Scouts must learn to use a compass and map together in order to advance in rank. It follows that they need a compass, but which is the best Scout compass?
Base-plate compasses like the Silva starter 1-2-3 are the best all-around, least expensive and durable compasses. Resist the temptation to purchase a cheaper knock off – there are some significant differences:
- Dampening – the capsule (the round container with the magnetic needle) of a quality compass is filled with oil that slows or dampens the movement of the needle. Cheaper compasses take a long time to settle.
- Markings – cheaper compasses often do not have a direction of travel arrow or adequate degree markings.
Compasses come in many forms; some more useful than others.
Lensatic compasses are designed for military navigation methods that are different from Scouting or orienteering methods. A true mil-spec lensatic compass is several times more expensive and accurate than the cheaper knockoffs. Lensatic compasses are not as useful for Scouts as the base-plate compass.
Simple compasses like the Silva Trailblazer above are significantly more difficult to follow than base-plate compasses; they are also more difficult to use in taking bearings from a map.
Silva Starter 1-2-3 Compass available at Amazon