Lost Without A Compass? Do This

If you’re ever lost without a compass then you, my friend, might be screwed.

Then again, if you follow the advice inside this blog post you might actually end up doing OK for yourself. Provided you haven’t broken any limbs or sustained any major injuries.

Being lost without a compass is actually one of the most common survival situations on the planet.

One of the main reasons it happens so much is people venture out onto day hikes, or camping trips simply unprepared.

Then, of course, there’s the random accident that happens, leaving people stranded somewhere they never imagined they’d be.

Obviously, I recommend keeping a compass with you at all times.

But what happens if you’re ever lost without a compass, what do you do then?

The answer is simple. Make sure you read these 6 tricks and memorize at least 3!

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5 Ways To Escape If You’re Lost Without A Compass

1 – Pay attention to the sun: The sun is the world’s first compass (and watch). It might seem obvious to some, but if you don’t know where the sun rises and where it sets it’ll be very tough to gain a sense of direction in a crisis.

As you know, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If you didn’t know that, now you do.

So if the sun is on your right before noon, then straight ahead is North. The opposite will be true if the sun is on your left.

This means if you’re lost in the morning or evening hours you’ll have an easier time figuring out how to get unlost without a compass.

But what do you do if it’s high noon and the sun is directly overhead and you need to make a move pronto?

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2 – Pay attention to trees: If there are trees in your environment then you want to pay attention to them to get unlost.

One of the best and easiest ways to do this is by looking to see how moss is growing on trees. Most people mistakenly believe all moss grows on the north side of trees. This isn’t entirely true.

The only time moss is on the north side of a tree is if it’s a solitary tree without many others around it (within 75-100 feet depending on the height of surrounding trees).

This is because moss grows in the shade. If you’re smack dab in the middle of a forest moss will grow all the way around a tree, telling you nothing.

But, if a tree is more or less by itself you can confidently determine moss growing on a single side is on the north side. So, if you stand belly to belly with the tree (and moss) you know you’re facing directly south. To the left will be east and to the right will be west.

Of course, that’s not all trees are good for.

3 – Use a stick to make a makeshift compass: Imagine you’re lost in a high desert area.

It’s too dry for moss to grow… but there are some smaller bushes around.

You can use a stick (around 12 inches long) as a substitute compass. If you’re ever lost without a compass you need to know this trick!

All you do is stab the stick straight into the ground. If it’s sunny then the stick will make a shadow. Wait about 30 minutes and mark the location of the top of the stick’s shadow with a rock. Wait another 30 minutes and then mark the top of the stick’s shadow again.

Now draw a line between the two pebbles like you see in BrianGreen’s image below.

 

lost without a compass
That line is an East/West Line.

With that line in place you can determine North/South. Again, take a look at the image above.

That’s all it takes.

But what if you happen to be stranded in the evening, or the days are simply too hot to move around in? What do you do then?

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4 – Know where the North Star is: The name gives itself away pretty easily, but most people simply can’t find the North Star if asked.

If you don’t know how to find it you can change that right now so if you’re lost without a compass the stars will be your guide.

5 – Use a pine needle to make a compass: This one’s pretty cool and I didn’t know about it until a friend told me a few months ago.

Here’s what my friend said:

“You’ll need a needle, a piece of wool or silk, a leaf and a puddle of water. Rub the needle with the wool or silk about 100 times and the needle will actually acquire a magnetic charge.

You also can (carefully) rub the needle through your hair. Place the leaf delicately on the pool of water and place the needle on top. If there is no wind, the needle should align with magnetic north. The thicker end of the needle (the side with the eye) will favor the northern direction.

You also can use shadows (shadows tend to favor north) to determine which way your needle is pointing. From there, you can figure out your coordinates.”

Pretty cool, right?

Why Being Lost Without A Compass Isn’t The Worst Thing Ever

I’d be crazy to tell you to go into the wilderness without a compass.

However, for centuries people survived without them.

On the other hand, if you’re serious about survival then you absolutely must have an EDC tool with you.

That’s a must.

An EDC tool will make a potential crisis easily survivable and considering you can get this one free, well I don’t know why you wouldn’t want it.

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3 Responses
  • Danny
    February 9, 2017

    You could just use a analog watch or think of one if you know what time it is.
    If you can see the sun and know what time it is point the hour hand at the sun and a line between 12 and 6 is south and north

  • Jeffrey Robinson
    February 9, 2017

    There is another way, if you have an “old”watch (one with hands). Point the hour hand at the sun. Half the angle between the hour hand and the minute hand will be South if your looking toward the sun. Doesn’t work well in the tropics or South of 23.5deg North latitude. North of 23.5deg anytime you are looking at the sun you are looking some degree South.

  • Tine
    February 9, 2017

    For people like me who live in the Southern Hemisphere often the inverse applies. For onstance, where you read North you should read South, a pine needle will point South.. But you wouldn’t be able to see the North star, nor the big dipper most of the time. You could get oriented by the Southern Cross, though!