I have half a dozen navigation apps on my phone, so I rarely get lost! But phones have several major weaknesses: battery life and signal reception. A compass. Though such a simple device has been around for about a thousand years, compasses have not lost their utility. I keep one in my truck and one in my bug-out bag because they can save your life. The first part of this article explains the basics of lensatic compasses and how to use them.

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Stopping and asking for directions has its drawbacks, as well. For starters, the doctrine of western masculinity forbids it. It falls upon us, then, to have the tools to find our own way, and a lensatic compass, often paired with a good map, is the best way to accomplish this. A lensatic compass traditionally unfolds into three components.

The first of these, which sits at the top of the folded compass, is the sight wire. This lines up with an index marker on the compass face. All you have to do is line up some object in the distance with the sight wire and look through the third element—a folding lens—to see the exact bearing of the distant object.

This is a great way to get a sense of the direction you choose, so you can keep track of your movements should you need to retrace your steps. If you have a map telling you the specific direction in which you must travel to reach your destination, all you have to do is swap two of the steps. First, you turn your body until you line up the index marker on the face of the compass with your intended bearing.

Then, simply glance up through the sight wire to an object in the near distance that you can approach. Stop there, measure again, find a new object and repeat. By this method, you will reach your destination without fail. A Compass In The Dark Most of the lensatic compasses on our list follow the traditional design associated with the compasses issued by the US military.

In fact, two of the compasses on our list are the very units contracted for production by the US government. For example, traditional lensatic compasses require you to look through a small lens to view the compass face and get your bearing.

There are models on this list that use mirrors instead of sighting wire, or that employ bubble levels and horizon demarcations on a cross-hair sight to evaluate the field before you. Conversely, if you left them in a cave for a day, then took them out at night and tried to navigate, only a few would have visible faces. Tritium, on the other hand, is actually radioactive.

Directed To The New World Before the discovery of polar magnetism and its application to navigational compasses, travelers by land and sea alike relied on charts, maps, landmarks, and celestial bodies to find their way. Of course, being lost at sea under incessantly cloudy skies made for some interesting navigation. About years after that, a rather well-known Italian explorer pointed his compass west from Spanish shores, and the rest is an eventful and bloody history.

The magnetic compass first appeared in China during the Han dynasty. Instead, the erection of new buildings relied on magnetic properties to guide the flow of energy through a space as per the tenets of feng shui. Most historians believe that Arabs in the Middle East introduced the compass to eastern Europe, and that it made its way west for there.

Written evidence exists that references the navigational use of a magnetic compass in the English Channel as early as Our Top Pick.


Lensatic Compasses

Magnetic compass A military compass that was used during World War I The magnetic compass is the most familiar compass type. When the compass is held level, the needle turns until, after a few seconds to allow oscillations to die out, it settles into its equilibrium orientation. In navigation, directions on maps are usually expressed with reference to geographical or true north , the direction toward the Geographical North Pole , the rotation axis of the Earth. Depending on where the compass is located on the surface of the Earth the angle between true north and magnetic north , called magnetic declination can vary widely with geographic location. The local magnetic declination is given on most maps, to allow the map to be oriented with a compass parallel to true north.


The 9 Best Lensatic Compasses

Announcement: My online Land Navigation course includes four hours of video instruction, and two downloadable PDF books, all for about the same price as a typical paperback book. It has its advantages and disadvantages over the orienteering compass. Learn Land Navigation Now. Enroll in my personalized step-by-step video-based online course.


How to Use a Lensatic Compass

No products in the cart. How to Use a Lensatic Compass Posted on October 25, There are so many different kinds of compasses, it can be hard to keep up. Navigation has taken on many forms over the years. Here at Brunton, we manufacture a variety of different compasses for varying needs in the field.

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