Thumb Compasses

Filed under: Latest News by Joseph on March 24th, 2021

BOK has Thumb Compasses that you can borrow if you don’t have a compass or if you want to try using a Thumb Compass. We just bought a few more and now we have 12.

Most orienteers use a Thumb Compass because it is quick, easy, and helps you stay in touch with the map.

This compass is designed for someone who holds their map in their left hand. (Most right-handed people) The advantage of the Thumb Compass is that you are always holding it with the direction of travel straight ahead of you, and you keep it on the map all the time pointing the way you are traveling.

In this image you can see the compass in use. The orienteer is heading toward control #10, has a single fold in the map so the compass can be positioned where you are, and the needle is pointing toward the TOP OF THE MAP! not to the north marking on the compass.

Here is a very short video on how to use a Thumb Compass

If you want to try using a Thumb Compass at your next event, just add a note in the comment section of your registration (when you get to the shopping cart) or just ask at the event. BOK has 12 Thumb Compasses to loan out. Thumb Compasses range in price from about $20 to over $100 depending mostly on how fast the needle settles and how well it remains steady while you are running. Just do a search and you will find several options.

The markings on the compass

Notice that the inexpensive compasses BOK loans out have the degree markings on rotating bezel like most other compasses, and the expensive competition compass used in the video has a stationary color coded ring. Also, if you look closely at the color coded ring you can see that East and West are reversed. Here’s why… once you orient your map and compass you can see, at a glance, the color that the needle is pointing to. So while you are running on the compass heading you only need to reference the color rather than checking the north lines on the map. The reason E and W are reversed is because when the needle is pointing to East you are heading east. The same for N, W & S. At first it seems counter intuitive, but it is really quite handy and quick. On the inexpensive compass with degrees you need to point the needle to the north symbol on the compass and then the markings on the compass indicate the direction of the bearings. This is just confusing and irrelevant while orienteering with your map under the compass.

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