• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Dangerous compasses can lead you into deep trouble! Check these out!

416 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

The compass’s red needle always points north. The compass is always right.

Until it isn’t.

by Leon Pantenburg

Boy Scout Troop 18 was doing a land navigation exercise in the Badlands, west of Bend, Oregon. One of the older scouts kept getting mixed up while using his map and compass. A couple of us volunteers called him over to look at his navigation gear. To everyone’s surprise, the red needle on his compass pointed south.

The “rebel compass” on the right is very dangerous. Always check every compass with one of proven accuracy.

I confiscated that compass on the spot and replaced it with one of mine that was correct. Later, I bought the south-pointing compass. The “Rebel Compass”  became a joke gift for Gordon Cotton, a friend who was retiring after 30 years as director of the Old Court House Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi. A Confederate compass, naturally, would point south!

I have found three different compasses on three separate occasions that had the needle painted wrong, and subsequently, pointed south. This could be incredibly dangerous, obviously. Under duress, the user of a rebel compass could forget which direction pointed north. Or some unsuspecting user might pick up the defective compass, and assume it worked OK. At any rate, a defective compass could lead you in the wrong direction and into deep trouble.

Lesson learned: No matter how expensive the compass, make sure the needle always points north!

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