Compasses you carry and why

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by joshkelekovich, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Muskeg_Stomper

    Muskeg_Stomper Tiaga & Tundra Wanderer Supporter

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    The points made about night navigation are true but up here, winter daylight is in very short supply. I only move at night out of necessity and since I retired from the military, it ain't that necessary but I have to admit to hunting until is too dark to shoot anymore and then having to walk back to camp.
     
  2. JoeJ

    JoeJ Supporter Supporter

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    OK, that I can understand, as night navigation in unfamiliar terrain is bad juju to me. What little I’ve done at night I usually had a tower or something similar with a light that I guided off and still damn near broke my neck and I had a big Kel flashlight to assist me from running into “things”.

    With just a little experience one can look at a topo map and visualize the terrain - however, in areas like the Black Hills in SoDak, those pecker poles are so thick you can’t see squat - so you need to get up on a hill and look around for taller hills and orient yourself every now and again and even that can get you discombobulated, as you can’t see 360* due to the density of the pecker poles and you can think you’re right here but you’re actually over there.:33:

    The hand held GPS was a gift from the Gods and although we don’t need it, we should respect how easy it has made travel in bad arse terrain previously never seen by you or your buddies.
     
  3. Oldguy59

    Oldguy59 Roughian #5 Supporter

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    I carry a couple of old Silva and a folding military style, don’t remember the brand. Sometimes a GPS and usually have my IPhone.
     
  4. The Desert Rat

    The Desert Rat Tracker Banned

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    GPS is a crutch. It's a tool. Topo maps and the compass are the very foundation of land Navigation.. I advice all, to learn this skill before any other. But, don't just learn it, master it, to such a degree that you don't need a GPS. You will realize that a GPS isn't necessary and the map/compass becomes second nature, like brushing your teeth.

    The Compass is considered one of the top 5 greatest inventions humankind.

    With that written. Hand held GPS is very cool and I own one. But, I treat it as a toy, not a serious Bushcraft tool.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  5. JoeJ

    JoeJ Supporter Supporter

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    I treat my GPS as a useful tool. When on an unfamiliar lake with guard rocks in our bay where our camp is located we can fish late and come in the dark following our “crumbs” and avoid every rock. Doesn’t happen often but if the fishing is great, we’ll stay as long as the bite is on. My SIL can find any coordinate given to him and land his Super Cub in the area.

    We have come out of our ice fish house in a white-out and walked right to our vehicle on the road, as we couldn’t drive on the ice yet. When the GPS first came out we used it to find our duck blind on a rather large wetland area and it was hard to find in the daylight!

    I agree with having good compass/map knowledge/skills but that GPS is the cat’s meow if you can receive the sat signals. I’ve been in heavy canopy cover and the compass and map was your bread & butter but in most forest areas you can usually find a meadow/clearing or two and the GPS will point the way.
     
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  6. Yknpdlr

    Yknpdlr Scout

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    I have taught courses in land navigation for more than 20 years. My students are SAR teams, wilderness licensed (and hopeful) guides, Boy Scout leaders, and law enforcement. I currently work part time for my state's division of Homeland Security, teaching land nav to state LE and SAR. My method is purely traditional map and compass, and observational brain power. As a SAR crew boss working with state rangers, complete and experienced familiarity with GPS is certainly a mandatory tool in my navigation skills toolbox. However, in my basic and advanced land nav training classes it is no more than briefly mentioned for the tool that it is. Since most people who might need one will either have their own device, or have one issued by their employer/department, it was proven too difficult for me and my fellow instructors to answer questions students had on varied individual devices. Therefore, even in the Homeland course, we have abandoned trying to teach GPS as we cannot be experts on all devices, even though they all give the same answer in the end, each may operate quite differently ( advice - read the manual for your device and practice on your own until expert). I do have a separate course directed to the specific GPS device most often used by my local SAR team, but I will not teach that until and unless the students have gone through a basic compass course first.

    In my guide training and certification class, it is strictly no GPS allowed. I take my student group to a very remote portion of the Adirondacks for their training and have them guide me without trails to a number of different small ponds, landmarks and other features. I figure if they can navigate there with map and compass and terrain observation techniques, then they are good to go as guides anywhere. I once caught a student sneaking a look at his GPS and as a result declined to certify him as qualified.

    Personally, when I decide to hike recreationally, traditional methods of navigation is a skill that I am always improving. I do not bring a GPS. The few times that I did, I found the temptation too annoying to look at the darn thing to "verify my location". I once hiked with another fellow old- time instructor through a favorite area of ours that had suffered an extreme microburst blowdown since the last time we were there. He was a bit of a gadget guy and had one of the first hand-held GPS units available. Occasionally he would point out to me where we were while almost continuously staring at the machine in his hand. Finally I told him, no, we are actually here, pointing at the map and the landscape features visible around us. I said to him, "you are missing all of this landscape by using that device", whereupon he put it away and did not refer it to again that day.

    Other than SAR, my other use of a GPS tool is when canoe racing. Mainly for speed monitoring during the race on familiar routes, or for plotting the presumed fastest course on an unfamiliar river route. On my Yukon River 1000 mile canoe races, I have pre-plotted nearly 800 waypoints guiding me on what I have found (initially by map study and then by previous experience on the route) to be the best and fastest route around bends and islands.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  7. leghog

    leghog Guide

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    I notice many here on this website speak of compasses. If I could only have a topo sheet or a compass, I'd take the topo sheet. My point being, a compass alone is not nearly as powerful as a map alone. I don't venture out without a map.

    Though I don't use them, electronic maps and GPS are great, especially for those who can use them to their full potential, but have a backup (map and compass - at a minimum a map) and know how to efficiently use them.

    For something very practical, here is how to fold, cut, and glue a map. I first face the map with clear shelf paper. It's not necessary, but I do so for two reasons. It protects the sheet, and I can write on it without doing any permanent damage to the map. A map so folded will last a long time and be very convenient to pocket and use.

    [​IMG]

    After folding then cutting, glue the back of B, D, K, M and then press the back of E, G, N, P to the back of B, D, K, M. You don't have to glue, but it has been my experience, it's best to glue.

    I learned this back in 1985 in the 101st. It was called the aviator fold back then.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
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  8. x39

    x39 Hyperborean Supporter

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    @leghog , that's pretty cool, thanks for sharing. I often go to a local print shop and get a color photocopy of the area I plan to recreate in. Only costs a buck or two (depending on size). I find it more convenient than carrying a whole sheet, and if it gets messed up, no biggy.
     
  9. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    I collect compasses and have over 200. I use my Silva Ranger I bought in 1970 for forestry school mostly. It's still working great with no bubble. I like the mirror in case I get something in my eye too. I also like the Silva type 15 which is like a scaled down Ranger only an inch and a half square. It was made in Sweden so probably hard to find now. I also have an old Marbles pin on coat compass I use hunting. If I still had to traverse a very straight line like I used to run property lines as a forester I would use my Suunto KB-14. It is almost a bomb-proof compass with an easy but precise sighting system that enables sights of 1/4 degree.
     
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  10. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper

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    It's been awhile since this was written and all the aforementioned compasses have developed massive bubbles except my everlasting Cammenga model 27. I also own a Suunto A-10 that hasn't developed bubbles in over 5 yrs.

    I also have a Cammenga brand button compass fitted on the watch band of my Casio......

    IMG_2493.JPG
    Dominick........
     
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  11. Andy 315

    Andy 315 Supporter Supporter

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    I carry a old Gurley and GPS on my phone. e-gurley-lensatic-military-compass_1_f879554c58d57f5a5646bf85c06c608f.jpg
     
  12. PiterM

    PiterM Scout

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    Not sure if it qualifies, but:

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    I have found a simple button compass on my watch band is quite sufficient for general orienteering ,the map however is most valuable ,especially in places one is unfamiliar .
    My SAR experience was in the mountains where I lived and already knew the territory pretty good.
    Some places in fact the mountain was pure iron and threw off compasses, you had to know your way.
    You got to be smarter than the machinery.
     
  14. 9.3mauser

    9.3mauser Tracker

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    After reading all the Suunto love on here I checked mine ( MC-2G, haven't had it out since last Nov.) and it's the Suunto that's developed a big bubble, My Silva Rangers are fine.
     
  15. DKR

    DKR Guide

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    [​IMG]
    I mostly carry/use a hand bearing compass - an older Suunto.

    I find they are fast, accurate and weight little.
     
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  16. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe aka Ventura Knife Guy Supporter

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    I'm basically knee-deep in compasses. My EDC is an excellent Chinese copy of the Silva Type 27 sighting compass. This little compass goes everywhere I go, all the time. It's marked in 5-degree increments, so I can get approximately 2.5-degree accuracy with it; more than enough for my likely uses. I also have a handful of actual Silva Type 27s, but they've become far too "collectible" for everyday use. The Chinese copy works just as well and, should I lose it, I'm out a whopping $7.00. Here it is, pictured with other items in my EDC ($10 bill included for scale).
    20170710_121232.jpg

    My "main" compass is either an older Silva Ranger (mid-1980s), or another full-size Silva sighting compass. Like I said, I'm knee-deep in compasses.

    ==========================

    UPDATE: Apparently Silva has re-introduced the Type 27 as the Silva Ranger SL (Europe) or the Silva Mini USA), with what I think is a surprisingly hefty price tag.

    https://silva.se/product/compasses/compasses-outdoor/compass-ranger-sl/

    https://www.amazon.com/Silva-Ranger-Mini-Compass-Black/dp/B0045JCQF4
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
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  17. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe aka Ventura Knife Guy Supporter

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    GPS is a modern marvel and it can be extremely accurate. The military uses the fully-featured one to target its missiles and etc with 'bedroom-window-precision.'

    However, commercial GPS instruments and devices can easily fail or run out of power. I use GPS every day, but always carry my little compass as my go-to backup.
     
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  18. Denman

    Denman Scout

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    I like and have used all kinds of Compass,some of what I carry,they work for me. 35744174_1814599638629155_3827715046499155968_n.jpg
     
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