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Ball compass unreliability

Weldabeast

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
May 23, 2019
Messages
12,297
Location
Northeast Florida
I'm averaging 2 compasses a season. They start pointing off in random directions. It's on the chest of my hunting vest roughly 4" away from a zipper track. Maybe 4" isn't enough distance away from the metal zipper track? The original compass I put on there lasted multiple seasons but got cracked. The new compasses just don't seem to last long or is it just me?
I'm about to the point I start carrying a heavy surplus handheld and not using ball style anymore. 3 times now I've gotten turned around and had much longer than necessary walks out because of a ball compass
 
I’ve been using my suunto MC-2 pretty vigorously hunting and I also use it while doing land nav a few times a year for the army it gets beat up pretty bad and takes it all. It’s going on 4 years old and I love it. I’ve always thought of ball compasses as something you give kids for free as a party gift lol
 
I'm averaging 2 compasses a season. They start pointing off in random directions. It's on the chest of my hunting vest roughly 4" away from a zipper track. Maybe 4" isn't enough distance away from the metal zipper track? The original compass I put on there lasted multiple seasons but got cracked. The new compasses just don't seem to last long or is it just me?
I'm about to the point I start carrying a heavy surplus handheld and not using ball style anymore. 3 times now I've gotten turned around and had much longer than necessary walks out because of a ball compass
I know they’re popular around here so I don’t TALK trash, but I think those small ball compasses ARE honestly trash. I only use flat or semi-round compasses. A budget flat or semi-round compass out-navigates an equally priced ball compass every day IMO. Get one of those rape whistles with the compass glued to the bottom for like $7 and sleep well.
 
I'm averaging 2 compasses a season. They start pointing off in random directions. It's on the chest of my hunting vest roughly 4" away from a zipper track. Maybe 4" isn't enough distance away from the metal zipper track? The original compass I put on there lasted multiple seasons but got cracked. The new compasses just don't seem to last long or is it just me?
I'm about to the point I start carrying a heavy surplus handheld and not using ball style anymore. 3 times now I've gotten turned around and had much longer than necessary walks out because of a ball compass
I just use the compass on my iPhone.
 
I believe if it can go wrong, it will. I carry a iPhone ,compass and a handheld Gps.
This. My old phone sent me on a wild goose chase until I realized it was telling me the sun was rising in the north. I got my Garmin 64st out and got back on track. I haven't had that problem with the new phone, but I tend to conserve the phone battery and use the GPS since I can easily swap two AA batteries in the GPS and be back on track. I also have a ball compass on my 2TC pack and my Packseat. I use them quite a bit for simple entries and exits. The compass part of them has not let me down but I have lost several since they are pretty easily torn off the little safety pin attachment.
 
I have an older milspec land nav compass I acquired from a rogue supply officer for some deer jerky, an iphone with a compass, Spartan Forge etc apps and when needed a GPS. Phone compass/land nav apps works best in low/no service areas in airplane mode. If it’s fighting for a signal there’s no telling where it will point you.

I also have a power bank and all needed charging cables if needed.
 
I believe if it can go wrong, it will. I carry a iPhone ,compass and a handheld Gps.
It can go wrong and did for me over the weekend. Was using OnX in offline mode and had it tracking me. Couple hundred yards away from the road i noticed the locator stopped working for some reason. I was in an area ive never been before and it was super thick. Luckily being so close to the road at that point i was able to follow the sound of vehicles passing by. I have a garmin as a backup but apparently didnt mark my truck when i parked that morning....compass is getting added to that pack.
 
I started carrying a compass after navigating out of a laurel swamp on a moonless night... What's that quote, "nothing is as it seems?" I don't mind checking my phone for navigation from time to time, but I'm not staring at my phone screen for the duration when all I really need is a direction!
 
I started carrying a compass after navigating out of a laurel swamp on a moonless night... What's that quote, "nothing is as it seems?" I don't mind checking my phone for navigation from time to time, but I'm not staring at my phone screen for the duration when all I really need is a direction!
Course the trick is maintaining direction. Thats where a lot of people get lost is they cant maintain direction.
 
I started carrying a compass after navigating out of a laurel swamp on a moonless night... What's that quote, "nothing is as it seems?" I don't mind checking my phone for navigation from time to time, but I'm not staring at my phone screen for the duration when all I really need is a direction!
this is a good point. I def rely too much on OnX and my phone but walking through the woods, especially in the dark, trying to carry my gun in one hand, phone in the other is a pain in the a** when all i needed to know was keep heading north.
 
Course the trick is maintaining direction. Thats where a lot of people get lost is they cant maintain direction.
Not a lot, ALL, idc who you are unless you’re constantly on the compass checking degrees of travel you WILL drift and you WILL drift left. Constant checking of direction is required, trust the (good) compass always over your “feeling” of direction. I taught/teach land nav in the army and civilian side as a “hobbie”. These are hard facts that even the best trekkers can’t wrap their heads around. It is what it is, there’s science to explain it but no need to get in the weeds here.
 
Not a lot, ALL, idc who you are unless you’re constantly on the compass checking degrees of travel you WILL drift and you WILL drift left. Constant checking of direction is required, trust the (good) compass always over your “feeling” of direction. I taught/teach land nav in the army and civilian side as a “hobbie”. These are hard facts that even the best trekkers can’t wrap their heads around. It is what it is, there’s science to explain it but no need to get in the weeds here.
this is embarrassing but drives your point home so ill share just dont laugh at me too hard lol...same trip, walking in blind 4:30am with my flashlight. all i need to do is walk straight (south). i have no idea what happened but i get to a truck in the woods and im like thats weird, is there a trail i didnt see on map?? then, oh wait, thats my truck....yeap did a complete circle back and had no idea.
 
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