Bewildered, need a compass

Thread starter #1

Balrog

Senior Member
A few weeks ago I was walking through the flat over grown river swamps of south Georgia. The area was significantly overgrown with privit, myrtle, etc., so I wasnt walking in a straight line, but rather trying to find the least overgrown areas to walk through. I didn't get lost, but did get fairly bewildered. When I finally came out onto a highway, I wasn't where I thought I should have been. So I am thinking a compass may be a good idea to take with me next time I do this.

I am not sure the compass on my iphone works too good. Does the phone have to be connected to the network for it to work?

I think I want a decent mechanical compass. When I was in Boy Scouts, we used Silva compasses for mountaineering. What is a good brand of mechanical compass these days?
 

transfixer

Senior Member
I don't know about brands, the one I have I've had for a long time, made like a military version, but if you use Amazon check on there, they have a multitude of them , from not very expensive to quite expensive, check the reviews of whichever ones you like, some look quite good !
 
Your phone should be able to use it’s gps function even without service. OnX maps has an app for your phone you can download a map and it will work even with no cell service. It will show a dot on the map of your location. It has distance measurements, weather, topo map or satellite picture. You can view your location on a topo map or satellite photo of the area. It’s very accurate and also has property boundaries, which I never use because I hunt public land.
I never got a gps I learned to navigate with a compass in the Army and figured that was enough. While I still carry a compass Incase something happens to the phone, the ON X has changed the game when Turkey hunting. I can roost a Gobbler and go back in the dark and walk right to the tree not close like with a compass but exact spot. The mapping and labeling features are very helpful as well. I’d be the last person to get on the technology bandwagon but these new phone mapping apps are light years ahead of the compass.
For someone that hunts the same box stand on the same 2500 acres 10 times a year it’s probably not worth the money. If you hunt places like the DBNF with millions of acres and you will be several miles from the truck it is worth every penny.
 

transfixer

Senior Member
Those phone apps do work, I've tried a couple of them, just to see what they do, but I would still want a compass as backup, sure as the world when I needed one there would be a thunderstorm and downpouring rain, which would likely render your phone useless.
 
Those phone apps do work, I've tried a couple of them, just to see what they do, but I would still want a compass as backup, sure as the world when I needed one there would be a thunderstorm and downpouring rain, which would likely render your phone useless.
I agree a compass is cheap insurance. But a new iPhone can be submerged in water and rain or thunderstorms will not effect it unless you are struck by lightning and at that point a compass would be of little use.
 

Ruger#3

RAMBLIN MOD
Staff member
Both Brunton and Silva make good compasses.
I carry a Silva when in woods. I also carry a GPS with topo maps loaded in it. The compass is insurance.
 
Back in the 70s I spent most of a cold, wet December night night "bewildered" in a South Ga swamp. Like you I decided I needed to be a bit better prepared. I now have a good Brunton, a couple of Silvas, a Garmin GPS, and a smart phone with apps. The technology today can make a fellow look like a real Pathfinder! As you rightly pointed out though even when you know the direction it is hard to take a line "cause of all the ob-stackles in our way" Don't laugh but the thing I find myself using the most is a cheap little Suunto clip on that I attached to my vest that I almost always wear. It is so easy to see and I can constantly know which way north is. even when skirting stuff. It keeps your head in the game at all times and that is half the battle. During bow season I like to hunt near bout in the nude...where legal. I started clipping one to the strap on my wrist release on the back side of my hand away from the metal.
 

bany

Senior Member
I got a compass when I was 9 or 10. Dad took his sons for a long hike in the middle of nowhere. Then he asked how do we back? That REALLY burned into the ol’brain cells!
Not saying I can’t get lost, been off course too. And flatland with thick vegetation would concern me too! I like that your not sure to trust a phone compass, batteries die too. I carried a cheap little thing with a whistle on it. It seemed to work fine.
 
I carry a Silva. I would like one of those small zipper pull compasses. Recently my daughter and I were on a trail and missed our turn. We were suppose to take a spur trial but the area at the wye was clear cut. She found it right away with her phone. A compass wouldn't have helped much in that situation. We had to actually walk through piles of logs and debri. Once we got through that the trial was well defined.

We had been on this trail twice in the previous two years but still wouldn't have found the spur trail without her phone or GPS.
 
Silva always worked for me. I never used one much here in the mountains where you can navigate by topography, but when I started coon hunting at night in flatlands and swamps, I figured out real quick that a compass was my best friend. Same when you are blood trailing a deer or hog back into the flatland woods after dark.
 

Patriot44

Senior Member
Silva always worked for me. I never used one much here in the mountains where you can navigate by topography, but when I started coon hunting at night in flatlands and swamps, I figured out real quick that a compass was my best friend. Same when you are blood trailing a deer or hog back into the flatland woods after dark.
I too learned how to use a compass coon hunting swamps. Life saver, really!

There are some good apps for your smart phone these days. I have used straight up ‘map’ to figure out where I was, a few times. If there are nearby roads or POI, a basic mapping app would be just fine.
 
I too learned how to use a compass coon hunting swamps. Life saver, really!

There are some good apps for your smart phone these days. I have used straight up ‘map’ to figure out where I was, a few times. If there are nearby roads or POI, a basic mapping app would be just fine.
Yep, when you get back in the middle of the woods and it's flat and dark, and you circle a tree three or four times shining it lookg for a coon, it all looks a lot alike when you start to head back out.
 

Patriot44

Senior Member
Yep, when you get back in the middle of the woods and it's flat and dark, and you circle a tree three or four times shining it lookg for a coon, it all looks a lot alike when you start to head back out.
Foe Shizzle! The swamp is even worse. Every tree looks the same, in water up to your thighs and the miner light shining around looking like you said is a dangerous stitiation.
 
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