Looking for compass recommendations

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Sep 9, 2003
Yvelines, north-west of Paris, France.
I'm on the lookout for a compass for orienteering, and from looking at websites' "five best orienteering compasses", and looking at prices, I'm hesitating between a Suunto MC-2 and a Silva Ranger SL.

Any opinions on these two, or suggestions for something else up to about €40?


Sep 6, 2011
Suunto if you need a global needle with mirror, other than that Silva all the way. On Suunto dial wobbles side to side about 2mm which affects accuracy (reading). Silva have more accurate dial and it's smoother in operation. Also Silva have much clearer and more durable markings on the baseplate. And last but not least, Suunto have an atrocious customer service. I'm not joking, last year I spent 2 months trying to resolve issue with watch, they reply every 2 weeks with the same questions without even reading the conversation. Just read horror stories on the net...

Silva compasses have generally more polished products.
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Mar 5, 2018
In my opinion it depends how good you are and mainly where you want to use it.

I usually go for hiking in Germany. We have ways everywhere in the country and forests and off course very good maps.

I am hiking as long as I am able to walk.
I usually can keep the direction without any tools, especially if the sun is shining.

If I am hiking I just have to look from time to time at the map and that's all.

If I leave the ways and walk through the forest like an animal, looking here and there it can happen that I loose the orientation, especially if it's clowdy or in the darknes.
So let's say, I have to look at the compass perhaps once a day, just to replace the sun or if I reach a difficult cross of several more or less identic ways.

For use like that the Silva Ranger SL is absolutely OK and big enough.

If I would plan to go some where in the tundra or in similar areas I perhaps would choose a bigger compass. But I don't do that, so I stick with the very light and compact Silva Ranger SL.


Feb 10, 2016
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Any Silva compass will do. Orienteering is a huge sport in Scandinavia, and is a combination of map reading and compass.
Check out their 'orienteering' compasses, that is all you need if you have the skills.

I think the simple Ranger or the 3NL will be fantastic for you. A larger, see through baseplate has some advantages!
Tritium you only need if you plan to use it during the night.
I would personally never buy a used compass.

In Tundra, you do not need a bigger compass. Plenty of geographical features visible under the covering snow, so a compass is a secondary help anyway..

Navigation in the wild is about 95% map and 5% compass, ime.

I have no experience from Suunto compasses. I am sure they are excellent too!
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