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 Post subject: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:40 pm 
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Can anyone recomend a good compass? They range from 5 bucks to 300. Whats the difference?


Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:48 pm 
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Branden967 wrote:
Can anyone recomend a good compass? They range from 5 bucks to 300. Whats the difference?


Thanks.

295 bucks.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:24 pm 
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Thats what I thought. Cheap it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:27 pm 
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I have a ball type one, but I've been looking to pick a nice one up as well.

Pretty sure the ones at Wal-mart for less than 5 bucks is where I'll be getting mine.


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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:31 pm 
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There are many differences between compasses and quality. You definitely get what you pay for in terms of stability, durability and accuracy.

Like any other piece of gear, better features add money to the final cost, but will pay for themselves in terms of keeping you alive longer.

A good learner compass will cost you between $30 and $70(ish).

Get this book before buying a compass. Read the chapter on selecting a compass, then follow it's advice when going to the store.

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Expert-Map-Com ... 123&sr=8-1

Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:33 pm 
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tilt wrote:
There are many differences between compasses and quality. You definitely get what you pay for in terms of stability, durability and accuracy.

Like any other piece of gear, better features add money to the final cost, but will pay for themselves in terms of keeping you alive longer.

A good learner compass will cost you between $30 and $70(ish).

Get this book before buying a compass. Read the chapter on selecting a compass, then follow it's advice when going to the store.

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Expert-Map-Com ... 123&sr=8-1

Good luck.


But I could buy 3 (nice)compasses for the price of that book and find all the instructions you could ever need right on the interwebs.


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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:36 pm 
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i've got a military lensatic, yes a real one that radioactive. but you can't buy those. the civilian ones are phosphoric and have to be charged by light to glow, but are not any better/worse as far as the compass pointy part. metal cased ones are heavy though. i would recommend a silva or quailty mountaineering one, if you have the skills or need to land nav. if not any of them wll point you somewhere near north. but remember without a degree dial of some sort you cannot triangulate your position on a map very well.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:37 pm 
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The Sundance Kid wrote:
tilt wrote:
There are many differences between compasses and quality. You definitely get what you pay for in terms of stability, durability and accuracy.

Like any other piece of gear, better features add money to the final cost, but will pay for themselves in terms of keeping you alive longer.

A good learner compass will cost you between $30 and $70(ish).

Get this book before buying a compass. Read the chapter on selecting a compass, then follow it's advice when going to the store.

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Expert-Map-Com ... 123&sr=8-1

Good luck.


But I could buy 3 (nice)compasses for the price of that book and find all the instructions you could ever need right on the interwebs.



Are you serious?

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:39 pm 
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The Mountaineers also publish a good map and compass book that retails for $12-15. I like it because it has self-tests to encourage retention and application of the knowledge.

You can get a good, functional compass for a good bit under $30. Silva and Suunto have both worked well for me, and I would trust Brunton as well.

We mere civilians can indeed buy tritium GI compasses, but I don't like the GI design. I'd really like to find a Silva-type compass with tritium lamps.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:05 pm 
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Chef wrote:
We mere civilians can indeed buy tritium GI compasses


i stand corrected, i looked it up and whoa....i don't think self-powered is worth 85$ when the same thing with phosphorous is 15$.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:07 pm 
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tilt wrote:
The Sundance Kid wrote:
tilt wrote:
There are many differences between compasses and quality. You definitely get what you pay for in terms of stability, durability and accuracy.

Like any other piece of gear, better features add money to the final cost, but will pay for themselves in terms of keeping you alive longer.

A good learner compass will cost you between $30 and $70(ish).

Get this book before buying a compass. Read the chapter on selecting a compass, then follow it's advice when going to the store.

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Expert-Map-Com ... 123&sr=8-1

Good luck.


But I could buy 3 (nice)compasses for the price of that book and find all the instructions you could ever need right on the interwebs.



Are you serious?



Yea, but I'm a cheap bastard.......


http://www.learn-orienteering.org/old/

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http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product. ... id=8586934



But I would be more than happy if someone would tell me, I really need to buy a 30 dollar compass and the reasons behind it, because I honestly don't know.

I'm ignorant on the subject, but I can't see why a 30 buck one would tell you which way is north any better.


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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:18 pm 
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Quote:
But I would be more than happy if someone would tell me, I really need to buy a 30 dollar compass and the reasons behind it, because I honestly don't know.

I'm ignorant on the subject, but I can't see why a 30 buck one would tell you which way is north any better.


First off, compasses point to magnetic north, which may or may not be the same as true north. Second, merely knowing which way is "north" is of limited help. A good compass will also be able to guide you in directions other than north, and to do this you will also need good maps to go with the compass you select. You will also require a clue as to how the map/compass system work together, which is the reason tilt recommended the Kjellstrom book and I recommended the Mountaineers book. There are a lot of subtleties to be aware of and lots of interesting tricks to keep you from getting lost.

A Silva-type baseplate compass will probably serve you better, especially just starting out, than a lensatic compass like the one in the picture. Especially a cheap Chinese lensatic compass from Wal-Mart.

ETA: you can get a good Silva or Suunto baseplate orienteering compass for a lot less than $30, even paying full retail. If you don't lose or break it, this compass will last several lifetimes. It's well worth the money to buy a known quality brand, especially since you might someday depend on it to save your life and the lives of others.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:21 pm 
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I have one of those cheapie plastic ones. And a GI compass. Guess what? the plastic one is 3-5 degrees off on occasion. :shock: Bad Ju-Ju when your life is depending on you heading in the right direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:31 pm 
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I dont know what all the Walmart compass can do. I too had the cheap lenstastic compass which i dont remember if it had declination adjustment or not. I do know what my Brunton classic can do. It has the declination adjustment which is used with your map to find true north not just magnetic north. It also has map scales and magnifing glass on it.

The bells and whistles help with mapping so you can find your way to where your going. I also went with a book to help me learn more and better ways to use my map and compass i got the US Armys book " Map Reading and Land Navigation ". The compass also came with a VHS on how to use it and read maps.

Heres a link to it

http://www.brunton.com/product.php?id=111

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:51 pm 
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The Sundance Kid wrote:

Yea, but I'm a cheap bastard.......


http://www.learn-orienteering.org/old/

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http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product. ... id=8586934



But I would be more than happy if someone would tell me, I really need to buy a 30 dollar compass and the reasons behind it, because I honestly don't know.

I'm ignorant on the subject, but I can't see why a 30 buck one would tell you which way is north any better.


A compass doesn't just "point North". A compass is intended to work in conjunction with a map (and, nowadays, a GPSr). While the compass you linked to would probably point north most of the time, I would seriously question it's durability and accuracy.

Your primary compass is tied for first place with nine other pieces of equipment in your ruck. Buying a $5 toy at Wal-Mart may work for your "cheap bastard" side, but it isn't going to help your "lost and wanting to get home" side.

At a minimum, your primary compass should have the following features (list not all inclusive, of course):
-Liquid filled. The liquid causes the needle to stabilize and slow down, it also dampens the little changes in magnetic pull that would otherwise cause your compass to look more like Captain Jack Sparrow's compass.
-Adjustable Declination. When one gets to the far coasts of the US, declination can be off by almost 22 degrees. Sometimes just "pointing north" ain't enough... especially when you are off by 22 degrees. But, don't take my word for it, let's do a quick exercise. Grab a sheet of paper and draw a dot on either side of the paper. Label one dot 'A' and the other 'B'. Now, assuming that you're travelling from point A to point B, draw a dotted line straight from point to point. This is zero degrees of declination. Now, go back to point A and put a little dash coming out of the dot at about halfway between 2 O'Clock and 3 O'clock on the dot. Now continue that line along the same path until it's even with point B. You should almost have an angle a little more acute than <. Now pretend that every inch you are off is 100 miles.
-Rotating bezel. This will assist you in navigating using a map. The bezel (thing with the numbers on it) moves on an independent track from the needle, allowing the navigator to set a bearing.
-Durable shell. The shell on the compass should be durable enough to take an errant whack and still point in the right direction/not start leaking fluid.

I would suggest looking for a reputable manufacturer. Some include: Silva, Suunto and Brunton.

If you are dead set on a Wal Mart compass for the lowest price possible, I submit: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product. ... id=9722133 . I would say that this would meet the bare minimum requirements of a primary compass, but I still would try to do better. Would I keep something in the low cost camp in my pack? Sure, I do. I have a backup compass (Silva $10-ish at Academy) that I use for quick reference or to double check my primary compass if I accidentally drop it or something, just to make sure the needle points north.

As far as training on the internet... very similar to the quality of compass, you get what you pay for when you're talking about training.

I suggested the book I did because it is recognized by proffessionals in the outdoor education industry as well as among military instructors (my background) as one of the better books out there for learning the basics. If the "cheap bastard" doesn't want to buy it, I suggest a library card. Besides, you can take the book with you to the field to reference and practice... you can't easily take a website.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:57 pm 
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Brunton and Silva, I prefer Brunton because they make a lot more styles at a price I can afford.

I've got an excellent Brunton compass model that I paid $11 for, and it's been amazingly tough, and always accurate.
http://www.brunton.com/product.php?id=343

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Fake edit:

Whoa, that same model made entirely out of glow-in-the-dark plastic (and under $10):

http://www.brunton.com/product.php?id=76
Image


As for the wal-mart compasses, I've been through my share of them. They were junk, all of them.
Do this next time you're at wal-mart. Take one of the cheapo compasses off the shelf, and see where the needle points. Now take another one down and hold it next to the first one. See if they line up. Then proceed to take a few more down and see if they match the first one either.

I once went through a whole rack of the shitty lensatic ones JUST like the one you posted the picture of, without finding 2 that gave the same reading.

Seriously, there's a lot of great bruntons you can get to in the links above for less than $20.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:31 am 
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That glow in the dark Brunton looks cool!

here's a good place to get a cheap compass:

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Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:07 pm 
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. . .


Last edited by Biff on Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:52 pm 
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I've got that last Silva you posted, and let me tell you about my gripe with it and the Brunton under it:

Instead of using a hinge with a metal pin to connect the mirrored lid with the compass baseplate, it's all molded out of the same piece of plastic, and just made very thin and flexible in order to let it 'hinge' and close.

It's a really unfortunate way to cut costs, since eventually that thin plastic WILL stress and crack, leaving you with a broken compass through no fault of your own.

So, while the needle is undoubtedly great on both of those compasses, the construction of the rest of the thing leaves a lot to be desired. I wish I hadn't bought mine, I cringe every time I open it on a cold day.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:57 pm 
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A good name and cheap, the Silva starter compass is what I picked up until I figure out how to use the thing properly (this spring I hope). I paid $19 at Dicks, while it doesn't have all the bells and whistles it is a name brand and its enough for me to learn on.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:03 pm 
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Thanks for all the help guys, maybe I'll have to spring for a little nicer compass.lol


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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:38 pm 
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the real problems with the super cheap ones is that they use steel bits in the hinges and things,
and that really messes with the accuracy. I like to make my own, and that is the one thing that you never do.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:58 pm 
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I have a Suunto DP-65 matchbox compass. It cost a little more than I initially wanted to pay for a compass, but the global needle means I will be able to use it anywhere in the world and the matchbox case keeps it protected in my EDC bag. It also has a clinometer and a set-and-forget declination adjustment.

Before I bought the matchbox compass, I used a Suunto Partner A-10 compass, which is fine if you are a beginner or if you don't need to worry about the capsule breaking and leaking damping fluid all over your gear.

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 Post subject: Re: Compass
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:32 am 
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+1 to the matchbox compass. Nice little bit of kit.

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