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#295186 - 03/15/20 01:30 AM Brunton Compass Quality
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2107
Loc: NE Wisconsin
This is kind of an odd question but ...

A while back I noticed a big air bubble in a somewhat older Brunton mirrored compass (15tdcl, or something like that). I had the same problem with two Brunton 8099 compasses - their very fancy and expensive mirrored compass. Over a span of a few years Brunton was very nice and replaced each of them for free.

The older Brunton 8099 (greenish shoe) since developed another bubble. I've given up on that one, though frustrating considering the cost.

I'm happy to say that the newer Brunton 8099 (black shoe, now called a Brunton TruArc 20) has gone many years without forming an air bubble, and it is very much my favorite compass.

Unfortunately, they replaced the more classic mirrored compass (15tdcl) with their current model - a Brunton TruArc 15.

Overall the TruArc 15 seems like a nice compass. It hasn't developed air bubbles for a number of years, BUT it has two big flaws that I should have addressed when they first sent it to me - now it's too late I think:
(1) The bezel ticks are terrible quality. The spacing is random and some of them are actually at an angle relative to the others.

(2) Rotation of the dial ring is NOT smooth. It catches badly at certain places.

I think I'll end up donating it to a local Boy Scout troop. That seems better than throwing it in the trash.

I like Brunton. It was a very well thought of American company that got bought up by Silva, seemed to have kind of lost control of their product while Silva used them as a Silva USA, then somehow got jettisoned from Silva, it moved its manufacturing back to the U.S., and was trying to reestablish itself. I truly want them to succeed.

Has anyone bought a Brunton compass lately? How is the quality these days - after they've had a while to re-establish themselves??

I noticed that now their compass warranty covers just one year. Boy, I hope they resolved their bubble problem.

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#295188 - 03/15/20 02:38 AM Re: Brunton Compass Quality [Re: KenK]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2625
Loc: Big Sky Country
I have a cheaper one and it seems okay for the money but I'm more of a Suunto guy. Although to be honest I'm a duffer when it comes to landnav.
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“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

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#295190 - 03/15/20 03:26 AM Re: Brunton Compass Quality [Re: KenK]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2107
Loc: NE Wisconsin
When a kid I had the real Swedish Silva Polaris compass. It was super high quality and still works, though has some mosquito repellent damage.

I have a few of the green Brunton low cost compasses that I used for basic navigation teaching with Scouts, and they've been very durable. At some point I need to donate those.

It's when I bought the more expensive Brunton compasses for my own use that I started to have the durability and with the TruArc 15 obvious manufacturering issues. Frustrating.

I did buy the good Suunto non-mirrored compass, and its quality is indeed top notch. I suppose I should have purchased their mirrored compass instead of the Bruntons, but I was trying to buy American. That doesn't always pan out.

For a sighting mirrored compass I find the Brunton 8099, now the TruArc 20, to be the best. Easier to target and use than the more typical base plate mirrored compasses. I actually cant nail down why. I just like it better.

By the way, living in the midwest I never had the need to do hard core navigation. Ironically, the most remote area I've traveled was the Boundary Waters, and crazy as it was only one guy out of the six of us carried the one map, and as I recall only he knew the planned route. I was young and stupid, and lucky

To be honest, it's tough navigating with a compass when surrounded by trees and with no real landmarks on the horizon. That describes much of the midwest. These days there are at least more cell towers, but they aren't on many older too maps


Edited by KenK (03/15/20 03:42 AM)
Edit Reason: Added comments

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#295193 - 03/15/20 08:18 AM Re: Brunton Compass Quality [Re: KenK]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2625
Loc: Big Sky Country
I like to buy American but in ultimately there are times I want the best product available regardless of cost or country of origin. I'm a huge fan of HK firearms (Germany), Aimpoint optics (Sweden), Naniwa water stones (Japan), etc. None of those options are inexpensive but I've found all of them to worth the premium. Sometimes nothing less than the best will do.
_________________________
“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

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#295197 - 03/15/20 01:58 PM Re: Brunton Compass Quality [Re: KenK]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: southern Cal
"To be honest, it's tough navigating with a compass when surrounded by trees and with no real landmarks on the horizon. That describes much of the midwest. These days there are at least more cell towers, but they aren't on many older too maps"

I feel your pain. In the mountainous West, you can almost always use terrain association. I use a compass only rarely, usually in fog or mist, or when at sea.
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#295202 - 03/15/20 03:41 PM Re: Brunton Compass Quality [Re: KenK]
Herman30 Online   content
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 353
Loc: Finland
Quote:
To be honest, it's tough navigating with a compass when surrounded by trees and with no real landmarks on the horizon.

I can´t see why it would be. Take the bearing and choose a tree 50-100 feet away that is on the right direction. Go to that tree and repeat until you are where you want to be.
That´s how we are tought to navigate in our forests.

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#295203 - 03/15/20 03:48 PM Re: Brunton Compass Quality [Re: hikermor]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2107
Loc: NE Wisconsin
I think this is why I tend to think a GPS is so important - at least in areas without landmarks. Forests and featureless terrain are a lot like being in the middle of an ocean.

Of course they work better with useful waypoints or a good built in map.

There was a time when people poo-pooed GPS's with built in compasses, but now I wouldn't buy one without the compass capability.

Still, I wouldn't head into the backwoods with a compass and at least some kind of decent paper map.

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#295204 - 03/15/20 04:07 PM Re: Brunton Compass Quality [Re: KenK]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2107
Loc: NE Wisconsin
Just to add ... the featureless terrain also makes it more important to be able to convert a GPS coordinate (UTM!) to a location on the paper map, and vise versa. If you've not seen it, I highly recommend maptools.com for their UTM grids and their great free tutorials.

This is why really good paper maps are so important. These days I prefer the mytopo.com customizable maps. I order them with UTM grids and waterproof. They add custom titles, so I add my name and cell #, so they don't walk away on their own (that happens!).

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