How to Use Your Watch as a Compass and Other Things

The first thing I would like to say is the watch I am talking about is a watch with hands.  I know this is an old-fashioned type of watch and yes stores still sell them.  This type of watch is invaluable when it comes to camping but before you doubt this let me tell you a story.

When I was in Yellowstone, I was hiking up a mountain.  This mountain was beautiful but the bad news for the kids I was with was the fact that cell phones did not work.  While I got tired of hearing the complaining, I was very thankful for this little technology break. luck would have it on the day I left for the trail, I decided to go to town and pick up some supplies.  While I normally am well prepared, I had carpooled on this trip and space was limited.  In doing so, I had to pick up a few things. As I walked through the store I found a sell rack and saw a few old-fashioned watches.  Since I wanted to know what time I needed to be at the classes and mess hall I bought one.  Oh, how serendipity plays with us.

Later on in the day, we headed up the mountain.  About five hours into the trail, the group I was with could not hike anymore.  In doing so, we turned around.  As we were heading down the trail, I fell down and got injured.  While this was a bad thing, the worst part was our guide was not familiar with the area and since signals did not work where we were we had no idea how to get down.  This is where my wristwatch came into play.

I took my watch off and had the dial facing up and parallel to the ground.  Looking where the sun was located, I turned until the hour hand was pointing to the sun.  In the morning sun, the south direction should be halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock.  The afternoon sun will place south counterclockwise between the hour hand and 12 o’clock.  The north direction will be the opposite line from the south. 

While this approach did get me out of the woods, it is not perfect.  It is fine enough to give you a general direction to follow so that you can find your way back.  

If your watch is broke, do not throw it out.  Believe it or not, it can be used to save your life.  What do I mean by this?  Well, a wristwatch can be used to carry survival gear, which includes things such as paper clip, wire, dental floss, aspirin, and bandages. 

To turn your watch into a survival kit, simply remove the face.  Once that is done, take out the gears.  Next, fill that empty space with your survival supplies and place the watch face back on.  Now you are ready for any situation.