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#149649 - 09/20/08 02:00 AM Best Survival Compass
colbyhouse Offline

Registered: 03/27/06
Posts: 25
I'm looking for a good survival compass - one that I could use both hiking/camping and in my bug-out bag.

Anybody have any suggestions? Please provide any links you may have!



#149651 - 09/20/08 02:34 AM Re: Best Survival Compass [Re: colbyhouse]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
MOST compasses do one very simple thing. They all point to magnetic north.Some do not. Buying one just because you see it listed or displayed in other kits is what keeps compass makers in business. If you're bugging out, do you plan on joining all these other buggees trampling this year's corn crop and doing Ninja rolls past overpasses?
Now for wilderness survival, assuming you need to navigate from point A to point B instead of staying put and signalling, a capable compass for hiking by map will serve your needs.
What you want, before you buy a compass, is a book about compass use.I recommend Be Expert With MAP & COMPASS by Bjorn Kjellstrom.

Edited by Chris Kavanaugh (09/20/08 02:37 AM)

#149654 - 09/20/08 03:05 AM Re: Best Survival Compass [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Yup. Or even an old Boy Scouts Handbook, purchased for a few bucks at a used book store...

#149655 - 09/20/08 03:05 AM Re: Best Survival Compass [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
Travis Offline

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1
Loc: Cincinnati
Declination would also be nice, but I guess it depends on how much the declination is off where you live.

Where I live, declination is about 5 degrees, so its not too important. If it was 10 or more, it would be helpful.

One that had a built in scale for topographic maps, or magnifying glass would be nice, but certainly not needed.

#149667 - 09/20/08 05:08 AM Re: Best Survival Compass [Re: Travis]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
If you have the inclination to adjust for declination first determine if you need to adjust for variation instead.This is why you start with education to avoid frustration.

#149681 - 09/20/08 11:29 AM Re: Best Survival Compass [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...

#149682 - 09/20/08 11:30 AM Re: Best Survival Compass [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
In todays time maybe wondering around the woods is what I need most wink
Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

#149691 - 09/20/08 02:59 PM Re: Best Survival Compass [Re: Todd W]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2137
Loc: NE Wisconsin
Get a Suunto M3 Leader compass, a USGS topographic map of the area, set your compass to match the area's magnetic declination, and then go to http://www.compassdude.com/ to learn how to use it.

Don't waist your money on button compasses or those little round compasses - unless all you want to do is go in a straight line in a general direction without using a map.

Like Chris said, without a map, all the compass does is point to north. With a map, the compass can be made to point to a particular destination AND, using triangulation, it can help you figure out where you are.

Or course, if you want to know where you are, then a GPS can do that VERY well. If using a GPS, make sure your topo map has UTM coordinates, make sure your GPS is set to the map's datum, and go to http://www.maptools.com/ to learn how to use UTM coordinates with your map and GPS.

A great source for maps with UTM coordinates is at http://www.mytopo.com

If your GPS is the mapping variety, and you have the appropriate maps, not only can the GPS tell you where you are, but it can also tell you about potential destinations around you, and tell you distances and maybe event routes to those destinations.

#149693 - 09/20/08 03:49 PM Re: Best Survival Compass [Re: KenK]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
I always like those trailside and mall signs that say 'YOU ARE HERE.' I know I'm 'here.' It's getting 'there' that's the hard part.
Two compass types DO NOT point north. I'll give a turn of my SPARKLITE to whoever names the other two.
A training compass is like many other bits of kit: you get to simple and it falls short. Buy a model with of whistles and bells and you get lost.
A good quality compass in between can suprise lots of folks. My old SILVA Ranger with aluminum bezel plotted many a archaeologic site. I lost track of the people who worriedly double checked my plots with a big fancy Brunton Surveyor's compass @ 8x the cost. that was a lot of post excavation pizza and beer I saved.

Edited by Chris Kavanaugh (09/20/08 03:52 PM)

#149694 - 09/20/08 04:01 PM Re: Best Survival Compass [Re: colbyhouse]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

Silva Expedition 4

Although I personally have never needed anything better than a Silva Ranger 3

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