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How To Build a Compass Outdoors

If you rely heavily on your phone’s GPS for directions, then the thought of losing your phone during a camping or hiking trip can be worrisome. Since so many people use their phones to decipher between north, south, east, and west, losing a phone can mean losing all sense of direction entirely.

Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to use nature to reconfigure your sense of direction and stay safe. Knowing how to use your environment to remain calm while lost is also an essential tip for beginner hikers. In this blog, we’ll explain how to build a compass outdoors if you find yourself lost or confused outside.  

How To Build a Compass Outdoors

How It Works

The Earth’s core contains a mixture of solid and liquid crystals. Gravitational pressure in the Earth’s core makes this fluid move. Scientists believe that the movements from the Earth’s core create magnetic fields that indicate the north and south poles.

Compasses use magnetism to detect the Earth’s natural magnetic fields and indicate direction. When a compass points north, it aligns itself with the north pole of Earth’s magnetic field.

What You’ll Need

  • Water
  • A Leaf
  • A Needle
  • Magnet
  • Silk or Wool Clothing

Steps For Building a Compass

  1. First, grab a needle. 
  2. Next, you’ll magnetize your needle. In order to magnetize this material, you can follow one of two methods. If you have access to a magnet, stroke your needle against your magnet 60 times. If you do not have access to a magnet, stroke your needle 100 times with a piece of silk or wool material in your clothing.
  3. Flip over your needle so that it’s facing its opposite side.
  4. Next, turn over your magnet. You’ll repeat the same number of strokes to this new side of both materials.
  5. Now that your needle is entirely magnetized, you’ll place it in the center of a leaf.
  6. Place your leaf in a container of water so that it’s floating, and watch as your new compass rotates until it points north.

Feeling lost on a hike or while camping is incredibly stressful. Prepare yourself before you embark on your next adventure with friends by reviewing how to build a compass outdoors. With these skills in mind, you’ll never be lost, even if you lose your phone.

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