It’s a good piece of gear to have, don’t ya think?  Below is a shot of all the compass types I own, including my Samsung 9 phone.

Today the wife and I were rechecking our pace counts and going over the basics of Land Nav after watching a great starter video by “Corporal’s Corner“, when I decided to compare all my compasses and check for accuracy.

Above is a snap of all compasses lined up on the map orientated to 15E declination.

I was surprised to find the Silva Ranger off by a tad even though the declination mechanism is zeroed.  I will be adjusting it to match the Cammenga (beware of knockoffs!) as it is by far the most sensitive and trusted of the ones I own.


While the Silva base style compass is very nice for use with a map.  I still prefer the lensatic for navigation, and feel it’s more accurate.  Probably just a sentimental remnant from my time in the Corps. and using one there, but it is what it is.  Most will prefer a base style compass.


I do prefer the trit inserts of the Cammenga over the luminous paint of the Silva for keeping light discipline during night navigation, which is likely to be the time for navigating by compass for me.

At night with the Cammenga I can set my azimuth by feel using the clicking bezel ring.  Say I want to move on an azimuth of 136deg…

  • I take 136 / (3deg p/bezel click) = 45 clicks CCW
    • I prefer the KISS method of always moving CCW on the bezel
  • Line up my North arrow with the Bezel hash and I’m sighted in for 136deg
  • No flashlight needed.

I can only do that on the Base style if I use a light and mess my night vision up each time I want to take an azimuth, which is often if navigating at night.  Also, you will need to make a “tent” each time for light discipline which sucks.

When you consider that in SHTF you are likely to be in an area you are very familiar with, the need for direct azimuth navigation during the day is unlikely as there are many visible terrain features to reference.

The TruNord is my survival knife compass and backup to the Cammenga when on patrol. Since the 15E declination is already set on it, a reading off the map equates to a reading in the field.


It can work the map in a course-mode and still be far more accurate than trying to guess an azimuth of a regular button compass like the one shown below which is better than nothing, but not the best for navigation.

The only advantage the non compensated average work button compass has over an analog watch and the position of the sun is it works in fog to give a sense of direction.


Regardless of what kind of compass you have, the important part is to get out and use it!

Like shooting, it’s a perishing skill.  Use it or lose it!


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