Nobody wants to get lost out in the wilderness as snow falls at a rapid rate and darkness begins to settle in. Hell, it’s scary enough getting turned around while your walking in downtown Los Angeles at 3 a.m. and the streets are littered with homeless people. (We’re only kidding — sort of.) If you get trapped out in the great unknown, hopefully, you have some survival equipment with you already. But let’s say your compass is broken, for one reason or another. Don’t worry, we can fashion an alternate, magnet-powered one in no time. It’s actually pretty easy!
First, check in your survival kit for needle or pin. Pull that out, because you’ll need it. Next, if you have a radio on you (and it’s not proving more useful than a compass), pull out some of the wire and the battery pack. Wrap some easy-to-find paper around the pin, then follow that up by wrapping the wire around that pin. The paper wrap will insulate the pin from the electric current.
Hold (or tape) the ends of the wire to the positive side and negative side of the battery. The needle will heat up, but that’s normal. It’s just science.
Once your pin is magnetized, disconnect the wire and pull it out from the paper. Place the needle on a leaf — or something close to that — as it floats on the surface of a small body of water.
If you did all those steps correctly, the floating pin should point to magnetic north. Now, carry your new field-made compass with you so you don’t get lost again.
Make sure and check out
Black Scout Survival‘s video below to watch a complete breakdown of how to make a field compass.