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The compass is the classic tool for orientation, not only in the field, and at ASMC we offer various models to assist in choosing the right one.

How to Use a Compass Correctly on Outings

Every compass immediately shows the north direction with its needle and provides a new orientation within a second. Electronic versions, which are part of GPS systems, differ in that they need to be activated as a function and often take longer for positioning. Since a compass should always be readily available, purchasing a case for simplified use is recommended. This can be attached to a belt and comes in camouflage or solid designs to suit various uses.

How to Choose the Best Compass for You

The key criterion when buying a good compass is its intended use. If you are using a GPS-based navigation device for activities like hiking or geocaching, a separate compass may not be necessary. However, for situations without electronic equipment, a classic compass should be easy to use and read instantly, which favors wearing it directly on the body or securely storing it in travel gear.

For night hikes in military contexts or with scouts, compasses with integrated lighting are ideal. Many models today use subtle LED lighting, which is both energy-efficient and long-lasting. For precise directional reading with subtle nuances, analog compasses are also recommended, while compasses in electronic devices offer a more or less fine digital scale.

Whether you prefer wearing the compass on your wrist, attaching it to a carabiner, or storing it in a separate case depends on the intended use and personal preferences. ASMC provides the right compass and accessories for all these options.

Expert Tip: Navigating Wilderness Without a Compass

The simplest method in areas of the northern hemisphere is to use nature. Here are some tips:

  • Observe tree growth: Trees usually have more moss and lichen on the side facing north, indicating the shadier and moister side.
  • Check for fewer branches on the north side of trees, visible by looking up from the base.
  • In winter, snow melts more quickly on the southern side of slopes.

In unclear natural conditions, carrying a radio is recommended for reliable communication, whether for group coordination or contacting rescue services when disoriented.

Questions: Compasses

How Does a Compass Work?

Such a device measures the north direction using the Earth's magnetic field. A loosely mounted needle aligns itself to the north due to the Earth's magnetic field.

Why Do You Need a Compass?

For activities like hiking, running, cycling, skiing off-piste, canoeing, or sailing, a compass is essential to determine directions in unfamiliar terrain. Unlike modern GPS devices, the compass operates independently of a power source, making it invaluable for long trips or travel without frequent access to electricity.

It is often used in conjunction with a (hiking) map for better orientation. For a collection of tips on reading maps, visit:

What Different Variants Are Available?

There are models adapted to specific conditions, but for most purposes, a simple sighting or marching compass should suffice. There are also digital compasses, known as electronic "fluxgate" models, which introduce additional factors making them more challenging to use and dependent on a power source. Compasses are also used as underwater navigation devices.

What Is the Microtremor?

Often noticed with inexpensive compasses, this refers to the natural tremors of the human body, which can cause the compass needle to swing. Quality compasses feature damped and well-mounted needles to counteract this effect.

What Should You Consider When Buying a Compass?

Firstly, determine the intended use and future applications for the device, and decide on your budget. Additionally, consider whether you will use the compass primarily on the northern or southern hemisphere, as different models are designed for each (Global System). Sports watches with built-in compasses are also available, offering convenience for occasional compass users engaged in activities like running.

What Is the Azimuth Determination?

In the context of compasses, this refers to measuring the deviation from the north direction in degrees. For example, south would have an azimuth of 180°, measured clockwise.

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