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How to Used Survival Tricks


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How to Use Good Survival Tricks if Lost

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
These are some good survival tricks gleaned from TV shows on the Discovery Channel such as Survivor Man, and Man Vs. Wild.


  1. How to find out how many hours of sunlight are left.
    • Hold your hand horizontally so that your arm is parallel with the ground.
    • Tuck in your thumb
    • hold your hand at the bottom of the sun.
    • Each hand width is APPROXIMATELY 1 hour of sunlight.
  2. How to find South. (you'll need an analog watch for this.)
    • Point the hour hand at the sun.
    • Halfway between the hour hand and the 12 mark on the watch is South.
    • In daylight savings time, it's halfway between the hour hand and the 1 mark on the watch.
  3. SOS in Morse Code (you can use this with a whistle, or a flashlight.)
    • . . . _ _ _ . . .
    • This means 3 short blasts or flashes, then 3 longer ones, then three shorter ones again.
    • Wait three seconds before doing it again. It would sound like this:beep beep beep beeeep beeeep beeeep beep beep beep
    • You will be answered in 3 blasts from a whistle or 3 flashes from a flashlight
  4. Signal Fires
    • These are fires which make a lot of smoke. It is recommended to make a 3 dot triangle of three fires.
    • Make a relatively large fire, then put pine branches onto the fire, it will create thick smoke.
  5. Other distress signals
    • Put anything of a bright color (preferably orange) in a 3 dot triangle
  6. Finding East and West during the night or day
    • The sun rises in the East and sets in the West
    • The moon also follows the same pattern as the sun and rises in the East and sets in the West.


  • destroy any distress signals when the rescue team has found you. This means once they are right there with you, not when a distress call has been answered.
  • Keep sending SOS even if you have been answered. This will aid the rescue team in finding you.
  • NEVER use the distress signals unless you are actually in a survival situation and need to be rescued. In most countries, a hoax distress signal will result in a fine or imprisonment.
  • Don't doubt that low flying planes (meaning anything without a vapor trail behind it) won't answer you. They are trained to know these signals, and have a standard emergency frequency which they will use to alert rescue teams. There are actually stories when a plane will land to help them.
  • If you're in a snowy environment, write SOS in huge letters in the snow along with all other distress signals. To make it more visible, put sticks and dark colored objects in the letters.


  • When using the tips for finding south and finding daylight hrs left, DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN, it can cause permanent damage to your eyes. Use sunglasses if you have them.
  • Using a watch as a compass is a good trick in those latitudes and times of the year when the Sun's maximum altitude during the day is below 45 degrees. Under that condition, the error in direction is rarely greater than ten degrees. But when the Sun's maximum altitude during the day is greater than 45 degrees, the error can become quite large. For example in the last week of June, in 40 degrees north latitude, about the latitude of New York City, the maximum error is 35 degrees and the typical error during the day is 20 degrees (with an additional error that I'll describe below). Worse yet, if we go to the latitude of Miami, Florida in late June, the maximum error is above 70 degrees and the typical error is around 45 degrees. That is, this 'watch as compass' trick will point you in the wrong direction by 45 degrees on average and as much as 70 degrees --you will believe you're facing south when you're actually facing east.

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Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Use Good Survival Tricks if Lost. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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