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We describe a compact, robust and versatile system for studying magnetic dynamics in a spinor Bose-Einstein condensate. Condensates of 87 Rb are produced by all-optical evaporation in a 1560 nm optical dipole trap, using a non-standard loading sequence that employs an auxiliary 1529 nm beam for partial compensation of the strong differential light shift induced by the dipole trap itself. We use near-resonance Faraday rotation probing to non-destructively track the condensate magnetization, anddoi:10.1088/1367-2630/aab2a0 fatcat:fyqopctk2vfp7g6acwvygwmjwu