Recommend a compass

NEhunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2012
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776
Location
Nebraska
Looking for a compass and not sure which one to go with. I am an amateur at land nav (without a GPS):D and wanting to learn more so I dont have to rely on the GPS. Just wondering what you guys use in the backcountry and why you chose the one you did. Also, can anyone recommend any good videos or books on the subject?
 

CrzyTrekker

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Aug 3, 2012
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725
Location
San Luis Valley, Colorado
Stay away from lensatic compasses unless you need to plan an artillery strike.

A simple base plate compass like a Silva or Brunton can plot map bearings, take you where you need to go, and help you find yourself if lost (resection). One that allows you to adjust for declination is very, very handy. I like the Brunton base plate models. Very accurate if used carefully.

Some unsolicited advice: Get online and find the closest orienteering club. Go out and participate in monthly events a couple times. It's the best way to learn fundamentals unless you happen to be a graduate of Ranger School or SFAS.
 

Yellowknife

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Apr 9, 2012
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1,715
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Fairbanks, Alaska
Stay away from lensatic compasses unless you need to plan an artillery strike.

A simple base plate compass like a Silva or Brunton can plot map bearings, take you where you need to go, and help you find yourself if lost (resection). One that allows you to adjust for declination is very, very handy. I like the Brunton base plate models. Very accurate if used carefully.

That pretty well nails in my mind. It doesn't have to be fancy, but declination adjustment is a must have. I spend quite a bit of time every summer navigating to various points in the wilderness (finding old drill holes, dataloggers, property corners, what have you...) and have gotten fairly good at making my way to point A to point B in less the friendly terrain. I very often will take a bearing and distance from the GPS and then stick in back in my pocket and use the compass to get there. A compass arrow always points the same way no matter how thick the tree cover is, or how tall the mountains are, and it doesn't care if you are standing still or not. I don't really consider them to be a back up to the GPS so much as two complimentary and equally useful tools.

Yk
 
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NEhunter

NEhunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2012
Messages
776
Location
Nebraska
Hey, thanks for the replies. Sab those essays are great info, thank you. I was really wondering if people preferred the lensatic compass or base plate styles, looks like I will probably just pick up one of the Silva's from Cabelas and call it good.
 

m1garand

Newbie
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
6
Get a map....A Silva base plate model would be a great start. You can stick it in a shirt pocket with a string tied to a button hole so it wont go missing. But get a a good topo map of your favorite hiking, camping, or hunting area that you pretty much know well and learn your navigation skills at that location. learn how to orient your map with the terrain features as well with the direction of you compass (North-South). Terrain association is a very important part of navigation as well. I am old school and have learned map and compass before GPS became available to us common folk, but it seams now I multi-task by doing Compass, Terrain Association, GPS, Pace Counting, and Plotting on the map! It's all fun, although I,m not sure where I'm going but I know where I'm at! Or at least I know how to get back!
 
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