Equipment > Compasses

Silva Expedition

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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.



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:
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?

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 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 and I'll let you know what their reply is.


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:)


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