Gear Review: Suunto MC-2 Global Compass

Get to your destination quickly and reliably with the Suunto MC-2 Global.

Attention, navigation wonks: This compass has it all. The obvious perk is the global needle, which means the MC-2 Global works equally well in both northern and southern hemispheres. Instead of magnetizing the needle itself, which would cause the point to dip into the bottom of the plate while in the southern hemisphere, Suunto magnetized a small disk and placed it on a gimbal that attaches to the needle. This gimbal allows the disk itself to dip when the compass is used in southern latitudes while keeping the needle level and free-moving.

But you don’t have to be an international jet-setter to appreciate the MC-2. “This is one of the most accurate compasses I’ve ever used,” says one tester, a former Army paratrooper with a military certification in expert navigation. “Most compasses need to stay level to keep the needle freely floating, but I could get an accurate reading off of the MC-2 with several degrees of tilt,” he says. “The needle also dampens significantly faster than on my other compasses, making constant bearing-checks much less of a hassle.” Declination adjustment is straightforward; simply take the tool attached to the lanyard and adjust the screw on the baseplate to the appropriate setting. Three rubberized feet on the bottom keep the compass from sliding all over a map while you’re trying to make an accurate reading, and the glow-in-the-dark dials improve nighttime navigation. Bonus: The compass also includes an inclinometer, so you can authoritatively tell your friends just how steep that last section of trail was. $84; 2.7 oz.;