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  #1  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Compass. Do you use one ?

This recent thread about maps got my little brain working in a sort of lateral thinking way and I came to the startling conclusion that I don't own a compass. In fact I've never used one.
I use maps all the time but never a compass.
Am I missing out ?
OK I've never travelled that far but would it be useful ?
Do other folk on here use one ?
Just interested like.
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  #2  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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The one I have is in the heel of my shoes with the animal tracks - but I've never used it.
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  #3  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler View Post
This recent thread about maps got my little brain working in a sort of lateral thinking way and I came to the startling conclusion that I don't own a compass. In fact I've never used one.
I use maps all the time but never a compass.
Am I missing out ?
OK I've never travelled that far but would it be useful ?
Do other folk on here use one ?
Just interested like.
I own one and carry it and know how to use it. The thing is though, when would you need to? Your up a track half way to Timbuktoo. The GPS knows your on the track, but blows a fuse. Your map has the track and you know the name of the last place you passed through and your paper map and odometer do the rest, you aren't lost. Things only get to the point where you need a compass when you are off the track, out of sight of any decent landmarks AND the GPS goes phut AND you are short of fuel (and so can't just run in a general direction or go back the way you came). If things are that bad you'll hope that a simple bit of map reading and "Go north 'till I hit the road/meet locals" plus using the sun/wristwatch trick will get you out. Really accurate map reading and compass work to me is only required when you are avoiding mine fields, locals will shoot at you, fuel is at a real premium etc.

I do find the ability to find a position the old fashioned ways interesting. I'm currently working on a sun compass and might try a bit of celestial navigation next time i'm anywhere with a clear sky, but to be honest it's for interest rather than any practical use.

Andy
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  #4  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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I use the sun, no good at the equator tho...
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  #5  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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I 've used a compass on many occasions, but never in conjunction with a motorbike.

A compass is a very useful/essential tool:-
1. At sea (especially when out of sight of the coast)
2. In fog
3. In the dark*
4. Off the beaten track, as described in an earlier post.
5. In dense forest.
6. In a white-out snow conditions
Basically in any circumstance where visibility of landmarks is limited or non-existant (Did I mention diving?)

While on a road, or within sight of a road, a compass should not be necessary if you are aware of your surroundings, general direction and orientation of the land etc etc - the overall things and patterns that generate a sense of direction.

*When talking with people it can be quite surprising how many have never been anywhere in the dark i.e. dark which is away from streetlights/civilisation or any other form of artificial light.
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  #6  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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night and dim sky.... you get lost

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler View Post
I use maps all the time but never a compass.
Am I missing out ?
OK I've never travelled that far but would it be useful ?
never go with out one.........
you missing out a lot.

Question:
what are you doing with your map if you can't see the sun, or the sky is overcast and grey and you are lost ?
how do you find your direction than, no GPS around or empty batteries, lost orientation and so on..... well may your mechanic wrist watch help you out... but a good compass is the best investment you can make.
It's OK if you are in the woods, just look out for the moss on the bark to find north... but what are you doing in the plains or city's ?

I use several compasses at ones, one good SUUNTO K14-360/6400 compass the one with 360degree plus 6400mills scale, usable for civilian and army maps for way planing and set up of camp side, and a small cheap £1, 1-inch plastic compass permanent fitted on the arm tensional strap of my bike jacket for ruff orientation and quick judgement, prevent me riding for miles the wrong way down........

I had my 1st compass when I was a 6-year old, it was an big old WW2 Military wrist diving compass with 3-inch diameter scale, left over from some one.... I'm hooked and fascinated ever since to use this devices called compass in all sorts of manner, never got lost... well may in translation... but other wise .... get you self one you like, you will not regret it.

A compass belongs to your travelling equipment like penknives and fire making devices right on the top of the list of things you are taking.
But may you are a type of guy who is calling the AA and believes that it was a hell of an adventure getting home in that yellow cab....
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Last edited by spooky; 19 Apr 2008 at 15:01.
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  #7  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Ah, the memories... Clarks Commando shoes with the compass in the heel. Jumpers for goalposts and long hot summers. Waiting to get an FS1E moped, those were the days!

If you do use a compass when you're on the bike remember it's made of metal and affects the needle. Get well away from it. I've got one in my tankbag but I never use it. Yet another "just in case" item I should remove from my kit.
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  #8  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe C90 View Post
I use the sun, no good at the equator tho...
I use the Sun too - but my model works fine on the equator as long as you know what time it is!
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  #9  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Nature is not Disneyland

Remember how many naive stupid people have to be rescued by the RAF every year, while getting in to dangerous situation regarding lost orientations and miss judgement of the weather situations in the highlands, snowdonia and the coast every weekend ?
producing costs on the back of the Tax payer ?
just because they believe that they live in pampered Disneyland where there is sunshine all the time.........

Well all this only on that rock in the pond, called the UK..... (sign posts are ALL in English) what are you doing along the rest of the world with sign posts in hieroglyphs and strange languages, it's essential to get the shortest way to a fuel station if run out of fuel on that long dark lane, not riding around in circles getting cold an miserable.

I tell you a compass may looks a bit odd in our time of MP3 player, mobile phones with GPS build in, but this simple little device dose the trick to be comfortable knowing riding or being out side not ending in disaster and you always can help your self.
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Last edited by spooky; 19 Apr 2008 at 15:32.
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  #10  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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I always have a compass with me on my trips. I know how to use it but never needed it but I know that if I really get lost, I may need it. It only takes very little space so that is no problem.

Before I went to South Africa, I bought a compass that works on the Northern and the Southern hemisphere.
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  #11  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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"Before I went to South Africa, I bought a compass that works on the Northern and the Southern hemisphere."

That'd be the left handed model then.
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  #12  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Wink Not left handed but ..................

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyMark View Post
"Before I went to South Africa, I bought a compass that works on the Northern and the Southern hemisphere."

That'd be the left handed model then.
.............. The truth lies herein:-
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...hlight=compass
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  #13  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingdoctor View Post
If you do use a compass when you're on the bike remember it's made of metal and affects the needle. Get well away from it. I've got one in my tankbag but I never use it. Yet another "just in case" item I should remove from my kit.
ah, the crux of the matter. If I want to figure out which road to take, I have to park the bike, remove the mapcase, walk a few feet away and figure out which way to turn. Which is why GPS makes more sense, with a compass stashed away for when/if the electronics fail.

Compasses are for backpackers!
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  #14  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quastdog View Post
if the electronics fail.
Compasses are for backpackers!
Yah..... comes handy if the bike is on strike and the next village is mails away..... make sure your bike boots are well worn in...... and you know where you are and wat direction the GPS last had on it's display...........
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  #15  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
I 've used a compass on many occasions, but never in conjunction with a motorbike.

A compass is a very useful/essential tool:-
1. At sea (especially when out of sight of the coast)
2. In fog
3. In the dark*
4. Off the beaten track, as described in an earlier post.
5. In dense forest.
6. In a white-out snow conditions
Basically in any circumstance where visibility of landmarks is limited or non-existant (Did I mention diving?)

While on a road, or within sight of a road, a compass should not be necessary if you are aware of your surroundings, general direction and orientation of the land etc etc - the overall things and patterns that generate a sense of direction.

*When talking with people it can be quite surprising how many have never been anywhere in the dark i.e. dark which is away from streetlights/civilisation or any other form of artificial light.
Provided there is no cloud , you don't need a compass in the dark at night ,if you know where to look for the North Star .[ Northern Hemisphere only , no warranty intended , your mileage may vary - etc ]
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