User Review: Kasper & Richter Alpin
Price Paid: $63
I'll admit right off, most people don't need a sighting compass as nice as this one for regular wilderness travel. I got this one more or less out of nostalgia — and frustration. I lost my old reliable Swedish-made Silva Ranger in a move and was very unhappy with the quality of its replacement, a Silva Ranger from Johnson Outdoors made somewhere else. It had a split mirror stuck on with double-sided tape, which promptly fell off, among other issues.
So I bought this. The K&R Alpin uses a polished metal mirror securely fastened into the cover, so that eliminated one problem. Made in Germany, which has a lot of mountains, K&R designed the Alpin to be used regularly at high altitudes and cold weather. So it has a capsule designed to resist the formation of bubbles in the damping fluid with rapidly changing elevation.
The needle settles fast for a regular (non-global) design, better than the Silva Ranger or the regular Suunto MC-2 mirror compass types, though not as fast as a friend's Suunto MC-2G (his Suunto has a 'global' needle that seems to lock down in about 10 milliseconds). The Alpin is easy to read in poor light, as K&R used plenty of luminous treatments on the needle, sights, and dial (the whole compass dial ring is luminous).
I also like the quality of the metals and plastics used. The compass dial can be turned readily without being easily bumped off course, the cover stays up without flopping down, etc, etc. It has all the features my old Silva Ranger did, clinometer, scales, etc.
A minor complaint is that all the printed romer scales are for metric European maps, not U.S. (1:24K), but I carry those on cards in the compass pouch anyway.
K&R says the Alpin is used by the German mountain rescue teams. If that's the case, they certainly picked a good quality compass. IMHO, it's the Silva Ranger that Silva SHOULD have made, but didn't.