Daylight Left Until Sun Sets – How Many Hands above the Horizon

This ‘trick’ is a ‘handy’ way to estimate how much time until sunset.

From a preparedness point of view, it could help during any number of situations.

Such as estimating enough time to find (or make) shelter during an outdoor excursion. Or the time remaining to travel without the aid of flashlights or headlamps. Estimating the remaining time to accomplish the tasks you need to before the sun sets (collecting firewood, starting a fire, making dinner, etc.).

For the geographical latitudes within the ‘lower 48’ of the United States, the following method can be used to approximate the time remaining until sunset.

Daylight Left Until Sun Sets

This method works for an average adult with an outstretched hand.

Each finger will equal approximately fifteen minutes of daylight left. So four fingers will equal about one hour.

Size of one’s hands makes a difference. Adjust for your own as described below.

(refer to the illustration below)

1. Stretch your arm out in front of you toward the sun. Bend your wrist so that your palm is facing you and your hand is horizontal with your thumb on top. The bottom of the sun should rest on the


Originally posted on Modern Survival Blog