No compass or GPS unit and lost in unfamiliar territory? Not a problem if you can find a couple of sticks! You can create your own navigational tool with a stick and the help of the sun. It may sound like a far-fetched idea, but it is definitely a viable skill you will want to add to your survival skill set. When technology fails or your gear is lost, you will need a backup plan to find your way out.
The theory the sun rises in the east and sets in the west is not exactly accurate. The sun does not move–we do. If you rely solely on this theory, you may run into some troubles when the perceived pathway of the sun is blocked from view by trees, hills and other landmarks. You need a little better way of determining east and west, which leads you to learning which direction is north and south.
By using the sun and the shadow a stick creates when standing upright, you can get a pretty good idea of direction. Check out this video to see how to go about setting this up. Basically, you need to find an area that is fairly clear. Put a stick in the ground so that is straight up and down. Find the end of the stick’s shadow created by the sun and mark it with a rock or some other object.
Now, most survival books and guides tell you to wait 30 minutes and then take your next reading. To make it a little easier to see, use a twig or string and place it across your two markers. This is your east/west line. From there you can establish the rest. However, with that said, 30 minutes is not really enough time to give you an accurate reading. If you have the time to do so, you should take several readings to get a more accurate East-West line.
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