Most people don’t give much thought to getting lost these days, mostly because they can simply punch up their GPS powered location at any time on their smart phone. Others take portable GPS devices into the wild with them when they go hunting or backpacking. But while the GPS system is great, being able to access it is still dependent upon one thing: battery power. What happens if you find yourself lost and the battery on your GPS device dies? If that was your only way to discern your location you’re going to find yourself in a very tight spot. If, however, you have a hiking compass in your survival backpack you have a time tested way to devise an exit route.
Below we’re going to take a look at the 9 entries on our list of Best Compass. These are all affordable, easy to use devices that could wind up saving your skin some day when the chips are down.
The Best Compass
The Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compas has light absorption capabilities that allow it to glow in the dark so you’re never in the dark when it comes to navigation. Set it up on a tripod using the screw hole in the base and get pinpoint readings every time. With a metal body that’s both impact resistant and waterproof and a lightweight, compact design the Eyesky Multifunction walking compass won’t get in the way or quit on you when the going gets tough.
If you’re looking for a durable, waterproof navigation compass you can’t go wrong with the Eyesky Multifunction Military Sighting Compass. Everything from the bubble level to the glow in the dark capabilities to the rotating bezel and conversion charts are designed to allow you to obtain information quickly and accurately. Its light weight lets you carry it in your shirt pocket or the pocket of your hiking pants so it’s always at the ready. You may also be interested in some of these amazing CB radios from our list, so check them out.
Water and shake-proof
Floating compass dial with a 360 scale
Rugged metal cover with a durable build
Comes with signature EYESKEY LOGO
- Weight8 ounces
It may seem old school, but compasses haven’t lost their usefulness and functionality in today’s world. Many things such as work, hobbies or adventure to mention a few, may take us out of our comfort zones. When this happens, the Suunto MC-2G In Global Compass will be there to bear you up and provide a way out of any sticky situation. Nothing and no-one are ever lost, the right tracking device and tools are simply required to find it. This reliable global compass is designed to readily take on the challenge of providing accurate directional measurements. It’s not the regular compass, made with high quality and durable materials that enhance durability and innate abilities to withstand extreme temperatures, weather, and conditions.
It comes with a base plate as well as magnifying lenses for accurate map reading and plotting. The luminous bezel also ensures that the compass stays visible even at night time with additional markings for convenient viewing. To crown it all, there’s a reliable fixed declination adjustment that takes away the confusion of locating your backcountry via a system that fares well even in the vastest of places.
Extra sighting hole for enhanced precision
Luminous bezel for night-time viewing
A global needle that works everywhere
Base plate with a magnifying lens
- Weight2.56 ounces
Traveling heavy can be overrated, especially when going on special operations, camping trips, hunting, and other thrilling adventures. The Reliable Outdoor Gear Professional Boy Scout Compass comes in a lightweight and portable form that ensures it will fit in a growing boy’s hands to larger hand sizes. It’s a great beginner’s tool for novices to master the art of basic geography and clean up their navigation skills. The compass is accompanied by a green baseplate, a magnifying glass as well as a ruler and scales for topographic map reading.
This high precision compass will definitely be useful for a wide range of outdoor operations and is a crucial necessity to carry along during trips to places without network coverage. Always find a way out with this top quality, compact navigation device with a fluid housing that provides accurate readings. The liquid housing is free of bubbles providing enough leniency for the needle to swing efficiently as well as a clear liquid form. The precise inclinometer stands out among regular compass units showing the true North in its readings, the bezel adjustments equally gauge in precise bearings. To enjoy the benefits of a reliable and compact compass for both beginners and professionals, this navigation tool is definitely recommended.
Liquid-filled, bubble-free capsule
Precise inclinometer with exact bezel adjustments
Strong base plate made of strong acrylic plastic
Comes with a lanyard
- BrandReliable Outdoor Gear
- Weight3.2 ounces
When traveling out of the comforts of your hometown, basic luxuries such as network coverage and built-in car navigation systems are sacrificed. However, leaving oneself at the mercies of unknown areas and locations is unnecessary with a reliable compass. The Sunnto M-3nh Leader Compass is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in the palms with an easy-to-read feature via a highly visible directional arrow. The adjustable inclination ensures that whenever your local declination is imputed, the bearings still automatically locate the true North. This takes away any confusion from the readings especially for users who are not experts or have no prior experience reading a compass.
All the pointers work expertly in a liquid dampened housing that allows the well-placed needle to settle on the North after adjustments. The luminous dial also rotates accurately with two-degree increments, glowing in the dark after the sun has set. This ensures users can visibly see their location and the readings on the compass regardless of the time of the day. It also includes a straight and clear baseplate that is great for plotting lines during classes and projects. Whether in the classroom or on the field, this Northern hemisphere balanced compass will definitely make an excellent pick.
Good quality steel needle with jewel bearing
Liquid filled capsule
Great adjustable declination
Balanced for Northern hemisphere
- Weight1 ounces
You can learn how to use a compass in the course of a single afternoon and once you have this knowledge you’re going to find the SE Military Sighting Compass an invaluable asset when you’re trekking, hunting or camping in the wild. This good quality compass has an adjustable diopter lens that will show you the way forward once you’ve determined your path, a rotating bezel ring that makes it easy to stay your course and a built in level.
The military has used the lensatic compass for decades as a way to ensure soldiers are able to obtain the most precise readings possible. “Lensatic” indicates that the rear sight on the compass has a lens that lets you read the dial while your eye is positioned near that rear sight. This setup allows you to sight more accurately in concert with the crosshairs on the front sight. The lensatic compass can take a bit more time to get acquainted with but in the end you’ll be glad you did.
Flourescent Thermo elastic liquid filled capsule for night time navigation
Heavy duty digital camouflage
Rotating Bezel ring
Sighting lens with adjustable diopter
- Weight3.68 ounces
The last compass on our list is by the largest maker of outdoor gear in the world: Coleman. Their Pocket Compass is not going to blow anyone away but what it just might do is save your life should you find yourself in a tough spot. There’s the standard directional references and a phosphorescent pointer so that you can keep moving even at night. This liquid filled, snap open device hangs easily off your belt or your backpack.
The Coleman Pocket Compass isn’t going to take you by the hand and guide you out of the wilderness. This is an accurate compass that will provide anyone who’s able to interpret basic navigational information a means by which to extricate themselves from the wild as quickly and safely as possible. The case is tougher than it looks so use it within its operational parameters and you shouldn’t ever have a problem.
The Suunto Clipper attaches to your watch band so you always have it at the ready should circumstances call for it. It’s light, tough and provides basic navigational information quickly so you can stay on course to rendezvous with your buddies or your rescuers. The compass has received some negative press because it’s made in China but we found it to work well with most appropriately sized wrist bands and to be a generally accurate compass.
If you want your analog navigation to be simple and direct you can’t lose with the Suunto Clipper compass. There are no sights or lenses to confuse you, just a few key pieces of information that should be enough to keep you moving in the right direction. The operational features like the clip mechanism, the rotating bezel and luminous directional indicator are useful and reliable and the unit is available at a very reasonable cost.
The Cammenga Phosphorescent Clam Pack Lensatic Compass is a durable, effective piece of survival kit that makes this type of hands on navigation not just simple but fun. You may never lean on your smartphone GPS again on one of your outdoor adventures because you’ll enjoy finding your own way with the Cammenga. This is a good quality compass, has been rigorously battle tested and is every bit as tough as it is practical and affordable.
The Cammenga compass looks like something they use in the mountains of Afghanistan because it is. This is an accurate compass developed for the military that has seen untold hours in the field and been refined dozens of times over many years. The hard aluminum casing will take a pounding and the fact that it’s waterproof means you don’t have to fear the rain or snow. Because it uses an induction method of damping rather than liquid this may be the best compass for survival and will deliver accurate, actionable information time and time again.
The UST Deluxe Map Compass features impressive build quality for a compact, liquid filled compass. The base is extended far beyond what you’ll see with other, similar compasses and the various measurement scales in play are all clearly delineated and will offer accurate, useful interaction with your topographic maps. As a result you’ll be able to plan precise routes and extricate yourself from difficult situations in a timely fashion.
Accuracy of the Silva 515 is excellent. It makes a first-rate companion to your 1:25,000 topo maps and will really bring them alive for you. The fact that this device is so compact and light means you can carry it in virtually any pocket and always have it at the ready. Another great feature is that it offers both standard and metric measurements. When the battery dies and the GPS goes with it you’ll never really be lost as long as you have the Silva 515 Deluxe Map Compass in your bag.
The GWhole Military Lensatic Sighting Compass sounds a lot more intimidating than it is. When you get used to the lensatic sighting system you’ll be amazed at how easy it makes accurate navigation and how much fun it can be to work with. Of course if you find yourself lost you’re not going to be concerned with having fun. You’ll want to find a route out and that’s when the GWhole really shines.
Finding your way out of the wilderness is difficult enough if you’re tired and hungry. When your GPS battery dies things become even worse. If you have the GWhole Military Lensatic Sighting Compass with you however you’ll never really be lost or without options. The standard and metric scales on the side, the built in bubble level and the ability to fix the device to a tripod all aid in the gathering of accurate information which you can plot on your map to find your way to safety.
Here’s an attractive and effective compact plate compass that’s also a great pocket compass. The Brunton TruArc 3 is a basic hiking compass that’s received a few modern tweaks to enhance performance. It includes the time tested TruArc Global Needle system and true, accurate, declination compensation so you know the information you’re receiving is trustworthy and actionable. The Brunton TruArc 3 offers you a sound alternative to battery based locator systems.
This is not the type of navigation compass that you’re going to feel comfortable tossing around or dropping in the creek. It’s a basic device that, while well built, is not up to military standards of toughness and durability. That said, as long as you treat the device with respect it will provide you all the information you need to arrive at your rendezvous safe and sound.
Compasses Buyers Guide
The compass has been around for centuries but few modern humans actually know how to use one. With that fact in mind here are a few basics you’ll want to consider when buying a compass.
Types Of Compasses
Although for this “Best of” list we’re focusing on magnetic compasses there are actually quite a few different types of compass out there and all do a good to excellent job of providing pertinent navigational information. Here are some of the other types of compass:
The gyro compass uses the law of conservation of angular momentum as well as the spinning of the earth to find true north.
This type of compass focuses on finding true north rather than magnetic north. To do so it uses time, date, longitude and latitude.
Fast becoming the standard the GPS compass uses a collection of satellites circling the earth in geosynchronous orbit to arrive at your position.
Solid state compass
This type of compass utilizes magnetic sensors to discover north.
Elements Of The Compass
Here are the important component parts of a magnetic compass.
The Scales - The scales on a compass help you determine distances. Use them in concert with a map to figure out how far you have to go. Make sure your map is compatible with whatever scale or scales your compass uses.
The Magnetic Needle - The needle is a strip of metal that pivots in the middle and points toward magnetic north at all times. Sometimes the north facing tip is painted red.
Direction of Travel Indicator - This arrow is marked on the base plate and guides the direction in which you’re headed.
Orientation Arrow - This fixed arrow is typically on the bottom of the housing and rotates with it. Use it to align the plate with the Magnetic Needle.
Declination Scale - The declination is the difference between magnetic and true north. It’s not always essential that you factor for this but it can make your route planning more accurate.
Orienting Lines - These North/South/East/West lines line up with the grid on your map to allow you to bring both map and compass into agreement.
Bearing marker - This provides you with your bearing relative to either magnetic or true north or both.
Housing - The housing is that which envelopes the basic walking compass and also holds the liquid filled chamber that contains the Magnetic Needle. It can be made of anything from aluminum to plastic.
Base plate - The base plate is used to place the compass on the map and orient the two items to each other. Not all magnetic compasses have a base plate.
The compass is old world tech that survives in the new world due to its unquestioned utility and practicality. Having a top rated compass as part of your survival kit is essential for anyone venturing into the wild for any length of time.
We hope you found this information on the best compass models useful and that it helps inform your decision when it comes time for you to purchase a good quality compass. Make sure to bookmark us and check back regularly for more informative product reviews from Gearhungry.com.