Choosing a compass....

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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,758
795
Canada
Do you have the old version (pre 2019) with the metal needle or the newer version with the plastic needle? Seems like people are having issues with the newer plastic needle sticking?
Didn't know that. I'll have to check. Mine's four, nearly five years old.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,162
965
Lancashire
We bought our son a Silva rangers 2019 and it has been reliable. They still seem good quality to me. Certainly works as well as my 15 or 20 year old ex4 Silva.

I wonder if the quality is really that much worse than before. My first ex4 failed in about 5 years despite my obsessively protective care of it. It simply stopped pointing north which implies electromagnetic affect caused a loss in magnetism. Can't understand why because I'm very fussy about caring for compass back then
Now they just get dumped wherever and in just 2 years it looks in a worse state than my old ex4!

My dad always got suunto ones I got Silva. I got lost less than he did so does that mean Silva is best? :D
 
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nigelp

Full Member
I see a few compasses a year that ‘point’ the wrong way. Seems more common in the age of electronic devices.
Osprey water bladders have a magnetic hose attachment option. The magnet on that is very powerful and will affect the compass in use and will break it if it’s stored close to it.
 
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nigelp

Full Member
The Suunto equivalent of the Silva Ranger SL, is the MCB.

Can’t see a mirror? The Ranger SL has one so you can get ‘red in the shed’ with more precision. Most walking on a compass bearing errors is see are people ‘twisting’ the compass as they lift it and looking too far ahead - these make small errors of a few degrees into much larger errors so they miss an objective.
 

Jared

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 8, 2005
2,759
236
48
Wales
Clue is in the name.
Can’t see a mirror? The Ranger SL has one so you can get ‘red in the shed’ with more precision. Most walking on a compass bearing errors is see are people ‘twisting’ the compass as they lift it and looking too far ahead - these make small errors of a few degrees into much larger errors so they miss an objective.

Clue is in the name. "SUUNTO MCB NH MIRROR COMPASS"
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,279
2,079
McBride, BC
Field & Stream magazine has a substantial outdoors reputation in North America. They get sent all kinds of kit to bash around in tests. Look back in the magazine archives (Best of the Best) and find the compass evaluations.
Based on them alone, I bought the Brunton Eclipse 8033(?) in the rubber case. It comes with a bunch of instruction cards so you can play with it. Rubber armour case so you can erase pencil lines on maps. Long straight edges for planning courses. Mirror, magnifier, lanyard, declination, all the usual features. You need the magnifier to read the instruction cards.

The recent production model of the Eclipse is a bit different from the (prototype?) that I bought but I wouldn't blink to buy another one. GPS does not work in many of our narrow mountain valleys, packed densely with sodden conifer trees.

Declination across Canada is changing fast, the magnetic north pole of galloping off towards NovoSibirsk. What's on a printed map is years out of date.
 
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arthem

Member
Jun 14, 2021
35
15
18
United Kingdom
My Suunto M-3 G should be arriving in a few days and hopefully I'll be able some practice in. I'll post an update once I receive it.

From what I can understand a compass with a mirror allows for more precise navigation?
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,279
2,079
McBride, BC
The mirror changes the length of your sight line. No value in a tight forest.
It also serves as a signalling device, should you need one on a sunny day.
 
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arthem

Member
Jun 14, 2021
35
15
18
United Kingdom
Does anyone know what the difference is between the Silva Ranger series and the Epedition series?
Is it just that the Ranger series have less features?
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,279
2,079
McBride, BC
The modern equivalent to what I bought is the Brunton TruArc20.
125 years in the business. Suunto and Silva will serve you well.
Our entire field service in the forest industry uses one or the other.

My original is a Recta Prospector (recommended by a successful prospector)
Steel case, mirror, declination and radio-glowing markers. 1965, LaRonge.
It has developed a big bubble which interferes with needle movement. Just for sentimental reasons, I'd like to get it fixed.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,035
1,189
Berlin
One of our members got a new Silva Ranger SL delivered already with a bubble. He did send it back and got a new one. -Also with bubble!

I don't recommend them any more, sorry!

@Jared
Thank you for the information!
I think I will buy such a Suunto MCB.

The mirror also can be used to shave yourself or to look into your own eyes, if you got something in there.
But the mini mirror compasses make it quite complicated to shave yourself. It works, but is no fun.
 
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BigMonster

Full Member
Sep 6, 2011
1,155
117
Manchester
If you are interested I have this in the classified:

 

arthem

Member
Jun 14, 2021
35
15
18
United Kingdom
One of our members got a new Silva Ranger SL delivered already with a bubble. He did send it back and got a new one. -Also with bubble!

I don't recommend them any more, sorry!

@Jared
Thank you for the information!
I think I will buy such a Suunto MCB.

The mirror also can be used to shave yourself or to look into your own eyes, if you got something in there.
But the mini mirror compasses make it quite complicated to shave yourself. It works, but is no fun.
Do let us know how the Suunto MCB compares to the old Silva Ranger SL.
 
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There can also be a tendency for folk to over complicate navigation rather than learning the essentials and consolidating those before moving into the more intermediate or advanced skills.
Navigation is 50% confidence! The intuition and ‘flow’ comes with practice and a course can certainly help to move folk in the right direction.

Navigation is the art of knowing that you are not where you think you are.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,279
2,079
McBride, BC
I parked the truck on the edge of the road. I walked west into the mountain forest, deer hunting. Typical, a sudden and heavy snow storm descended on me.
Visibility 15-20m, no landmarks, even knowing my back-track was useless. The deer would beinvisible. Might as well quit and go home, who knows how long this will last. Which way back to the road?
In that day and time, all I had was my old Recta Prospector compass which showed me that my sense of direction was off by 90 degrees. Curse a little, believe the compass and trudge out of there.
Believe the compass.
 

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