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Reviews > Navigation and Map Gear > Compasses > SUUNTO MC 2 Mirror Compass > Owner Review by Marina Batzke

SUUNTO MC-2 MIRROR COMPASS
BY MARINA BATZKE
OWNER REVIEW
April 21, 2014

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) hotmail (dot) com
AGE: 54
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in Spring 2013. I borrowed various supplies for my first backpacking trip and am currently hiking with some newly acquired lightweight gear and some heavier gear from my car camping trips. I always hike with a group and I like the gear talk when in camp. I am a tent camper looking for ways to lighten my pack. My backpacking trips are currently weekend excursions in Southern California, USA. If my business travel allows me to get away, I try to backpack one or two weekends a month.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: SUUNTO OY
Made in Finland
Year of Purchase: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.suunto.com
Model Ref.: SS004239001
Model No.: MC-2/360/IN/D/L/NH
(SUUNTO offers 3 different MC-2 models with slightly different features)
MSRP: US $55.95
Listed Weight: 2.65 oz (75 g)
Measured Weight: 2.6 oz (75 g)
Listed Dimensions: 2.56 in x 3.98 in x 0.71 in (65 mm x 101 mm x 18 mm)
Measured Dimensions closed Compass: 2.56 in wide x 4 in long x 0.62 in deep (65 mm x 102 mm x 16 mm)
IMAGE 1
It is a small, handy Compass


Warranty Information: Suunto gives a Limited Lifetime Warranty for this field compass, yet the all-important baseplate and capsule are limited to two years only.

FIELD USE

Location: Santiago Peak, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 1 day: February 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night: February 2014

Location: Icehouse Canyon Saddle, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 1 day: March 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night: March 2014

Location: Inyo National Forest, SW of Bishop, California, USA
Trip duration: 3 days/ 2 nights: March 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night: April 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night: April 2014

PRODUCT REVIEW

I bought the SUUNTO MC-2 Mirror Compass for the Sierra Club Wilderness Training Course I took in the Spring of 2014. Learning how to use a compass to find my way with a map and compass in the backcountry was part of our class requirements (and a challenging assignment).
The clear outer plastic packing unit contained: the Suunto MC-2, a red lanyard with wristlock, a declination adjustment key, a black plastic quick release and the manual.
IMAGE 2
The Packing Unit

My SUUNTO MC-2 is a professional-grade mirror compass that allows me to take precise directional measurements. Its technical features include:
- a large mirror inside the black hinged mirror cover
- a sighting V-notch above the mirror with a glow-in-the-dark line
- a sighting line going from that notch down the middle of the mirror to a smaller V-notch and glow line on the hinge itself
- a transparent base plate with a small round magnifying lens (0.63 in = 16 mm diameter)
- a cm scale on the base plate's left long side and an inch scale on its right long side
- an 0.7 mile distance scale based on a 1:24000 map scale
- an adjustable declination correction scale
- a 2-color (glow-in-the-dark + black) bezel ring with the directions and degrees imprinted
- the compass needle in a liquid filled center capsule with red meridian lines behind
- a clinometer to measure the angle of a slope
- SUUNTO's global balancing system (keeps the compass needle balanced inside the capsule; allowing a tilt up to 20 degrees while still giving me an accurate needle reading)

IMAGE 3
Sprocket and Declination Key on Backside of Compass

On the bottom side of the baseplate is a small screw (sprocket) that I turn to set the proper declination of the location that I plan to hike in. I use the declination adjustment key (like a miniature "screw driver") that came attached to the red lanyard.
The red lanyard attaches to the base plate with a black plastic detachable snap-lock. SUUNTO claims there is also a Wristlock in the lanyard but I found no instructions anywhere on how to "work" that so-called Wristlock. I added a second (blue) lanyard to their red one which allows me to hang the blue lanyard around my neck and still have plenty of reach to take a bearing in the field holding up the mirror compass at my arm's length.
IMAGE 5
Using the Clinometer Scale

The scale of declination also allows me to measure (a) the angle of gradient and (b) the altitude, using the clinometer indicator (free-swinging black pointer inside the liquid capsule) on the scale.
IMAGE 4
Plotting a bearing on the map

When I place the MC-2 on the map, three anti-slip dots on the bottom of the baseplate help keep the compass in place on the map.
IMAGE 6
Taking a bearing in the field

When I take a bearing in the field, it is helpful that SUUNTO's global balancing system allows for a bit of a tilt without the needle getting stuck, which allows me to stretch out my arm and still get a correct reading.

I have used the MC-2 in daytime temperatures ranging from 43 F to 93 F (6 C - 34 C).

The MC-2 compass manual is in English, French, Finnish, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish and Japanese language with predominantly text and seven drawings. While their German text has a number of grammatical errors and may not read all that fluently, it helped me understand the technical terms better whenever I struggled with the English language instructions of the manual. I feel due to the difficulty of the topic, this short vendor manual cannot teach me how to properly use a compass. What really taught me was the guidance by our class instructors in the field and practice along with the proper map whenever out hiking.

SUMMARY

Overall, the SUUNTO MC-2 Mirror Compass is easy to use. It has a ton of helpful features handy on this small sized compass. It is all right there at my fingertips. The hard part was learning how to use a compass and map in the field.

THINGS I LIKE

Durable, tough (has well withstood dusty desert conditions so far)
Lightweight
A lot of helpful data on the base plate
Lots of important features on just a few square inches
Nifty little declination adjustment key

THINGS I DO NOT LIKE

How do I work that so-called "wristlock"?
Mirror needs to be cleaned carefully to avoid scratches
Rather short manual
German manual text has quite a number of grammatical errors

SIGNATURE

MARINA BATZKE

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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