It is very important being hike at the end of the daylight hours to determine how much is still left of daylight.

Without special devices, this is easy to do using a simple empirical method. The measuring “device” is always with you – these are your hands.

The technique is simple:

  • we determine that the width of your finger is 15 minutes;
  • stretch your hand forward, as shown in the figure, towards the Sun, so that the Sun  is located on your hand;
  • count how many fingers fit between the horizon and the sun. If the fingers of one hand are not enough, we put the fingers of the other hand;

Thus, the resulting number of fingers translate during … 1 finger – 15 minutes, 4 fingers – one o’clock … 6 fingers (as in the last picture) – a half hour.

It should be understood that this method is quite approximate but its simplicity and accessibility makes it indispensable in natural conditions. In addition, it is more correct for mid-latitudes. Closer to the pole finger width will be slightly more than 15 minutes, and the closer to the equator – a few less. Practice and pre-determine how much time “means” your finger on your latitude.

This will help you in an emergency to determine whether you will be able to put the tent before dark, whether it is worth making a stop for the night or you can still move on.


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