- Compass's… which way to go?
Are Silva still the benchmark?
Yes they are IMHO. Silvia Expedition http://silva.se/product/compasses/compasses-outdoor/expedition/ has everything you need or the Silvia Ranger http://silva.se/product/compasses/compasses-outdoor/ranger/ if you want less features.
Edit: If you are buying an Expedition, be aware it comes in a military version as well which you probably don’t want as it primarly uses mils not degsPosted 7 months agoB.A.NanaMember
Them or Suunto, my personal choice is just buy a straightforward one ie Expedition4 or explorer. Couple of friends have bought fancier ones in the past, but never used or needed the fancier bits (mirrors, sights etc).
these days it’s probably worthwhile having a gps/phone app back up, saves all the faff of pacing etc if you get caught in a white out. And from time to time you can refer to it to *cough*’confirm’ your navigating decisions.
Edit: I’ve always preferred one with a slightly longer base platePosted 7 months ago
Are Silva still the benchmark?
What features are recommended? Obviously want something of good quality, so won’t be buying a 99p Chinese special, but any other makes ok? Something from Go Outdoors, Decathlon, Blacks etc?
Will be used in anger in Snowdonia mostly.
Ta!Posted 7 months agoStonerSubscriber
So that you can read the dial while sighting a landmark
https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.maptools.com/bundles/maptoolsstaticpages/slides/compass/SightingABearing.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiO86D3gdLVAhUhMJoKHRhXCl8QFggwMAI&usg=AFQjCNF2NPL8QMDa98EupjxcqWOGyozKGwPosted 7 months ago
Do they not teach map reading at school these days? (Not having kids I’ve no idea what gets taught) It was part of Geography since there was nearly always an exam question along the lines of “Compare and contrast the areas shown in the two maps.”. Being able to visualise the terrain from the map is a useful skill to learn – along the lines of “at this point we should be able to see the crag on that hillside” such that you don’t get lost in the first place and then have to use the more advanced techniques to figure out where you are. It’s a bit like riding a bike really – impossible until you can do it 😆
+1 for the Mountain Navigation for Runners, I’ve a printed copy.Posted 7 months ago
Regarding compasses, my recommendation would be just to buy a basic cheap (but branded) one. No need for all the extra bells and whistles. A mirror might be useful if you’re surveying (though I’d expect proper surveyors to use something a bit more sophisticated!) but most people rarely if ever take a proper sighting, and if you do it’s straightforward enough with a normal compass to the accuracy you’d normally require.
A cheap unbranded one sold by a proper shop is probably also sufficient, though the quality may not be so good – the usual issue is that the casing cracks and the damping fluid leaks out (though I’ve also had that happen on a quite expensive compass). Magnet may also be a bit lower strength and damping not so good, but that’s unlikely to make any difference for most people.
Personally I tend to use an orienteering thumb compass, because that’s what I own, they’re extremely high quality (the principle difference from a standard consumer one is that the needle sets position faster and will stay steady when you’re running) and it’s always in the right place to use with a map. Not a very long straight edge, so not the best for taking sightings (though I’ve used it for that), but perfect for following a “bearing” off the map.Posted 7 months agoB.A.NanaMember
What I don’t bother with anymore, that an app on my phone has definitely replaced, is an altimeter watch. In the old days an altimeter was occasionally useful, especially in cloud cover. Now, if I need to, just quickly check exact positions on my phone app.
Must admit, when in the proper thick of it (Scottish winter, alps etc), I welcome the new easy option stuff to assist, but equally mourn the passing of slight chaos, fun and satisfaction when you nav’d out of a pickle using various compass skills, pacing, attack points, aiming off, aspect of slope, questionable altimeter reading etc, of old. Now replaced with a quick check of a phone app/GPS.Posted 7 months agojonbaMember
To get a marine captain’s license you still need to be able to use chart and compass (and presumably sextant).
I’ve never actually used a sextant. Would be interesting to learn. I assume you need a flat horizon line?
I’ve always used GPS on the water and carried charts as backup. But my main experience is sea kayaking so it is only on very rare occasions I was out of site of land. That and sea charts are tricky to handle in a kayak. We cut up the entire west coast of British columbia in to A4 pieces and laminated them. Then did a back up copy. It was very tedious.
Trolling aside (my phone battery lasts for days). My my compass is a silva. Has survived well. I think I bought it for my Bronze DoE back in 1998 – I might have stolen it from my sister. She had a box of them – given to her when she used to do orienteering on the GB team.Posted 7 months ago
@jonba – no idea about the sextant but since the idea is that you can work out your location and heading without anything electronic it seems one of the tools for the job. I contracted on a trawler in the 1990s and both the captain and first mate said they both had to be able to navigate using non-electronic means.
The one thing that I don’t like about the hand-held GPS devices is the lack of context to the surrounding landscape: you get a few square cm of map which is fine for your immediate surroundings but useless beyond that. If you zoom out then you start to lose detail, if you scroll around then you lose the relationship between your location and what’s on screen. With a map then unless you happen to be close to the edge of the area it covers you get coverage for many Km in all directions at the same resolution.
If you’ve pre-planned a route and it’s loaded into your GPS then there isn’t much point in constantly referring to a map as you’ve basically done all the nav back in the warmth of your house so it’s just a case of following the dots though it does seem a bit strange to be constantly looking at a screen when in the outdoors. Of course you can do the same with a map – I’ve supported Bob Graham contenders and had a printout of a map with bearings written on so it’s a case of “head along bearing 200deg until you intersect the path then head right along this”. The bearings were all to the nearest 10deg allowing for magnetic variation so that didn’t have to be calculated on the hill (virtually pointless now anyway) as it’s all but impossible to run to an accuracy of one or two degrees over rough ground.
I’ll use techniques like “ticking off features” when we are heading somewhere new in the car and all I’ve got is a road atlas: “heading under railway bridge, left bend coming up, junction on right, …” a bit like rally pace notes for the middle aged 😆Posted 7 months ago
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