Best Compasses for Hiking

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 20, 2019
A good compass for hiking doesn’t require batteries or any kind of winding up to run, which makes it an essential tool for land navigation. More reliable than most GPS trackers, they will come in handy on a lengthy trip. To help you pick the right model for your hobby, we have gathered the top backpacking compass models out there for our reviews. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Readings
Housing
Extras
Dimensions
Warranty
 
PROS

The design features 7 Tritium (H3) micro-lights that emit luminescent light without the need for recharging. Since the half-life of Tritium reaches up to 12 years, the compass can be effectively used for quite some time.

CONS

Has only a 1:50000 scale (USGS topographic maps utilize a standard 1:24000 metric scale).

OUR VERDICT

This compass model from Cammenga is exceptionally accurate. With a deviation of only +/- 0002 mils, it is used by many government agencies. What is more, it features additional scales and waterproof housing, which makes it a go-to solution for almost any hobby that goes hand-in-hand with hiking.

detailed parameters
Readings

0 - 360 degree scale, 0 - 64 Mil scale, 1:50000 scale edge

Housing

Powder-coated aluminum frame: shockproof, waterproof, sand-proof

Extras

7 Tritium micro-lights (provide continuous illumination for over 12 years), Magnifying lens, Carrying pouch with belt clip, Lanyard

Dimensions

4.5" x 3.5" x 1.5"

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The combination of lightweight construction and the provided lanyard allows carrying the compass on the neck without breaking a sweat. Moreover, the wristlock ensures that the navigational tool won't get lost during use.

CONS

The plastic housing of this model is not as durable as its metal counterparts.

OUR VERDICT

This multi-functional compass is capable of showing the right direction on the map as well as determining the slope angle, height, and tilt (from 0 to 80 degrees). The base plate design makes it easy to measure distances right on the map without any additional tools.

detailed parameters
Readings

0 - 360 degree scale, Clinometer: 0 - 80 degree scale, 1:24000 and 1:50000 scale edge, Ruler

Housing

Plastic

Extras

Liquid filled capsule, Mirror, Magnifying lens, Luminescent markings, Snap-lock lanyard with wristlock

Dimensions

2.6" x 4" x 0.7"

Warranty

Limited lifetime

PROS

This model features a tripod mounting hole for added precision of measurements. On top of that, the distance notches on the sighting window turn the compass into a useful distance meter.

CONS

The lid locking mechanism's quality leaves something more to be desired.

OUR VERDICT

Сompact compasses are not really popular these days, however, this model may become a useful exception to this rule. With the dimensions of only 2.75" x 2" x 1", it features almost everything that your standard fully-fledged models offer, including a sighting eyepiece with adjustable diopter.

detailed parameters
Readings

0 - 360 degree scale, Ruler

Housing

Metal frame: shockproof, waterproof

Extras

Liquid filled capsule, Luminescent markings, Sighting lines on cover, Adjustable diopter sighting lens, Measurements conversion chart, Tripod mounting hole, Pouch and lanyard

Dimensions

2.75" x 2" x 1"

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

The metal housing of this model ensures that not a single drop of liquid will get inside. To add more, the device is shockproof, which makes measurements accurate regardless of working conditions.

CONS

Quite bulky (needs to be carried using the provided lanyard).

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for a reliable compass that can be utilized in almost any circumstances, then this model will be right up your alley. Stable operation is provided by insulated housing that allows using the tool in temperatures ranging from 50° F to 150° F.

detailed parameters
Readings

0 - 360 degree scale, Clinometer: 0 - 90 degree scale (0 - 400 %), 1:25000 scale edge, Ruler

Housing

Metal frame: shockproof, waterproof

Extras

Liquid filled capsule, Luminescent markings, Sighting lines on cover, Adjustable diopter sighting lens, Pouch and lanyard

Dimensions

3.8" x 2.5" x 1.2"

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

The well-thought-out design of this pocket compass negates the risk of the metal lid breaking even when the tool has been opened multiple hundred times. In addition, the glass face is scratch-resistant, which makes it easy to read.

CONS

Doesn't come with either a storage bag or a lanyard.

OUR VERDICT

This antique-looking model from DETUCK is highly reliable and accurate compared to most basic models. The copper-brass metal coating also provides that much-needed rust resistance, which will prove invaluable after years of use. If you are looking for a reliable and stylish navigational tool, this model will be a prime pick for you. 

detailed parameters
Readings

0 - 360 degree scale

Housing

Metal with copper-brass coating

Extras

Luminescent markings

Dimensions

2" x 2" x 0.6"

Warranty

1 year

Cammenga 3H

An All-Around Effective Compass Model

The Cammenga 3H is a civilian-issued compass model that has a lot of features that were initially meant for military use. 

First of all, it’s the great build quality that you can actually feel when you take this tool into your hands. The aluminum body makes the compass waterproof, which makes it easy to utilize in bad weather conditions. On top of that, the powder-coated frame ensures that the compass’ face won’t scratch easily regardless of working conditions.

The military-grade plastic scales and measures, on the other hand, feature a 360-degree scale and a 64-degree mil scale that allow measuring both direction and distance. The latter requires you to use the adjustable magnifying lens that this compass is equipped with.

To help you in navigating the course during nighttime, the scale features 7 Tritium micro-lights that can glow for up to 12 years thanks to the long half-life of the element. What makes them good, though, is that these lights only lose about 40-60% of their initial brightness and can be utilized even longer than for 12 years, despite turning a tad bit murkier.

Furthermore, the handheld compass features quite a few accessories, including a convenient belt clip and a carrying pouch that fits both the compass and the lanyard that comes with it inside.

All in all, the Cammenga with Tritium is simply the best compass for hiking for its price out there. Reliable and nearly indestructible, it provides accurate readings in almost any circumstances, making this navigational tool a must-have for hikers that love lengthy trips. 

Review of Cammenga 3H Official US Military Tritium Compass

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Suunto SS004239001

An Essential Baseplate Compass for Navigating the Maps

The Suunto SS004239001 is designed to be lighter and smaller than regular compass models. Still, even with its compact size, the unit is accurate enough for use in field conditions.

On top of the pocket-size dimensions, the versatility of this baseplate compass is quite impressive for its price. With a deviation of only 1-2 degrees, you won’t have any issues navigating the correct route for your trip.

The only thing that did bother us is the inconvenient Suunto logo placement that actually interferes with the correct readings of this compass. But other than that, there’s nothing else that obstructs the view of the compass’ markings.

On the bright side, the baseplate compass features both 1:50000 and 1:24000 scale rulers, so you won’t have any troubles with the measurements on standard USGS maps. To make the process more accurate, the compass also features an adjustable magnifying lens that makes the markings easier to read even in bad weather conditions. On top of that, the luminescent markings are visible during nighttime but may take longer to read compared to models with Tritium.

All things considered, this model from Suunto is a decent choice if you are looking for a backpacking compass that has everything for precise measurement.

Review of Suunto SS004239001 Compass with Mirrored Sighting

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Eyeskey EK1001-M

Affordable and Reliable

The EK1001-M compass for hiking from Eyeskey does pretty much everything you could expect from a navigational compass: it helps to find the correct bearing to the target, it allows finding the right path, and it works flawlessly regardless of the weather conditions or amount of light.

To start off, the face of the compass features fluorescent markings that require light exposure to be used in the dark. So it is recommended to carry the compass using the provided lanyard for at least several hours a day.

For added measuring accuracy, the compass features an optical sighting eyepiece that allows reading the correct bearing of the target you are aiming at. This feature will be convenient for hikers that prefer walking in hilly areas that have a lot of obstacles and will definitely come in handy for finding the right direction.

As a pleasant addition to an already great package, the kit is supplied with a handy carry pouch that firmly protects the compass’ face from scratching during transportation.

In the end, this model from Eyeskey is the best compass for hiking in the budget price range available today. The durable build coupled with a highly accurate optical sight makes this model a must-have product for hikers that don’t own a compass yet.

Review of Eyeskey EK1001-M Compass for Hiking

 

Sportneer Military

An All-In-One Package

The Sportneer military compass may not seem like something special at first glance, nevertheless, it has quite a few details that make it an invaluable tool for hiking.

Firstly, this compass for survival works great in field conditions regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. However, it is recommended to carry the tool inside the provided carry pouch or a lanyard since the unit is rather heavy compared to similar products.

Secondly, the product features an adjustable magnifying tool that, combined with luminescent markings, makes the dial easily readable. This is achieved thanks to the special Lensatic technology that features a high-quality lens and provides an accurate reading of the dial. As for the dials themselves, the kit includes a clinometer, rulers, and a 360-degree scale, making the compass quite a versatile tool.

Even though the accuracy of this compass model and the build quality is fairly durable, some parts are a little bit flimsy, which may interfere with accurate measurements. Fortunately, the compass is water and shockproof, which makes it an ideal option for hiking.

Wrapping things up, despite some minor issues, this model from Sportneer is the best orienteering compass for general use out there. Built to last and to outperform, this model proves that quality products can also be affordable.

Review of Sportneer Military Compass with Inclinometer

 

DETUCK Pocket

A Vintage Design in a Compact Body

Measuring 1.97 x 0.63 inches, this portable compass fits almost any pocket out there, which makes it easier to carry during long walks.

The vintage look of this tiny navigation tool is achieved thanks to its brass-coated housing. But even though it is mostly metal, the manufacturers recommend keeping the compass closed during transportation to make sure the face doesn't get scratched.

The magnetic needle of the compass is quite stable, which makes it reasonably accurate in terms of determining the needed direction.

Due to the fact that the compass doesn’t have ferromagnetic protection, we recommend keeping it away from any electronic gadgets including music players, phones, and tablets. Moreover, we also advise storing the tool away from any cards that have magnetic stripes.

What makes this model highly convenient is its fluorescent dial that is easy to read even in pitch-black environments, an ideal solution for hiking.

Despite its minimalistic design, the DETUCK hiking metal compass is great for almost any purpose including hunting, mountaineering, as well as hiking in the wilderness. If you are looking for a reliable land navigation tool without any bells and whistles, the ultralight compass from DETUCK will be the right pick for you.

Review of DETUCK Pocket Hiking Metal Compass

 

What Is a Compass for Hiking?

When your GPS tracker runs out of charge or simply doesn’t show the correct location, your time-proven options are limited.

A good hiking compass is a must-have for all travel endeavors, including backpacking, mountaineering, as well as lengthy outdoor trips that take place in the wilderness. These units can come in different sizes and forms, from an old-school pocket model to a baseplate compass.

Compasses for survival are good for land navigation since you can rely on them to determine the direction according to the magnetic north that basically never deviates.

While standard compass models feature only a 360-degree scale, others can also come equipped with multiple scales and adjustable magnifying tools. These can vary from a simple mirror to sighting lines and clinometers. Such models will come in handy in case you need to determine the slope angles of a hill or a cliff as well as their height according to your position, which is essential for mountaineering.

If you are searching for additional navigation tools that run on batteries, we also recommend these bike GPS reviews. Interested in cycling products? Consider these bike phone mounts that can firmly hold not only phones but other mobile gadgets as well.

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Publish Date: 2019-09-20 19:13:03