Determine North Without a Compass

Have you ever heard of using the side of a tree where the moss grows to determining north? Well, forget about that. It doesn’t work unless you are in the perfect location. Determining north during the day can be as easy as knowing the sun arcs in the southern sky during the day time. It rises in the east and sets in the west while staying to the south. The sun never travels in the north in the northern hemisphere.

Another easy trick is to place a stick in the ground and mark where its shadow ends, then wait 15 minutes and mark where that shadow ends and draw a line between the two. This line will be pointing to the east and the rest is easy.

At night and if it is clear, the big dipper will serve you well. The end of the cup on the big dipper points directly at the North Star. The North Star is the point in the sky that all stars seem to revolve around and it will keep you heading north.

How to Start a Fire

Fire can be the difference between life and death and anyone who spends time in the outdoors should know some basic fire starting techniques. Fire starter can be bought at almost any store these days. The most common fire starting products are magnesium and flint kits that allow you to scrape off magnesium flakes and light them by striking the flint onto them. You can also buy chemicals, pellets and compressed fire starter material. Or, you can use home products such as cotton balls smeared with Vaseline or a bag of Doritos.

In nature, you can use bird’s nests, shredded bark, grasses, and tree pitch or sap. All of these burn extremely well. If conditions are wet, you should try to find a rotted tree and break it off wherever you can as dry, rotten wood makes for an excellent fire starter.

Your imagination is your only limit to finding ways to start a fire and if you can master this task in impromptu situations, you might just save a life one day.