Navigation expert Lyle is one of the world’s leading authorities on search and rescue.
I could wax lyrical about the viscosity of the liquid surrounding the compass needle (important for how it settles when taking a bearing) or some other such technical wizardry, but for most users this is
overkill. Instead, I will share with you a lesson I learned the hard way. I had forgotten to pack my compass on a trip to the Cairngorms so, at a garage en route, I bought two cheap models for £10 (one as a back-up in case the first compass failed). The needle fell off its pivot within minutes of using the first compass and even the back-up failed. Lesson learned: only buy a compass from a reputable manufacturer. The two I trust are Suunto and Silva. For general hillwalking, I would recommend either the Suunto M3 or the Silva Expedition 4 – both around £25 each and well worth that investment.
What are the basics I should look for in a general hillwalking compass? Nick Lancaster, Beverley