The magnetic compass allows me to save battery life by turning the GPS off while following a bearing.

I agree.

Just got back from a hiking trip and mainly kept my Garmin Rino off except to "bookmark" reference points to use to figure out where I was along the trail.

Mostly used my compass and map moving along a bearing though the GPS saved time in figuring out where I was(quickly triangulating my position is a skill I've not mastered yet).

In reality how often do we really have use navigation skills in our daily lives? I don't. I drive the same way to and from work and rarely venture out of my geographical area during my daily life.

I'm a navigation novice but still know more than most of my coworkers and friends.

Given the general public's unfamiliarity with navigation in general a GPS would be a little less difficult to learn than a map and compass especially by the video-game-generation .

Redundancy (having a backup for your backup) is common theme in many of the posts on this group so ideally carrying compass, map, AND GPS would make sense.

But if forced to chose one over the other to recommend to somebody on the street, I'd recommend a GPS unit.

samhain autumnwood