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Sunday, 1 April 2012

Gear Review – Sinistromanual Navigation Systems for the Complete and Utter Navigator

Being left-handed, I was really pleased to receive the Beta-test version of this specially developed navigation equipment from This has been developed over the last two years by cack-handed scientist Dr Jacob Vansterhant of the Institute for Locational Studies at the University of Stockholm, initially for military use by the Swedish army but now being developed for commercial use by hillwalkers and ramblers all over the world. It is perhaps a reflection of the respect attached to hillwalkers, ramblers, hikers, wanderers and bloggers in the United Kingdom that we have the honour of being chosen from amongst all the other possibles to undertake a full review of this revolutionary kit – revolutionary in the truest sense of the word and, indeed, a true mirror of whatever it is I’m trying to get at.

The kit consists of several separate pieces or “Segments” of equipment which together form a complete set of everything the left-handed hiker will need to find his way about with a fairly high degree of accuracy.

sinisternav 003

Segmentet A –The Silver Trekmeister II - The Sinister Compass . To the uninformed walker, at first glance, this looks just like an ordinary compass and apparently behaves in the same way as the normal right-handed compass. On closer inspection, however, it will be noted that the compass needle always travels in an anti-clockwise direction prior to settling on a bearing.

The second difference is that whereas a right-handed compass always points to magnetic North, this one points to magnetic North-East, which is close to the small town of Lulea in North-east Sweden, which, by coincidence, is quite close to Dr Vansterhant’s’s countryside summer hut. This may be a snag that will get sorted out in the proper version.

On the model sent to me, West and East were also apparently transposed but this minor development issue can easily be rectified before manufacture, as can the instructions which are only available in Swedish at the moment. For all intents and purposes, though, this is exactly like your usual walker’s compass and has all the usual features (see pic)

There was also something else quite odd about it, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

Anyway, it has all the usual stuff- a lanyard, a base plate with inches down one side – or , rather, in Swedish (obviously) – Sehcni, and MM down the other (this must be the same in Swedish) and a romer or remor, designed for KU dirg, whatever that is. I except the OSGB version will be out in the next release..

It all seemed OK, but I still got lost a bit, but that’s probably just me. Back bearings seemed to work well, though.

Segmentet B – The Carte Sinisterre. The plan is to present this to the ordnance Survey for approval prior to printing, but in the meantime, for the UK market, one useful left-handed map of Hamsterley Forest has been produced as a mock-up. At first I had some difficulty in deciphering this map, but once I’d got the hang of viewing it through the minimirror which is attached to the top left-hand corner by a lanyard (cleverly using left-handed scouting knots, I noticed – nice touch, that, I thought.) This helped a lot but then I realised that the printing on the map was almost entirely in Cyrillic script and not back-to-front at all (which would have been silly if you think about it) The reason is, apparently that printing costs in the diminutive ex-Russian republic of Slabovia are very reasonable at the moment. The plan is for the actual printing to be done in Calcutta when it comes to proper production. I can’t put a picture on as it’s copyrighted, apparently. Shame.

what date is this post anyway?

Segmentet C – The GP Sinistaire. This is just like a Garmin except that the buttons normally on the left hand side of the GPS are placed on the right on this unit and the buttons on the right hand side of the GPS are now on the left. I found the performance of this unit a bit shaky although I did manage to pick up Radio Teeside which was useful as there had been an accident on the A19. I couldn’t make it work properly, though but if they were to print the instructions in English, I expect this would help a lot. Whilst I am not electronics expert, I hope they will take the advice I provided to them in the spirit it was intended and that they will soon lay off with the threats (which I found quite sinister !! (arf arf)

right hand left glove

Segmentet D – Map case and gloves.With the map case, I couldn’t tell the difference to be honest. The gloves were a joke to be honest. I mean who has two left hands?

Look, I’ve tried to be nice, and it’s great to get free gear, but …

Anyway, here’s a pic of the sort of conditions I’ve been testing this stuff in…

bugger it's cold


Iain said...

Aye, Swedes and their fritidshusor (holiday cabins). He'd need this device to ensure his prompt arrival at his place near Lulea (not too far from us, in fact) where he no doubt slurps down vast quantities of that old Svenska favourite, 'Brannvin' - Fire wine! A pretty accurate name for the bloody stuff!

Louise said...

You're up early today Pieman, anything sinister going on up there? ;-)

Dawn said...

Ahhh,the mysteries of left handed navigation. It is clearer now as to why I experienced such difficulties in purchasing a left handed compass!!

Phil said...

This is spendid news. For years designers have been unashamedly rightist.

Mugs! How many people are aware that nearly all mugs are manufactured with the handle on the right?

This scandalous treatment of a disadvantaged minority must stop. Well done Dr Vansterhant.

Alistair Pooler said...

Do they do left handed head torches too?

chrissiedixie said...

огень хорошо!!!

Jules said...

My wife is left-handed, so I fully understand where you are coming from. The world is such a complex thing to deal with when everything is a-about-f for you.

Tha's bin busy, Mr K.;-)

Made me chuckle!

chrissiedixie said...

Apologies - it's so long since I've written any Russian I made a spelling mistake in the first word! It should have said 'очэнь хорошо'. Silly me!!!

Mike Knipe said...

Iain - Seems it's a small (right)handed) world
Louise - we have a geriatric dog, which is why I sometimes have to get up early...otherwise.....
Dwn - All your left-handed problems solved. I may have had trouble with this stuff cos I'm right handed..
Phil/Alastair - I've passed on the market possibilities of left-handed mugs and torches. And what about tent pegs?
Jules - You might find it funny, but for some people it's just a joke... (I should re-write that, really..)
Chrissie - I noticed the error, obviously, but was too polite....

Mike Knipe said...

Abbi, Abbi, Abbi... your attempt to spam the pie blog was pathetic.
Tsk tsk.Go forth, Abbi.....