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Gear Question

So, I'm leaving for S America in two days....

So, I'm leaving for S America in two days. Hope to do some trekking in Peru and Ecuador. Little experience with compass or map. Took a short course at REI. Taking a good instructional book with me. Downloaded the Suunto manual for the MC-2G but I'm still confused about its use. Specifically, is it to be used in the same way as if I were in the northern hemisphere? I still orient to the north? This compass automatically corrects for that?



Responded on

Hey Harold,

Good question, short answer is you will align to the magnetic pole closest to your hemisphere of origin, thus you will align to the south pole when in SA.

Long answer is:

standard/global compasses are the same except the painting/weight of the needle...

Here's an explanation (for a standard compass):

Basically in the northern hemisphere, the north end of the needle is pulled downwards toward the magnetic north pole and thus the south end of the needle is counter-weighted to balance the needle. So, when you use a northern hemisphere compass in the southern hemisphere, the south end of the magnet is pulled downwards by the magnetic field and is also heavier than the north end - which could result in the needle catching and dragging on the bottom of the compass housing when the compass is held horizontal.

Clear as mud???