7 Ways To Determine Direction Without A Compass

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1. Find the North Star

A little astronomy goes a long way. Find the Big Dipper, which is one of the clearest constellations in the northern night sky; it looks rather like a ladle.

The two stars that make up the “pouring” side of the ladle line up to point directly at the bright North Star.

2. Moss on trees and rocks

The idea that moss tends to grow on the Pole-side of trees and rocks, away from the equator and therefore the sun, is a misnomer.

The idea probably started in a region where this was the case, but internationally, it doesn’t hold true.

Specific regions may have types of moss and lichen that do grow this selectively, but there’s too much variation to rely on this as a rule unless one intimately knows the flora and region in question.

3. Tracking the sun’s shadow

When the sun is approximately in the middle of the sky, plant a stick in the ground and mark the tip of the shadow. Wait half an hour or so and mark the tip again.

A line between the two points is approximately east-west.

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  • Rusty

    Personally the worst problem is finding out you like being lost and not wanting to be found.

  • rivox1

    #1 is absolutely bogus, so I stopped reading. The north star is hardly visible. Contrary to popular belief it is NOT the brightest star in the sky… it’s not even in the top 20 brightest. It’s actually quite hard to see.

  • T

    It didn’t say it’s the brightest star in the sky there Sherlock. It’s brighter than the stars right around it though. I can find it with no problem.