I want to buy a compass

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Re: I want to buy a compass

Post by mrphil » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:41 am

I can't resist replying to this one. I have no helpful advice, but a compass story that's kind of cool and kind of funny...to me anyway.

Maybe 12 years ago or so I was shifting over to UTM from DMS as my preferred coordinate system. In the course of learning (blue grid squares...might as well know how to use them) and buying some small corner tools for my nav pouch, I noticed that the site, Maptools, was touting a compass made by Silva, branded and marketed by Brunton, the 54LU. I think I paid about $50 for it at the time. Pricey, but oh well, it was "gear", and it wasn't a $500 raincoat, so it was okay. The beauty of it was that it was direct sighting, window in the bezel for bearing and easy read of back azimuth, 1 degree of accuracy, baseplate for mapping, bearings always working off of magnetic north, so no need to for declination adjustment anywhere in the northern hemisphere...point, sight the target, get the bearing, go. Easy to use (aka: stupid-proof) and accurate every time.

So anyhow, Brunton was bought out and stopped making a lot of their products, their compasses included, and Silva began remarketing it as the Explorer 54. I think they still make it. One day about a month ago I decided to look it up and read any reviews I could find out of idle curiosity and boredom. The cheapest price I found was $257, with some people trying to charge over $700. 50 bucks seemed like a lot of money at the time, but I had no idea that I was making an investment with a 500% return. Only problem now is, I'm afraid to actually use it, so I'm back to carrying an old Silva Ranger that I swiped from my mom.

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