This is a review of the Alpkit Compass, a cheaper alternative to the popular Silva Type 4.
I’ve been using Silva compasses consistently throughout my life in the outdoors. First as a teenager learning to navigate in the hills and mountains. Then subsequently all throughout my career as an Mountaineering and Rock Climbing Instructor; on Mountain Leader training and assessment in North Wales, Winter Mountain Leader training and assessment in the Cairngorms and my Mountaineering Instructor Award. There has been a Silva compass in my rucksack or in my hand for almost 40 years.
The Silva Type 4 has been the compass most recommend for Lowland, Hill and Moorland and Mountain Leaders for good reasons. It’s accurate, reliable and has a well laid out base plate with all the relevant scales and romers. I bought my first one for my Mountain Leader training in 1986 and have been using one ever since.
Early last year we were looking to buy some new compasses for our navigation and map racing courses and a fellow Mountaineering and Rock Climbing Instructor mentioned the Alpkit compass as a cheaper alternative. At over half the price of the Silva the Alpkit Compass was definitely worth a try so we bought a few for use on our navigation courses and we have been very happy with their performance.
The Alpkit Compass is made by Williams and looks very similar to the Silva Type 4. The size is identical and has a very similar bezel. The baseplate is a little different with less lines for aligning the compass with the grid lines on your map and lacks a millimetre and inch scale but it does have romer scales for 1;25,000, 1,50,000 and 1;40,000 maps enabling you to use Ordnance Survey, Harveys and British Mountain Maps.
We have been using these fairly extensively for the last few months in a variety of weather conditions in the Peak District, North Wales and the Lakes. They have certainly worked very well and have so far proved durable enough for professional use.
We always recommend carrying a spare compass so if you already have a Silva Type 4 the Alpkit is a good economical option to stash in the bottom your rucksack in case of problems with your main one.
Buy the Alpkit Compass here – https://alpkit.com/products/williams-expedition-compass
For the Beyond the Edge navigation and map reading courses go here – https://www.beyondtheedge.co.uk/skills-courses/navigation/