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Let's Talk Low-tech - Handheld Compass'


8mmag

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OK, who has an opinion on handheld compass's to share. I'm looking for a good mapping compass primarily to use with 1:24K topos and aerial photos. So far I've been looking at the Brunton 8096 Eclipse GPS compass Brunton and the Suunto GPS-Plotter G compass. Suunto.

 

What do you think about the quality of these manufacturers, features these offer, other options, or ??? I haven't seen a Silva with similar scaling features for my purposes, am I missing something?

 

Thanks for your comments :laughing:

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OK, who has an opinion on handheld compass's to share. I'm looking for a good mapping compass primarily to use with 1:24K topos and aerial photos. So far I've been looking at the Brunton 8096 Eclipse GPS compass Brunton and the Suunto GPS-Plotter G compass. Suunto.

 

What do you think about the quality of these manufacturers, features these offer, other options, or ??? I haven't seen a Silva with similar scaling features for my purposes, am I missing something?

 

Thanks for your comments :laughing:

 

I use a German Army Surplus Bezard built by Lufft, and extinct since about 1970, they built them the same for about 100 years :laughing:

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I use a US military compass too, also from my days in the Army. I got mine at the PX for around $20 or so if I remember correctly. Mine doesn't have tritium though...you have to shine a light on it for a minute or so to charge it up so you can see it in the dark. I've had it since about 1989, and it's held up great.

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I carry a Brunton pocket transit usually, but mostly because I use it for other things. One of those would definitely be overkill for geocaching. I think they can cost more than a GPS. :laughing:

Edited by ejnewman
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So doesn't anyone use a baseplate compass and a topo map or aerial photos to plot where they are the old fashioned way?

 

I was asking more for our hunting trips than actual caching We hunt in wilderness areas...no computers. Paper maps photos, & a compass (actually 2 since I carry a spare) are pretty useful. I can see where any accurate compass will give good direction to a cache, but for plotting positions on maps, a good baseplate compass with map scales makes it a lot easier...that's why I was asking about mapping compasses.

 

Another question, not quite Garmin vs. Magellan, but...who makes the best compass and why? Shouldn't be too much flaming on that one should there?

 

Thanks again for your comments.

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So doesn't anyone use a baseplate compass and a topo map or aerial photos to plot where they are the old fashioned way?

 

I was asking more for our hunting trips than actual caching We hunt in wilderness areas...no computers. Paper maps photos, & a compass (actually 2 since I carry a spare) are pretty useful. I can see where any accurate compass will give good direction to a cache, but for plotting positions on maps, a good baseplate compass with map scales makes it a lot easier...that's why I was asking about mapping compasses.

 

Another question, not quite Garmin vs. Magellan, but...who makes the best compass and why? Shouldn't be too much flaming on that one should there?

 

Thanks again for your comments.

 

I use a Suunto KB-14, it's durable, quick, accurate, and easy to use. I do a lot of map work, but don't use baseplate compasses; I think a dial compass is quicker and easier to use.

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I've carried Silva Ranger 15Ts for thirty years. I don't know how the current models rate for quality, 530 Ultra, and 515 CL, but historically I have found them to be the cheapest, most compact quality sighting compass around. If I were replacing it I might be tempted by the military lensatics, but that's just the former survey insturment operator in me talking.

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I carry the Brunton Classic as shown above by hikergps. It is a good value and has adjustable declination. Good size and fits in pocket.

 

Some slightly cheaper compasses are non-adjustable, but have a declination scale. Just put a marking pen black mark on the declination for your area. Do this from the bottom since they are clear. Align needle over this mark and read true north from Az ring.

Edited by EScout
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Often I use a brunton geo transit in the field, however it does cost more than most gps's and it's not really a great map compass.

 

I have used a brunton 8099 but don't like it for a couple of reasons. First the rubber "bottom" has to be taken off so the baseplate can be used on a map. This is a pain cause then it's dangling from the compass lanyard, worse yet there are about 5 cards under the baseplate, that have info on them, also dangling from the lanyard. There is useful info on them, how to make height measurements, a transparent map scale etc. but again they are always in the way.

 

Second back to the cards, one of the cards sits under the baseplate and is the "scale" for the inclination readings, so if the card is not perfectly square under the compass your inclination values are wrong.

 

Also the rubber baseplate when attached to the compass interferes with opening the cover to do sightings etc. and there are no luminous markings on the dials.

 

It's a nice compass and the cards have a lot of useful info and it's nice they stay in one package, but it's also annoying to have all that tied to the compass when you are trying to use it on a map. That said you could remove the rubber base and cards and all you'd loose is the inclination function, but for me that's a important function.

 

I do like the circle over circle alignment it makes it super easy to take sightings and such. It's a compass I thought would be great untill I actually got it out in the field and used it. It's ergonomics are horrible. The ranger 530 looks like a nice unit, but again it's hard to tell till you start using it. The tried and true military verson is a great compass as well, the tritium dial is super nice at night.

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27LU.jpgHere's the only one I will carry in my backpack...It is less tha 1 oz. in weight and does the job well.

 

http://www.brunton.com/product.php?id=95

 

let's face it...All a compass knows how to do is point to magnetic north. Silva, Suunto, Silva... all the best stuff. Just make sure it has a see through base plate, the ability to shoot a bearing, and 5 degree or less increments on the dial.

Edited by Alphawolf
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I use a Silva type 7 that I've had since the days before GPSrs, and I used a compass and topo map for hunting. I have a Brunton Classic that I got from the NRA that I have for a backup.

 

edit: Wanna have fun sometime? Go to WallyWorld, and grab one of the compasses they have there. Now turn around in a circle, and see what happens... :laughing:

Edited by H2OBob
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So doesn't anyone use a baseplate compass and a topo map or aerial photos to plot where they are the old fashioned way?

 

pfft! what's the point?

 

although I do carry an old army lensatic - just in case.

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suunto m3 global. use it orienteering, hiking off trail (and on), and caching. has seen me safely across many an adventure.

 

i bought the same compass a couple of months ago. i love having the global needle since i do some world travelling. suunto m3 global...

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For several decades I have used a Suunto KB-14. It is faster and more convenient than a baseplate compass and far faster and more convenient than the GPS compass.

 

Faster, because 90% of the time, I only want to know what direction I'm going. All I need do is haul the compass out, make sure the dial is free, and look at it. Takes one hand and about 3-4 seconds at the most.

 

More convenient because sightings take only one hand. I can get to half a degree easily and quickly.

 

For determining the correction I use the deviation given by the GPS (60CSx) or http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/geomag/jsp/Declination.jsp

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For several decades I have used a Suunto KB-14. It is faster and more convenient than a baseplate compass and far faster and more convenient than the GPS compass.

 

Faster, because 90% of the time, I only want to know what direction I'm going. All I need do is haul the compass out, make sure the dial is free, and look at it. Takes one hand and about 3-4 seconds at the most.

 

More convenient because sightings take only one hand. I can get to half a degree easily and quickly.

 

For determining the correction I use the deviation given by the GPS (60CSx) or http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/geomag/jsp/Declination.jsp

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I use the Brunton 54LU, which is a baseplate compass that provides direct sighting, with accuracy of +/- 1/2 degree. It's very easy to use, has a longer baseplate than most baseplate compasses, has UTM scales. I also use the UTM grids supplied by MapTools. Using the compass and UTM grids, together with topo maps and especially in combination with the GPS (set to UTM, of course) provides a quick, accurate way of mapping in the field.

 

http://www.brunton.com/product.php?id=101

 

http://www.maptools.com

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