Often times people get lost because they lose direction. Here is a helpful tip when you are without a compass. The are several expedient methods but this one is the easiest. This works best in the morning when shadows are easiest to see. It shouldn’t be used during twilight or dawn as it would virtually impossible to see shadow of the stick.
Step 1 : Find or make a small stick about a foot long.
Step 2 : Place stick vertically in the ground.
Step 3 : Use a small rock to mark the tip of the shadow of the stick. In the morning this will signify a general westerly direction.
Step 4 : Wait 15 minutes to a half hour.
Step 5: Mark your shadow again. The significance of the second rock is that it will show the movement of the shadow thus tracking the suns movement.
After marking both shadows you will now have an arc. Depending on the time of year the arc will appear to the north or the south of the stick in the northern hemisphere. For instance in the summer the arc will be oriented south and in the winter it will be oriented to the north.
Step 6 : Draw a line marking the suns movement. Line should intersect rocks marking the shadows.This will be your east/west line.
Step 7 : Draw a line intersecting the first line at approximately the half way point. This will be your north/south line.
You now have a rudimentary compass. It isn’t very accurate , however it will give you the four main directions in general. Which can be handy if you know which direction you need to go to reach help.This rudimentary compass will also help you to track your progress.
The best scenario is to never travel without a map and compass and the knowledge to use them. Electronics do fail or run out of power eventually so it would be a good thing to learn how to read both a map and compass before you travel.