– Ben Martens

How to Find Due South Without a Compass

Let’s say you’re lost in the woods and you didn’t pack a compass. Now what? There are ways to determine direction based on the way trees grow and moss growing on trees but there are various situations where those aren’t available or reliable. What then? If you can see the sun, you’re in luck.

Point the hour hand of your watch at the sun. Half way between the hour hand and the 12:00 position is due south. Remember this simple trick and you’ll always be able to get a bearing. Unless it’s night… or very cloudy…

There are some caveats. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, this trick will point north, not south. This should also be done using the true local time without any adjustment for daylight savings. The farther you are from the equator, the more accurate this reading will be.