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Compass! Internal Or External


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Mine is a "standard" outdoor compass, with the usual features for reading maps, such as a little graduated ruler, magnifying glass, parallel lines on the body, etc. It's got a rotatable ring for taking bearings, and a nice little nylon lanyard for getting it caught on bushes and twigs. I've also discovered that the lanyard can also be used for attaching it to things like the cache bag, belt, or my neck. It also has glow-in-the-dark markings for those cache hunts that take a LOT longer than originally expected. It set me back about eight bucks, if I recall correctly.

 

Of course, absolutely the most important feature of this little piece of wonder-gear: it continues to work even after I've exhausted all of the extra batteries I forgot to bring with me.

 

Seriously, a standard magnetic compass is a vital piece of my caching kit, which has a permanent home in the cache bag. I don't go hunting without it, even if I'm just going to be in local parks and the like.

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If you have one built into your GPS, chances are you'll never use a separate compass. At least that's been my experience.

 

But it is a good idea to carry a regular compass as backup in case the GPS fails or battery goes dead. (Take extra batteries too).

 

Alan

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If you have one built into your GPS, chances are you'll never use a separate compass. At least that's been my experience.

 

But it is a good idea to carry a regular compass as backup in case the GPS fails or battery goes dead. (Take extra batteries too).

 

Alan

I agree. I carry my trusty Silva, but it rarely comes out of the backpack. It's in there with three sets of batteries which pretty much guarantee that it won't be needed.

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It's in there with three sets of batteries which pretty much guarantee that it won't be needed.

 

Yep, those extra batteries are great.... until... you drop your GPS unit and it breaks... then you'll appreciate the fact that you have your $5 compass with you :ph34r: Happy geocaching!

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I bought a 50 dollar Brunton compass last year. I went hiking with it and as I changed altitudes, a bubble appeared in the damping fluid. Bubble never went away and I don't know how much it might interfere with the needle. I could have dropped 50 bucks down the drain.

 

Next compass I use will be a military one. Very reliable, and the old-school, radioactive ones glow in the dark forever.

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External. Something like the Silva Expedition 4 is perfect.

 

On top of the direction-pointing abilities provided by your GPSr, a compass like this serves many other purposes, including:

  • Reading grid references off the map using the romer scale;
  • Taking a bearing (to verify your position on the map);
  • Reading a bearing off the map;
  • Triangulating your position (if you're in a sticky situation);
  • Measuring distances on the map;
  • Taking a back bearing;
  • Measuring bearings whilst preparing a route card.

I wouldn't go out on the mountains without my compass (and a map)!

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Hi,

 

A no-battery compass is a fixture in my geocaching bag...along with a map of the area I'm travelling in, a first-aid kit, water, a whistle, my leatherman, and a lighter/matches.

 

I wouldn't dream of going into the woods without these things...this may not be important for the "speed-caching through walmart parking-lots" set, but in a wilderness like the Adirondacks, it's just silly not to be prepared for things not working out as planned.

 

Just my thoughts,

 

nfa

Edited by NFA
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If you have one built into your GPS,  chances are you'll never use a separate compass.  At least that's been my experience.

 

But it is a good idea to carry a regular compass as backup in case the GPS fails or battery goes dead. (Take extra batteries too).

 

Alan

I agree. I carry my trusty Silva, but it rarely comes out of the backpack. It's in there with three sets of batteries which pretty much guarantee that it won't be needed.

That's why I lost the compass I normally keep in my pocket. I just never used it. I miss it like I miss my watch when I don't have it on when I leave the house and it needs to be replaced very soon so that I have my compliment of backups for the longer hikes.

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external for two reasons:

a, an inbuilt makes the gps about twice the price! when you can get a decent compass for only 20 pounds.

b, as has been said an external doesn't run out of batteries!

 

may not ever use it or only once in a while but it's always there and ready.

Only if you compare low-ends with high-ends. And I've seen some pretty pricey GPS receivers without the compass built-in. My MeriPlat new cost me $250 and was only $50 higher than the Gold without the compass.

 

The compass usage really knocked down the battery usage only by about an hour max so I keep it on all the time. With the compass enabled, my MeriPlat lasts 10 hours, and that's with all the nav screens enabled. I carry spares for 30 hours always on usage if I don't use the backlight and I have extras I can extract from my flashlight or camera if the need is critical.

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I use the $15.00 compass I bought at an army surplus once I start getting close to the cache (meaning there's not as much steady movement in one direction) or if there is heave canopy.

 

The compass on my GPS doesn't seem to read direction too well if I stand still and pivot. I am assuming it is based on reading direction of movement from step to step, dunno. Regardless, the external compass is my tool of choice once the search gets to the stop and go phase.

 

EDIT: heavy canopy

Edited by Toron
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I bought a 50 dollar Brunton compass last year. I went hiking with it and as I changed altitudes, a bubble appeared in the damping fluid. Bubble never went away and I don't know how much it might interfere with the needle. I could have dropped 50 bucks down the drain

 

I believe that Brunton will replace your compass. Have you contacted them?

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I have a Meriplat and use the built in compass (works no matter what angle you hold it) on most occasions but always have a Sylva in my pocket and a back-up in my truck. Of course to be very useful beyond doing a simple offset cache or navigating in the general direction you parked, you need a MAP too!

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the built in can be handy. HAVE A REGULAR COMPASS AND KNOW HOW TO USE IT.

 

i realize this is just a game, but when you are lost in the woods (notice use of the word "when") you will be glad you have the proper tools. oh, and a map. either know the terrain, or have a map and know how to use it, too. while your'e at it, you may want to consider a passing familiarity with firestarters and water collection methods. a little first aid knowledge would be a good idea, too. and wear a hat. call your mother once in a while, would it kill you?

 

or you can stay in small city parks. you can usually get out of those in one piece.

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An on-board compass that shows geographic direction combined with a GPS that shows geographic position goes together like ham and eggs.

 

People use the GPS to provide direction to start with - until they lose that sats. So why the objection to continuing to do it with an on-board magnetic compass? If the non-compass GPS always showed direction from the sats even when not moving, would you still be arguing for a separate compass other than for backup?

 

The arguments to me are not logical. But then again, you can't argue logic with feelings. (I learned that from my wife. :grin: )

 

Alan

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I don't own a compass. I have not used one since drafting class my freshman year in college. Now I just trace around something round if I need to draw a circle.

 

Oh, and I use that electronic north pointing feature on my MeriPlat.

Edited by Stunod
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I use an external - a Brunton with a mirror for better sighting. I take readings as I go into an area, often skipping setting a waypoint, then see how long it takes me to find the real prize - my car. Actually, this came in handy a couple of weeks ago when I went into an area I presumably know. So much for presumption. When I got to a trail fork, I checked the rough back bearing and took the right path, which also happened to be the right path.

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External, putting the sun in a tiny plastic device just sounds like a bad idea to me.

 

My most-used geocaching compass is a keychain compass. I have a typical map-reading one if I need more precise degrees.

 

Since you NEED an external, non-battery one physically separate from your other navigation tools, why be redundant and spend extra $$ on a battery-drainer?

 

But, I know you can't dispute feelings with logic, Alan taught me that. {wink}

 

Enjoy,

 

Randy

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