I have been looking around for a nice compass to add to my pack of safety features as a backup to my GPSR's. With so many brands and types of quality you can buy these days it is tough to figure out just which one is best for our type of sport. Do any of you use a compass when you go geocaching? and if so which type do you own and why do you like it? With my luck I'll be a hundred miles out in the woods Caching during a heavy snow storm when they decide to put the restrictions back on the sats
-------------- "I Cache...Therefore I am!" Quinn Stone
I have a Suunto model M3, that is very versatile and easy to use, can be used for plotting a course on a topo map, the dial rotates to set a heading to follow, adjusts for true north, is liquid filled, etc., etc. The best feature is the warranty; I bought my first Suunto in the mid 1960's, then after using it for about 30 years, I left it in my truck on a -25 F night and the liquid fill apparently froze and jammed the needle. They replaced it with no questions asked under their lifetime warranty. I carry it in the case with my Magellan 315, and use it frequently to line up on the "goto" heading the GPSR reports.
-------------- "If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost!"
Having learned how to even use a compass in the military years ago I have a plain jane no-name Lensatic Compass. Believe it or not I pick this thing up a few years back at A&N for $2 so I could check for visible line of site for Dish TV Satellite. Hey what can I say, It works!
I've got a $10 Silva compass that I've used for years for hiking, hunting and orienteering. Like the Suunto, it can be used to plot on a topo map, it is liquid filled, the dial rotates and it can be adjusted for declination. It's easy to use and great as a teaching tool. I've used it to teach cub scouts how to orienteer.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it glows in the dark. Cub scouts think this is the coolest feature.
I now use a Ozark Trail 3013 with self leveling dial and a hands free feature. That sounds mighty impressive but it's one of those bubble pin jobs and it set me back a whopping 99 cents at Wally World. Hey! it pins to my shirt, one hand holds the GPS the other hand leads me through that heavy brush you guys like to choose for cache hides. It sports an arrow, 4 letters (NEWS) and has tic marks every 15 degrees. It doesn't sound too accurate but it out performs a GPS with poor sat reception near the cache sight. I still carry my 10 dollar compass just to maintain Geogeek status.
I use an inexpensive little Silva Polaris (like $12 or something). It's nice, has everything I need, does the job and has a lifetime guarantee. Honestly even though it's usually in my backpack or hip pack I rarely use it for geocaching. It's main purpose is when I'm camping or hiking in the backcountry. Instead of pulling it out during geocaches I seem to prefer running around in circles while my etrex venture pointer jumps all over the place
-------------- "...Not all those who wander are lost..."
I have an electronic digital compass in my MeriPlat GPSR. But...........I ALWAYS carry an analog compass with me on geohunts. Better to be safe than sorry. BTW, my MeriPlat's compass works just fine! It has put me right on top of many a geocache! And....I do not have to calibrate it after every battery change. Peace! Oh, my compass is a Silva with a whistle, magnifying lens, and thermometer all built together. I use it check my digital compass for accuracy.
I use a cheapy $20.00 Lensatic compass. A cheapy so I don't feel so bad when it falls overboard. I can aim it at a landmark, read the bearing through the magnifing lens.
I plot the line on my chart at the correct angle of the bearing. I can then take a bearing on another landmark and plot that one. After three or four readings my location is at the intersection of the lines. My friend has an electronic version, it looks like a plastic card with two bumps. You line it up like gun sights and press the button then read the direction on the LCD screen.
In a moving sailboat it has to be done quickly but a pretty good fix can be had. In a power boat you need to stop and take reading or else you get yourself in trouble fast.
No ned to get fancy or expensive... the camping/sportinggoods section of your local big box discount store "walmart, target, sams club, big K mart, ect" cary very servicable lensatic and orienterring compasas for mess than $10 often less than $5. if you are one prone to losing things in the woods, then I would recommend going that route.