Compass questions

Discussion in 'Other Tools' started by Mtaag3, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Mtaag3

    Mtaag3 Tracker

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    I posted this in another thread and now realize it would be better off in its own thread.

    From navigation use long ago, my "common sense" tells me the K&R Alpin Sighting Compass would be an excellent choice for most (all) of what I'm going to do. With that being said though, I really like the look of the "Pathfinder" compass from SRO.

    With those two choices, are there other sturdy, strong (maybe metal) reliable compasses out there? My main uses are bushcrafting, hiking, etc. I like the idea of metal but am not dead set on it.

    Thanks for your replies.
     
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  2. JAY

    JAY Guide

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    I use a military Cammenga. It's a tough compass that I keep in a belt pouch and on me all the time, when hiking. I do keep a cheaper plastic one in my bag as a back up.
     
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  3. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I don't do any orienteering anymore, relying almost entirely on terrain association. For that, a fisheye compass is adequate. I have an old Wittnauer brass case compass that I like for that too.

    I like the Brunton or old Silva designs (ranger, explorer) I used as a Boy Scout. I liked the Cammenga when I was in the Army (very good for orienteering), and I have an old M2 from my time as a mortar platoon leader that I hardly ever use, but which was also very accurate for orienteering.
     
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  4. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    I don't have either so my opinion is based on what I've been able to research. I would buy the Alpin. It is similar to a Silva Ranger, a proven design but with upgrades. It has a mirror which is very handy, almost essential for something like debris in your eye for instance. The Pathfinder looks small but made of metal. No mirror. The sighting features are more precise on the Alpin, while the Pathfinder has only rudimentary sights. The Alpin looks lighter for it's size, while the Pathfinder seems heavier than necessary for durability. The Alpin has luminosity. The Alpin looks to be a professional level compass while the Pathfinder seems to be a casual direction finder. Brunton and Suunto are two brands with good reputations. Silva is hit or miss as quality has suffered since selling out the brand name to Chinese manufacture.
     
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  5. deckard313

    deckard313 Tracker

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    thecompassstore.com.....best selection on 1 site
     
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  6. Mtaag3

    Mtaag3 Tracker

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    They’ve got the best selection, the problem is making a knowledgeable decision
     
  7. deckard313

    deckard313 Tracker

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    Just about any good compass will be handy to do what you need...SKILLS with said compass is the most important thing you can invest in.I traveled all over the forests of West Germany using a map and compass setting EW and Sigint teams without getting lost or loosing those teams and those skills have stayed with me till today.
     
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  8. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Suunto MC2 is highly respected and recommended.
     
  9. ReallyBigMonkey1

    ReallyBigMonkey1 Scout

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    If you want to buy one compass and keep it for life then look at the Suunto MC-2. I've used several compasses and the MC-2 is the mack daddy of them all.
     
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  10. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    where do you plan on using it for majority of your outings?
    a sighting compass is great out west where you tend to have more open space and mountains/ridges in the distance to sight in,
    in eastern forests its almost useless as most of your navigation is within deep forest with short sight distance, in this case map and baseplate function should take priority
     
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  11. trekker111

    trekker111 Tracker

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    I like my Silva ranger, I have it with almost always, while teaching orienteering, hiking, for SAR, hunting, basically anytime I am outside beyond my backyard and off the blacktop.
     
  12. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    I have had them all over my decades, still own most of them. The Cammenga is an ok compass but too heavy. I spent over 20 years in the military and I used a 1977 made Silva compass for most of my military career. Just more useful all around.

    Today I carry a Suunto M-3G with the global needle. Perfect all around compass. Ask yourself what a sighting compass would do that would help you navigate? I carried my old Silva Ranger for many years and never once used the sighting feature. My old team sergeant used to say that the mirror was so you could see who was lost....
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
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  13. Swampdog

    Swampdog Supporter Supporter

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    That mirror makes a good signaling device when your compass breaks and you DO get lost.
     
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  14. crewhead05

    crewhead05 caffeine, nicotine, knives and nature. Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Either of those will do you just fine. Every compass I have used has its own little quirks to it, so if you are doing actual point finding land nav then you will need to know its quirks. If you just need one for general direction finding you will be good with any as long as it points north :)
     
  15. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    Worth noting, the Compass Store is now carrying the genuine Silva of Sweden compasses again. Apparently the licensing of the Silva name by Johnson Outdoor Products has expired and the Silva of Sweden products can again be imported to the USA. So, a great compass can again be purchased as long as you're sure it is the newer Silva of Sweden models.
     
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  16. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    Don't discount a precise sighting feature. I have found old property corners by sighting and pacing over two miles through variable forest using a compass. Sometime you may need to communicate a precise angle to someone from your location. It's necessary for compasses to be precise for professional field occupations like forestry and geology. I usually used a Suunto Kb-14 if I needed to maintain a straight line over a long distance. The KB14 can be sighted to 1/4 degree by a careful person while the Silva is within about 2 degrees. I like a Silva Ranger for all other times and I'm still using the first one I bought in 1970.

    DSC01203.JPG
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
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  17. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    That Silva Ranger looks familiar
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    I have posted this before but I do so again for educational purposes, edited to reflect the latest information:

    Brunton Inc. has completely revamped their compass line since they lost their association with Silva of Sweden. Some of their best compasses that were imported from Silva of Sweden, like the Brunton 54LU, are long gone. Before dropping the Brunton 15TDCL Expedition and 16DLU models, the last production was reportedly coming from China. Brunton also dropped the Eclipse line of compasses built in China (8096, 8097, 8099, etc.).

    The old Brunton line of yellow-green baseplate compasses (8010, 8020, 8040, 9020, etc.) has been dropped.

    Brunton now has a new compass series called O.S.S., all of which have the circle-on-circle magnetized disk feature of the old Eclipse line. It is important to note that ALL Brunton compasses with the O.S.S. designation will be assembled in Wyoming from components sourced from only USA manufacturers.

    Silva USA/Silva Canada: Johnson Outdoors has owned the sole right to market Silva brand name compasses in North America (this includes Canada) since 1998. The original Swedish-made Silvas are no longer sold in the U.S. or Canada, except through gray-market channels.

    At first, Johnson Outdoors sourced many of its Silva-branded compass models from Suunto Oy. However, this practice largely ceased several years ago, except that some discontinued models may still be around, like the Silva 424 wrist sighting compass which Suunto made based on their M-9 wrist compass. Suunto-made Silva compass packages usually state 'Made in Finland' or have a Finnish flag on the package. Otherwise, since at least 2008, anyone buying a new, non-grey market, 'Silva' branded compass in the US or in Canada has been buying a product built to Johnson Outdoors specifications from a factory in Indonesia.

    Silva of Sweden AB: For a time, one could get a Swedish-made Silva in North America by purchasing a 'Nexus' brand compass from Brunton, who was importing some of the Silva of Sweden compass line under these brand names. However, this source ended after Brunton was sold off by Fiskars, Silva of Sweden's parent company at the time. Brunton and Silva of Sweden parted ways and ceased importing each other's products.

    Silva of Sweden, the original Swedish manufacturer of the Type 15 Ranger, Silva 4 Expedition, and other models no longer distributes ANY of their Swedish-made compasses to North America since their connection to Brunton disappeared. Silva of Sweden still makes many of their recreational and military compasses at their facility in Haninge, Sweden, though some models are now reportedly made at a Silva-owned production plant in mainland China that opened in 2005.


    EDIT: Seems that in 2018 the licensing for the Silva name to Johnson has expired and Silva of Sweden compasses are again available in the US and Canada. Keep in mind that there will be plenty of non-Swedish Silva’s available for some time. Check before purchasing. One good source is The Compass Store online.

    Suunto Oy continues to produce its Finnish-made line of needle compasses, along with the Recta line. Suunto bought Recta AG of Switzerland in 1996 and it was from Recta that Suunto acquired its now-famous 'global needle' design that can operate in all magnetic zones. Suunto's adoption of the Recta Turbo-20 global needle system for some models (MC-2G and MC-3G, DP-65) has one other benefit. The global needle settles noticeably faster than the standard needle compass, with less wobble.

    Recta AG: As mentioned, Suunto owns Recta. Today, most Recta baseplate compasses are slightly disguised versions of Suunto models. Recta baseplate compasses are hard to find in the USA, as Suunto never established a distributor network there, though you can get them in Canada. Recta matchbox compasses appear to still be made in Switzerland at Recta's production facility, including the Suunto DP-65, which is simply a relabeled Recta DP-65 (DP-6G).

    Kasper & Richter GmbH of Germany acquired the Eschenbach compass line from Eschenbach Optik GmbH in 2004, including the expensive Meridian and Meridian Pro direct-sighting and prismatic models originally made by Wilkie of Fürth, Germany (Eschenbach acquired Wilkie in 1976). K&R have have introduced some new baseplate models and smaller compasses. Not all K&R compasses are made in Germany; some of the less expensive models are imported from China or Taiwan.
     
  19. beachbunny

    beachbunny Scout

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    i've got an mc2 with bubbles,i emailed them, basically they told me to pack sand and buy a new one, i like the concept of the alpin with the "elastic" faceplate to avoid that. i definitely like my sighting brunton ,i wish it had a cover with mirror cause the mirror is a serious asset when you have debris in your eyes
     
  20. beachbunny

    beachbunny Scout

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    what i do like about the alpin is the standard model available for usgs charts. i pretty much use an opisometer anyhow for measuring
     
  21. benji397

    benji397 Tracker

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    Nope, they are still made in China, confirmed with The Compass Store.
     
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  22. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Prov 27:17 Supporter

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    :33: lots of good info this is one skill I really need to learn. Now if I am on my own land no problem. But some where different that is something different all together. Prov 27 : 17
     
  23. benji397

    benji397 Tracker

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    Silva compasses are now and will always be made in China. I contacted The Compass Store when they first started promoting the "New" compasses on their website. Look closely at the front and back of the packaging... it says "Designed in Sweden"....made in China. Attached is the email.....
    Screenshot 2018-02-09 at 9.jpg
     
  24. Not Sure

    Not Sure Supporter Supporter

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    Kudos,for getting the real story..............
     
  25. x39

    x39 Bushmaster

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    The last Silvas I acquired stated on the package that they were assembled in Indonesia with components made in Taiwan.
     
  26. benji397

    benji397 Tracker

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    Yes, that is true. I am referring to the "New" line that The Compass Store began advertising on their website in January. These are/was promoted as being authentic Sylva and made in Sweden....that is not the case. They are still made in China. Trick advertising at it's best.
    But, let me say I am no way accusing The Compass Store of intentionally misleading. I love buying from them and always will.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
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  27. x39

    x39 Bushmaster

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    Thanks for the clarification, it's become quite difficult to keep up with who is making them these days. Not a good sign on several levels.
     
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  28. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    Which is why I now use and recommend Suunto compasses. My m3G has been a great compass to me. I bought the metric one because of maps in other countries and because I always get custom maps made by My Topo and have them made in 1:50,000 scale. Got that from all the years in the military. I also have my GPS units set in MGRS readings for ease of plotting onto a 1:50,000, gridded map.
     
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  29. Yknpdlr

    Yknpdlr Tracker

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    The Silva Ranger I bought almost 40 years ago and I were like good buddies together over the many miles solo in the woods. We worked together for many years as I learned all it could tell me in the backcountry. I was heartbroken when it developed a bubble a few years ago that would not go away. So I bought another Silva Ranger and retired my old Silva to backup and training status. As for the new one, I hate it. It is nothing like my old friend. Very poor quality. So I moved on to Suunto, which is what I use now, both personally and in my land navigation training classes. I've been very happy with Suunto quality and operation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
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  30. crewhead05

    crewhead05 caffeine, nicotine, knives and nature. Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    So I picked up a IRO, AKA pathfinder, compass mostly because I love old compasses. Its from what I can tell a reproduction of the original design. Its probably 2-3x as heavy as silva or k&r sighting compass. Plus the needle holding mechanism really doesnt allow the needle to truly sit still and stop moving. It will show the cardinal directions but if you want to use it for more than that I would recommend the K&R. The IRO now sits on my bookshelf as an interesting reproduction.
     
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  31. Mtaag3

    Mtaag3 Tracker

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    Well I ended up pulling the trigger on the Suunto MC-2G. Hopefully it was a good decision.
     
  32. Yknpdlr

    Yknpdlr Tracker

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    You won't go wrong with that Suunto compass purchase. I bought one of those to replace the poor quality China-made Silva Ranger that I had purchased to replace my original 45 yr old high quality Swedish made Silva. You will like the open sighting window cut out on the bottom of the mirror. However, I find I do not use it in mirror sighting mode much. Learn terrain association techniques and you don't really need the claimed "better accuracy" of the mirror, which is why my most used compass is the Suunto M3. The mirror is good to have for signaling, or to look in to describe who is lost to rescue searchers. You should learn to use the declination adjustment on the MC2. Just don't forget to change it if you travel very far from one region to another with a significantly different declination.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
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