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EDC compass
17 December 2016, 21:28,
RE: EDC compass
Agree, good to dust off this thread.

A wrist compass is for EDC, mainly situational awareness, not as primary nav

A military-grade lensatic compass or a good quality orienteering map compass are still needed in the kit.

While I still have my mil-issue lensatic, I prefer and use:

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
30 December 2016, 08:55,
RE: EDC compass
This is very usefull
31 December 2016, 17:22,
RE: EDC compass
When folks talk about having maps exactly what type maps are we discussing?

What are we considering "navigation" in a chaotic situation?

Yes, many of us learned to "navigate" in the military where things were done by topographical maps or areal photos, but those maps contain only small plots of ground and are relatively useless in built up areas.

So what is the advantage of an expensive compass meant for orienteering or military work when the skills are mostly useless in the real world.

The only time I use topo sheets is for hunting in real wilderness areas where I am looking for land features that will channel the game to me.

For all other used in the past 40 years I have used government issued or privately made road maps.

And for the past few years my GPS has replaced those items to the point that I only keep them in the door pocket of the vehicle as a reminder of the old days when I occasionally got lost on a bypass.
31 December 2016, 20:06,
RE: EDC compass
For general navigation you are quite correct, but I use topo and compass to locate supply caches and other locations of future interest using UTM grid references which are not dependent on a GPS working. So those orienteering skills are still useful. We were taught proficiency in old school land nav for ground SAR and in a worst case I don't want to depend upon anything that requires infrastructure or batteries.

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
31 December 2016, 20:59,
RE: EDC compass
OK, regarding the finding of caches using map and compass,,

I have been there and done that, living off food cached by others and finding the food based on the old style grid coordinates, map, and compass.

Went hungry a lot and I was with some of the best land navigators that ever shot an azimuth.

If they are 10 meters off, (half the width of a pencil line on the map) and I am 10 meters off the other direction I am digging a hole 20 meters from the food I need.

I do have caches, but their locations are based on other methods which are actually more precise than grid coordinates which can not assure accuracy of less than 10 meters for the most skilled user.

If I am caching food and equipment in my present world I want to have it in an area I know so well the location and depth of the burial will never be forgotten and does not require anything beyond my memory for retrieval.
26 September 2017, 17:31,
RE: EDC compass
Time to dust off this old thread on Land Nav

Had a conversation a few weeks ago with a couple of Viet Nam vets I hang out with. It was agreed that GPS are neat kit but as was learned early in the Afghan war they aren't bomb proof and are subject to failure. The ability to read compass and map is as much a survival skill as fire making or shelter building.

While visiting friend in Virginia the Quantico Orienteering Club gave the Boy Scouts a compass course and I helped out. During the training up an article was presented about a test that the US Army did with basic trainees who were given minimal 4 hour map and compass training that all US infantrymen receive at 11B training. The trainees were then sent out onto the day movement compass course and a 55% success rate in finding their way points in the wooded Ft Benning terrain. The other half of the class received NO map and compass training beforehand and were given civilian GPS with no instruction from instructors just the written instructions which came in the box. Their success ratio on the day movement compass course was 98%.

I would compare GPS to a chainsaw while map and compasses are hand bow saws.

Sure, you can cut all day with either, but if and the gas stops flowing, an EMP takes out the satellites, the batteries go dead, or whatever, you better have the bow saw and the strength and stamina to get the job done with it. If the GPS goes Tango Uniform, skill with the map and compass is the only way home. So we should have both, yes of course!

Truth be told I have a very hard time finding objectives using a civilian needle compass as opposed to a lensatic compass. Surveyors, ground SAR, almost everybody that I know that spends "real" time doing land nav uses a plate compass if they are out of the military. But in the military, and particularly ex-Infantry types almost every one runs a lensatic. I own several Suunto and Silva plate compasses but military Camega lensatics are the ones that I use for land nav and I carry them in my rescue gear.

I would bet a bottle of the Pusser's Rum that MB here is probably a lensatic guy, because he trained at Quantico within a year or two of the time I did.

I would VERY much like to know what Keith has to say, what do the experienced bush rangers, sheepmen and ranchers in the Land of Oz favor? I might me wrong in my assumption, but my best guess is that many who live in the outback have either regular military or Territorial Forces experience, and IIRC, like the British Army, the ANZACs and Canadians teach the lensatic compass very much in the same way they we do.

When I was in Germany in the 1980s the Bundeswehr used both. Engineers and artillery exclusively lensatic whereas many infantry had sport orienteering experience before entering their National Service and used plate compasses. Don't know if the case is the same now a generation later...

Good discussion topic to warm up, regardless.

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
26 September 2017, 22:11,
RE: EDC compass
We also should consider the fact that all this land nav and compass work is part of the military mindset. We put way too much emphasis on compass work and navigation. It is used to get from point A to point B, to plan patrols and to call in artillery, mortar fire and air support. We don't do that.

I have a lensatic compass that has not been out of its case in 2 dozen years, and a couple of plate compasses that are covered in dust. 99% of my navigation is now done using that inefficient, fouled up and prone to EMP damage GPS system. Smart phones are the greatest things since sliced bread.

I had two boys in the Marines during the Iraq war and they both experienced GPS problems, in the form of dead batteries, not failure of the systems. It was always dead batteries. Fresh batteries are now as important to a patrol leader as water and ammo.

I do not have and do not need contoured lines on topographical sheets and have not since I left the military. Even hiking the AT I used the trail guide and not M&C for the hikes.

What if the GPS system shuts down??? What if it does. I live in a world where navigation is done by landmark and road grid, not by azimuth and compass points. After a disaster, even a major disaster, the navigation grid will remain.

In real life, on an EDC basis I am not concerned about my location +- 10 meters. I am not calling in 105mm fire, I am going to the house or seeking immediate shelter hopefully in the home of someone I know who is between me and my house.

I am probably using a computer generated local highway map and a wrist compass. I want to know I have the map oriented in the proper general direction and that I am exactly at the junction of Hwy 25 and Wildlife Lane.

Even if I go across country, if I can, I am still going from point A on the map in a general direction until I hit road B, which I will recognize, and turn east. I can do that with the compass that lives on my watch band or key chain.

I do not need to meet the requirement I had in the military of navigating in the dark across 1K of dense woodland and landing within 10 meters of a set point or going through the rotation again. Even then I was actually navigating from road A to road B so a truck could pick me up and I could get a grade.

Neither do I need to call mortar fire in to set coordinates making sure me and my unit are safe from the fire. Nor will I have to ever plot predetermined fire points along my patrol path.

I just have to get home, and that can be done with a wrist compass and accuracy to within 1/4 mile of the house.

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