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32

If you look at the current time, and imagine yourself in the center a big analog watch, just place your shadow on the location of the hour's hand. Then imagine the location of the 12 o'clock hand, and exactly in the middle of the angle between those two hands is the north. Be sure to ignore daylight saving time (As the time your hand watch is showing during ...


22

If there's a stick around and enough sunlight, I've found the stick method surprisingly accurate: Find a straight stick, around 2 feet long (length isn't that important) and plant it straight in the ground. Mark the end of the stick's shadow, perhaps with another short stick. Wait for about 15 minutes then repeat step 2. Draw a line between the two ends ...


20

There seems to be a fixation with North in navigation. Step back to the basic purpose, why do we navigate? We navigate to get to somewhere or to find our way back. Knowing north is just one method of doing such. So predicating navigation on knowing which way is north is unnecessary. North isn't the goal, it's a reference for finding what you really ...


18

With fog, the only thing you're losing is extended visibility. This shouldn't throw off your plan too much, unless you were navigating by watching far away landmarks. If you were on a trail, stay on it. There's no need to wander around. If you can't see anything and traveling is becoming dangerous or you're not sure where you're going, then stop and wait ...


13

Basic celestial navigation: In the northern hemisphere, the star Polaris indicates north. In the southern hemisphere, you can use the Southern Cross, see Finding the south celestial pole.


12

If you need to walk on a compass bearing in poor visibility, stand still, and send someone out in front of you on the correct bearing for a distance (probably as far as you can see). Have them stand still, then walk to them. Repeat. It's slow going, but you will be walking on the correct bearing, and more accurate than just holding the compass out in front ...


10

Yep! If you store your compass near objects that have strong magnets in them (such as your car speakers) it can demagnetize over extended periods of time. There are a few other issues your compass can run into that makes it less reliable as well. Air getting into the compass housing (in excess) Bubbles can form within the compass housing when doing big ...


8

The only reliable information I seem to be able to find points to the fact that if you store a compass next to a strong magnet for a long period of time, it can wreck it. Additionally, it seems that some people have reported their compass becoming demagnetised when stored adjacent to something like a phone, headphones etc. though this appears less common. ...


8

The distribution of sun east / west should be pretty close to the same. In the northern hemisphere, the south side of areas gets more sun due to the sun being more to the south (perpendicular to the equator). This doesn't necessarily translate into there being more vegetation on the south side of ridges though, it depends on the environment. Southern ...


8

If it's early morning, you'll note that the sun rises in the east. It additionally sets in the West. Normally, more plant-life can be found on the east side of a ridge (I don't have a source for this, I'm sure someone else can be more helpful) as it more fully receives light. Personally, I navigate almost exclusively by features and carry a contour map with ...


8

Lensatic Compasses are often used by the military, because the are: Reliable Durable Compact Stealthy (more on this) The things that I would look for in a lensatic compass are: Solid outer casing Sighting guide with thin slot or notch Compass latching cover. Electrically buffered needle Some lensatic needles are buffered with oil, which can leak. ...


7

Pacing and timing can be used to aid navigation in poor visibility. Both methods improve as you gain experience by practicing pacing and timing over different terrains. Pacing by counting steps (beads on your compass lanyard or a mechanical counter will help you avoid loosing count) to estimate distance travelled from a known location. Timing based on, for ...


6

A compass is "accurate" in both hemispheres in that it should still point to magnetic north. But the problem is that when you're in the southern hemisphere, the magnetic north pole is sort of 'under your feet' so the compass needs to be one that's specially 'balanced' for the Southern hemisphere to ensure the needle moves smoothly and responds fast. You ...


6

The magnetic declination at the south pole works the same way to that at the north, and for exactly the same reason. The magnetic field, while generated by the spin of the Earth's core is not tied to the physical spin axis for the earth so the exact magnetic north and south move. Before you travel near the poles (you don't even need to be that near for ...


6

When I go off-trail into the woods, I bring a topographic map, compass and GPS with me; of the three, the one I use least is the compass and the one I use most is the map, because I have learned to read the terrain and match it to the map. Even if you know which way is north, that may be very little help in knowing where you are, how to get where you want ...


6

This depends of course on the tools you have and what your overall situation is. For example, if you know that you are on a certain path and you have a compass, and if you are on a slope, you can try to figure out the direction of the slope and compare that to the slopes along the path you are on using your topographic map.


5

Depending on the terrain, a map is often very usable even without a compass or a GPS. If the terrain is anything-but-flat you can generally use the contours of the terrain to orient the map correctly. "Walk down this valley until it branches, then head for the mountain aproximately 30 degrees west." doesn't require a compass. Learn to read contour-lines on ...


4

The needle of a compass is often made from a magnetically very soft material. It is very easy to re-magnetize the needle. This does not happen normally, because the needle always aligns with the external field. Luckily this happens in such a way that the magnetization of the needle is aligned with that of the external magnet. In this case nothing will ...


4

according to the boyscout handbook you can use moss (apparently it usualy/always grows on the North side of the tree...) It is generally believed that in northern latitudes, the north side of trees and rocks will generally have more luxuriant moss growth on average than other sides. This is assumed to be because the sun on the south side creates a dry ...


3

There's a whole bunch of standard map and compass techniques you can use without a GPS. If you know your location before the fog came down, then you're not lost - you just can't see so far. Change your navigation strategy to have shorter legs, and pick tick points that will be within your vision. Pay particular attention to changes in trail direction and ...


2

I want to suggest a couple of books I really like: "The Natural Navigator" by Tristan Gooley Navigating without a Map or Compass by Harold Gatty These books are not about quick tips and tricks. These books are filled with stories, history and a lot of nuances that will take a lot of time to actually master. These books are great for anyone who is really ...


2

Jason S's "use the map" or / and Russell Steen's "use landmarks" Noam Gal's and berry120's "use the sun" (1) Graham's "use the stars" use rivers - rivers provide water, animals, human-inhabited places, never go in circles and always flow in a consistent direction (this is kind of "use landmarks") climb up high - 1. find a naked hilltop 2. climb it 3. you ...


2

In many forests you'll find moss growing on the side further from the equator (i.e. on the North side of trees/rocks in the Northern hemisphere and on the South side in the southern hemisphere).



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