En­gi­neer Len­satic Com­pass

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Buyer’s Guide -

Plas­tic

3 ounces

2.2 by 1.1 inches

$10

cole­man.com

PROS:

Low cost Sur­pris­ingly durable Com­pact

CONS:

Finicky nee­dle with un­re­li­able ac­cu­racy Lu­mi­nous let­ters aren’t very bright

Our first im­pres­sion was that we’d found this as a “prize” in the bot­tom of a Cracker Jack box or it was the one Mor­gan Free­man bought at the pawn­shop in Shaw­shankRedemp­tion. The thin plas­tic hous­ing felt like it might snap in two as soon as we opened the case.

Af­ter open­ing it, we wor­ried that if we stepped on the com­pass it’d break, yet were pleas­antly sur­prised that some­how it stood up to a 230-pound man putting all his weight on top of it (fol­low­ing the nav­i­ga­tional test­ing, of course).

Try­ing to sight the liq­uid-filled com­pass wasn’t easy, but it was doable. The nail in the cof­fin, how­ever, came when we couldn’t get the nee­dle to align prop­erly. No amount of tap­ping or ca­jol­ing would yield a con­sis­tent read­ing, and mag­netic north con­sis­tently wan­dered be­tween 10 to 20 de­grees away.

Although this com­pass is in­ex­pen­sive, $10 spent on garbage is still a waste. We wouldn’t even give it to a child as a learn­ing tool, fear­ing that they might ac­tu­ally try to use it one day for real nav­i­ga­tion. Its only real use would be as part of a Hal­loween cos­tume. Cole­man does of­fer some qual­ity products, but this isn’t one of them. We can only hope that they put this prod­uct out of its misery be­fore some­one makes the mis­take of re­ly­ing upon it in a life-and-death sit­u­a­tion.

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