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Quality compass?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Deputydave, Apr 7, 2012.


  1. Deputydave

    Deputydave
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    I'd like to get a quality compass for camping/BOB. Looking around Amazon I see lots of them that 'look' good but many of the reviews tell a different story i.e. Chinese made POS.

    Can anyone recommend a solid, quality compass? I know you often get what you pay for, but is there a recommendation that is also on the economical side?

    Appreciate it.
     

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
  2. Breadman03

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    Cabela's carries a military style lens attic compass. I'm not sure if it is the military issue, but I can't see a difference. I think it was about $100.
     

  3. RWBlue

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    I think there are many that will do the trick that are cost effective.

    The question I have for you is, how accurate does it really need to be?

    I have a military compass, and several less accurate compasses. For the most part I can be happy with a bubble compass. I just need to verify that north is the direction I think it should be.

    For precision work I am using a GPS.
     
  4. Protus

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    silva and burton both make good compasses. if not fork out the extra $$ for a REAL - not a knock off USGI compass
     
  5. F350

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  6. Bolster

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    Brunton.
     
    #6 Bolster, Apr 7, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  7. expatman

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    The Silva "Ranger" was the standard for civilians for quite a while IIRC.
     
  8. Protus

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    would you like a grammer nazi merit badge..:wavey:

    you know what company i mean....
     
  9. Chindo18Z

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    Although you can simply buy an inexpensive compass from almost any outdoor section of a big box store, you asked about quality compasses. My recommendations (after about 40 years of getting lost while hiking, ski touring, mountaineering, and running around various parts of the world with a compass while playing Army):

    1. Brunton 15TDCL (Silva Ranger): For many decades, the Silva "Ranger" was the gold standard in modern orienteering compasses; used by outdoorsmen the world over.

    Due to a bunch of compass company buyouts some years ago, there are actually TWO Silva companies in existence today. One is Silva USA, which today makes a decent but arguably lesser quality Ranger in comparison to the original version made in Sweden. There have been some complaints that the current US version possesses frankly lesser precision and durability than the legend of old. Not to worry....Silva of Sweden is now owned by Brunton. The Brunton 15TDCL is the original Ranger, which is still sold everywhere but in the USA as the Silva Ranger.

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Brunton-F-15TDCL-15TDCL-Compass/dp/B000093ILE"]Amazon.com: Brunton 15TDCL Compass: Sports & Outdoors@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514AemgL9BL.@@AMEPARAM@@514AemgL9BL[/ame] - $33 on Amazon BEST VALUE for COST and PERFORMANCE

    Liquid filled, clear plastic base plate marked with scale and orientation marks (functions as integral protractor for plotting directly on map), and adjustable declination screw (so you don't have to add or subtract declination angles). Folds flat for storage in pocket, includes built in sighting mirror for ease of reading, signalling, or just admiring your mug. Also a built in magnifying lens. Easily the best civilian design going. Classic design utilized by hikers, mountaineers, orienteering competitors, forest service personnel, and lots of military.

    If all you can find is a Silva USA Ranger (or a comparable clone version from Suunto)...you will still have a good compass.

    2. Cammenga Tritium Military Lensatic Compass - $80 - $90 new from most Army/Navy or military gear vendors. A little higher directly from Cammenga, but you are assured of a new compass with fresh Tritium. Tritium (also used in firearm night sights) has a radioactive half life of about 10 years, meaning that new Tritium compass marker ampules will glow half as brightly after about 10-12 years. That's still plenty to see by, just not as bright as when first purchased. You'd probably consider replacement of a Tritium compass after about 15-20 years.

    http://www.cammenga.com/product_p/3h.htm

    This is the actual military compass and vendor used by the entire US military. The advantages to this model are 1) all-metal case toughness and 2) the Tritium illuminated dial allows you to read and set the compass in the dark.

    Numbered azimuths can also be changed in the dark by touch, using a click bezel ring. The face of the compass is self-illuminated...allowing you to read the compass even in a pitch black forest, back alley, or dark neighborhood...all without having to break out a flashlight or use batteries. That might be important in a SHTF situation where you are trying to move undetected. Which is exactly why the US military uses it...duh. The glowing compass face itself can be used as a visible signalling device when crossing danger areas or as a near recognition signal when folks are attempting to linkup in the dark.

    Held in the hand with the luminous face towards whomever you are signalling:

    Moved Left to Right (horizontally) = "Negative", "Not Safe", "Danger", "Wait"
    Moved Up and Down (vertically) = "Affirmative, "Safe", "Clear", "Proceed"
    Moved in a Circular Motion = "Assemble/Rally On Me", "Here I Am for Linkup"

    When bad things happen in the world, realize that half of that badness will be occurring at night. It's a ***** when your planned day trip turns into a night time struggle to get back to camp after someone sprains an ankle. Have the right compass for moving in the dark.

    If I were going to carry just one compass into the wilderness or a troubled landscape...and to cover contingencies in the night...it would be this one.


    3. Damn near any wrist compass by Silva, Suunto, Brunton, or Cammenga. Incredibly useful for general navigation (i.e. "Am I still headed North-West?") by simply glancing down at your wrist. I've been wearing either a Silva or a Suunto M9 on my wrist for over 35 years (continuously). Changed out the bands once or twice. Bombproof. My Suunto still requires a small light to see it in the dark. It glows for a few minutes after exposure to direct light (small key fob LED flashlight, campfire, car headlight), but fades pretty quickly.

    The Cammenga version can be had with self illuminating Tritium. What you'd want if you were escaping from Stalag 17. :cool:

    http://www.rei.com/product/408083/suunto-m-9-wrist-compass - $28

    http://www.cammenga.com/product_p/j582t.htm - $41

    Hope this helps...
     
    #9 Chindo18Z, Apr 8, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  10. Keyhole

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  11. Bolster

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    Sure, I'll take the badge, but technically it would be the Spelling Nazi badge, not the Grammar Nazi badge. Although I'd like a chance to compete for both.

    Kidding aside, I made the correction on the chance someone was searching for the name and needed the spelling, it wasn't a slap. I was trying to be helpful, honest.

    Heil!! (Or is it Hiel?)

    [​IMG]
     
    #11 Bolster, Apr 8, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  12. Bravo 1

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    I will never use anything less than a real military lensatic.

    Anything as important as navigation is important enough to be reliable , durable and accurate.

    But thats just me.
     
  13. Deputydave

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    I really appreciate the suggestions and links, it has been both helpful and educational. Gives me quite a bit to take a look at now.

    Thanks! :wavey:
     
  14. Atomic Punk

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  15. kenpoprofessor

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    This, I've got one I got very cheap ($20) at a swap meet, it goes with me everywhere.

    And it was this one :supergrin:

    http://www.thecompassstore.com/5005lm.html

    [​IMG]

    Have a great gun carryin' Kenpo day

    Clyde
     
    #15 kenpoprofessor, Apr 8, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  16. smokin762

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  17. smokin762

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  18. Chindo18Z

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    Larue is simply selling the standard military issue lensatic compass made by Cammenga...

    Definitely a great compass regardless of where purchased.
     
  19. Protus

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    yip. If i didnt run map reading compasses (silva's ) i would have the one linked.
     
  20. TangoFoxtrot

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    Get a Cammenga Tritium Military Lensatic Compass if you know how to read and navigate useing a topo. map. As far as things made in China? What don't we have imported from China? :dunno: