Coghlan’s Sight-Grid Signal Mirror

As opposed to the BCB signal mirror (which has a shiny metallic finish) the Coghlan’s model has a glass reflection surface which is far superior when it comes to producing a strong flash of light. Metallic type finishes will soon lose their lustre, which dramatically reduces the brightness of flashes. Glass on the other hand, will provide you with much stronger and more powerful flashes for a very long time.

Although the Coghlan’s model is slightly larger, it’s by no means big and no less portable. It can easily slip into your pocket and is ultra-light. Additionally, the larger size of the Coghlan’s signal mirror is noticeably more ergonomic (making it easier to maneuver and less susceptible to dropping) and catches more light. The larger sighting hole also makes focusing and aiming less strenuous and less tedious.

The plastic sleeve it comes in can be reused and has a tab that can be tucked in, helping to protect the device from scratches. Because this signal mirror is literally a mirror, it can be used as such – something that is not really possible with the BCB model once it loses its reflective qualities. One similarity both models share are instructions on the back – a very handy feature.

  • Glass reflection surface for superior flash distance
  • Waterproof & Break-Resistant acrylic case
  • Instructions for use on back of signal mirror
  • Lanyard hole
  • Floats
Highly recommended

Made in Japan

Cost: Around CDN $12


Suunto A-30 Recreational Compass

If you’re not a fan of the MCA sighting compass we previously reviewed, consider the A-30 Compass from Suunto. The A-30 is very affordable and offers exceptional value. Although it’s labeled a “recreational compass” it could quite easily be the only compass you’ll ever need (unless you’re traveling in a hemisphere it’s not calibrated for).

This particular model features a luminescent bezel and directional arrow, which helps not only with functionality at night, but also with general visibility of the compass itself in low light conditions. The A-30 also features a magnified glass, which can be used to start fires by concentrating sunlight. Though the MCA has a sighting mirror which can be used as a heliograph in a survival situation, it doesn’t have a magnified glass or luminescent properties for nighttime visibility.

It can certainly be argued that the luminescent features of the A-30 are frivolous as most people don’t tend to wander around at night with a map and compass (if you do, please pack a head-lamp and/or flashlight). Nonetheless, the bright yellow glow helps your compass stick out in the dark, reducing the chances of it getting lost, stepped on, damaged etc.

Like the MCA, the bezel is easy to grip and turn, but not so loose that it will turn on its own. The design of the A-30 is a very simple yet highly functional which will serve most of your navigational needs quite sufficiently without breaking the bank.

As with the MCA sighting compass, the red string that the A-30 came with was too small to serve as a proper lanyard. Instead, swap it for some Mil-spec 550 Paracord.

If you’re looking for a simple, functional, affordable and reliable compass – consider the A30 Recreational Compass from SUUNTO.

Extremely Lightweight and Thin

Sufficiently Durable

Simple and Easy to Read

Luminescent Bezel

Magnified Glass

Very affordable


Made in Finland

Cost: Around CDN $20


BCB Signal Mirror (Heliograph)


Super thin, ultra lightweight and very small – you’ll barely notice you’re carrying it.

A signal mirror is an essential piece of survival gear. This particular model is issued to the British army and can be aimed very accurately at a target.

In a survival situation, do not underestimate the functionality and effectiveness of this device to attract attention. A flash from a heliograph can be seen from a tremendous distance. Not only does the BCB signal mirror give off super intense flashes, but it also has instructions stuck on the back in case you forget how to use it.

From the BCB website:

Mayday Signalling Mirror (Compact)

These innovative mirrors are lightweight, and robust.
Highly reflective giving it a range of approx 10 miles for the compact, and longer for the advanced. Designed for one handed operation.

• Accurate and effective
• Floats
• Robust
• Quick and easy to use
• Useful as a personal travel mirror
• Lanyard hole
• Instructions printed on reverse side

Size: 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 in)

Cost: Around CDN $10