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OWNER REVIEW - Brunton Nexus 54LU Combi Compass - Gail S.

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  • woodswoman
    Here is my new OR ready for editing: HTML: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/Brunton%2054LU%20Compass%20-%20Gail%20S./ Owner Review:
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 1, 2006
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      Here is my new OR ready for editing:


      HTML:
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/Brunton%2054LU%20Compass%20-%20Gail%20S./

      Owner Review:
      Brunton Nexus 54 LU Combi Compass
      June 1, 2006


      Reviewer Information

      Name: Gail Staisil
      Age: 53
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
      Weight: 140 (64 kg)
      Email: woodswoman2001@...
      Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
      Photo Album Website:
      http://community.webshots.com/user/isleroyalegirl

      For the last 16 years, backpacking has become a
      passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an
      off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips
      to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my
      trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight
      varies considerably, but my base weight is under 18 lb
      (8.16 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages
      over 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of
      weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow
      and sub-zero temps.

      Brunton 54LU Compass
      Product Information

      Manufacturer: Brunton
      Year of Manufacture: 2001
      URL: http://www.brunton.com
      Phone: 1.307.857.4700
      Model: 54LU Baseplate Sighting Compass
      Color/Materials: Clear Plastic with Luminous Points
      Size: 4.9 in (12.45 cm) X 2.4 in (6.10 cm) X 0.6 in
      (1.52 cm)
      Manufacturer's Weight: 1.4 oz (40 g)
      Actual Weight: 1.4 oz (40 g)
      MSRP: $76.00 US
      Country of Origin: Sweden

      Product Description

      At first glance the Brunton 54LU Compass looks rather
      ordinary. After all it is a baseplate compass and most
      of the ones on the market are similar. A closer look
      is required to see that the 54LU is a direct sighting
      compass too. While there are many baseplate compasses
      available and there are also many sighting compasses
      on the market it is rare to find one that has the
      combination of the two types. The Brunton 54LU Compass
      features in-vial sighting, luminous points, a map
      magnifier, a lanyard and an instantaneous reciprocal
      bearing. The baseplate features handy scales for the
      most commonly used maps. They include 1:25k, 1:63k and
      1:50 scales. The compass came with very basic
      instructions that are printed in English and Swedish.
      It briefly describes the different ways to use the
      compass.


      Field Information

      I have owned the 54LU Compass for almost five years
      and it is a major component of my navigation equipment
      that also includes a homemade wrist compass, pace
      beads and maps of various scales marked with UTM
      lines. I not only use it on backpacking trips but I
      also carry it on many day hiking and cross country
      skiing excursions. It has come in handy for unmarked
      ski trails, pathways and general route finding.
      Bushwhacking is an integral part of many of my trips.
      Although I some times carry a GPS it is solely used to
      confirm accuracy of my position if needed. I prefer to
      use a simple compass for navigation purposes and the
      54LU has replaced less functional models that I have
      previously owned.

      Most of my backpacking trips were taken either in the
      state of Michigan, USA or in Ontario, Canada. I have
      also used this compass on many hiking trips to Arizona
      and Utah. The terrain varied from hilly boreal and
      deciduous forest to high desert and canyon country.
      Elevations ranged from 600 ft (183m) to 9100 ft (2774
      m ) and temperatures ranged from a low of -20F (-29C)
      to a high of nearly 100 F (38 C).


      During the course of most backpacking trips I use the
      54LU Compass frequently. I mostly use the compass to
      figure azimuths or direction of travel in two
      different ways:
      Finding the azimuth with baseplate
      1. ) Baseplate Mode

      In the first method I line up one of the the long
      straight edges of the baseplate to connect the point
      that I am currently at on the map (Point A) to the
      point where I want to travel to on the map (Point B).
      I make sure that the arrow on the baseplate of the
      compass is pointed towards the direction of intended
      travel. I rotate the compass housing so that the
      compass North-South lines are aligned with the
      North-South UTM lines on the map. The North marker on
      the compass dial should point to the magnetic North on
      the map.The compass does not feature a declination
      arrow so after reading the bearing I either add or
      subtract the declination to that number. For accuracy
      purposes declination has to be factored into the
      bearing because a compass will automatically point to
      the Magnetic North rather than True North. Because
      most of my travel is in the Upper Midwest most of my
      bearings have the declination number added to it. The
      true declination should also have the deviation from
      the UTM grid factored into the equation. I reset the
      bearing and I am ready to travel to my target.

      Although there are map scales on the compass I don't
      use them as a have a handy UTM grid plotter that was
      made by a friend. Instead I have taped the edge of the
      compass with athletic tape and marked it off in 100
      meter increments (328 ft). It allows me to quickly
      measure the length of my travel from Point A to Point
      B on the map. In unremarkable terrain with little
      recognizable features I use pace beads to keep myself
      on track to the destination.


      2.) Optical Sighting Mode:

      In the second method I use the sighting mechanism on
      the compass housing to line up an azimuth if my vision
      of intended travel is not impossibly blocked by deep
      forest vegetation. The later is often the case in
      areas where I travel so I often have to settle for
      intermediate objects to get myself to the target or
      destination. I bring the compass up close to my eye
      and look through the optical sighter at a distant
      object. It immediately rewards me with the azimuth in
      the number of degrees. All I have to do is rotate the
      dial to the set azimuth and then use it to follow the
      intended direction of travel. Upon arrival at that
      site, I just look through the optical sighter to view
      my new azimuth and repeat. This of course is the
      easier method of using the compass but it only works
      well if I have a clear view ahead of me with a
      recognizable feature such as a small hill or
      dominating tree. This method is extremely precise with
      a +/- 1/2 dThe optical sighteregree accuracy from the
      true course.

      The optical sighting feature not only gives the
      correct azimuth in magnified numbers but it also gives
      the corresponding reciprocal or back bearing in
      smaller numbers. This is a handy feature if I lose
      track of where I am going and I need to check the back
      bearing for confirmation. For example I found this
      very handy one time when I was in a huge clearcut that
      was very confusing. I had actually been hiking on a
      trail system in a state forest before I traveled into
      the middle of an enormous clearcut. Not knowing where
      the trail went from there I checked the back bearing
      of where I had emerged into the clearcut to give me a
      reference point if I needed to get back to the trail
      that I came from. Instead I continued travel in the
      general direction the trail had been going and luckily
      didn't have to backtrack but at least I had a safe
      reference point. It has also been helpful in deep
      forest where I have accidently lost sight of my next
      target so I used the back bearing as a reference point
      to re-find my intended target.


      Additional Features:

      The compass can also be used for triangulation.
      Because most of my backpacking is in areas where the
      views are obstructed I've rarely had to use this
      feature.

      There is a nice magnifier located on the baseplate
      that often comes in handy for viewing and enlarging
      map details. This is especially nice for viewing areas
      that have a lot of elevation changes or tightly packed
      lines that are hard to see with the naked eye. The
      diameter of the magnifier measures 0.88 in (2.24 cm)
      making it unnecessary for me to carry and use reading
      glasses.

      Luminous points are located in three locations on the
      compass. They are located at the end of the floating
      red North arrow and the other two are located at each
      side of the corresponding orienting red arrow on the
      housing mechanism. They would especially be useful for
      night navigation to box the arrow.

      For easier access I have altered the provided lanyard
      on the compass. Instead of the lanyard being tied in a
      single loop through the end of the compass I untied it
      to its full length and then tied a bowline in the
      unattached end of the lanyard. The other end was
      threaded through the drilled hole in the end of the
      compass and an overhand knot was tied to secure it.
      This allows me to keep the compass lashed to a chest
      pocket or map case and use it without untying it from
      its connection. It can easily be threaded through the
      loop on any of my backpacks, map cases or hydration
      packs without untying the bowline.


      Care:

      Like most compasses it is wise to keep the 54LU stowed
      but accessible. This keeps the compass relatively
      clean and usually undamaged. Unfortunately a few years
      ago I had a slight mishap with the Brunton 54LU
      Compass. It was heavy black fly and mosquito season
      and I was using a lot of DEET. Although I stored my
      bottle of bug repellent in an extra plastic bag some
      of it leaked and unfortunately came in contact with
      the plastic of the compass. They had been both stowed
      in the same accessible pocket as I frequently needed
      needed both items. The small amount of repellent had
      adverse effects and caused some blurring of the
      plastic and the sighting mechanism. Although I have
      polished it as best as I could there is still some
      slight degradation of those surfaces. However it
      hasn't affected my overall ability to use the compass
      as the defect is mostly cosmetic. I learned a hard
      lesson with this experience and I'm super careful not
      to store my compass near the bug repellent or to even
      have bug dope on my hands if I am doing a lot of
      navigation. Of course this disaster wasn't any fault
      of the compass but of my carelessness with chemicals.

      Overall I am impressed with the performance and
      attributes of the Brunton 54LU Compass. It has never
      failed to perform accurately and it has been an extra
      insurance of safety in backcountry travel. Although I
      still wear a back-up compass on my wrist the 54LU is
      my favorite piece of navigation equipment.

      Pros:

      * Extremely accurate
      * Sighting feature unique on baseplate compass
      * Numbers are magnified on sighting feature
      * Instant back bearing

      Cons:

      * Sighting mechanism can become scratched or
      blurred if exposed to chemicals (duh!!)
      * Expensive


      *Top Picture Courtesy of Brunton

      ***Gail***

      **There is a pleasure in the pathless woods** - Lord Byron

      __________________________________________________
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      Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
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    • chcoa
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 2, 2006
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
        Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. Do
        not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our
        Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an
        official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response
        from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this
        timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben@....

        To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask
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      • nazdarovye
        Hi Gail - Nice review of an intriguing product - I wasn t familiar with this kind of sighting compass. Your pictures are quite helpful as well. I do have a few
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 10, 2006
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          Hi Gail -

          Nice review of an intriguing product - I wasn't familiar with this
          kind of sighting compass. Your pictures are quite helpful as well.

          I do have a few edits for you, and since I had a couple of questions
          and optional suggestions, am going to ask for you to repost your
          edited review for a second quick look before I approve it for upload.

          Some of my questions may be a result of my ignorance on the subject of
          compasses, not anything wrong with the review! If that's the case, let
          me know.

          I look forward to seeing the final review. As usual, be sure to
          include "REPOST" in the subject line of your edited review.

          Thanks again for the fine Owner Review!

          Regards,
          Steve
          BGT OR Editor

          [EDITS FOLLOW]:]

          After all it is a baseplate compass and most
          of the ones on the market are similar.
          ***EDIT QUESTION: I can accept that this true, but as I (and perhaps
          many of our readers) aren't as familiar with compasses as you, might
          it be worth just quickly spelling out what makes that so (e.g., do
          they all have a baseplate, markings, and a rotating bezel)? Or, if
          what you've written is too sweeping a statement, perhaps take out the
          "ones on the market are similar" phrase and just note that this
          compass combines attributes of the two types.

          The baseplate features handy scales for the
          most commonly used maps. They include 1:25k, 1:63k and
          1:50 scales.
          ***EDIT QUESTION: Should that be "1:50k" like the others, or is it
          really "1:50"?

          The North marker on
          the compass dial should point to the magnetic North on
          the map.The compass does not feature a declination
          arrow so after reading the bearing I either add or
          subtract the declination to that number.
          ***EDIT: Add a space after period at "map. The" (could just be a
          "Yahooism")

          Because
          most of my travel is in the Upper Midwest most of my
          bearings have the declination number added to it.
          ***EDIT: "added to them" or simply "added"

          The true declination should also have the deviation from
          the UTM grid factored into the equation. I reset the
          bearing and I am ready to travel to my target.
          ***EDIT QUESTION: This last sentence wasn't clear to me - consider
          rewording to further explain what you mean (e.g., do you reset the
          bearing to accommodate the deviation from the UTM grid?)

          Although there are map scales on the compass I don't
          use them as a have a handy UTM grid plotter that was
          made by a friend.
          ***EDIT: "as I have"

          In unremarkable terrain with little
          recognizable features I use pace beads to keep myself
          on track to the destination.
          ***EDIT: "few recognizable"

          In the second method I use the sighting mechanism on
          the compass housing to line up an azimuth if my vision
          of intended travel is not impossibly blocked by deep
          forest vegetation.
          ***EDIT SUGGESTION: This could be even clearer and less restrictive as
          simply "...intended travel is not blocked."

          This method is extremely precise with
          a +/- 1/2 dThe optical sighteregree accuracy from the
          true course.
          ***EDIT: Looks like something got jumbled up here in the Yahoo
          posting; it looks OK in HTML, but check to make sure in your final version

          It has also been helpful in deep
          forest where I have accidently lost sight of my next
          target so I used the back bearing as a reference point
          to re-find my intended target.
          ***EDIT: "accidentally"

          The compass can also be used for triangulation.
          Because most of my backpacking is in areas where the
          views are obstructed I've rarely had to use this
          feature.
          ***EDIT QUESTION: Is this a function for which there are specific
          features on this compass? I understand triangulation to mean taking
          bearings on two or more objects, then plotting those on a map to see
          where they intersect, so any compass would support that.

          Like most compasses it is wise to keep the 54LU stowed
          but accessible.
          ***EDIT: "As with most..." or even consider rewording to personalize
          (e.g., "I like to keep the...")

          ***ONE LAST EDIT SUGGESTION: A fair portion of what you talk about in
          this review is orienteering technique; anything you can do to further
          focus on the specifics of this compass would be great. There's nothing
          missing from the review - so this is just a suggestion to look for any
          further features or behaviors of this specific compass that you might
          be able to pass on to readers.

          [END OF EDITS]
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