The Easiest Way to Know Which Direction is North


     One of the tools that anyone out on nice hiking trails will need is a compass. Many of us may feel that we are skilled enough to not lose our sense of direction. But no matter how experienced of an outdoorsman you are, sometimes we all find ourselves lost. We may not want to admit it, but it happens! By the time we come to this realization, we may have passed the same point a couple of times in an hour after making a huge circle. After we’ve have emptied almost all of the contents of our survival pack out onto the ground, we find out that we had left our compass back at the cabin. We ignored carrying it at the outset of the hike, because we “knew exactly where we were going”.

Luckily, there is a way to know exactly which direction is which even with your compass back at home on the nightstand. Most outdoorsmen prefer analog watches over digital ones, and it’s a good thing too, because that watch can actually help point you in the right direction in the daytime. It’s as simple as knowing the positions of the hands on your watch as they relate to the sun. Do not pay attention to the long (minute) hand. All you need to know is where the short (hour) hand is and where 12 o’clock is located on your watch; you are about to make a connected line angle from the center of the watch.

Locate the short hand (hour hand) on your analog watch, and point it in the direction of the sun. Wherever this hour hand is, envision a red imaginary line that leads to the center of the clock. Then, envision another red imaginary line that goes from the center of the watch up to the 12 o’clock position. Both those red lines are to connect at the middle of the watch to form an imaginary red-line angle, from the position of the hour hand, to the middle of the watch, to the 12 o’clock position.

Now, imagine a yellow line splits that red angle straight through the middle. The part of the yellow line that is pointing away from the sun is north.


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