• What's the best backpacking compass? Orienteering how-to?

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  • I currently have an old Brunton which works fine, but I'm interested to see if there are more capable compasses. What about any must-read resources for learning about orienteering?

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    Question by Oliver Hulland

If you want to go beyond the BSA Handbook, get this: http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___81776 Pair it with a compass that can handle sighting with a mirror, so you can shoot your landmark while keeping a steady bearing. This one represents the style: http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___81206

One thing you wanna watch out for with newer compasses is bubbling, but I don't have a variety to test. I would say a compass that is less vulnerable to this condition (basically the seal being broken) is worth the extra money. Bubbling will impede accuracy somewhat; in severe cases it compromises the device.

Answer by christopher

This answer was submitted by Jim McGlashan:

As an assistant scout master I agree with The Boy Scout Fieldbook and the compass (my current backup). I have both. You can read the current (4th) edition online but if you are going to get a copy of the Boy Scout Fieldbook do yourself a favor and get one of the prior editions. As Scout leader I have the current edition and the 2nd edition but I think the 2nd edition was far better than the current and they are still very easy to get.

If you are willing to read online or print the materials yourself I can not recommend LAND NAVIGATION with MAP and LENSATIC COMPASS enough. The site will teach you everything your care to learn and give you what you need to teach anyone you wish or want. This is where I learned about my current compass, the current issue US military Lensatic Compass, from Cammenga. A great company is who supports our troops, the Boy Scouts and other groups if you ask.

I have a cammenga tritium compass in my pack. If you want a lensatic compass but Tritium or Phosphorescent are not in the budget you can try the training compass from CountyComm.

Add a Distance Computer and a set of Ranger Pace Beads and you will be well on your way to wherever you care to go.

I would also encourage you to take a look at Be Expert with Map and Compass by Bjorn Kjellstrom the book on navigation with map and compass and the RuckSack primer on Land Navigation to cover UTM and the rest of the details if you are not already saturated.

Answer by Oliver Hulland

Orienteering is not really complicated but people swear by Kjellstrom's book http://www.amazon.com/Expert-Map-Compass-Bjorn-Kjellstrom/dp/0470407654/ . Any compass will be fine while you learn- get a $10 one to start like a https://www.google.com/shopping/product/3707995773072550910?scoring=r&safe=off&q=silva%20compass and then you can figure out what other features are valuable to you. For a lot of 10 mile backpacking hikes you will never need more than this so why carry something heavier and more expensive- it depends from there on your exact needs.

Answer by chunk
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