Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Solar Compass

Well I thought I would share this as I was rather pleased with the results and believe most of you will find this useful if you haven't already tried.  This was actually a monthly project at Blades and Bushcraft and it was fun to try.

Solar Compass, so the idea is to place a stick in the ground and mark the end of the shadow, wait a period of time(atleast 15 minutes or so) and then mark the end of the shadow again as it has moved.  Then you make a line between the two points(roughly making a east-west line) and the mark a line perpendicular to that(making a north-south line).

Sounds simple enough so I gave it a try just to see how well this would work.  First went to the local stomping grounds and found a stick

Next I carved a couple a stakes to use to mark the points

Then I put the stick in the ground and marked the end of the shadow with the stake(stake at top)

Well I got a bonus when I was waiting for time to pass and flock of turkeys passed by not too far away

So that helped kill about 15 minutes and now it was time to mark the end of the shadow again

I used a couple pieces of straw for my lines, first one connected the points, then laid the second one perpendicular on top of the first

I removed the stakes to get rid of the shadow and checked it with my compass

As you can tell this worked out pretty well.  In fact I was rather surprised at how accurate it was.  So obviously you need some sunlight for this but it is reliable and if it's all you have it should work.  So put this in your mental gear bag.  You never know if you'll need it some day.

Thanks for looking 


  1. You know, I can never remember what stick goes where whenever I want to try this out. I need to print this and stash it in my pack for next time!

  2. I'm glad you won't ever get lost. sj