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SUUNTO SS021369000 M-3 NH Compass
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- Balanced for Northern Hemisphere
- Metric and Imperial scales
- Adjustable declination correction
- Luminescent markings for working in low light
- Detachable snap-lock lanyard with wristlock. Easy to detach for working with the map
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A premium quality precision compass for convenient direction taking even in demanding conditions
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 7 x 3.75 x 1 inches; 1.6 Ounces
- Item model number : SS021369000
- Department : Unisex-adult
- Date First Available : May 7, 2015
- Manufacturer : Suunto
- ASIN : B00XANJRHG
- Best Sellers Rank: #16,794 in Sports & Outdoors (See Top 100 in Sports & Outdoors)
- Customer Reviews:
This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Top reviews from the United States
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The "NH" in the product name means "Northern Hemisphere". A map on the packaging shows that this model is not recommended for Australia, Antarctica, New Zealand, half of South America, or half of Africa. Also, since no ordinary compass will work well near the magnetic poles, the map seems to show that it is not recommended for the northernmost parts of Alaska, Canada, or Russia. Nothing on the compass itself says Northern Hemisphere.
The advantage of the M-3 is its declination adjustment. In my area, the difference between true North and magnetic North is 14.3 degrees. With a regular compass, one has to remember whether the magnetic North pole is to the left or right of the geographic North pole. This gives a lot of opportunity for error. But with the M-3, the user can easily set the declination and all will be well for use in that area.
The declination is set by turning a tiny screw. It is on the bottom of the compass at eight O'Clock in the attached image. The scale that shows 14 degree west declination is seen at four O'Clock in the same image. The compass comes with a small non-magnetic screwdriver attached to its lanyard.
Adjusting the declination only moves the orienting arrow. The orienting lines do not move. The result is that the compass needle points to magnetic North as always, but the dial indicates true North. I have attached an image of the M-3 sitting on the compass rose of a nautical chart. The chart is "oriented"; meaning that I carefully turned it so that its vertical lines run North and South. Note how the dial is set to North, the baseplate points to true North, and the needle points to magnetic North, which is 14.3 degrees to the left.
A negative review of the M-3 described getting a fake Suunto. The compass that I received did not have any of the problems that he described. The needle on my compass is fluid dampened and works nicely. It definitely has a jewel bearing in the center. (Putting a flashlight under the compass shows that the center of the needle is not just metal.) There is no bubble in the fluid. The whole compass is high quality and well made.
The luminescent parts of the compass work fine. I suppose this could be useful in moonlight on open ground, where there might be enough light to walk around without a flashlight. But if the night is so dark that you need a flashlight, wouldn't you just use the flashlight to read your compass?
The compass comes with a strong plastic clip to connect the lanyard. But it is not needed. It is just as easy to connect the lanyard with a catspaw knot as shown in the attached images.
The M-3 is known as a "baseplate" or "Silva System" compass. I find this design much easier to use than a lensatic compass. The Cammenga military compass is more complicated and can be very hard to read. In my opinion, baseplate is the way to go.
The size of the M-3 is about 4 5/8" by 2 3/8".
The M-3 perfectly agrees with my old Boy Scout compass. I do not see even one degree of difference between them. The reason to buy a Suunto M-3 instead of a $5.00 compass from a big box store is the declination adjustment, and the confidence of having a high quality device that will be sure to work when you really need it.
I teach wilderness navigation classes to 150+ students annually, and this is the one compass I recommend for all of them.
Other brands such as Brunton and Silva have had some definite quality control issues recently, and I presently cannot recommend these two brands. But Suunto has been producing quality compasses for a long time, and this is a great one. Here's why it's terrific.
- ergonomic design. The curved and of the compass is a reminder to always hold this in your hand when taking a bearing, or have that on your current location when you're plotting a bearing on a map. This greatly minimize is the most common mistake when using a compass, which is holding it backwards with the direction of travel arrow pointing it yourself.
- adjustable declination, the most important feature. Once your compass is adjusted for your local declination, (which you can easily find with a web search for "magnetic–declination" all bearings are then taken to true north, which eliminates all the confusing backcountry arithmetic.
- luminous dial, in two degree increments
- well balanced needle that quickly settles on North in a liquid dampened housing
- easy to read direction of travel arrow
- clear long baseplate, good for using as a straight edged to plot lines.
- for those of you wondering if you need a mirrored compass, the answers probably no. A mirror can be handy for backcountry grooming and putting in contact lenses and things like that, but most users will find the tiny bit of extra accuracy and buy a mirror is not needed in most backcountry navigation. A mirror also adds cost, weight, and is one more thing that can break.
All in all, this is currently the best compass available at this price point. (and you definitely want to buy this compass on Amazon, at REI I think it is presently $43).
Now, the big dilemma... what to do with the old M3 that still works.
Top reviews from other countries
The bezel is ridged and also luminous so is easy to use in poor light and wearing gloves.
The M- 3 G is a global compass. The compass you are actually buying is M 3 NH. This compass is only accurate in the Northern Hemisphere.
A previous reviewer made this clear in May 2017 but the misleading label still remains.
Make sure you are happy with what you're ordering.
Better than the cheaper ones at the box stores