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How to Tell Direction in the Wilderness Using a Watch

Learn how to tell direction in the wilderness using a watch from NYC Outward Bound's Marko Yurachek in this survival skills video from Howcast.


Another way to tell north, south, east, and west is by using a watch. And the way we do that is to take the hour hand, this is in the northern hemisphere, by the way, if you were at the equator, if you're in arctic, it doesn't work, and if you're south of the equator, it's the opposite. But if you take the hour hand of the watch, right now it's almost 3:00, and we point the hour hand at the sun, the distance between the hour hand and 1:00, because it's Daylight Savings Time now, if we split that distance, which would be 2:00, that's going to give us our southerly direction. And the opposite of 2:00, which is 8:00, will be our northerly direction. So our hour hand's pointing towards the sun, the half a distance between 3:00 and 1:00 is 2:00, 2:00 will be pointing directly south, and 8:00 will be pointing directly north. So here's our north/south line.

And this stick and shadow should agree with the watch stick and shadow. But basically, we've got south right there, north right there. And if we have the north star, Polaris, it would be right there.

So once we get a nice shadow, about 10 minutes from now, we have our north/south line from the watch, we'll have our east/west line from the shadow stick, and they should agree with each other, and we'll be able to tell which direction is north, south, east, and west.

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