Improvising Navigation in the Wilderness

Part of the Wilderness Survival For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Using the sun, the stars, and a little ingenuity can help you find your way in the wilderness and is easy to do more often than not. Remember, people have been using the heavens to navigate for thousands of years. The following techniques can be used anywhere on Earth and are sometimes incredibly accurate, but give you only general direction:

Stick and shadow

  1. Plant a long stick in the ground and mark the tip of its shadow.

  2. Wait 15 minutes and mark new spot. This is the east-west line.

  3. Put your left foot on the first mark and your right on the second. You’re facing due north.

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The North Star

The North Star is located between the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia. This method for finding North is always exact. When you’re facing the North Star, west is directly to your left, east, to your right, and south behind you.

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The Southern Cross

The Southern Cross lies between the two Pointer Stars and The False Cross. The Southern Cross points perfectly south only when it’s standing straight up. Otherwise, use an imaginary point to estimate due south, as the figure shows:

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