How to Navigate without a Compass

How to Navigate without a CompassIn the vast wilderness, it does not take but a second to become disoriented in your location. Once this has occurred, finding your way home becomes seemingly impossible. While getting lost in the wild is never a fun experience, the adventure can be made all the more terrifying when you realize you do not have a compass to help guide you. Luckily, with a few tricks up your sleeve, you will be able to navigate without a compass at any time in any terrain.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Watch
  • Stick
 
Step 1
Avoid walking in circles by orienting yourself to your location with landmarks. It is important to spot a distinct and distant landmark that you can continually mark your direction by. If you begin by walking toward a mountain, then continue to head toward that mountain the entire trek.
Step 2
Use a watch and the sun to determine which direction you need to head. Simply point the watch's hour hand directly at the sun. Now determine on the watch face the halfway point between the hour hand and the twelve o'clock marking. This invisible line will point south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere.
Step 3
Find a flat and empty area. Place your stick in the ground sticking straight up. Make a mark in the terrain where the shadow is being cast. Wait for a while, as long as a half an hour, and mark where the shadow has moved to. The first mark now indicates west and the second mark is east.
Step 4
Determine east and west by the moon. If the moon rises early in the evening it is in the west. If the moon does not rise until after midnight it is in the east.
Step 5
Find a consistent path to follow such as train tracks or a river. These are good paths because they almost always lead to civilization. If following a river, always follow the flow of the water to avoid heading up a mountain.

Tips & Warnings

 
To remember your directions, start at the top of a compass, move clockwise and remember, "Never Eat Soggy Waffles," North, East, South, West. This will help you to orient yourself when finding only two directions using the above instructions. If using a digital watch, you can use the watch method by drawing a clock on a piece of paper. Draw a line where the hour hand should be and use this to find your way.
 
To remember your directions, start at the top of a compass, move clockwise and remember, "Never Eat Soggy Waffles," North, East, South, West. This will help you to orient yourself when finding only two directions using the above instructions.
 
If using a digital watch, you can use the watch method by drawing a clock on a piece of paper. Draw a line where the hour hand should be and use this to find your way.
 
The watch method does not work at the equator and works best between 40 and 60 degrees latitude.

Article Written By Heather Rutherford

Heather Rutherford has enjoyed writing professionally since 2004. Her articles have appeared in ModernMom.com, DailyLife.com, ParentsHut.com, Trails.com and On-the-News. She also works intimately with several small businesses to prepare business plans and other marketing materials. Rutherford is seeking an Associate of Arts in business from North Idaho College.

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