Some orientation's techniques without a map or compas

Discussion in 'Newbie Corner' started by Endure, May 24, 2016.

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  1. Endure

    Endure Expert Member

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    There are several methods that allow us to find North with varied accuracy whe We don't have a compass as our main guidance tool. The most effectives one I know are the clock method and night stars orientation.

    Clock Method
    We can use a needle and watch the position of the sun to find north with ease. To do this, we must know the solar time, for example, in Spain and countries in its timeslot is around two hours less at official summer time and one hour less during winter.


    In temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, if we align the hour hand (small) with the sun, and forming a bisector with the number "12", clock is always south.

    In temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, is the number 12 which should point to the sun, and the north is tangent with the bisecting line formed with the hour hand.

    Night stars Orientation
    At night, as long as the sky is clear, guidance by the stars is effective and simple.
    In the northern hemisphere, the polar star always indicates north. This star is the last one located in the tail of Minor Ursa and, although shown as a very bright star in almost all illustrations, its light is so pale that it is often not easy to see. However, it is easy to be guided by the Big Dipper to locate the point where the polar star is. You only have to extend four times the distance separating the two front stars of the Big Dipper.


    In the southern hemisphere we should look for the "Southern Cross", a diamond-shaped kite constellation. If we extend the length of the comet four times and a half, the imaginary point we locate always indicate the south.

  2. Lakeisha Brown

    Lakeisha Brown New Member

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    I am very interested in the Night Stars Orientation. I went outside to look at the stars and like always they aren't visible here in central Georgia. I'm definitely going to read up on this topic more.
  3. OursIsTheFury

    OursIsTheFury Expert Member

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    Some people who grew up near the woods, exploring them growing up, often develop a natural sense of direction. I guess it's natural if you learn through living, and if you did not have the luxury, people need to learn it the hard way, by camping a few times a year, and maybe hope that something sticks, in case you will ever need survival skills in real life. Stars are also an important marking system, especially different constellations and significant stars. But you can only use it at night though, and for the daytime, the sun is your only friend, and is the only reliable mark in direction for the uninitiated.
  4. Moroccanbeauty2266

    Moroccanbeauty2266 Active Member

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    I grew up and the woods were not that far away. Close to the woods was a creek and as kids we would always play there. Growing older we learned about orientations while camping with other kids and that taught us a lot. Without that experience and the help of others I would be lost.
  5. lonewolf

    lonewolf Societal Collapse Survivalist. Staff Member

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    you can use local landmarks , like power lines, rivers , wind turbines, etc to plot your direction.
  6. NomadWill

    NomadWill Expert Member

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    I have a terrible sense of direction for the most part.. I should really take the time to teach myself some techniques like this.
    Keith H. likes this.
  7. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member

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    Sun & moon rises in the eastern sky sets in west sky everywhere
  8. AntonyRaison

    AntonyRaison Active Member

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    One I like is the Shadow stick method, but on the fly the watch method is very easy and quick.
    Both the sun and the moon follow similar east to west patterns... So Yeah If its early in the morning or late during the day that to is a quick way of easily orientating oneself.. also noting the side of where your shadow falls, and if you walking back to note its on the opposite direction (this is obviously Time dependant, but the correction casn be made upon observing the time it is)
  9. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member

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    If you are following a direction during the day, make sure you mark that direction physically on trees or on the ground ready for the next day. The next day may be overcast!
    Keep direction by lining up 3 points, example; Your back against a tree, & line up two other trees or landmarks in the direction you are going. When you reach the next landmark, put your back against it & repeat again.
    I actually carry a brass sundial compass which makes things much easier, but knowing other methods is important. Even if you don't know where you are or where you are heading, you need to be able to keep a straight course or you will end up going round in circles & getting no where!!!
  10. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist

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    I could be wrong (and am happy to be corrected) but I think this is not entirely accurate. Well, it is basically, however, it depends on the season as to where the sun rises and sets which does gives some movement.

    For example, where I am in the southern hemisphere, the sun sets further to the north during winter, sets more west in spring/autumn and sets further to the south in summer. I only found this out myself when I was using a compass to ascertain the direction of the fires on my property, and found the sun wasn't rising exactly east.

    Not sure how this would affect being in the "wild" using the sun for direction, as that's not something I've yet to experience, but am curious as to whether it would have any significant impact if you were needing to use this method for direction.
  11. poltiregist

    poltiregist Legendary Survivalist

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    In most environments there is enough man made noise such as road traffic . Simply stop and listen . I have heard trains rattling the tracks about fifteen miles away when listening conditions were right . A trick we used hunting a reported wild fire at night , if it is a cloudy night look at the clouds for a light reflection . This also works in locating man made lights such as a town . Most cloudy nights you could locate a town thirty miles away .In mountainous terrain know the slope of the ground , for instance if you walked basically downward you know you have to return walking basically upward . Flat terrain is harder to keep your direction in . But as previously mentioned know the suns path for the time of year because it does vary some . By watching the sun sure you may come out a few miles from your desired destination but that shouldn't be a big deal . For me the worst condition for traveling without a compass is on a dark cloudy night with no light reflections or a day with clouds so thick you can not locate the sun . --- Just an added thought , be careful when walking in thick wooded areas at night especially if you have little or no light as to not get a limb in your eye . I have had the experience of getting a stick in my ear so be careful with head movements at night also .
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
    Blitz likes this.
  12. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist

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    Yep, nothing quite like a poke in the eye with a blunt stick.
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