Find North with Sticks and Shadows – Navigation without a Compass

With a few sticks and abit of sunshine, you can find North, South, East and West. EzPz.

You will need:

2 Long sticks, as straight as possible – 5 feet long
3 Small steaks, 1 foot long
A wide open space that gets plently of sun, ideally on flat land.

Once your long stick is securely into the ground, place a stake at the tip of the shadow it creates. This first stick is labelled as west.

The first stick is labelled as west because as the sun moves west across the sky, the shadow it creates moves west to east. We label this first stick as west as we use that as an anchor point to track the shadow’s movement east.

Wait 10-15 minutes, and you will notice that the shadow has moved a couple inches to the side, place a new stake at the tip of the new shadow.

Repeat this process one more time.

Once the third stake has been placed in, you’ll notice that the steaks are moving in a specific direction. This direction is east.

Place your second long stick parallel to the 3 stakes, so that the long stick is touching the sides of all 3 steaks, and now you have a solid west – to – east line. From this, you can determine north and south.


Outdoor skills for wilderness survival, bushcraft, hiking and recreational camping.



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