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#198977 - 03/26/10 09:30 AM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: EMPnotImplyNuclear]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: EMPnotImplyNuclear
Anyone use Solar Powered Digital Compass Altimeter + Barometer + Thermometer?

AVOID, AVOID, AVOID, AVOID... sorry you just set of my AVOID alarm. It is very sensitive to such word compositions. I associate them with a much simpler word: Junk.

Edited by MostlyHarmless (03/26/10 09:44 AM)

#198980 - 03/26/10 10:40 AM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: Outdoor_Quest]
Byrd_Huntr Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 1174
Loc: MN, Land O' Lakes & Rivers ...
Originally Posted By: Outdoor_Quest
What would be your selection for a good compass for land navigation?

I like the Brunton 8010G and a Sunto (can't think of the model number) to go with me in the woods.

I like a compass that you can adjust for declination.



Magnetic declination is a really big deal in some parts of the country. What might be construed as inaccuracy in a compass might actually be due to the extreme angles of the magnetic lines in a given area, to minerals in the rocks and soils, or to whatever you have in your pockets. I stood one day on the highbanks of lower Lake Superior, in an area where many shipwrecks lie on the bottom, and wondered why experienced sea captains would founder on the rocks in a channel that was 17 miles wide. An old ranger told me that in the days before GPS when magnetic compasses were the primary navigation devices, there was so much iron in the rocks that they attracted the compass needle and at night the ships would hit the rocky shores under full power. They built many lighthouses around the lake for this reason.

I have a map showing the magnetic lines in the USA for 2004 (they change constantly as the iron core of the Earth shifts).

magnetic declination USA.jpg

The man got the powr but the byrd got the wyng

#198982 - 03/26/10 11:49 AM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: Byrd_Huntr]
sybert777 Offline

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 300
Loc: 62208
Cool! Im right on the 0! I have a Silva I can Sell! Its made in Sweden, its A CL15 ranger!

Edited by sybert777 (03/26/10 11:50 AM)

#198985 - 03/26/10 12:08 PM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: Byrd_Huntr]
BorkBorkBork Offline

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 70
Loc: Sweden
I prefer the globally adjusted compasses since I travel a lot.
Below are the only brands I have found to have globally adjusted compasses for inclination and they are also adjustable for declination.

Silva, the Voyager Global series, 8010, 8020, 8040.
(Silva is called Brunton and Nexus in the USA).

Suunto (Suunto MC-2 Global, Suunto M3 Global) and the Recta company (Recta belongs to Suunto).

This is the one I use and I like it a lot.
Recta DT 420G

I am interested in finding other brands that have globally adjusted compasses (I collect compasses) which also includes an adjustment for declination, so if you have any tips, please tell me.
Stay warm out there !

#198989 - 03/26/10 01:16 PM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: BorkBorkBork]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
I went with the Suunto MC-2G
This compass is our "BEST PICK" for overall features. You can use the clear baseplate with maps, sight with the mirror, and never slow your stride with the global needle that accepts tilts up to 20 degrees and still reads accurately. To top it all off, the global needle has a quicker dampening time than a standard needle. Other professional features that make this compass a BEST PICK are the built-in clinometer, adjustable declination, luminous bezel, luminous guidance points, and convenient map scales.. . .
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

#198992 - 03/26/10 01:59 PM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: Teslinhiker]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker

Not so sure about making a blanket statement on this. I have a cheap Silva ($14.00 originally) that I would not classify as reliable. A compass being out a few degrees over a fair distance can make a difference in finding your destination whether it be your camp or your vehicle. Sure you end up in the general area you need to be but when light is fading fast or bad weather is hitting you, I prefer to have a compass that gets me closer to where I was originally headed for.

How does any compass manage to be "off" by a few degrees. It points to the north pole (or rather along the lines of magnetic force). That is the same for all compasses.

Granted some are easier to take precise measurements with. Perhaps that's what you meant. But that is often related to operator proficiency.
Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile


#198996 - 03/26/10 02:36 PM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: ILBob]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2239
Loc: Colorado
I have a Brunton 8099 Eclipse that I like very much. The best part of it for me is that you can sight your target and then remove the compass from your eye level and read the bearing separately. This is nice for severly nearsighted, bifocaled eyes like mine. At first the 8099 looks complex with all those folding thingys on it, but it's very easy to use. I recommend it. Mine does develope a small bubble in the fluid at high altitures(11k+) however. This doesn't appear to affect function, but it is annoying to look at.

I've always wanted to try one of those Cammenga lensatics that the military uses. I want to "try before you buy" to see how they work for my nearsighted/bifocal eyes. Maybe I'll ask my daughter if she can borrow one from her ROTC the next time she comes home from college.

#199001 - 03/26/10 03:48 PM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: ILBob]
NobodySpecial Offline

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 197
Originally Posted By: ILBob
[quote=Teslinhiker]How does any compass manage to be "off" by a few degrees.

It can't - assuming they managed to print the angles in the right order! As long as the needle is magnetized it will work, cheap button compasses have weak needles that are easily demagnetized.

You can have compasses that are faster to settle, clearer to read and work more reliably if they aren't held exactly flat.

If you live on the east or west coast get one with declination adjust or just draw a new north line with a sharpie. If you line down the middle, or in the UK just buy any baseplate compass.

One degree off means you are only going to be out about 25yards in a mile, and there aren't many places you are marching purely on a compass bearing further than that without any landmarks.

#199008 - 03/26/10 04:58 PM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: NobodySpecial]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
You can find your magnetic declination at


Altitude can be found at geonames.org

#199011 - 03/26/10 07:42 PM Re: Recommendation for a decent compass [Re: JBMat]
BorkBorkBork Offline

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 70
Loc: Sweden
Each degree off will result in an error that is 1/60:th of the distance travelled. If you travel one mile (1760 yards) with one degree declination and you do not compensate, you will be 29.33 yards off course.

With a 15 degree declination you will be 440 yards off course !!

Stay warm out there !

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