Knowing how to properly navigate the terrain is an important survival skill. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Pay attention to your surroundings and identify any noticeable landmarks if possible. For Example: Large irregular trees, hills, mountains, buildings, large rocks, sand dunes or anything that can easily be distinguished or recognized.
I also like to sketch these landmarks on a piece of paper with my camp in the middle. It helps to quickly get oriented of where you are. It’s not the best way to navigate though.
A piece of gear you should always keep in your pack is a compass. It’s vital for navigating where you’re going. It’s safe to assume you won’t always have a map.
How to Navigate Without A Map
How to Determine True North and South – Shadow Stick Method
Another important survival navigation technique is the ability to determine true north and south without a compass. The easiest way to do this is by using the stick and shadow method.
How To Use Shadow Stick Method
STEP 1: Place a stick upright in the ground so that you can see its shadow. Preferably use a thin stick around 3 feet long. Make sure the shadow is cast on a level and cleared area.
STEP 2: Mark the tip of the shadow with a small object, such as a pebble, small stick or even a distinct scratch in the ground, . Try to make the mark as small as possible so as to pinpoint the shadow’s tip, but make sure you can identify the mark later.
STEP 3: Now wait 10-15 minutes. The shadow tip will move west to east in a curved line. Then mark the tip of the shadow again with a new marker.
STEP 4: Next draw a straight line in the ground between the two marks. This is an approximate east-west line. Now stand with your left foot on the first marker and your right foot on the second marker. You will now be facing true north.
Shadow Stick Method Video Tutorial
There are other methods to determine true north and south. I decided that this was the most simple to learn and implement. Up next you’ll learn how to build a fire without the help of fire starters and other tools.