How to Use a Compass for Survival If you have a compass in your possession, you have what you need to determine your direction of travel. The trouble is, knowing how to use it. It is possible to learn how to use a compass alone for survival. The red and white arrow on your compass is called the compass needle. The first thing you need to know, is that the red arrow is always pointing to the magnetic north pole of the earth. Don't confuse this with the black or white arrow on your compass. This is a common mistake. If you want to travel north, you have it made. But, what if you want to travel in another direction? Now, what do you do with it? The compass housing is the thing on the compass that turns. There is usually a scale on the edge of the compass housing. The scale typically goes from 0 to 360 or 0to 400. These represent the degrees or the azimuth. The letters N, E, S, and W, represent the directions North, East, South, and West, respectively. Let us assume that you want to travel northwest in the direction of the nearest town. What do you do next? Locate northwest on the compass housing. Turn the housing until northwest is aligned with the large travel arrow on your compass. Hold the compass flat in your hand so that the arrow can freely move. Now, turn your entire body, hand and compass until the compass needle is in line with the lines on the compass housing. Make certain that the compass housing has not turned during this step. If the compass is not relatively flat, it will not be able to work effectively. This will throw off your direction. Be careful that you note the red arrow is pointing toward the north portion of the compass housing. If the south or white arrow is pointing in that direction, you will begin walking in the exact opposite direction of where you want to travel. This is a common mistake, so take the time to double check for accuracy. Once you have started walking in the desired direction, it is important to stay on track by checking your compass frequently. Do not continuously stare at the compass. Maybe choose an item off in the distance to aim for, then check the compass to make sure you are on course. For instance, you want to walk toward the tall tree or mountain In the distance. Walk toward help by being aware of the direction of a local town, highway, or river. Coupling your compass with a map can further assist you to finding your way, but when maps are not available, the compass can provide your life the direction it needs. Your compass is a tool for survival. Learn how to use it properly before you need to use it to save your life. Practice using your compass in this method in areas that are familiar to you. This will give you a method for mastering this survival skill without the risk of danger by getting lost or disoriented.