Compass recommendations.

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
Can't think of an xmas present who buys something if he wants it. I've been told he wants a compass. Since I've no better idea I'll probably get it. Hence what's worth getting for say £30?

He's into geology through U3A so I'm thinking there's some that can measure slope of ground or rock outcrop slope/strike.

Any worth looking at and if unusual one where to get it in the UK before xmas?
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Silva and Suunto are the common popular brands that you would see here.
Next will be the model & features and the price. After that, UK dealers.

My 2 compasses are old. The Recta Prospector in a steel case is 1965.
The Brunton Eclipse 8066 must be less than 25 years old.
Both have developed serious big bubbles which affect needle swing.
Have not been able to find a source of repair, it that's even possible.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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The big Bruntons have clinometers.
The next model up from the Suunto MB-6 NH looks to have a clinometer.
Those two Suunto are almost exact replicas of my old Recta Prospector with the matchbox case.
They do not say what the case is made of. Global needle balance is a nice touch.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Not really. The topo maps tell you nothing about the substance of the geomorphology and processes.
Rock folding matters in connection with mineralization.

However, a good compass and a recent map are an explorer's best friends.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
substance of the geomorphology and processes.
Rock folding matters in connection with mineralization.
.
You might speak Korean here. No clue what those words mean!
:)

On the map I can see the height of the geography, angle of terrain up and down. Gorges, large rocks. Streams.
So I can pick a good route.

Would an inclinometer not be most useful in uncharted areas, like the Highlands?
:)
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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A clinometer is useful for geologists or people with an amateurs interest in it. Dip and strike I believe are the relevant angle and bearing a clinometer/ compass could measure. If I've got the two measurements right.

My dad might not use the clinometer but it's there if he needs it.

Went on suunto website and there's a few suitable but all £30++++. Wiggle has a £25 compass with clinometer Most others are £45+.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Actually went on the suunto site the a3 nh has clinometer but wiggle don't mention clinometer.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
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Silva and Suunto are the common popular brands that you would see here.
Next will be the model & features and the price. After that, UK dealers........
Bear in mind that “Silva” compasses in North America haven’t been made by Silva for a few decades now. They lost a trademark/copyright lawsuit back then and th name is now owned by Johnson Outdoors here and what we get are actually made by Bruton and rebadged as Silva’s :( You still get real Silva’s in the UK Paul, but recommendations from North America should be taken with the foreknowledge that what we’re using aren’t really Silva’s unless they’re 25-30 years old or more.

All that said, Bruton does make a quality product.

Edited to correct typo
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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The American magazine: Field and Stream, has an annual "Best Of the Best" review of outdoor equipment.
A lot of it would be just what's called bush kit here in BCUK. The reviews are brutally unkind.
F&S staff beat the crap out of all sorts of equipment like no other nation on earth. Bragging rights to the winners.
The Brunton was the hands down winner one year for all the compasses tested.
Learned it was $100, a few miles down the road from me.
Even the rubber armour case is meant to be a pencil eraser for map markings (it works, too!).

My Recta had developed a useless big gas bubble in the bezel so I guessed it was time for a treat.
Those two have got me out of winter mountain forests 3 times now.
I need say not another word.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Silva has quite a history. The founding of separate companies in usa and Canada allowed for takeover of the brand there. Removing distribution rights from their owners led to loss of brand rights in those two regions. That was because they bought Brunton who had distribution out there.

However, Silva sold Silva made compasses under brunton name in those regions and brunton made compasses under Silva name outside those regions. They sold to Fiskars then Brunton to fenix. All production stopped in Sweden and later China under their own production facilities. Right now Silva is made for them by a Chinese factory just like Johnson outdoors did with their silva branded compasses.

Current situation is brunton are not Silva but silva now own the silva brand in usa and Canada since last year's acquisition of Johnson outdoors by parent company Fiskars. They no longer make compasses for themself.

I have no idea if Silva has lost quality during those years. I've never had anything but silva. My last compass was bought over 10 years ago when still swedish made I believe. My dad owned a Recta one. Imho that was more solidly made. Chunky. I've never owned a suunto.

I got the impression Silva was mass market, Recta more solid but basic and Suunto made the better orienteering compasses as they settled quicker.
 
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Tiley

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Oct 19, 2006
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Having started off with Silva, I moved across to Suunto after a sustained bubble problem. Since that move, some 15 or so years ago, I've not had a problem, the Suunto compass has been through the ringer and still come up smiling. I do like the balanced needle ones for global use and reckon that the clarity of the base plate is better with Suunto; however, that's down to personal preference! For me, I suppose the only possible advantage that Silva might have is the inclusion of a 1:40,000 roamer scale, which, for those of us who use Harveys maps, can be very useful.

Ultimately, I don't really care where these things are made; as long as they work and, ideally, last, does it really matter?
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
Too true! Possibly made in the same factory or next door one anyway.

I've only had three all silva ones. The base model then two type 4 expedition ones. I thought the first had issues so got a replacement one. Turns out it was still ok and I don't know why it behaved strangely on a hill near long Sleddale.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Maybe the Force was strong with you at that moment?

I never had a problem with a compass. Only have used Silva.
The only problem, if you can call it that, is breakage if I mistreated it heavily.