If you’re after a fully-featured mirror sighting compass that’ll work anywhere in the world, then the Suunto MC-2 Global is a sound investment. Most ‘normal’ compasses run into problems if you take them into the wrong hemisphere (ie a northern hemisphere compass won’t function properly if you go too far south of the equator), but a global needle has enough ‘play’ built in at the pivot point to work anywhere on the planet. A standard version of the MC-2 is available for £55 with a regular needle if you’re not heading into the southern hemisphere, and this offers all the other features of the Global version, such as adjustable declination to set the magnetic variation, romer scales for 1:25k and 1:50k, a clinometer for measuring slope angles, and luminous markings for night use. The most notable feature, though, is the mirror, which enables you to set bearings with real precision. To use it, you flip it open to about 45º and line up your target by holding the compass up to your eye and using the sighting notch to lock on to a detail in the landscape. The mirror enables you to see the actual bearing at the same time as the target, so you can get a really accurate fix.
Romer scales 1:50k, 1:25k
Night use luminous markings
Map magnifier yes
Declination adjustment yes
Sighting options mirror
The Suunto MC-2 Global is best for precise use.
First published in Trail magazine November 2011