Generally speaking, you get what you pay for, right?

So I shouldn’t have been too shocked when a deal that seemed too good to be true, turned out to have a few bugs in it. This is what I found after I bought the Brunton 9077 lensatic compass.

Upon seeing a nice looking, name brand, military-style lensatic compass hanging in the outfitter store for $14, I couldn’t pass up the offer. But as soon as I got it out of the package, the flaws started to become apparent. First off, the fluid used inside the compass seems far too viscous. Lensatic compasses are supposed to move slowly, but this needle takes a very long time to settle in. Secondly, this viscosity coupled with the compass’ design can affect the compass reading, unless you hold the housing perfectly level. I mean absolutely level. If the compass is held out of level, the needle will come to rest early and the bearing can be off by several degrees. So there you have it, a sluggish compass that gives inaccurate bearings.

I wondered if this unit was just a lemon, but a quick web search found that the majority of product reviews were negative. Looks like other people were underwhelmed too. Interestingly enough, Brunton is no longer selling this model on their website. Here are specs, if you were curious:

— 2° graduations
— Heavy metal body, 3.5 ounces
— Lensatic sighting
— Straight edge for use with map
— Liquid dampened (too dampened)
— Made in China (that explains a lot)

Have you ever had a compass or other gear that was a dud? Tell us your experience by leaving a comment