It’s day 3 of our 12 Gifts of Christmas and where would we be without our trusted compass?  Yes, we have a GPS that we take out on the hill with us, but we never go without a map and compass too.  You can never be sure that the battery will last or the technology will work, or that the user has remembered to put the right map card in, so I like to have the simplicity of the map and compass to fall back on.  But in reality I tend to use them more during a walk and then use the GPS to review the route when we finish.


A blue jacket with a RockRiver Expeditions logo and an AMI logo (Association of Mountain Instructors) with a map and a Silva Expedition 4 compass


Our compass of choice is the Silva Expedition 4 compass.  What makes this one stand out from the others?

  1. The base plate is nice and large which means it’s easier to use when you’re taking bearings.
  2. It has three Romer scales 1:50k, 1:25k and 1:40k (the most up to date one has anyway, the one in our picture is a bit older like me and has the old one inch to one mile scale as it’s third option) so can be used with the most used maps, as well as the mm ruler down the long edge.
  3. Luminous markings make it great for use on night navigation.
  4. The bezel has a textured edge making it easier to use when you have gloves on.
  5. Three little rubber feet on the bottom of the base plate help keep it in place for precision map work.
  6. It has a magnifying glass  – useful when your eyes weren’t as good as they once were (!)
  7. And then there is the little hole to use for drawing checkpoint circles on maps.

I would recommend replacing the lanyard it comes with, with a longer piece of 2mm or 3mm cord.  This will mean you can attach it to your jacket or bag strap and still have enough distance to take your bearing accurately.

The Silva Expedition 4 starts at around £20 in the UK from most outdoor shops.

Find all of our gift recommendations here;
Day 1 – The Buff
Day 2 – The Lifeventure Thermal Mug
Day 3 – The Silva Expedition 4 Compass
Day 4 – The MSR Pocket Rocket Stove
Day 5 – The Alpkit MytiStax
Day 6 – The Satmap Active 12 GPS
Day 7 – Icebreaker Merino Tshirts
Day 8 – Leki Walking Poles
Day 9 – Alpkit Viper 2 Headtorch
Day 10 – Hats
Day 11 – Mountains
Day 12 – Ordnance Survey Maps

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