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How To Find North Without A Compass

    How To find North without a compass or watch

    Before noon and on level terrain, put a stick of around 3ft into the ground. Look for it's shadow. (If it's cloudy enough that you don't have any shadow at all…well, this won't work and you'll have to just wish you had a compass or for some sun.)

    Compass in the sand - Photo by treehouse1977

    Compass in the sand - Photo by treehouse1977

    Mark the end of this shadow. You can use a stone, stick or whatever is handy.

    Use the tip of this shadow for your radius and draw an arc around your stick in the ground. The shadow will get shorter as noon approaches. After noon, it will get longer again. Mark the arc again where the new afternoon shadow touches your arc.

    You now have two marked spots. Draw a straight line between the two marks. This makes an East-West line in the dirt. The first mark is in the west and the second is towards the east.

    Make a cross. Draw a line that forms right angles across your first line. This is your North-South line.

    Compass in the snow - Photo by Uigers

    Compass in the snow - Photo by Uigers

    Have you done this before? How did it work in your situation?


  • Adam | Oct 16, 2009 | Category: Camping


Additional Note

    We work full time here but everything is subject to change in the wild. Especially in the new economy of frequent closures. We do apologize but we're not responsible for inaccurate information or any problems it may cause. Always use your best judgement in planning camping related trips. We're always stumbling upon good camps, bad camps, closed camps, flooded camps and so on. Always call ahead.

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