Find North Without a Compass & Survive In the Wilderness
10 AWESOME wilderness hacks that could save your life

Tell which way is North without a compass

Getting lost is every hiker’s nightmare, but if you lose your compass, it could happen. Here’s a quick guide to finding north – and finding your way – if you ever get lost in the wilderness without a compass.

THE WATCH FACE METHOD

To use this method, you need a traditional analog watch that has been set to the correct time. If it has been adjusted to Daylight Saving time, set it back or forward an hour.

IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE:

  1. Point the hour hand (the small hand one) at the sun.

  2. Now, imagine there is a line that runs from the middle of the angle between the hour hand and the 12 on the watch.

  3. The line down the middle of the angle is pointing south so the opposite direction is north.

IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE:

  1. Point the 12 at the sun.

  2. Imagine there is a line down the middle of the angle between the 12 and the hour hand.

  3. The line down the middle of the angle is pointing north.

THE SHADOW TIP METHOD

You’ll need a stick and 10-15 minutes to use this method. The taller your stick, the better this works.

  1. Find some clear level ground and a tall stick.

  2. Place the stick upright in the earth so you can see its shadow.

  3. Mark the edge of the shadow with a small pebble or stone.

  4. Wait 10 or 15 minutes then mark the edge of the shadow again.

  5. Using a straight stick or piece of string, mark a straight line between the two stones. This is your rough east-west line.

  6. The first stone you laid is the west and the second stone is the east mark.

  7. Lay a second line at right angles across the first, with the west stone to the left and the east stone to the right. The top of this line is north, the bottom south.

NIGHT TIME METHOD USING TWO STICKS

This method sounds a little odd, but the idea is that you use two sticks to line up your sight to a star in the sky. It is the direction that the star moves in that indicates which direction you are facing.

  1. Lie down on the ground and then drive a stick into the earth so the tip is at eye level (when you are still lying down).

  2. Drive a second, taller stick into the ground behind the first stick and then lie in a position whereby the tips of the sticks line up with a bright star in the sky.

  3. Watch the star for a few minute - if it seems to move: up you are facing east, down you are facing west, right you are facing south, left you are facing north.

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