When you have really shit yourself
Everyone has been in the outdoors at some point and wondered which direction they where traveling or possibly even been lost. So if you don't have a compass, how does one figure out direction of travel?
Remember that most primitive methods only give a rough estimate of the north-south line.
Here's 3 different methods to try during the daytime:
Shadowless Stick Method: Place a stick in the ground and then move or adjust it until the shadow disappears completely, after a while (5-10 minutes) it will reappear with the shadow running roughly East/West.
As you see on the right picture above the method gives you only a rough indication.
The compass needle and the east-west line is not entirely perpendicular to each other. This test was done in the afternoon.
Shadow Stick Method: Place a stick in the ground and mark the tip of the shadow it casts with a small stick or stake in the ground. Then wait 10 minutes and repeat, after 30 minutes or longer, you'll have a row of small sticks marking the East/West line (North/South is perpendicular to this line).
As you can see on the pictures above this method gives you only a rough east-west line even though thebelow picture is nearly spot on.
This is due to the different times of the day this method was used.
The first picture shows the result using the method in the afternoon while the second picture shows the result nearer noon.
Using this method from 15 minutes before noon to 15 minutes after noon and the reading would be spot-on.
Watch Method: Take a fine stick and place it in the center of the watch hands (do not use a digital watch), hold the watch level and rotate the whole watch until the sticks shadow is parallel with and/or falling over the hour hand. 1/2 way between the hour hand and 12 o'clock is North/South.
You could also do this with a digital watch if you have pen and paper: Just draw a basic watch pattern on paper with the hour hand indicating the correct time and repeat the steps above based on the correct time.
And lets not to forget you nightime travelers, here’s 3 different methods for you to try during the nighttime:
Cresent Moon: Draw a line from tip to tip in a straight line and where the line hits the horizon is roughly South. I must admit that I`ve never tried this method.
Big Dipper Method (Karlsvogna): Draw a straight line through the two stars that make up the end of the pot (opposite the handle) and continue this line away from the opening of the pot until it intersects a star known as “Polaris” (the North Star) and you have North.
Even though the Polaris is very much straight over ones head in northern Norway it is still usable for finding north.
Moving stars:Take a gunsight or a stick, hold it steady and point at star. Wait 15 min or so.
Star goes up-- it is in the east
Star goes down- it is in the west
Star goes left-- it is in the north
Star goes right- it is in the south