The Suunto MC-2 Compass is a high-quality mirror compass designed for accurate navigation in challenging outdoor environments.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Accuracy and Reliability
- Durable Construction
- Versatile Features
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Bulky Design
- Higher Price Point
- Requires Experience to Use
Manufactured by the renowned Finnish company Suunto, this compass gives you all the features you need at a reasonable price. We have found that hikers who have a Suunto MC-2 Compass endlessly sing its praises, and if they lose it, they instantly replace it with the same model. It’s easy to see why, as we found it to be well-made and easy to use. Suunto was initially founded by Tuomas Vohlonen, an orienteer and engineer, to make liquid-filled compasses for hikers, and it is clear that the Suunto MC-2 Compass has been designed to offer everything you might want from a compass. We have no hesitation in recommending the Suunto MC-2 Compass as our top pick.
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Analysis and Test Results
The Suunto MC-2 Compass offers a wide range of practical features and options. The adjustable declination is easy to use with the tool needed attached to the lanyard so we could quickly find true north without complex calculations. There is a simple, easy-to-read clinometer to measure the angle of a slope if required. The sighting mirror is a generous size, with the viewing line clearly marked. The lanyard comes with a quick-release catch which we liked as it made it easy to remove to place on the map but meant it was also simple to hang around our neck so the compass was easy to find. If you prefer to attach the compass to your wrist, the lanyard has a wrist lock. A small magnifying lens is built into the baseplate, which is handy for reading the small print on a map.
The Suunto MC-2 Compass is a mirror compass. A mirror compass is more accurate than a basic baseplate compass, but it does take practice and skill to get used to using one. To begin, hold the compass flat and level, and open the lid to reveal the mirror. Sight the target object through the sighting notch while simultaneously aligning the mirror’s reflection of the compass’s direction-of-travel arrow with the magnetic needle. Once aligned, read the bearing from the direction-of-travel arrow. To obtain an accurate bearing, ensure the needle and arrow are in alignment and the sighting line is pointing directly at the target object. The mirror compass allows for more accurate readings by eliminating parallax errors and providing a stable reference point for sighting. The mirror on the Suunto MC-2 Compass is a good size and gives a clear reflection. Many users comment on how the mirror could be used as an emergency signal, and some even use it for makeup application and contact lens removal. The mirror has both a sighting hole at the bottom and a notch at the top to help you get an accurate reading.
Increments and Scales
The Suunto MC-2 Compass is marked in 2-degree increments with an accuracy of 2.5 degrees. There is an option to have the markings in Mils instead of degrees, so double check you are getting the one you want. There are actually five different versions of the Suunto MC-2 Compass with variations of scales available. The base plate of the Suunto MC-2 Compass incorporates multiple additional scales. There is both a 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scale, and the left side of the compass has a scale in millimeters while the right side has a scale in inches.
Suunto design their compasses to last. This compass is water- and pressure-resistant, can operate between -30° C (-22° F) to +60° C (+140° F), and is tough enough to survive rough handling and being dropped. The compass is primarily made of tough plastic with a brass hinge. The mirror folds down to act as a lid, and it clicks closed nicely so it doesn’t come open in your pocket or backpack and offers the Suunto MC-2 Compass extra protection. Suunto also sells a nylon pouch if you are looking for an additional layer of protection.
Ease of Use
Mirror compasses offer more features than a basic baseplate compass, and an inexperienced user may initially find them intimidating. However, the Suunto MC-2 Compass is designed with user-friendliness in mind, offering a relatively straightforward navigation experience. Its intuitive features and clear markings make it easy to use. The adjustable declination is user-friendly, allowing quick alignment with true north without complex calculations. Additionally, the sighting mirror aids in precise direction finding, while the luminescent markings enhance readability in low-light conditions. Although the compass incorporates advanced features, the provided instructions and online resources guide users through its functionality. Overall, the Suunto MC-2 Compass balances functionality and ease of use.
Region and Needle
You can buy a Northern Hemisphere Suunto MC-2 Compass, or you can purchase one equipped with a global needle for a little extra. The needle is made from high-grade steel with a jewel bearing. Tuomas Vohlonen invented and patented a liquid-filled capsule that had a steadier needle and gave more accurate readings. The latest iteration of his invention has a needle that moves freely even when the compass is held at an angle. The needle also dampens quickly.
The Suunto MC-2 Compass features luminescent markings ensuring readability in low-light conditions or during nighttime navigation. The bezel itself is not luminous, but the surrounding ring with the degree markings glows bright green, and there are also two luminous dots on either side of the arrow.
The Suunto MC-2 Compass is a little bigger than an average compass but not too large to be held comfortably in your hand. It measures around 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) in diameter and 4 inches (101 cm) in length, and it is about 0.7 inches (18mm) thick. Its lightweight and portable design makes this compass convenient to carry in any outdoor activity.
There are lighter options available for sure, but having said that, the Suunto MC-2 Compass is not heavy. It weighs approximately 2.6 ounces (74 grams), about the same weight as an egg. This makes it easy to carry during outdoor adventures without adding significant bulk or weight to your gear.
The Suunto MC-2 Compass falls into the higher price range compared to basic, entry-level compasses. As a result, it might be less appealing to budget-conscious individuals or those who only require a compass for occasional recreational use. However, we think it is worth paying a little extra for this compass as the build quality and extra features mean it is the only compass you will ever need.
Suunto say that the MC-2 Compass offers ‘precision navigation with a variety of carefully engineered and dependable features for challenging conditions’, and we certainly found that this compass lived up to their claims. It’s a great quality piece of kit and could easily last a lifetime of use. The Suunto MC-2 Compass is a reliable and indispensable tool for outdoor enthusiasts and professionals. Its accurate readings, durable construction, and versatile features make it well-suited for navigating through challenging terrains across the globe. With an intuitive design and lightweight build, the compass offers ease of use without compromising on functionality. Whether exploring dense forests, scaling mountains, or embarking on global expeditions, the Suunto MC-2 Compass would be a dependable companion, and we have no hesitation in recommending it.
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