The last thing that you want to happen on your trip to the wilderness during the hike, camp, or hunt is losing your way. Many of you will reach for a compass in your backpack or open the GPS app on the smartphone. But what if the two of these aren’t available? It’s time to learn survival skills with Primitive Survivors and navigate without a compass or GPS.
Landmarks are your best buddies when looking for another option without a compass or GPS units. This has to be one of the easiest that you can do and even you are still brushing up your skills for other methods using shadows or taking a cue from the sun, spotting landmarks have been a skill used in everyday lives. Here are the steps:
- Look for natural landmarks. These include mountains, rivers, streams, lakes, and moisture. Connect these landmarks with another significant one you can find in the area to make sure that you are in the right direction. Sometimes, outdoor enthusiasts also refer to roads, buildings, or bridges.
- Go toward the landmark. Once you reach a landmark, for instance, a lake, literally place a mark in the area. You can place a rock, stick or draw lines on the ground. It is very useful to identify certain points in the trail using these materials, especially in complicated topographies.
- Find features of the landmark. Use the natural features of this area to keep in track. Some lakes have features like tall trees and mountains with man-made crosses. Especially if you have a map with you, feel free to mark the map to identify the location.
The Sun As ‘Compass’
Prior to when some civilizations got hold of a compass, they have utilized the sun to navigate their way. To use the method, it is recommended to wear an analog watch. Digital watches can also work but they should have the features of the analog type. Follow these steps:
- Prepare a wristwatch. Remove your watch from the wrist and orient it horizontally with the face pointed toward the sky.
- The hour hand. Point the hour hand toward the sun. If the sun is positioned too high, point the hour hand to the horizon under the sun’s arc.
- Start navigating with the hands of the watch. Find the 12 o’clock market while the hour hand is pointed toward the sun. This mark between the sun’s location and the watch’s 12 o’clock position is a rough estimation of the north-south line (like with the compass) when bisected through the face of your watch. For example, if the market is the 10 o’clock position, the north-south line will follow the line where the 10 and the 4 on the watch are.
- Take advantage of the sun’s position. Take note though that the method may be less effective around noontime where the sun is positioned overhead across the skies. The advantage of this method is also about using the natural movement of the sun rising and setting in the directions.
Follow The Stars
Especially helpful when the outdoor adventure happens under the night sky, following the stars is another good option when you don’t have a compass or GPS around you. The ancestors have used this in the past and it’s also a classy way to navigate the environment.
- Locate a flat, open area. This method is ideal on vast, flat and open areas.
- Prepare two long sticks. These will be used as markets on the lining of the stars. Embed the stick in the ground with the tip positioned vertically and place yourself in such a way that the tip points closer to a discernable star. Take note that you’ll be in this position for around 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes. Afterward, note whether the star you are looking at has moved to the left side or right side. Star that moves left means that you are in the northerly direction. If it moves right, then you are facing the southerly direction. If you are in the Southern hemisphere, this will be in reverse. Likewise, if the star moves in an upward direction, you are facing east and downward movement means you are facing west.
Stars moving in a combined direction. At this point, it is best to use judgment since this means you are facing the northeast, northwest, southeast, or southwest.