Today I am going to do a compass review on what I think are the best compass’s available for hiking and walking. They are all made by Silva They have a good range of compass for beginners, who want to learn how to navigate, up to the more advanced for the seasoned hiker.
I will start at the low end and work my way up.
Silva – Starter 8 Compass
This is a great little compass for the younger generation. It does not have all the features you would expect to find on a usual compass, but does the job well enough to teach children and complete beginners the basics of navigation. It is used a lot by scout groups to teach the children without to much distraction they might get from the more complicated ones.
Silva – Field 7 Compass
This compass is the one I take with me when only going out for short hikes, 3 or 4 hours usually less than 10 miles. Being so light and compact means the Field Compass is an excellent choice for keeping in your pack in case you need a quick bearings check, so is ideal for short hikes and walks or for use on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. It has a rubber bezel for improved comfort and grip, and a detachable safety-release lanyard, and is small enough to use in one hand. Not that suitable for route planning or more serious navigation use.
Silva – Ranger Compass
This is probably the most popular of the Silva compass range, and does everything that you need a compass to do without costing a lot of money. Although the base plate is not that long, so is not ideal for long range bearings or route planning if you are thinking of going a long distance. It has a declination adjustment scale within the compass housing, luminous marking for night use, a magnifying lens for accurate reading of the map. This is in the Duke of Edinburgh list of essential kit.
Silva – Expedition 4 Compass
This compass was produced by Silva for use by the British Army. This is the compass I use most of the time. It has a longer base plate than the ranger compass, making it a lot easier to take a bearing, silicone rubber feet to prevent it slipping on the map, 3 romer scales (1:25000, 1:40000 and 1:50000), useful for giving someone a position and for plotting your location from a non-mapping GPS. All in all this is a great compass and would suit the needs of anyone wanting to hike short or long distance and mid range on the price.
Silva – Expedition 54 Compass
This is the bees knees of the Silva range of base plate compass’s. This is what I want for Xmas. Used by professionals and military alike. Features a unique sighting system allowing bearings to be taken to within 0.5º. Used by the military for plotting targets. A must to have in your bag if planning an expedition of a long distance, light activated luminous dial (shine a torch on it to activate and it will last up to 4 hours), sapphire jewel bearing for friction free movement of the compass needle.