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Suunto A-10 Field Compass


Suunto A-10 A10 Recreational Field Compass

The Suunto A-10 Compass is an inexpensive virtually indestructible compass that will help you find your way in the wilderness.

Why you might need it

The two most important tools for navigating are a good compass along with a proper map.  The Suunto A-10 Compass is an affordable basic fixed declination compass.  With the A-10 you can head across the wilderness or up a mountain with peace of mind knowing you have a handy and well designed navigational aid that will help get you where you want to go.  A smart hiker or survivalist will obtain maps for their area and will learn and practice navigation skills using their compass and maps.  The newer GPS devices are great, but you should not become too dependent on them.  Even if you use a GPS, since it relies on batteries, they could go bad or the electronic circuitry of the GPS or satellites could fail at the the time you need it most. The dependability of a compass that relies only on earth's magnetic fields, and the knowledge of how to use it is the most reliable navigation tool for off the trail hiking.  So if you use a GPS, it is recommended to also have a good compass and maps with you at all times when you are in the wilderness.

Added tip

If you just really want a good compass for use with maps but without all of the bells and whistles of a more expensive compass, for a lot of people, the Suunto A-10 or equivalent featured compass is more than adequate.  The Suunto A-10 is a lightweight recreational compass made of durable, clear, scratch-resistant acrylic.  It is reliable in the northern hemisphere, has a fixed declination correction scale, jewel bearing, and dual scales in centimeters or inches).  The A-10 fits in your palm, includes a lanyard with detachable snap-lock, and has red scales for easy reading on a map.  If you want a higher end compass with more features (such as the Suunto MC-2 360 D-L-IN-NH SS004239001 Compass), then you'll need to make some decisions on the features for your compass (metric or standard, global needle or northern hemisphere only, do you desire a map magnifier, a sighting mirror, geared declination adjustment, luminous points for night use, a clinometer, etc.). 

If you are a beginner to using a compass and maps, although it is not free, here is a link to really good training video on Survival Land Navigation | Runtime: 90 Minutes (Video Trailer - 1 minute, 7 seconds). You may want to purchase and read the book "Wilderness Navigation" (or an equivalent instructional book) before you purchase your compass if you think you might want a more costly compass to make sure you are buying the compass with the features that you really wanted. The next (optional) recommendation is to take a class on navigating with a compass and map or at least look at some "how to use a compass" videos on YouTube. Then either go to the USGS website (or a commercial website) and get a downloadable topo map for your area. Take your instructional book, your compass, and map out in your area and practice in your own area (where you cannot get lost) before going off trail. Definitely practice finding your way in your own neighborhood, area, or backyard using your compass and map instead of taking a risk that perhaps you do not really know how to use them.

Suunto A10 Field Compass
Sample Amazon Feedback

"Best Basic Base Plate Compass.  I've used Brunton, Silva and Suunto basic baseplate compasses for both general hiking and white/yellow level orienteering as well as teaching cub scouts the basics of compass use. This one is my favorite. Comfortable in the hand and accurate as it needs to be."

"Excellent basic compass.  I purchased this compass to take along as backup (to another compass) during my hiking and camping expeditions. It's about as basic as a compass can get (with just some basic markings, a fixed declination scale, etc), but that's all I really need to find my way in the woods. The compass needle seeks north very quickly, unlike many of the cheaper "made in China" compasses you may find. The build quality is excellent -- I couldn't find any rough edges, overshot paint or irregularities in the plastic. My only concern is that the exposed paint on the bottom of the plate may wear off over time -- but that remains to be seen, and it certainly would appear to be durable enough. The instructions are a little sparse on detail, so if you're not familiar with compass navigation you may want to do a little extra studying. All-in-all, I'd definitely recommend this compass."

"Will get you home.   have a more expensive Suunto with all the bells and whistles, but I picked this one up so I would always have one in my rucksack. Over the weekend I did a night hike by headlamp up a mountain that I had previously only day hiked. I got completely turned around up on the rocks and after a fall that shook me up, I had pretty much decided to just spend the night up there and wait for sunrise. I found an old trail and my instincts told me to bear to the right. I had a map and this compass and it told me to go the left direction. Three hours later I was back to camp and avoided an uncomfortable and cold night on the rocks. I like this compass because it is stripped down and easy to use in the situations where you will really need it, usually dark and windy. The minimal cost compared to potentially spending an unexpected night on a mountain is well worth it."

"I bought these compasses for my webelos cub scout troop. I wanted something simple and durable to use. We are using them for map orienting. They work fine for this use. They are basically indestructable as not a single one has broken despite being in the hands of a group of 10 year olds."

"I am NOT an expert but it was easy to use after reading the instructions. I do recreational biking and hiking, with this compass and a map; it will be hard to get lost. I highly recommend this product for recreational activities. I do not have the expertise to recommend this for someone who is a highly trained navigator. Nevertheless, this is good product!"

"There are a lot more expensive compasses and unless you're calling in a air strike it is pointless to spend the extra money. With a good topo map and some basic knowledge, included in the pamphlet, this compass is all you most likely will ever need. It is indestructible, light weight and it's easy to get a quick read with. I have been to the Boundary Waters with this compass as well as winter camping, sailing in the Florida keys (Sea Base) and hiking in the Rockies (Philmont) and never found it inadequate in the past 9 years! Even with my GPS I always have a map and compass. This compass even helped me become an eagle scout. Haha modesty isn't in the scout oath or law! The reason I mention my adventures isn't to stroke my ego, I just want to back up my claim to not spend the extra money on such an essential piece of gear. More expensive compasses usually complicate things, which doesn't help..."

YouTube Videos

The following YouTube Video is an unboxing of the Suunto A-10 Field Compass.

Suunto A-10 compass - unboxing

The following YouTube Video is a class that will show you how to use your compass and map to navigate safely and the Silva 1-2-3 System.

Silva Navigation School

The following five YouTube videos provide instruction on Map & Compass Skills.  This is a lengthy set of videos, but the instruction is very good.

How to Get a Topo Map - Map and Compass Skills - Video 1

Map Basics - Map and Compass Skills - Video 2

Compass Basics - Map and Compass Skills - Video 3

Using a Map and Compass on a Hike - Map and Compass Skills - Video 4

Pace Count and Ranger Beads - Map and Compass Skills - Video 5

Suunto A-10 A10 Recreational Field Compass

Recommended accessories

  • Suunto MC-2 360 D-L-IN-NH SS004239001 Compass (NOTE: This is a nicer more expensive compass and works anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere). If you are going to pay this much for a compass, be sure you are knowledgeable of compass features before making your decision)

Recommended Blog

For a mini-survival kit and every day carry, we recommend a small button compass and these make great back up compasses as well as they are very tiny.  Keep reading this review of the BCB Explorer Button Compass for an inexpensive quality NATO approved button compass.

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