This ancient compass still does the trick | AspenTimes.com
YOUR AD HERE »

This ancient compass still does the trick

Janet Urquhart

Carrying a compass in the backcountry is a little bit like having jumper cables in your car – they’re both pretty useless if you don’t know how to use them.

My dad gave me his compass years ago, to help me find my way. It’s a Wittnauer with a nickel case and a lid that pops open like an old pocket watch (I found a similar one for $50 on the web).It’s raised some eyebrows over the years, looking ancient as it does, so I checked out what else is on the market. The options run the gamut, from simple to sophisticated, though none of the new ones offer the metal casing that sets mine apart from the crowd.Carl’s Pharmacy has one for $7.99, set in a plastic casing with a clear bottom so you can view a map directly beneath it.Carl’s also offers a five-in-one device for $21.99 that includes a small binocular, magnifier, compass, LED flashlight and an emergency mirror – all handy items if you’re lost, or even if you’re not.

Not surprisingly, the compass options at the Ute Mountaineer are a step up in quality, and price. There’s a Suunto “pro compass” with a mirror that lets you look at what’s in front of you on the landscape, and down at the compass dial simultaneously, via the mirror. It’s $54.95. A Suunto baseplate compass runs $29.95.There’s a $50 key ring that sports a compass, water-resistant to 10 meters, and a chronograph. It also displays the time, date and temperature.A Suunto watch, with built-in digital compass, altimeter, barometer and other features, can run from $200 to more than $500.

As nearly as I can tell, every one of the shiny, new compasses does pretty much what mine does – points north. Handy information, assuming that you’re hopelessly lost but know which direction it is you need to go to get unlost.For me, carrying a compass is like having insurance. I hope I never have to use it.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User