Favorite mini compass or a better solution

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by Wapiti, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Mannlicher


    Nov 19, 2008
    yeah, I know the declination, having been mucking around in these NF woods for the past 55+ years, compass in hand. :D

    and yes, I asked for the Trunord to be adjusted to my zip code.
  2. oldmanron


    Jun 19, 2012
    Edit - Double Post
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
  3. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    Sun. Inexpensive yet accurate. Never had an issue with one. One on my watch strap , and one as a zipper pull on each of my rain coats.

    I have a Suunto one the zipper pull of an Arcteryx jacket but since discovered the Sun are just as good and accurate yet much less expensive and smaller overall.

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  4. domiro


    Sep 10, 2018
    I have a Suunto Clipper. It is small and very reliable.
  5. oldmanron


    Jun 19, 2012
    Marathon Watch (based in Canada for decades) provides premium Swiss-made mil-spec watches to the armed forces of at least three countries ... Canada, the United States, and Israel. I have two ... the GPQ and the medium TSAR quartz diver. Solid stuff ...

    But they also have a couple of cool little compasses. I have this one, and think it's great. Rugged and accurate and great "lume" and a jewelled bearing and no liquid damping to develop a bubble ... and inexpensive ... it's sold on Amazon and a mil-spec Marathon nylon strap is included in the price. And the strap alone is about the same price. :)

    It's a very similar design to the Suunto Clipper except the Suunto is liquid-damped and the Marathon isn't. The Marathon also has a jewelled pivot, like the Suunto. I suspect that the Suunto is more water-friendly ... I read this Q & A on the REI website ...

    aceinthecorner · 4 years ago
    Is this waterproof or water resistant, or do I need to worry about taking it off every time I suspect it might get wet?
    Answer the question
    REIservice · 4 years ago
    The Clipper L-B NH Compass is waterproof. Suunto does not recommend submerging the compass in more than 2 meters of water.

    The fact that the Suunto Clipper it is liquid-damped (fluid-filled) with (probably) some kind of incompressible light oil would make it inexpensively waterproof ... basic physics ...

    But then there's always "That Goddamned Magically-Appearing Little Bubble" issue to fret about ...


    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  6. oldmanron


    Jun 19, 2012
    This might be a good place to mention that Long Island Watch (a very highly regarded online dealer down in the Excited States) has an excellent selection of nylon NATO straps that would work for the Marathon and Suunto compasses ... keeping them away from the possible effects of an adjacent/nearby metal watch. The basic ones are flawless and cost just $9.95 ... but they also offer a variety of gorgeous ones upgraded to a softer/thicker seatbelt webbing for just $14.95. I have three of each to use on my Seiko SKX and couldn't be happier. (I carefully modded two of them into basic single straps ... with the bottom section removed completely and the main strap cut to length and with just one "keeper" ... right beside the buckle.)

    But here's the best part for us Canadians ... Long Island Watch charges a flat rate of $5 for Post Office shipping to Canada, Australia, and Europe. That's awesome!

    Edit: I should have kept my mouth shut about the awesome $5 shipping charge. It was doubled to $10 around the beginning of June ... a month after I made this post.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  7. Cooter Brown

    Cooter Brown

    May 22, 2011
    I'll give another endorsement to Tru Nord. Like the other poster from years back most liquid damped compasses I've had get the damned bubble, including a couple of Marble's. I got a Tru Nord pin on and haven't looked back. Not cheap but excellent quality. I had min adjusted to split the difference between the southeast and the upper midwest (UP) where I mostly hunt. Splitting the difference (only a couple of degrees) is plenty accurate enough for a pin on which I glance at to keep me in general orientation in the woods.

    If I need anything more accurate than that I have a Suunto orienteering compass in my shirt pocket. Until it gets the bubble...
  8. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    I have a Suunto and a Marathon clip on compass. They're nearly identical except the Sunnto has a flat face and the Marathon has a dome. I prefer the flat with the lower profile.

    Small bubbles aren't aren't an issue. Liquids expand when hot and contract when cold. The bubble helps deal with that.
  9. Cougar Allen

    Cougar Allen Buccaneer (ret.) Gold Member

    Oct 9, 1998
    Until the bubble gets so big it keeps the compass card from moving freely....

    Liquid filled compasses often become completely useless because of the bubble. That usually happens gradually enough so you have time to get a new compass before the old one fails, but not always.
  10. CVamberbonehead

    CVamberbonehead Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2017
    I just use my watch, it has a compass in it. Its a Casio Protrek
  11. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    Did someone say mini compass? :)


    1) Karl Mfg., (1990s)
    2) Waltham, (early 60s - early 70s)
    3) Marbles, (late 80s)
    4) Pyser-SGI, (? - present)
    5) Marbles, (early 90s)
    6) Poly-Choke, (early 80s)
    7) Marbles, (mid 80s - late 90s)
    8) Marbles, (70s - mid 80s)
    9) Marbles, (mid 90s)
    Cooter Brown, Readyeseve and jmh33 like this.
  12. billym


    Jan 8, 2006
    Whoa! Nice collection!!
    Funny thing is a lot of current sellers use the same exact Ali Express compass and then build their product around it.
    I always wanted a NATO (#4) compass and a Tru Nord or two. Suunto Clipper is a solid choice at a good price.
    TAH likes this.
  13. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    Thanks! The NATO compass is top quality, pricey, and the only compass in my collection that is still being made. All are dry construction. :)
  14. Epishemore


    Feb 6, 2002
    Get a Chinese copy of a Brunton Pocket Transit compass for $10-$20 from Aliexpress, eBay, or Amazon.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019

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