Brunton TruArc 3 Survival Compass Review

The ability to navigate is a critical skill for being out in the wilderness, and the bread and butter of effective wilderness navigation is the map and compass. A compass not only lets you navigate effectively using a paper map, but also allows you to be able to walk in a straight line. The Brunton TruArc 3 compass may not be the first choice for complex cross country navigation but it is a good choice for some basic map and compass orienteering and as a backup or survival compass.

Brunton - TruArc 3 - Base Plate Compass
  • RELIABLE - Entry-level compass for your basic orienteering and mapping that can travel anywhere.
  • ADVANCED NAVIGATION - Resists magnetic interference better than any competitor, and will not lose...

Last update on 2020-10-26 at 09:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Brunton TruArc 3 Survival Compass Review

Brunton TruArc 3

When it comes to navigation, Brunton is a trusted brand name that makes all their compasses at their factory in Riverton, WY. There are a lot of options for your dollars when it comes to compasses, and the Brunton TruArc 3 is a low cost compass that will be effective anywhere on Earth.

Small and Lightweight

The Brunton TruArc 3 is only 2.5″ by 3.5″ and weighs only 1.1 ounces. If you carried it around your neck with the included lanyard I’d bet that you would hardly even notice that it was there. Since it is so small, the TruArc 3 will fit in any pouch or pocket making it ideal as a backup or survival compass.

Global Needle

A compass needle must be balanced to function correctly, but this balance is dependant on where the compass is to be used. This is because there is a significant variance in the Earth’s magnetic field depending on where you stand on the planet. To account for this variance, and to assist in creating a standard by which compasses can be balanced, the Earth is divided up into five distinct magnetic zones.

If a compass needle is balanced for Zone 1 (North America/Europe) the needle will sit nice and level and spin freely while within that magnetic zone. Take that same needle all the way South to Zone 5 (Australia) then that same needle will sit tilted inside the compass housing. This high degree of needle tilt will cause the needle to drag and stick inside of the compass housing giving false readings.

To combat this, global needles are designed and balanced to handle enough tilt to still function properly in all five magnetic zones.

 This is useful, even if you never intend of using the compass in the Southern hemisphere, because compasses with global needles can still give accurate readings even when not held perfectly level. This is good for when you need to do some quick navigation checks while on the move or under stress where your hands may be shaking.

No Tool Declination

Declination is the amount of offset between True North and Magnetic North. True North is the North on your map while Magnetic North is where your compass needle points. To navigate using a map and a compass you need to either account for this offset while determining and shooting bearings or have a compass with adjustable declination.

The ability to adjust declination without a tool is a good feature because not only does declination change annually but is different depending on where you are on the planet. So being able to change this without having to turn a tiny screw is a bonus.

Both Imperial and Metric Scale

The TruArc 3 has metric and imperial measurements inscribed on the edge of the clear base plate measuring 50mm and 2 inches respectively. This means you can determine distance on a paper map using either measurement system.

The advantage of having both inscribed onto the clear base plate is that it is easy to pick the system you are most comfortable using, and then lay the compass over top of what you want to measure.

2-degree Resolution

The bezel of the Brunton TruArc 3 is graduated in 2-degree increments which allows the user a fairly high degree of precision in their navigation for such a small compass. One small issue is that there are no cardinal directions on the compass bezel which could cause some issues with people who are not very experienced in wilderness navigation or do not know the degree equivalents for the four cardinal directions.

Pros

  • Global needle
  • 2-degree graduations
  • Tool-free adjustable declination
  • Both Metric and Imperial scales
  • Small and lightweight

Cons

  • No cardinal directions on the bezel
  • No UTM grid tools on the base plate
Brunton - TruArc 3 - Base Plate Compass
  • RELIABLE - Entry-level compass for your basic orienteering and mapping that can travel anywhere.
  • ADVANCED NAVIGATION - Resists magnetic interference better than any competitor, and will not lose...

Last update on 2020-10-26 at 09:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


What Customers Are Saying…

Most customers like this compass because it is a decent compass at a good price with the advantage of a global needle. Some notable complaints were that some people had received a compass where the needle was cut the wrong way and therefore points South. Other complaints were about bubbles inside the bezel and a few other quality control issues.


Questions About the Brunton TruArc 3 Survival Compass

How is the declination adjusted?

The first step is to figure out what the declination for your area is and whether it is East or West. Then to dial that declination into your compass you’ll need to pinch the top of the bezel and the base plate of the compass very firmly. This will take some practice to get just right but if you get the right amount of pressure you’ll be able to turn the disc inset in the bezel. Rotate this disc until the red indicator line matches up with your degree of declination.

Are there any considerations in using and handling the compass?

Keep compasses away from metal when using them because the magnetic needle will be drawn toward the metal object. Keep the compass away from any strong magnetic fields as well as this could demagnetize your compass needle.

What is the Brunton TruArc 3 survival compass best suited for?

The Brunton TruArc 3 is a compass that is best suited for anyone who is looking for a reliable backup compass, or a small lightweight compass for rapid on the move navigation checks. This is also a great option for anyone who does a lot of travelling outside of the Northern Hemisphere and just wants to know which direction they are facing when out and about.


Verdict

The Brunton TruArc 3 is a low cost, reliable compass that you can take with you anywhere on the globe. The adjustable declination means that you can use it with a map to navigate but the lack of the four cardinal directions on the bezel may cause a bit of confusion for people who may not have a lot of experience doing map and compass navigation in the wilderness. One factor that makes this compass a good survival compass is that the global needle can handle a high degree of tilt so if your hands are shaking, or you have to make rapid nav checks on the move, the needle will still spin freely inside the housing.

Brunton - TruArc 3 - Base Plate Compass
  • RELIABLE - Entry-level compass for your basic orienteering and mapping that can travel anywhere.
  • ADVANCED NAVIGATION - Resists magnetic interference better than any competitor, and will not lose...

Last update on 2020-10-26 at 09:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API



Michael Major
Written by Michael Major

Michael is a survivalist, traditional bowhunter, student of traditional and primitive skills, as well as a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He is also a husband and father and makes his home in British Columbia, Canada. Read his full interview here. Read more of Michael's articles.

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