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#239455 - 01/16/12 06:56 PM Keychain compass
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1527
We have an expert on camping stoves, a good number of HAMs, sailors, etc. Any compass guys?

I am looking for a keychain compass. Small would be nice. Keychains get dropped, so the ability to withstand shock would be nice. I don't expect to go into the wilderness and read topographical maps with it. Most of the time I'll be using the keychain compass in an urban setting, or while driving.

I can't tell whether there is any difference amongst the items I found online. The technology seems pretty simple to me, but perhaps there are fine differences that only real experts can tell.

I had a keychain compass with thermometer (Suunto), but after two or three years it stopped working so well. I also have a compass app on my Android, but it failed me this afternoon. The digital compass on my watch (Highgear) has a 20 second limit, and I'm still not sure how much I trust it.

Thanks!

Just had a lunch of BBQ ribs. Man, am I full and loaded with cholesterol!

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#239463 - 01/16/12 07:48 PM Re: Keychain compass [Re: Bingley]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2185
Loc: NE Wisconsin
Through the years I've collected a fair number of compass brands and models. I can speak about those I have experience with.

My preferred compass is a good plastic baseplate version with adjustable declination. Specifically, my preferred models are the Suunto M-3 and the Brunton TDCL, though I like the Brunton 9020G as a nice pocketable compass.

As for keychain compasses ... I've had several of the Suunto models - I liked the one with the rotating bezel, but none lasted for very long. I suspect that the key/pocket environment is pretty hard on them.

These days I rely on a decent "real" compass when in the field, and either a GPS or my Android phone other times. I know they both would require calibration to be accurate, but that is pretty darn easy to do.

Looking at Brunton's web site it looks like they are coming out with a new line of updated O.S.S. compasses based upon their circle over circle system like on the Eclipse compasses. I have an Eclipse and like it A LOT, but its durability has not been too good (bubbles). If they've resolved that, then those could be nice compasses.

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#239465 - 01/16/12 07:51 PM Re: Keychain compass [Re: Bingley]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 862
Loc: Southern California
I've heard good things about the Silva Metro. I wouldn't want to go off pavement with it, but it good for urban use. For that matter, any of the major brands (Brunton, Suunto, and Silva) should produce reliable leychain compasses. I have a Stansport knock-off of a Suunto clipper that I use when I travel (purchased after getting lost trying to return the rental car).
_________________________
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

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#239472 - 01/16/12 08:47 PM Re: Keychain compass [Re: ]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
If you adapt something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Brunton-43739-Compass-Pin-on-Luminescent/dp/B000P41RC6/
It ought to be fairly indestructible.
_________________________
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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#239485 - 01/16/12 10:07 PM Re: Keychain compass [Re: thseng]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
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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

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#239528 - 01/17/12 05:05 PM Re: Keychain compass [Re: ILBob]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7655
Loc: southern Cal
My experience with map and compass, over several years, is that in terrestrial situations, with anything like normal visibility, a compass is not particularly necessary. In an urban setting, with numerous possibilities for conditions that will disorient a compass, they are even less so.

In general, the more money you spend on a compass, the more reliable it will be. If you ask me, keychain compasses are cute gadgets - I would certainly not care to have to depend upon one for any serious purpose. Any city street map will show the orientation of the street grid with respect to cardinal directions and would be far more reliable and dependable than a compass.
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#239546 - 01/17/12 07:22 PM Re: Keychain compass [Re: hikermor]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
When I pop out of some public transport system in an urban area it takes some time to get my bearings. Such as a large train or bus terminal, or coming up from a hole in the ground.

Unless the sun is up or I can see the North Star (not very likely) or a prominent terrain feature I will have to actually move a block or two to get my bearings from the street signs and my map. Having a compass allows me to move in the right direction at once - it doesn't have to be accurate, it just has to put North into the right quadrant...

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#239555 - 01/17/12 08:21 PM Re: Keychain compass [Re: Bingley]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1527
I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets disoriented in cities. After a while I got tired of having to walk a block or two to figure out which way I'm facing, so I got a compass for my keychain.

In an enclosed space like the mall or the airport, I am always tickled by directions like "the information desk is at the east court of the building" unless there is some sort of map. We have nothing to navigate with!

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#239558 - 01/17/12 08:57 PM Re: Keychain compass [Re: Bingley]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 862
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: MostlyHarmless
When I pop out of some public transport system in an urban area it takes some time to get my bearings. Such as a large train or bus terminal, or coming up from a hole in the ground.


Originally Posted By: Bingley
In an enclosed space like the mall or the airport, I am always tickled by directions like "the information desk is at the east court of the building" unless there is some sort of map. We have nothing to navigate with!


I don't have so much of problem with enclosed spaces as new spaces. My sense of direction disappears for a couple of days when I'm traveling to a new city. The compass' do skew a bit in the city, but not enough to affect street navigation.
_________________________
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

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#239560 - 01/17/12 09:19 PM Re: Keychain compass [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3669
Loc: USA
In similar circumstances I can whip out my iPhone and not only use its compass but have the map oriented in the direction I'm facing. This is very handy. I just make sure that I don't lose my situational awareness and to have some ne'er-do-well snatch it from me or worse.

This is not to disparage having a backup, non-electronic compass.

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