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what do all good orienteering compasses have

A reliable orienteering compass is essential for precise wilderness navigation, featuring accurate needle, orienteering lines, and bright arrow.
what do all good orienteering compasses have

Struggling to find your way in the wilderness? A reliable orienteering compass might just be your saving grace. This essential tool, equipped with key features like an accurate magnetic needle and clear base plate, ensures you never lose direction.

In this blog post, we’ll dissect what makes a good compass tick and guide you through choosing the best one for your next adventure. Ready to find your bearings? Let’s dive right in!

Key Takeaways

  • A good orienteering compass should have an accurate magnetic needle that points to the north pole with speed and precision.
  • It should also feature orienteering lines that help align the compass with a map, ensuring proper direction and avoiding getting lost.
  • Visibility is crucial, so a good compass should have a bright and clear orienteering arrow that can be seen even in low-light conditions.

Understanding Orienteering and its Equipment

A hiker using a map and compass

In orienteering, a compass is a crucial piece of equipment that helps navigate through unfamiliar terrain.

Importance of a compass in orienteering

A compass plays a big part in orienteering. It helps you know the four main directions: North, South, East, and West. You can use these to read a map right and find your way in new places.

The needle of the compass always points North because it follows the earth’s magnet field lines. This makes sure you don’t get lost during your trip! Good compasses also have special parts that help you walk straight towards your goal and show where to go next on the map.

Key Features of a Good Orienteering Compass

A hiker using a compass while hiking

A good orienteering compass should have a magnetic needle that is accurate, orienteering lines for easy map alignment, and a visible orienteering arrow to guide navigation. Want to know more about what makes a compass great for orienteering? Keep reading!

Magnetic needle accuracy

The magnetic needle in a compass plays a big part. This needle must point to the north pole with speed and accuracy. A strong magnet inside it pulls it towards the north. It rests in a liquid-filled capsule so it doesn’t shake around too much.

You can see how well it is working by looking into the sight mirror on your compass. If you need, you can turn a knob on some types of compasses to make sure the needle shows true north just right!

Presence of orienteering lines

Orienteering lines on a compass help people to not get lost. Good orienteering compasses always have these lines. These lines are marks that line up with the map. They make sure you go in the right direction.

You use them to see where things are, and how far away they are from each other on the ground. This helps you plan your path in nature better, making sure you don’t end up going around in circles!

Visibility of orienteering arrow

The orienteering arrow on your compass needs to be bright and clear. This is so you can see it even in low light. To aid this, some compasses have a glow-in-the-dark needle. The needle will stay lit for a long time after it gets light from the sun or a torchlight.

A magnifier can also help to make the arrow more visible when reading map details. If the directions marked on your compass are hard to see, using it might lead to mistakes or confusion during navigation tasks.

Different Types of Orienteering Compasses

A map and compass used for navigation

There are two main types of orienteering compasses: the lensatic compass and the thumb compass.

Lensatic compass

The Lensatic compass is a type of orienteering compass that is perfect for survivalists. It has a knob that allows you to easily change the orientation of the compass needle, so you can align it with your desired direction.

The compass is equipped with a liquid-filled capsule, which keeps the magnetic needle stable and accurate even in rough conditions. One of its standout features is a clear base plate, which makes it easy to read cardinal directions on maps.

Plus, it also has a sighting mirror that allows for all-round sighting, making navigation even easier.

Thumb compass

Thumb compasses are a type of orienteering compass that are perfect for survivalists. These compact and lightweight compasses can be easily attached to the thumb, making them convenient to use while navigating through challenging terrains.

Thumb compasses usually have a rotating bezel that allows you to change the orientation of the compass needle, ensuring accurate readings. They also feature a clear base plate, which helps you easily read cardinal directions.

Additionally, many thumb compasses have a liquid-filled capsule that keeps the magnetic needle stable even in rough conditions. So if you’re looking for a reliable and easy-to-use compass for your survival adventures, consider getting a thumb compass.

How to Use an Orienteering Compass for Navigation

A group of hikers in the rainforest

Using an orienteering compass for navigation is essential for survivalists. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Hold the compass flat in your hand, ensuring the direction arrow is pointing away from you.
  2. Rotate yourself until the needle aligns with the orienting arrow and points north.
  3. Look through the transparent base plate and find a landmark or feature in your surroundings.
  4. Turn the compass housing until the meridian lines run parallel with the north – south grid lines on your map.
  5. Keeping the compass steady, align the edge of the compass with your chosen landmark or feature.
  6. Hold the compass firmly and turn your body until the orienting arrow is inside the outlined arrow on your map.
  7. The direction of travel arrow on your compass should now point directly towards your destination.
  8. Follow this direction and navigate using other landmarks along the way.

Taking Care of Your Compass

To ensure that your compass lasts long and works effectively, it is important to take good care of it. Here are some tips for taking care of your orienteering compass:

  1. Keep it clean: Regularly wipe off any dirt or debris from the compass, using a soft cloth or brush. This will help maintain its accuracy.
  2. Store it properly: When not in use, store your compass in a dry and cool place. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight, as this can affect its performance.
  3. Avoid strong magnetic fields: Keep your compass away from objects that generate strong magnetic fields, such as magnets or electronic devices. These can cause interference and disrupt the readings.
  4. Handle with care: Avoid dropping or banging your compass against hard surfaces, as this can damage its delicate parts and affect its accuracy.
  5. Check for leaks: Occasionally inspect the liquid-filled capsule of your compass for any signs of leakage. If you notice any leaks, replace the compass immediately to ensure accurate readings.
  6. Regularly calibrate: It is important to periodically calibrate your compass to correct for any deviations caused by changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to calibrate your specific compass model.

Five Best Compasses for Orienteering

A group of young hikers using a map and compass

Here are the top five orienteering compasses that you should consider for your next survival adventure. Read on to find out which one suits your needs the best!

Silva Race Plate

Silva Race Plate is a great compass for survivalists who are into orienteering. It is known for its straightforward design and precise navigation features. This compass is one of the top choices when it comes to orienteering compasses.

One important feature of Silva Race Plate is its liquid-filled capsule, which ensures that the magnetic needle remains stable even in rough terrain. Another key feature is the clear base plate, which allows you to obtain accurate northings and eastings on a map.

Additionally, Silva Race Plate includes a Romer scale with two arrows, making it easier for you to measure distances on your map accurately. With this high-quality compass by your side, navigating through unfamiliar territory becomes much easier and more reliable.

Suunto MC-2

The Suunto MC-2 compass is considered one of the best compasses for orienteering. It has a clear base plate that allows you to read the cardinal directions accurately. The compass also features a liquid-filled capsule, which keeps the magnetic needle stable and ensures its accuracy.

Additionally, the Suunto MC-2 compass has a magnetic and luminous needle, making it visible even in low-light conditions. Another useful feature is the knob that allows you to change the orientation of the compass needle easily.

These features make the Suunto MC-2 an excellent choice for survivalists who need a reliable and easy-to-use orienteering compass.

Brunton TruArc 10

The Brunton TruArc 10 is a top-rated compass for orienteering, making it an excellent choice for survivalists. It stands out with its clear base plate, which allows you to easily read cardinal directions on your map.

The compass is lightweight and equipped with a magnetized needle that accurately measures degrees for precise navigation. It also features a handy sighting mirror and a liquid-filled capsule, ensuring accurate location determination.

With the Romer scale, magnifiers, and magnetic and luminous needle, this compass makes map reading and visibility a breeze during your outdoor adventures.

Brunton TruArc 3

The Brunton TruArc 3 compass is one of the top choices for orienteering. It has a knob that allows you to easily change the orientation of the compass needle, making it convenient and flexible for navigation.

The clear base plate provides accurate readings of cardinal directions, helping you stay on track during your outdoor adventures. The magnetized needle is both accurate and lightweight, allowing for precise degree measurements.

While it does not have a sight mirror like some other compasses, its other features make it a reliable tool for survivalists who need a compact and efficient compass.

Silva Race 360 Jet

The Silva Race 360 Jet is a thumb compass specifically designed for speed and competition use. It has a streamlined design and features a responsive needle, allowing for quick and accurate navigation during orienteering events.

While it may lack markings for precise readings, this compass prioritizes speed over precision, making it ideal for advanced users who are experienced in orienteering competitions.

Silva is a well-known brand in the compass industry, recognized for producing high-quality compasses that perform well in various navigation situations.

Conclusion AND FAQ’S

In conclusion, a good orienteering compass should have a knob to change the needle orientation easily. It should also have a clear base plate for accurate reading of directions. Furthermore, an accurate and lightweight magnetized needle with all-round sighting mirror and liquid-filled capsule are essential features.

Additionally, setting circles, Romer scale with two arrows, direction arrow on the base plate, magnifiers for map details, and a magnetic and luminous needle are important aspects of a good compass.

Overall, these features make orienteering easier and more precise for survivalists.

What do all good orienteering compasses have?

All good orienteering compasses have certain features that make them reliable and accurate for navigation in the outdoors. These include a course outline, parts of a compass, magnetic north indicator, the ability to use a compass, a magnetic needle, and a declination adjustment.

What is a course outline in a compass?

The course outline on a compass is a feature that helps orienteers plan and track their route during navigation. It is typically marked on the compass base plate and provides a visual reference for the direction of travel.

What are the parts of a compass?

The main parts of a compass include the baseplate, which is a rectangular plastic or metal plate for holding the compass, and the needle housing, which contains the magnetic needle that aligns with the Earth’s magnetic field.

What is magnetic north and why is it important?

Magnetic north is the direction towards the Earth’s magnetic North Pole. It is important in orienteering because it serves as a reference point for navigation using a compass. The compass needle aligns with the magnetic field lines, which helps orienteers determine their direction of travel.

How do I use a compass effectively?

To use a compass effectively, you need to align the compass needle with magnetic north, orient your compass according to your desired direction, and navigate using the compass in coordination with an orienteering map. It is important to learn the proper techniques for using a compass to ensure accurate navigation.

What is declination and why is it important in compass navigation?

Declination is the angular difference between true north and magnetic north. It is important in compass navigation because it helps correct for the discrepancy between the two and allows orienteers to accurately align their compass with the map. By adjusting for declination, navigational errors can be minimized.

What is a magnetic compass and how does it work?

A magnetic compass is a navigational tool used to determine direction based on the Earth’s magnetic field. It consists of a magnetic needle that aligns with the magnetic field lines, a compass rose that indicates the cardinal directions, and a baseplate for holding the compass. By using the compass needle and the compass rose, users can determine their heading.

What are the two arrows on an orienteering compass?

The two arrows on an orienteering compass are the index and the direction-of-travel arrows. The index arrow is the fixed arrow on the baseplate that points towards the magnetic north, while the direction-of-travel arrow is the adjustable arrow that orienteers can align with their desired direction of travel.

What are the essential features that a good orienteering compass must have?

A good orienteering compass must have a course outline, clear markings for navigating, the ability to use the compass effectively, a declination adjustment, and compatibility with an orienteering map. These features ensure accurate and efficient navigation during orienteering activities.

How do I choose the best orienteering compass?

When selecting a compass for orienteering, it is important to consider factors such as the stability of the needle, the clarity of the markings on the baseplate, the adjustability of the declination, and the overall durability of the compass. It is also helpful to consult reviews and recommendations from experienced orienteers to find a compass that suits your specific needs.

Picture of Matt New

Matt New

Living off-grid since 2012 with my wife Amy and dog MJ in the jungles of Costa Rica. Co-creater of the award winning Fusion Home.

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