Kasper & Richter Lumo Tec
Price Paid: $53
The Lumo Tec is a compact mirror-vee sighting compass made in Germany. In general appearance it is something like the Silva 27 'Landmark' or 'Guide' folding mirror-sight compasses, only a bit larger and better built. It uses the same capsule with luminous outer dial as its bigger brother, the Alpin, and features a clinometer, transparent capsule with orienting lines, and adjustable declination (using either the supplied tool or simply finger pressure on the capsule).
A word on map use - while I have read one comment that states this compass doesn't have a transparent base and can't be used with a map - this isn't true at all. While the gray compass housing is opaque, the capsule is transparent on both top and bottom, and can be easily used to take a bearing off the map as a protractor.
I always insist on a compass with a dial that isn't too loose (so that the dial can be adjusted to a predetermined bearing, and remain 'locked' on that bearing while walking). I must report I tried two examples before finding one with a reasonably tight dial. In the two months since I purchased it, the compass dial has performed well in this regard, and hasn't become loose.
The folding design protects the capsule and gives you a long baseplate for use with the map when open, yet folds to about two inches square when closed. The sighting mirror is of polished metal, not glass or plastic, and it is secured into the cover by mechanical tabs as well as adhesive. The mirror features a sighting slot as well as sights above and below the mirror for alignment with a variety of landmarks/targets.
The grey plastic housing is well made, with a tight fitting hinge that holds the mirror cover at any desired angle without slipping or flopping down. It snaps down securely over the baseplate when closed. The declination adjustment works much like Silva or Suunto designs, except it has a ratcheting mechanism to 'lock' the setting, and can be adjusted without tools if needed.
My only real criticism of the Lumo Tec involves the overly bulky lanyard (it is wide and flat, and features a snap buckle to detach the compass from the lanyard), but this is easily removed from the compass and a substitute installed if desired. The degree markings on the compass bezel are only printed on and are rather small, but they are still readable, and since they are printed atop the bezel and are not contacted by the fingers while turning the dial, they shouldn't be wearing off any time soon.
The luminous painted markings are substantial and quite bright, much brighter than most other recreational compasses of this type I have tried. They easily permit use of the compass at night while following a bearing, should you be inclined (or forced because of emergency) to do so. For a non-global design, the needle is a nice one - fairly wide, easy to align between the orienting marks, and stable, and it rides on a sapphire bearing.
I can recommend this compass if you are looking for a compact mirror-sight baseplate compass with a bit better quality. The Lumo Tec is a clear step above the other 'compact' mirror sight compasses I have tried, including the Silva 27 and Brunton 8040.
Where to Buy
The Kasper & Richter Lumo Tec is not available from the stores we monitor.
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