Map and Compass

Suunto A-10      $17 - $21

Suunto MC-2    $42 - $67
(depending on which model)

Silva Explorer Pro      $40 - $45

Silva Ranger 2.0      $42 - $55

COMPASSES

 

There are many compasses available to purchase. Two of the main designs that I recommend for navigating on and off trail are the baseplate compass (flat design) and the sighting compass (hinged mirrored). There are too many brands and models to review so I can only recommend the major manufacturers that I am familiar with – Suunto and Silva.

WARNING!!! WHEN BUYING A COMPASS AT A STORE, BE SURE TO TELL THE PERSON SCANNING/CHECKING YOU OUT TO NOT SCAN (DEMAGNETIZE!!!) YOUR COMPASS ON THE TABLE MOUNTED SCANNER. THIS WILL TURN YOUR COMPASS INTO AN EXPENSIVE PAPERWEIGHT. TELL THEM TO SCAN THE BARCODE WITH THE HAND-HELD SCANNER.

 

For entry level baseplate compasses, the Silva Starter ($16 - $22) or the Suunto A-10 ($17 - $21), is an inexpensive beginner’s compass that will serve most people well. You can always trade up later if you find you need or can afford a sighting compass (more accurate over longer distances).

 

Features to look for in a baseplate compass (the more of these features you have the more useful it will be – depending on your budget). #1 & #2 are highly recommended!

1. Clear base (to view the map while the compass is on top of it).

2. Magnetic Declination scale (fixed or adjustable).

3. 1:24,000 ( 1:24K ) measuring scale. For use with USGS 1:24,000 scale maps. You can use a small ruler of the correct scale if the compass you want does not have this scale. This ruler will be provided for you in class.

4. Magnifying lens (can also be used to start a fire). A separate small magnifying lens can be used

5.  Luminous markings (“recharged” with sun or flashlight).

6. Hot stamped markings (“printed” markings may eventually wear off).

7. Distance lanyard (this feature is convenient but you can use a piece of string and a ruler of the correct scale).

8. Clinometer (used for measuring slope angle which is useful in avalanche areas).

 

 

For sighting compasses (that are more accurate over longer distances), the Silva Ranger 2.0 ($42 - $55) and the Suunto MC-2 NH/USGS ($42 - $67) are moderately priced sighting compasses that will probably be all the compass that you will ever need.

 

Features to look for in a sighting compass - it has a hinged mirror (the more of these features you have the more useful it will be – depending on your budget). #1 & #2 are highly recommended!

1. Clear base.

2. Magnetic Declination scale (fixed or adjustable).

3. 1:24,000 ( 1:24K ) measuring scale. For use with USGS 1:24,000 scale maps. You can use a small ruler of the correct scale if the compass you want does not have this scale. This ruler will be provided for you in class.

4. Magnifying lens (can also be used to start a fire). A separate small magnifying lens can be used.

5.  Luminous markings (“recharged” with sun or flashlight).

6. Hot stamped markings (printed markings may eventually wear off).

7. Distance lanyard (this feature is handy but you can use a piece of string and a ruler of the correct scale).

8. Clinometer (used for measuring slope angle which is useful in avalanche areas).

9. Hinged mirror (that stays at the angle you place it without drifting close).  The mirror can also be used as an emergency signaling device.

 

NOTES – Do not buy a compass that has Quad as part of the name or description (instead of 0 to 360 degrees it will have the bezel divided into 4 Quadrants with each quadrant reading 0 to 90 degrees).

silva-us.com and suunto.com typically have more detailed info about the compasses, some basic videos, and sometimes discounts but of course other online stores may have free shipping.

There may be other Silva and Suunto models available on different websites and stores, that have similar features, so feel free to contact me with any questions.

Jim Keck, 405 323 0388.

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