I want to buy a compass

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
User avatar
ericZ
Topix Regular
Posts: 158
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:41 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker
Location: fresno, ca.

I want to buy a compass

Post by ericZ » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:52 am

I want to buy a compass. Which compass would you suggest? I'm leaning towards a Suunto MC-2, specifically the Suunto MC-2G
http://www.suunto.com/en-US/Products/Co ... r-Compass/

Any thoughts? Should i stick with imperial or is there a use for the metric version? thanks.

eric
fresno, ca.

User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Addict
Posts: 2476
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:09 am

What do you want to do with the compass? Learn how to be a navigational wizard? Occasionally find north when you're curious?

A full Orienteering compass with mirror, clinometer, etc has features most people never use. For basic navigation a baseplate is fine.

User avatar
oldranger
Topix Addict
Posts: 2557
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Bend, Oregon

Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by oldranger » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:54 am

I agree with AT. The compass that you are looking at are overkill for basic navigation in the Sierra. And it adds extra ounces. I still carry my old boy scout compass. Of course never use it in the Sierra, but if cloud bound can get me where I want to go.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

User avatar
ericZ
Topix Regular
Posts: 158
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:41 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker
Location: fresno, ca.

Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by ericZ » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:10 am

Well, that's interesting, and a cost-saving approach! :) thanks! I should have added a bit more information, though it might not change what you suggest. and i appreciate the two of you chiming in with your wisdom.

I have my old 40-year old silva boy scout compass. It's small, the markings are faded, it works roughly, and though I always carry it, never use it. Kind of hard to get lost in the Sierra when I have maps, usually stick to trails (except when fishing), don't hike in the snow and have always been careful.

i have two friends who are basically new to the wilderness, one REALLY new, and it's fallen to me to arrange and plan trips. i think i'd also like to venture XC this year, little by little. I was intrigued by the mirror compass style and wanted to learn how to use one. And no, not wanting to be a wizard, maybe just an apprentice. :) So perhaps I should look at a newer baseplate model. or just stick with my old small Silva boy scout. I was intending to start with that famous/infamous REI basic compass navigational class. At 50 years old, I'm kind of old fashioned it seems, and am intrigued and curious about learning basic skills i sometimes think we should have a firm grasp of, though may not be necessary.

now perusing baseplates as well as mirrors:
http://www.thecompassstore.com/baseplate-compasses.html
http://www.thecompassstore.com/mirror.html

any further thoughts?

thanks again.

eric
fresno, ca.

User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Posts: 2809
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Experience: N/A
Location: Fresno
Contact:

Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by giantbrookie » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:46 pm

oldranger wrote:I agree with AT. The compass that you are looking at are overkill for basic navigation in the Sierra. And it adds extra ounces. I still carry my old boy scout compass. Of course never use it in the Sierra, but if cloud bound can get me where I want to go.
I also agree. For my geologic research I use a very heavy, full-featured, and quite expensive compass, but this is because I have to be measuring orientations of 3D features in rocks, rather than orienteering. I never take that bad boy on recreational hiking trips (unless for some reason I have planned to combine research with recreation).

A simple Boy Scout compass is fine, and I do in fact carry my son's old Boy Scout compass on trips after messing up getting back to Hoffman Mtn roadend (went too low and passed below the hairpin where the parking spot is) at the end of my 2015 Woodchuck trip. As I was stuck in the trees with minimum line-of-sight, I took out Lee's compass and this very much helped nail down the route correction. It is the only time I've ever used one in the Sierra in the course of hundreds of trips over the years, but I can say it certainly came in handy. For the simple ones the one thing you have to make sure they have is the declination correction which is usually a set screw that you turn that adjusts the dial position relative to the arrow according to the declination at your location. Some of the very cheapest ones don't have that, so make sure the one you get or have does in fact have that capability. I think your Silva does in fact have that feature, so you should be set.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
Dave_Ayers
Topix Regular
Posts: 205
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:06 am
Experience: N/A

Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by Dave_Ayers » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:14 pm

I find an altimeter a lot more useful for route-finding in the Sierra than a compass. And altimeters come with a compass built in as do many watches these days. I currently carry a Suunto Vector with HRM, Compass, Altimeter, and Barometer. There are many other good brands and models. I've used the compass about twice in the past decade. I use the altimeter at least hourly when hiking.

And I have never broken a digital compass, but I have broken the manual type (back in the day). Take a spare battery if you like. And they last for many years.

User avatar
dprice1
Topix Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 9:29 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: Sonoma Co.

Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by dprice1 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:01 pm

If you go with a mirror it can double as a emergency signal otherwise light, simple and adjustable (declanation)

User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Addict
Posts: 2476
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:06 pm

I was given mine when I joined SAR. It still works, and the mirror is multipurpose, yes.

User avatar
ericZ
Topix Regular
Posts: 158
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:41 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker
Location: fresno, ca.

Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by ericZ » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:47 pm

I went with a Suunto MC 3 for NH baseplate model. $26 i think. Thanks everyone.

eric
fresno, ca.

User avatar
oldranger
Topix Addict
Posts: 2557
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Bend, Oregon

Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by oldranger » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:38 pm

ericZ wrote:I went with a Suunto MC 3 for NH baseplate model. $26 i think. Thanks everyone.

eric
fresno, ca.
WHOA! I could buy a case of Black Butte Porter for less than that!
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests