If you are looking for a reliable compass without spending your end-of-year bonus, check out the MCA compass from Suunto.
I’ve had this compass for a couple of years now and I recently used it to do some orienteering. I must say I’ve never had any problems with it – a very straightforward piece of kit.
Balanced for the Northern Hemisphere, this compass is perfect for newcomers to old school navigation, but will satisfy experienced navigators as well.
The MCA is extremely lightweight and relatively sturdy. The bezel is easy to grip and turn, but not so loose that it will turn on its own. Markings are well applied but non-luminous. This isn’t really an issue unless you plan on navigating at night. If you do plan on wandering around in the dark with a map and compass, please, wear a headlamp.
While it may not appear so at first glance, the MCA’s set up is actually quite simple and very functional. The mirror and sights are clean and very crisp. The cover stays open firmly at 45 degrees and shuts nicely.
If you’re debating whether or not to buy a compass with a mirror, consider this:
In a survival situation, the mirror comes in very handy for signaling, checking your teeth, injuries, bites etc. If you are a minimalist, or just looking to simplify your kit, it saves you from taking along a separate mirror.
The little red string it came with was useless – I couldn’t even get it over my head – so I swapped it out for some mil-spec 550 Paracord.
At roughly CAD $30, you can’t really go wrong. If you take care of it, this compass should give you years of faithful service.
Cost: Around CDN $30
Made in Finland