Compass

Other provisions not covered above that may make survival easier if your life is tossed out of the norm. This section is for discussing everything from arc welders to underwear.

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Re: Compass

Post by K0ZZZ » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:51 am

I always regret loaning that old neighbor my Brunton M2, since I don't want to spend that much to get another one.
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Re: Compass

Post by Biff » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:44 pm

. . .
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Re: Compass

Post by Towanda » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:57 pm

Indeed. The DP-65 matchbox compass stays with me. The A-10 can be lent out if I have it with me.
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Re: Compass

Post by arrowolf » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:51 am

They all point north so one is about as good as another. Just get a little Silva Explorer or Polaris. They're cheap and they work great. It's knowing how to orient maps, read topography and triangulate position that matters.


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Re: Compass

Post by crypto » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:20 am

Well, all of the good ones point north.

The cheap wally-world ones, not always.
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Re: Compass

Post by congochris » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:21 am

Like I said: "north-ish" isn't close enough to trust my life to.

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Re: Compass

Post by kiwilrdg » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:11 am

Well, all of the good ones point north.
Then I would get lost because I am in an area where my declination would throw me off if my compass pointed North.

When you add that to the East bound lanes of the interstate going South and West I might never get home.

Some compasses point to Magnetic South and have numbers that run counter-clockwise.
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Re: Compass

Post by arrowolf » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:00 pm

kiwilrdg wrote:
Well, all of the good ones point north.
Then I would get lost because I am in an area where my declination would throw me off if my compass pointed North.

When you add that to the East bound lanes of the interstate going South and West I might never get home.

Some compasses point to Magnetic South and have numbers that run counter-clockwise.
Then just stay your butt at home! :lol:

I'm not suggesting one go digging around in a Cracker Jack box for a compass. Some of the high end ones are designed to have more specialized application useful in forestry or geology. I don't have much need for a built-in clinometer or barometer but some of ya'll might. Forestry Suppliers has about 65 different models so pick your poison.
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Re: Compass

Post by kiwilrdg » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:42 pm

kiwilrdg wrote:
Quote:
Well, all of the good ones point north.


Then I would get lost because I am in an area where my declination would throw me off if my compass pointed North.

When you add that to the East bound lanes of the interstate going South and West I might never get home.
Some compasses point to Magnetic South and have numbers that run counter-clockwise.


Then just stay your butt at home!

I'm not suggesting one go digging around in a Cracker Jack box for a compass. Some of the high end ones are designed to have more specialized application useful in forestry or geology. I don't have much need for a built-in clinometer or barometer but some of ya'll might. Forestry Suppliers has about 65 different models so pick your poison.
It all depends on what you are doing with the compass. Cheap is fine for some uses so you need to look at how accurate your needs are or what you expect your needs to become in the near future.
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Re: Compass

Post by arrowolf » Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:32 pm

True. But I don't expect to be having to trek through uncharted wilderness any time soon. And if it comes down to a few degrees being a matter of life and death, I'd forgo the compass for a Garmin.
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Re: Compass

Post by crypto » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:32 pm

Garmins have a lot more things to go wrong with them than a compass.
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Re: Compass

Post by arrowolf » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:21 pm

So we can only hope that in the PAW, our inborn navigational abilities will once again flourish due to 1) living much closer to the Earth and 2) having to rely on our own wits instead of having a device to do our thinking for us. Until then, I'll just keep on with my cheap but reliable (thus far) Silva in my pack.
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Re: Compass

Post by Necrodamus » Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:46 pm

The short answer...
Good Compass=home with a beer watching the TV
Cheap=out there somewhere wondering where the hell you are

If your using cheap you lose accuracy exponentially (its called tolerance stacking) with every turn and bearing you take.

Its exactly like sights on a rifle. Front sight is the north pole, rear sight is your compass.
Question 1: Do you care where your front sight is pointing?
Question 2: Is a hunk of cheap plastic good enough for your rear sight?
Question 3: Is hitting somewhere in front of you close enough?

Kind of brings things into perspective now huh?

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Re: Compass

Post by arrowolf » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:46 pm

Necrodamus wrote:The short answer...
Good Compass=home with a beer watching the TV
Cheap=out there somewhere wondering where the hell you are

If your using cheap you lose accuracy exponentially (its called tolerance stacking) with every turn and bearing you take.

Its exactly like sights on a rifle. Front sight is the north pole, rear sight is your compass.
Question 1: Do you care where your front sight is pointing?
Question 2: Is a hunk of cheap plastic good enough for your rear sight?
Question 3: Is hitting somewhere in front of you close enough?

Kind of brings things into perspective now huh?
Good map reading/orienteering skills with a decent compass = home with a beer watching tv
Bad map reading/orienteering skills with most expensive compass known to man with all the bells and whistles and lenses and lights = still lost

It takes more than just the tool by itself. It takes the knowledge of how to use it also.
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Re: Compass

Post by Necrodamus » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:58 pm

True but with good tools you can learn, with bad tools nothing will help.
Just like a rifle, a novice can learn to use a good rifle but an skilled shooter cant improve a POS rifle using skill alone. Im not saying take a loan out to buy the most expensive. What I am saying is it needs the respect it deserves.

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Re: Compass

Post by arrowolf » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:31 pm

And I'm saying don't get caught up in equipage vs. stylage. Just because one item costs 5x the price of another and has all the fixins does not mean it'll work 5x better. And just about every compass can be affected by local geology in different circumstances. But it beats toting a sextant around in the woods.
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Re: Compass

Post by Rednex » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:35 pm

It boils down to Have the right equipment for you and know how to use it.

The right equipment isnt a dollor store compass this also dont mean its a $500.00 compass. A nice 20-30 dollor trusted name brand compass will fit in as " The right equipment". All you have to do is figure which one of many is right for you.
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Re: Compass

Post by tilt » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:46 pm

arrowolf wrote:And I'm saying don't get caught up in equipage vs. stylage. Just because one item costs 5x the price of another and has all the fixins does not mean it'll work 5x better. And just about every compass can be affected by local geology in different circumstances. But it beats toting a sextant around in the woods.

I don't know, if one had a sextant, astrolabe and good map/chart along with the training to use those tools with efficiency, I would say that the navigator in question could be more accurate than GPS without being swayed by geology. This of course provides for a clear sky, but why split hairs.

A take home lesson we can all agree on is that the most important survival skills anyone can have are:

1. Fire craft
2. Shelter building
3. Water collection (and, to a lesser degree, food)
4. Navigation

Obviously, these skills are in no particular order of importance as the order is based on situation specific variables related to the survival scenario...

One thing I've seen plenty of is people "playing to their own strengths" and being really, really good at one thing and just downright horrible at another, with plenty mediocrity in the middle. Sadly, navigation is usually the one that gets sacrificed because it isn't "sexy" as far as skills go. It also requires dedication and much more practice than the other skills.

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Re: Compass

Post by arrowolf » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:11 pm

tilt wrote:
arrowolf wrote:And I'm saying don't get caught up in equipage vs. stylage. Just because one item costs 5x the price of another and has all the fixins does not mean it'll work 5x better. And just about every compass can be affected by local geology in different circumstances. But it beats toting a sextant around in the woods.

I don't know, if one had a sextant, astrolabe and good map/chart along with the training to use those tools with efficiency, I would say that the navigator in question could be more accurate than GPS without being swayed by geology. This of course provides for a clear sky, but why split hairs.

A take home lesson we can all agree on is that the most important survival skills anyone can have are:

1. Fire craft
2. Shelter building
3. Water collection (and, to a lesser degree, food)
4. Navigation

Obviously, these skills are in no particular order of importance as the order is based on situation specific variables related to the survival scenario...

One thing I've seen plenty of is people "playing to their own strengths" and being really, really good at one thing and just downright horrible at another, with plenty mediocrity in the middle. Sadly, navigation is usually the one that gets sacrificed because it isn't "sexy" as far as skills go. It also requires dedication and much more practice than the other skills.

Everyone wants to be the alpha caveman and make fire and hunt wooly mammoth, but nobody wants to be the geeky geo-cacher.
Nobody but Jamie.
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Re: Compass

Post by Biff » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:20 pm

. . .
Last edited by Biff on Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Compass

Post by tilt » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:06 am

Nothing at all. I'm Mad--Max on gc.com. I just haven't been active in forever since San Antonio started developing every patch of grass and construction workers started muggling every cache in town.

Also, I'm with you on gear. When it comes to the essential gear, I always go for the pro-level features and the best quality. I too have a thing for 'old-school' technology and, while I can use the newest technology on the market, I remain a sucker for the stuff that just plain works from yesteryear.

Gucci gear? I'm not going to lie, I want a Kifaru pack. That's where it will end though. I'm actually really happy with everything else (unless I find a new, never issued MSS for under $100 again).
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Re: Compass

Post by roscoe » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:26 am

I always recommend a mirror compass or sighting compass because it has sights that allow you to triangulate your position with amazing accuracy. A regular baseplate compass does not allow you to shoot in your position.

Also, a mirror is very handy to have in the woods - you can get motes out of your eye, which has several times been very important for me, and you can signal for help. Plus, the mirror acts as a protective cover for the compass.

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Re: Compass

Post by sheddi » Sat Apr 04, 2009 3:42 am

Biff wrote:Gear can be classified in one of these categories:

Useless crap (Dirt cheap. Doesn't work, never worked, never gonna work. You felt buyer's remorse just looking at it, but bought it anyway. Dumbass.)
Mostly useless crap (Cheap. It works only under ideal circumstances, or works the first time but can't take the slightest abuse before it stops working. Buyer's remorse right after you took it out of the blister pack. Don't worry. At least the dumbass who bought the totally useless version of what you bought will think you're smart.)
Adequate gear (Moderately priced. Does the job, but lacks features that could make it easier to use or could allow it to serve more purposes. You're glad you have it, but know you'll own a better one — someday.)
I bought a couple of cheap Chinese baseplate compasses (something like this) hoping they'd be "adequate". They were liquid-filled and had the rotating bezel plus a romer base, so I thought they were worth a gamble. My intention was to try them under good conditions and see how they worked out.

Unfortunately they proved to be "useless crap" because the red paint on the North-pointing end of the needle came unstuck from the needle and fouled the mechanism. I observed this as soon as I took them out of the blister pack :(
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Re: Compass

Post by Towanda » Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:35 pm

kiwilrdg wrote:
Well, all of the good ones point north.
Then I would get lost because I am in an area where my declination would throw me off if my compass pointed North.

When you add that to the East bound lanes of the interstate going South and West I might never get home.

Some compasses point to Magnetic South and have numbers that run counter-clockwise.
Get a compass with adjustable declination, or look up the declination for your area and learn to compensate with a non-adjustable compass.

Bit of fascinating urban navigation lore I recently learned, and which has held true every time I've checked it: all satellite TV dishes in the Northern Hemisphere point due south.
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