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Compass

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by RedneckRampage, May 2, 2012.

  1. RedneckRampage

    RedneckRampage Newberg Well-Known Member

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    I've decided I need to buy a good compass, what do you guys recommend? I want something good and tuff.
     
  2. Izzy

    Izzy Oakridge Active Member

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    Military surplus! :thumbup:
     
  3. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    I've had a Silva Ranger for years that works good - lots of useful features on it.
     
  4. PDXGS

    PDXGS Aloha... yes, Aloha, Oregon Member

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    What are you going to do with it? Navigation? Using a Topo map or GPS?
    Do you need adjustable magnetic declination?
    It's kind of hard to get a bad compass if you stick to Suunto, Silva or Brunton with adjustable declination. I do search and rescue for a local Sheriff's office and I've used several Suuntos over the past decade or so-all have worked well. some of the Suuntos and Silvas are housed in a box that has a reflecting mirror to read the compass- this mirror can double as a signal mirror and the entire unit is housed in a case that prevents scratches and damage to the compass face.
    There are some military type compasses that done have adjustable declination but are generally more rugged.
    Check out the selection at REI and take one of their navigation classes if you're not up on your map and compass skills....it's very easy to get disoriented in the PNW...even with a compass.
     
    lowly monk and (deleted member) like this.
  5. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have a Brunton and trust it, but I'd trade in in a heartbeat for Dad's WWII vintage military compass! If I ever trip across another military compass like his, I'll buy it.
    But, my Brunton is much more "map friendly".
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  6. james2562

    james2562 Kent Member

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    When I go in to the back country I have topo maps and my Rothco model 27. Plus a hand held GPS. Dot mess around with GPS until you can navigate by map and compass.

     
  7. M67

    M67 NW Oregon Active Member

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  8. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    +1 on the Silva
     
  9. westcoastal

    westcoastal north coast of oregon Active Member

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    those are a great compass
     
  10. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I carried a silva for many years, (don't remember model) but it was one of the slightly upgraded ones, with map friendly features, along with the sights for shooting bearings to places. I upgraded a few years ago to the camenga military compass that was already discussed here... just an FYI, there are two models of the cammenga, there is the one with the tritium dial that the military uses, and there is another civilian friendly version that just has glow-in-the-dark stuff like on kids toys, but it's every bit the cammenga military compass, but is about half the price.

    Depending on what you're doing, each one has it's strengths, the cammenga has a bit more of a learning curve, and is very specific to working either with military maps, or maps in UTM/national grid format. The rule on the side is set for the default military scale, whereas the commercial compasses will just have a standard ruler.

    I have had to use my compass a few times when lost in fog or darkness, and even though I wasn't using it in combination with the map, knowing I was at least going in the right direction was a huge relief.
     
  11. Steve06

    Steve06 Oregon Active Member

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    The Silva Ranger has been the standard forever. It does everything for land navigation.
     
    Nwcid and (deleted member) like this.
  12. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I typed in "Silva" on this site last night and woke up to popup ads from Amazon for Silva compasses today. Anybody who doesn't think they are being tracked online has tinfoil over their heads :laugh:
     
  13. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    You need to switch to Mozilla/foxfire
     
  14. RedneckRampage

    RedneckRampage Newberg Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, gives me a lot to think about.
     
  15. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    It all depends upon what you're intending to do with the compass. Over the years of teaching Map 'n Compass courses, I've seen everything from cheap to top of the line Military Compasses, base plate compasses and button compasses. Everything is a tradeoff; for everyday a button or wrist compass works for general navigation by inspection. If you're serious about cross country trekking without a map the Military compasses are awesome for shooting an accurate azimuth and using it for the PAUL method. They work with topo maps but are set up also in Mils for military maps and can cause people confusion when cold, tired, hungry, wet and anxious and “out of practice”. The military compasses are tops for triangulation and resection because the sighting on these things are really good. The Cammenga is the top of the line and highly recommended. US Tactical Supply is a dealer for Cammenga and are local providers here in the Pacific Northwest. Good folks to boot!


    However, if you’re working with a topo map then it is best to stick with a good old fashion base plate compass. The Silva and the Silva Ranger have been the baseline/benchmark standard for years. Everyone else has been playing “catch-up.” Well, in my experience the baseline/benchmark has been re-set. The Sunnto’s are very-very good compasses and the pick of the litter is the MC-2G Global Base Plate. Yea, their expensive but worth it for a number of reasons…namely, they’re very forgiving in terms of leveling the needle. Unlike typical compasses you can have your level off a little bit and it still works. It has adjustable declination which the military compasses do not. It has a mirror for shooting azimuths and doubles as a signal mirror and mirror to shave by! It is illuminated although not as good as the Cammenga tritium equipped compasses. Cammenga makes a great tritium wrist compass for navigation by inspection!

    The MC-2G has a mag lens for reading small print on maps, the rotating bezel works well when wet and dark and generally I find it the easiest for beginners. Besides it works anywhere in the world - if that matters!
     
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  16. MikeSettles

    MikeSettles Vancouver, Washington Active Member

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    I carry a military lensatic (like the Cammenga listed above)(tritium version is best) for precision navigation, and a Silva wrist compass just to maintain cardinal direction. GPS is handy for determining your location and setting up a route to a destination using way-points. ALWAYS have/use a paper topographical map of large enough scale (1:24000, 1:50:000) and keep the map and GPS location reconciled: WHEN the GPS batteries go dead, you won't suddenly find yourself up sh*t creek without a paddle!
     
  17. geometro

    geometro PDX Active Member

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    +1 on the Silva ranger or equivalent...
     
  18. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Josephine County Active Member

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    I've used Silva's for a lot of years, Buying a compass is easy, learning how to use it is hard. Lots of practice is required.
     
  19. Godfather911

    Godfather911 Springfield, OR. Member

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    I have an old military compass I was fortunate to find durning a field exercise and also have a wrist compass (silvia) I bought 5yrs ago. I wear that on my right wrist. My G-shock on the left. (second one, LOVE them) I had one a small compass I guerrilla glued to a nylon, Velcro TAC wrist band I wore on a previous G-shock, while I was in the service. On a night mission in Iraq/Kuwait, I didnt have my watch,along with the Velcro strap, 550 dummy corded before I rolled on out on a night mission. the band broke...dooh!..I threw it in my ruck. The whole reason why I carry it on a separate strap now. Lesson learned,for me. (plus, it is a little harder for a Thai hooker to 5finger discount from your persons..:)
    Digital are nice, but if the battery dies, your F'd. Had that fine experience more then once, no Thank's...
    Like ALOT have stated above, keeping it simple is better. Some technology is really advance. Or like some say, "try to re-invent the wheel"...I keep a GOOD paper map of local area I am mostly going to be in. I have an ALL 50 state Rand McNally map, next to my GPS for my truck..
    Short answer, I prefer the old military compass ALONG with my wrist compass, Dummy corded to whatever gear you have, or even to your wrist. Keep it secure! (I even keep 2watches. One in my truck/bag..etc..) time....distance.....location......;)
     
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  20. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    Ditto this.

    I've forgotten more than I ever knew about using my Silva. I took a course in navigating (topo maps) with a compass many, many years ago and taught compass work in a hunter safety class...also many years go. Haven't touched a compass in a long time. I suppose it would come back to me if I worked with it some. For hiking and hunting the PNW, I believe a good Silva and up to date topo map along with the ability to use them will bring you home every time. Stick a good GPS in the other pocket and you should never get lost.