- You are new to your area
- You travel frequently
- You often get lost – it’s OK to admit it 🙂
- You like to go hiking or camping
But will it be a hassle to carry a compass around with you all the time? Not if it’s a tiny, brass compass like the kind you can buy at Triple Aught Design (TAD Gear). It’s smaller than a dime in diameter, and quite rugged. Here’s what it looks like. And if you want to save a few bucks, and are OK with black instead of green, you can get the same one for $36 at www.bestglide.com (at this link). The compass is known as the Pyser compass, or a NATO survival compass, and it has its origins in World War II, when it was issued to pilots.
You might also want a compass like this if you have a very small survival kit. While there are other small compasses close to this size, at far lower price, I’m not aware of any decent-quality compass that’s this small. If you don’t need the smallest, you can save a few bucks and get a high-quality, slightly larger compass like this.
Below is what mine looks like after several months of every-day carry. You can see that some of the custom green paint has worn away, because I’ve carried it in the change pocket of my jeans, with… change. The constant abrasion of metal coins has worn the green paint around the edge, but the compass still works as it’s supposed to, and I’m not worried about it not looking quite as pretty as it once did.
Since the compass is incredibly small and light, I don’t notice that I’m carrying it, but since I spent ~$40 on it (TAD gear is not inexpensive!), I have been careful about not leaving it in my pocket on laundry day. So far so good.
You won’t want to use this compass as your main compass in an orienteering course. You will want something that provides more detail, like this much larger, very good Silva model. But if you are turned around in a new town, or just reached a fork in the trail and aren’t quite sure if you’re taking the correct direction, and need to double-check and get your bearings, and only have whatever is in your pocket, this tiny compass will do the trick!
Last and (admittedly) probably least, this little compass is just plain cool. It’s really small, it works, it’s durable, and you won’t notice you have it with you, that is, unless you need it!
Stay safe, and stay found! 🙂