Want to buy a removable compass for use on kayaks paddling rivers, Voyagers NP, and teaching grandsons basics of navigating. Most frequently see references to Suunto Orca and Brunton 58. Suunto is priced about 2x Brunton, but yellow color would make it less likely to be left behind somewhere. Mounting and size seem similar, but is either easier to read or more durable? Is either easier to read at night?
I have no experience with the Brunton. I used an Orca when I had a boat without a compass recess for a 70P. Looks like either one would work fine & deals for either are on the net. For night navigation, I use a red light stick duct taped to the deck & make a “cowling” of a strip of tape to direct the light forward onto the compass instead of into my eyes. I find headlamps destroy your night vision & annoy those around you. YMMV.
Mine is easy enough to read, but I don’t put it at the end of the bow where a recess exists. I just bungie it several feet forward of the coaming. Theoretically, that locaion is less accurage than at the end of the bow. OTOH, I don’t need laser precision.
This setup has worked well enough that when I target a desired landing spot across the water a couple miles away, I get there, if I have done my part in monitoring a range as well as compass heading. And knowing which way current or wind will tend to move the boat. It is not a set-and-forget action.
Orca is good but the company sucks for warranty. Mine lost all the fluid. Glows in the dark too.
good question–night vis
I got stuck out on Lake Superior one night when it got foggy. I had a light, but when I used it I all I could see beyond my deck was white. So, the choice was, see the compass and nothing else, or paddle in the dark and not know my direction of travel. I got by, but I wasn’t happy as I alternately blinded myself to get a glance at the compass and then plunged back into directionless darkness.
A few months ago I ran across some instructions on the web for adding a red light to the underside of a Suunto Orca compass. I’ll probably never be stuck out in a night fog like that again, but if I am, I hope I have the illuminated Orca with me.
I just searched for the instructions upon which I based my compass mod–sorry can’t find.
Link to instructions
Ah, here it is. From Adventure Kayak magazine.