4 Steps For Determining Direction With Your Watch

Land navigation is a must-have skill if you have little “built-in” sense of direction.  Even if determining your sense of direction comes very natural to you, we personally think you can never develop this skill too much.  While using a map and compass or even a GPS is incredibly useful, there are also several ways to get a good general sense of direction without any of those tools.  One of those is to simply use your watch, in relation to the sun.

Most everyone that ventures outdoors knows this can be done, but it is one of those skills that others have repeatedly told us that it is easy to forget.  We wanted to put this short video together and show how to do this in a few easy steps.

  • Step 1. Find the sun (this should not be too hard unless there is alot of cloud cover).
  • Step 2. Point the hour hand (that is the little one) at the sun.
  • Step 3.  Determine the line that intersects the halfway point between the hour hand and the number 12 on your watch.
  • Step 4.  That line is pointing due South.

Now keep in mind this works for us in the northern hemisphere, (for the southern hemisphere do the same thing and that line will be pointing north).  Please note that you could also make some adjustments for daylight savings time.  Since I do not feel as if this method is an exact science, those changes are not of great consequence to me.  This method is there for us to ONLY get general sense of direction.

In this video I have most assuredly done the corniest job ever of an introduction.  Please forgive me on that.  It was very cold, and I wasn’t thinking clearly when I made the decision to go with this intro.  I try to have fun on these videos.


You can also do the same thing with a digital watch.  Simply mark or note on the dial of your watch where the hour hand would be if it was analog and go through the same steps.

Hope it helps you not get lost on your next adventure.  Either way, I hope to see you on, or off, the trail.


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