Author Topic: Silva Expedition  (Read 4790 times)

ianj37

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Silva Expedition
« on: March 30, 2014, 08:07:04 PM »
Well the replacement for my ancient Explorer 4 that I accidentally destroyed has finally arrived - the Silva Explorer. I found it on the internet and apparently it's the update for the Expedition 4 but strangely hasn't been given a number and is only available on the Continent - mine came from Germany.



Comes with 1:25k, 1:40k and 1:50k roamers with square corners, magnifying glass, inches and mm scales, inclinometer, and the ability to add in adjustment for magnetic declination. It has 3 silicon feet and the back corners of the baseplate are turned up to allow for easy but stable adjustment on a map.



The bezel is a lot easier to move accurately than on my old Explorer 4 even with gloves on and the black bezel with the degrees on has a squared off part, apparently to enable a better grip when making small adjustments.

 

Played around with it but not used in anger yet. Problems already encountered:

1) I can't help but wonder how durable it is - this is the third I've got in a week. The first fogged up after being out for a very small amount of time in slight drizzle and the second arrived with the black plastic bezel on the top of the housing broken - this is a thin piece of plastic with some sort of wavy copper strip underneath so there is a gap in places which leaves some of the plastic unsupported.

2) Unlike the Expedition 4 the degrees are lined up with a strip of luminous paint rather than a thin black line which I think allows up to 2 degrees inaccuracy. Closer inspection shows that this wasn't Silva's intention. The luminous strip does come to a point but when looking down with the compass held horizontally the tip of the point is hidden by the bezel - I think this is an alignment problem but the degrees can be read and set accurately with the compass held vertical or near vertical which at the moment I don't see as a big problem but time will tell.



3) For some strange reason although the Cardinal points are moulded into the plastic on the top of the housing they aren't coloured so it's black on black.



 I think I can fix this with a bit of white gloss and a very fine brush but at the moment I'm reluctant to do this as I can't help but wonder how soon it will be going back under the 5 year warranty.

I'll let you know how I've got on in a few months.

Ian

 


Locus

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Re: Silva Expedition
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 11:29:19 AM »
Are you confident about the supplier?

Lacking a model number and the cardinal points being black, my first thought was that perhaps these are prototype that shouldn't be out on general release yet?

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: Silva Expedition
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 01:10:08 PM »
Looks interesting Ian. I am with Locus on this one, in that it may be either a prototype or a fake. When I was last in the States I discovered than fake Brunton compasses were on sale (some of their compasses were the same as Silvas, as the firm which owned Silva also owned Brunton. A couple of years Brunton were bought by Fenix Outdoor)  Which website did you purchase it from?
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

ianj37

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Re: Silva Expedition
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 03:35:44 PM »
Do you know it had never occurred to me that it might not be genuine!

But as far as I can see it is. I have to confess that it came, as I guess most things do, via Amazon UK. The packaging looks genuine and I had seen it on the silva.se web site which I'm assuming, and hoping, is the real Silva web site before I ordered:



A quick Google of the part number shows that it is widely available on the Continent but for some reason not in the UK. I went for this rather than the Expedition 4 because it looked, and to be fair is, easier to use and had more functionality and rather than the Suunto/Recta because I wanted the 1:25k romer with square edges.

I do hope it stands the pace because it is a nice to use compass but I do always carry a spare compass and a GPS so if it should fail it won't be a disaster.  I am now curious why it appears to be available in Europe only so I've emailed Silva UK (whose web site goes to silva.se) and I'll let you know what their reply is.

Ian
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 03:58:37 PM by ianj37 »

Callum

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Re: Silva Expedition
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2014, 01:17:57 PM »
Ian, may I suggest you switch to the Suunto branded compasses? I changed from years of using Silva compasses, the last being an Expedition, to an M3 and have never looked back:)

ianj37

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Re: Silva Expedition
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2014, 04:26:01 PM »
Callum, thanks for the advice. You are right and that's the plan if and when anything happens to the Expedition. I did originally plan to buy Suunto/Recta but really wanted the built in 1:25k romer and via a question raised on this forum found out that they didn't do that.

Just to continue my story for anyone following the trail.
1) No word yet from Silva UK about why it's not obviously  available in the UK.
2) Painting over the cardinal points with white gloss/enamel so they stand out - not as easy as I might have thought, even with a very, very fine brush!!
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 05:01:04 PM by ianj37 »

Oakleaf

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Re: Silva Expedition
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2014, 09:11:11 AM »
Ian

Can you mask everything but a small area around the raised points, then use a firm sponge rather than brush to lightly transfer your paint?

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: Silva Expedition
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2014, 09:28:07 AM »
Similar to handheld satnavs, the ideal compass for land navigation has not in my opinion been made yet. As an alternative, it is a matter of selecting a compass with the most appropriate features, such as ease of use, manufacturing quality, plus the physical features you need for your task in hand.

Like Callum, my primary compass had been the military version of the Silva type 54 followed by its civilian counterpart. Then, in the mid-00’s, when Silva moved its manufacturing to the Far East and the business was simultaneously bought by a Fiskars, better known for its scissors, axes and knives, their compasses build quality substantially deteriorated. This reality only became apparent to me when I was loaned a Suunto compass, an M3 global, by one of the MRT’s I was working with.

The M3 Global is now my mainstay for most regions I visit. In the Polar Regions I carried the MC-2 G/IN, which is slightly more accurate and therefore more appropriate working in regions where bearings are taken to far away features.
 
This M3 Global is available in two versions, one balanced for the Northern Hemisphere and the other, which I carry, balanced globally, they cost around £25 & £35 respectively.

The MC-2 G/IN cost over £50. Personally, unless you are intending to visit desert regions, which include the Antarctic, I wouldn’t bother with this compass.
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

ianj37

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Re: Silva Expedition
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2014, 04:56:54 PM »
Lyle - as always very sound advice. I feel a purchase coming on!

Oakleaf - Thanks. I hadn't thought of that but I'm not sure how easy it would have been to mask areas as the letters don't really have any sharp edges just smooth curves. Anyway the deed is done and I'll just have to live with my shoddy workmanship - as I said it sounded like a good idea at the time!

Also, Silva UK have replied to my email - rather move to the newer model they have stuck with the Expedition 4 because it's approved and used by MoD and DoE, so now we know!

captain paranoia

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Re: Silva Expedition
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2014, 05:58:53 PM »
> rather move to the newer model they have stuck with the Expedition 4 because it's approved and used by MoD and DoE

I wonder if the MoD and DofE know the Explorer 4 exists...?  I mean, if you don't see it in the shops, you won't add it to your approved list...

What a strange argument for limiting your product range.  Silva sell other compass types in the UK, so why not the Explorer 4...?