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An odd advantage for baseplate compass.

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    • An odd advantage for baseplate compass.

      A few years back someone started a dual use thread that got me to think about how to get pack weight down by elimnating things that I was carrying two of. For example, tent poles and hiking poles, when in camp the hiking poles replace the tent poles. etc. From past surveys we as a group have discovered many do not carry the same list of ten essentials as it adds weight to the pack. I was a little surprised the love for button compasses that barely work and in a real OMG moment probably would not get you out of trouble. On one hiking trip I kept smelling kerosene for a couple of miles not figuring out that my old button compass was damaged and leaking the fluid.

      Cof123 break.... damn its early today... where the sun... oh yea... :whistling:

      OK sorry for the break...

      Lets say you do get "off trail" a baseplate compass allows you to sight to something off in the distance and collect a bearing to that object and keeps you on track, when the sun and stars are covered by bad weather. You lock in the direction on the base plate the direction you are traveling. I have read stories of some folks accidentally hiking 10 miles in the wrong direction on the AT and admitting to it.... at least in the morning you can check it to make sure. It appears to be human nature to jump up and walk in a direction and then try to get your direction as a "oh yea it was this way" moment. Some compasses are really geared for fine map making and have small rulers to guess a distance and a small what appears to be a useless magnify plastic lens. What was useless while I was younger is clear now, I need one, my arms are not long enough to see the map. So what happened to dual use? ahh that is where it gets interesting - on a sunny day when the sun is 30-40° up in the sky its your fire starter! Granted you might need a premade cotton carbon patch from your bag, It only takes four-five minutes and when it smokes, DON"T STOP. Keep going on the same spot.

      Try it at home. its a cool skill to have handy.

      On another note Credit Card sized Freznel lens of plastic works faster and can light a cigarette and doesn't need a carbon patch.
      They are sold on Amazon for cheap.


      Be wise enough to walk away from the nonsense around you! :thumbup:

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Wise Old Owl: links ().

    • My mirror sight compass has all the features of a baseplate compass, including a little magnifier. It's also useful for tick checks. (If I have a hiking partner, I still ask them to check the back of my neck, which is one place I can't see even with a mirror.)

      Lighting a fire with a hand lens is a gimmick. I suppose it might be useful if I lost my fire steel, but there's enough chert and jasper around here that I think I'd need to lose my knife as well before I'd resort to a lens. (The nation that we call the Mohawk call themselves the 'Kanien'kehá:ka' - "They come from the place with the flint.')
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.