Brunton 9030 Trailbuster
Historic Range: $8.40-$12.00
Reviewers Paid: $10.00
2.15 in x 2 in x 0.5 in
This is a nice quality pocket compass. Also called the 'Trailbuster', the 9030 is actually a close copy of a pocket compass made by Taylor in the 1960s. Like the Taylor, the 9030 has a liquid-damped needle, a rounded shape, an adjustable dial, and meridian lines printed on the bottom of the capsule. It has a small loop for use with a neck lanyard, and is hardly noticeably when worn in this fashion.
What the 9030 does best is to serve as a useful lightweight (1 oz.) backup compass. Its larger dial is more readable (with five-degree markings) than most in this category, and a given bearing can be even be set on the compass arrow while hiking. It uses the 'deep well' capsule and top-hat needle pivot found on some other Brunton compass models (8040, 9020, etc.), and consequently often works in magnetic zones besides the intended one (since the needle has more room to 'dip' without grounding or causing gross reading error).
Theoretically, with the printed meridian lines in its base, the 9030 can be used to measure a bearing off the map, but it's pretty difficult to do this in reality without a baseplate or or other straightedge. But used for its primary purpose as a lightweight backup compass, it's much more versatile than the pocket 'keychain' or button compasses sold for the same purpose. Well worth its (small) price tag.
Price Paid: $10