Silva Sweden regains North American market

(David Walker) #1

Oh man, being a compass junky I think this is a very good development. :sunglasses:

Johnson Outdoors has owned the legal right to the Silva name in N. America since 1973. But after Björn Kjellström, one of the founders of the Silva company, and author of Be Expert with Map and Compass, passed away in 1993, a split developed between Silva Sweden and Johnson Outdoors.

In 1998 Johnson Outdoors acquired exclusive right to the Silva name in N. America. Since then the Silva Sweden products could not be legally sold in N. America under the Silva name, ( for a few years they were sold by Brunton and called Brunton compasses, but that arrangement ended when Silva Sweden sold Brunton).

After 1998 Silva compasses sold in N. America were made by Johnson Outdoors. The Swedish made Silva compasses were no longer available. And in my experience the quality was inferior. I had wondered why Silva compasses I purchased in 1990s soon developed bubbles in them, vs older Silva compasses that had not and still worked perfectly. On various outdoor forums you can read how others also expressed the opinion that older Silva compasses were great the newer ones were not. However, Johnson Outdoors also had a good reputation for replacing compasses that had developed problems.

You can read the story here (except for the most recent development not yet entered) :

For the last few years I have been ordering Silva Sweden made compasses from Ireland or from Amazon Germany. For some odd reason Amazon UK would not ship the Silva Sweden compasses to the USA.

But Silva Sweden also makes some great headlamps and other outdoor products.
Sometimes I have found and ordered them from Amazon, but usually sold by suppliers in Asia. Technically probably sold through Amazon US in violation of Johnson

Anyway, last evening I went on the Silva Sweden website looking for a manual for the Silva type 27 compass, a small mirror sighting compass I thought I had lost years ago, but recently re-found in the back of a desk drawer.

I was surprised to see 2 things. A series of compasses labeled US-Compasses, and that they also now offer compasses with Global needles. (which look to me like the global needles developed by Recta in Switzerland, which was purchased by Suunto in Finland several years ago. I think perhaps Silva Sweden may be using the Recta/Suunto global needles) I used to think the best compass would have the Suunto global needle and the longer base plate of the Silva compasses. I really like a lot of the Suunto features, but have had more of them develop bubbles. Which is why I think the Silva Sweden compasses are the best, I don’t need or use the magnetic declination adjustment. Preferring to make the adjustment mentally via an acronym I created to remember which way to go. WAvES, West Add v East Subtract.

After a bit of looking around I found the announcement dated Oct 2017 that
Silva Sweden has regained legal right to the Silva name in N. America.

Anyway, currently :
" According to the new set-up, Liberty Mountain will handle the SILVA distribution in the United States, while Rock Gear Distribution will cover the Canadian market. "

Thus far Liberty Mountain only list the Silva compasses, but I think over time they will be adding the other Silva Sweden outdoor gear products. (search the Liberty Mountain website for - silva . ) I think it will take some time to get this new development up to speed. Before they stock the Silva headlamps, backpacks and other gear.

You can find better descriptions of their products on their Swedish website:

If I could only have one compass it would be the Silva Expedition 54, prism sighting compass, accurate to 0.5˚.
That precision isn’t needed for just finding your way in the woods, but I prefer to get the most accurate bearings possible, so that other land navigation errors are minimized. (you can’t find it on their website, but you can find it via internet search)

I have a couple of older Silva headlamps no longer made, they are similar to this one, nice headlamps.

If you’re looking for some good outdoor gear, you might like some of the Silva products, and once they get this ownership change rolling you will probably start finding them available from other retailers. :joy:

Update link

Johnson Outdoor - Silva Sweden AB acquires N. America Silva Trademark

Oh, and one additional tip. Johnson Outdoor Silva products use this font [Silva]. Silva Sweden AB Silva products use a font that looks more like this [ SILVA] except it looks more square and the S connects to the I and the V is connected to the I , at the top of the letters.