I need a new compass....what do you guys use?


I wasn't sure where to put this, sort of "Hardware" but I figure its more of a Camping essential. I tried searching for a review thread but couldn't find any dedicated to compasses.

So after 30 years my Silva Ranger has a bubble in it. I have used this thing everywhere and love its simplicity. Adjustable declination, clinometer etc. And most of all very simple and sturdy. And I want/have to have something that works....always. Be it camping, bushwhacking while fishing or SAR it has to work first and foremost.

So I was looking to get the replacement and started seeing some of the other types that seem to have more features than the (more) basic Ranger. Silva and Suunto don't seem to make ones that (appear) to have all the other bells and whistles. But I am also concerned that some that seem to have many more features like this one may be ultimately junk:


At about half the price of the Ranger I worry that it is a cheap piece of crap. I don't want to risk my life for something as important as a compass to some "shiny new gadget". ha! But its entirely possible Suunto and Silva are just playing more off their names in charging what they do. I don't know. So I am curious what others are using and why. I am most curious from those who have really beaten theirs up and find they keep working. Thanks all!


Silva and Brunton quality seems to have fallen off. I recommend Suunto at this point. I recently purchased an M3-G that I am impressed with, but the A-30L is a great all around compass that doesn't break the bank at under $30.


Suunto A10 is about all anyone needs for land navigation. Most compass companies will replace a compass with a large bubble in it for free. I have returned several different brands of compasses for various reasons and have not had a company deny warranty replacement yet.
I teach land navigation for Search and Rescue using map and compass, GPS and other alternative techniques. Adjustable declination is way over rated, it can get you lost easily if you go to a different location and forget about it! I even keep my GPS in the magnetic compass mode. It is so easy to determine your own local deviation.
If you want to spend over $100 on a compass go ahead but it will be no more accurate than a compass like the A10. Military compasses are a PITA to plot on a map with.


I've been sticking with Silva and never had any issues. My parents 4 decade old compass has a bubble in it too but after 40 years I expect a little wear.
I've got the Explorer for about $20. http://amzn.to/2aCKyce
I like it over the ones with too many doo-dads because they're pretty flat and pack well in a bag with my folded 7.5min USGS maps.


Thanks everyone. I like magnetic declination prob just cause I am used to having it and setting it. But I totally get that as long as you adjust for it you can adapt. What I am hearing is the bells an whistles so to speak are not so great as the tried and true. Not for the price differentials that are charged. Thanks.....I appreciate the feedback.

I do like the looks of the Cammenga. Not sure I need tritium and the px that comes with it. I see they offer a cheaper one too. But I am so used to my folding Silva.

I might see about the warranty though. Didn't think of that after 30 years. :)


Autism Family Travellers!
Using a cheap Silva, had it for about 30 years now. Works great. And I also use my pro trek watch.


I have an old brass Silva, and also have a Ranger. Just glad to see a bunch of people who still believe in analog technology. It may seem that Silva quality has fallen off, but
the new plastics are so advanced now that even though it seems kinda cheap the durability is still there. So long as the needle and fluid are still good, and it settles down like it
should then it is still usable. I saw a couple there with built-in inclinometers, which would be really handy working out elevation changes. Especially it you are working out a
walking route into the high country.


I agree cruiser. Have no beef with technology and love to use it. But I don't want to be blind and deaf if it goes out!

Thanks on the army versions too guys. Simple still works!