Outdoors blog


How To Find North Without A Compass

Our regular lives are marked by signs and rules to some extent. We stay in a place that is familiar to us or if we do head somewhere new we familiarize ourselves bit by bit.

This can be further helped by signs marking just about every road as well as the businesses having their names flashing to stand out that can make it easier to identify the way back. However, there could be times when things are not in your control the way you need them to be.

This could happen while you are hiking, wander off the trail, and get lost along the way. It is a possibility that you might not have a compass on you but despite that, you can identify north and get your bearings so you can head on back.

Use The Map Of Stars:

If it is nighttime and you are stuck somewhere in the northern hemisphere, this method is ideal for you. You do not need to look around you in a frenzy trying to determine specific landmarks to know where you came from. All you need to do is spare a glance at the dark sky and the glittering diamond-like stars above to know your bearings. The best way to find out where north is by identifying

Polaris or better known as the North Star. Since it is fairly bright you should have no real trouble finding it. However, if you are having a hard time identifying it look for the Big Dipper first. Trace the line that points to a specific star. That will undoubtedly be Polaris, which will guide you out of the messy situation you might be in.

Track The Shadow In Front Of You:

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book and something most people learn about in school itself. If you are stuck in a forest it should be pretty easy to find a long stick that you can plunge into the ground to make it stand upright.

This is one that you will have to do in the day rather than the night. Keep in mind that the sun rises from the east and sets in the west so this may differ depending on which hemisphere you are in. As it keeps rising, a shadow will form in front of the stick you place on the ground.

Place a stone or something unlikely to blow away at the end of it. As the sun rises and creates a shadow in the original spot that will be considered east and the shadow will continue to move west. Standing perpendicular to the stick can help you find north.

Use Your Analogue Watch:

Analog watches can be extremely helpful in trying to determine where the north is as opposed to digital ones. If you have one of those with a hand pointing to the hour and one pointing to the minutes the task will be made infinitely easier for you.

First, keep a note of where exactly the two are pointing as you raise the watch in your hand up to the sun. If you live in the northern hemisphere, what you need to do is point the hour hand towards the sun. Since the sun rises in the east, drawing a perpendicular line to the one pointing at the sun can help you figure out which way north is. From there on it is merely a matter of following the right path and ending up in a safe place where you can find other people to help you along.

Getting lost somewhere in the wilderness or any other place without any distinct landmarks can scare the living daylights out of just about anyone, to say the least. Times like these panicking and hyperventilating can make you lose control and make you unable to think straight.

Try to practice slow, measured breathing, and calm yourself down before drawing up your own compass by locating the north. This will help you get back to the comfort and familiarity of civilization in no time at all.

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