How to Use a Compass

Suunto MC-2G Global Mirror Compass

Suunto MC-2 Global Compass

The Suunto MC-2G Global compass (called the MC-2G Navigator at some stores) is my favorite choice for serious outdoor adventures, especially if they will take you around the globe.  Suunto’s patented global needle design enables the compass to work when crossing compass zones where needle dip would normally be an issue.  A side effect of the global needle design is that you can be fairly sloppy, holding the compass at up to a 20° angle, and still get an accurate reading.  Technique is still important with this, and all handheld compasses, but the robust design makes it a little more forgiving.

There is a small half-moon window in the base of the mirror that helps when sighting, or when you are plotting directions on a map.  Other standard features on the MC-2G:

  • Anti-slip baseplate that keeps the compass on a map when you are plotting a bearing
  • Clintometer to measure slope angle, handy for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, or rock climbing
  • A luminous two-color dial (bezel)
  • Magnifying lens
  • Lanyard
  • Map scales

The Suunto MC-2G weighs 2.65 oz (74g). American scale (/IN) or international scale (/CM) models are available.  The MC-2G/IN has map scales of 1:24,000 and 1:62,500 and the MC-2G/CM has 1:25,000 and 1:50,000.

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