigation instrument to help find your way from one point to another. One kind of compass that would be fun for the kids and adults is the wrist compass. It is impact resistant, and a luminous dial to read the compass latitude and longitude. Next time your going hiking with the kids take a wrist compass and make a game out of finding the coordinates of an object.