|1. A2S Protection||2. SUUNTO||3. X-Plore Gear|
A compass is known to be one of the most important survival gear for navigators and sailors. But did you know that it is equally popular among hikers and trekkers too, who may not have mobile connectivity and GPS available to the place they travel.
So, if you are in the market to buy the best compass for survival, then you will find that there are varieties of compasses available in the market. You need not buy the most expensive one to get the best results. But beware of the cheaper ones too, because they can show wrong readings and misguide you.
So, here we have come up with a list of top 25 best compasses that meet international standards in their make and design. We will also inform you about a few factors that you must consider while buying such a crucial compass, along with some FAQs answered.
Top 25 Best Compasses For Survival 2020
1. A2S Protection Paracord
Functional and easy to use, this embedded compass in a paracord bracelet is popular for its accuracy and style. Apart from the compass, it also includes a fire starter, a knife, a fire scrapper, and an emergency whistle. If needed, you can also unwind the bracelet to get 12 feet of extra-strong paracord.
So, if you are lost in the wilderness, then this compass can navigate you out of it and help you find your friends.
- Stylish look
- Handy use
- Available in a multitude of colors
- Lots of tools included
- Adjustable size
- The clasp is a bit cumbersome to put on
2. SUUNTO Compass
A revolutionary design in the compass industry, this swiss-made compass is known for its accuracy of navigation and design capabilities. Based on the concept of the age-old ways of navigation, which includes a printed map and a mechanical compass, this variant does not run on battery and is thus a translation of the traditional method of navigation.
It is a compact-mirrored compass, which helps in taking highly accurate and reliable directional measurements. The global needle works absolutely anywhere on the planet and the base plate has a magnifying lens. It is laced with a fixed declination system, which makes it adept for areas with large magnetic variations.
It also has an extra sighting hole for added precision, luminous bezel and marking for night time viewing.
- Advanced engineering
- Simple to use
- No batteries required
- Too small to manage
3. X-PLORE Gear Compass
Ideal for backpackers and scouts who are learning survival strategies at school, this compass is easy to decipher and is extremely handy. Clasped to your wrists in a paracord bracelet, it is water resistant and can help you survive the wilderness or any other hiking trail if you get lost or separated from your friends.
Apart from the compass, the bracelet also includes a variety of other tools, including a fire starter, an emergency whistle, and a cutting blade. You can also unwind the bracelet to get several feet of paracord.
- The compass is reported to be not accurate
- It is not secured properly in some cases
4. Sharp Survival Compass
If you are the classic types, go for this one. The look and appeal of this compass makes it one of the most sought-after products in the market.
The outer copper casing protects the system inside it. It features 360 degree rotating bezel for easy navigation and orienteering. The compass has a night glow feature, which helps in reading through different weathers and different times of the day.
Easy to handle, the compass is 48mm x 12mm in size, making it suitable for both kids and adults. Compact in size, the compass takes less space in the prep bag you might be packing for the next emergency exit.
- Looks classy
- Glows in the dark
- Little slow to work
5. Coghlan’s Whistle Compass
Ever thought of a whistle doubling as a navigator? Well, this one is the best compass for survival of this kind. Do not be disappointed with its size, because it looks small but it works just like any other professional compass used by navigators.
So, the next time, when you go out fishing or on a cabin expedition, make sure you have this one attached to you. You can hang it with the chain of your bag or fit it on your wrist. While there are a number of options available under the brand, this one is the most popular, because it has a clip-on facility and is accompanied by LED light, magnifier and a 2-scale thermometer, apart from a signaling mirror.
- Compact size
- Easy to read
- LED light, magnifier and thermometer included
- Accurate reading
- Easy to carry it along
- Available in different colors
- Size is too small and it is easy to lose
6. TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass
This compass serves all the purposes of one’s hiking needs, as it has three different functionalities that can help you scale heights and navigate through forests, mountains and rivers. The acrylic baseplate is light weight with Azimuth bearing and 360 degree rotating bezel.
The field compass attached to the compass helps in cartographic map navigation and reading. It also has a magnifying glass, compass ruler and compass scale. It is both durable and light weight, and is therefore best for hiking and backpacking trips.
It is the best cub scout compass for kids, not only for its cute design, but also because it is scientifically built for camping, orienteering, hiking, hunting, navigating, mountaineering, field trips and more. It has a portable handheld compass with magnetic needle and directional arrow, orienting lanyards and lines compass. It also comprises of real compass oil, which has the magnetized needle placed in it.
The magnetic needle is fast to point toward the right direction and you do not have to wait for it to navigate. The compass functions with the vacuum technology. Best for gifting purpose to your children for expeditions, treasure hunts, biking, hiking or walking.
- Great for navigation
- Accurate reading
- Difficult to read unless trained
- Some users have complained of inaccurate readings
7. UST Deluxe Compass
One of the most favorite among boys scouts and amateur mountaineers and hikers, the compass is known for its accurate readings and technology. The compass is easy to read with swivel bezel and adjustable marching line for easy map reading.
It also features multiple scales such as inches, metrics, 1:25,000 scales for precise route planning. The base plate is clear for accurate map reading. Moreover, its dimensions of 5×2.4 inches help in reading maps better. It is light and convenient with a break-away lanyard.
- 2-year warranty
- Durable and light
- Easy to use size
- Can break under pressure
8. SE 5-in-1 Survival Whistles
The built-in compass in this survival whistle is set in a water-resistant storage container. It is easy to use and functions as per the traditional navigational method, which uses liquid medium and a magnetized needle to show the right directions.
It weighs 1.4 ounces and is highly durable. It comes with a lanyard to hang around your wrists or the neck. The product is great for scouting, hunting, fishing, hiking, outdoor activities, traveling and more.
- Pack of 2
- Easy to use
- Light weight
- Includes lanyard, a signaling mirror, flint, and a whistle
- Some complained of the quality of the overall product
9. UST Folding Map Compass
This folding map compass from UST is not just classy, but highly functional too. While the case safeguards the compass, the rugged clear base helps in the accurate reading of the topography. Ideal for hiking, orienteering, scouting, wilderness, survival, boating and more, the compass is easy-to-read.
It is a liquid filled compass with sighting mirror and slope indicator. It includes attached breakaway lanyard and adjustable declination feature with screwdriver. Weighing 2.4 ounces, the rugged 5mm thick base measures 4×2.5 inches, which makes the device extremely easy and light to carry around.
- Classy look
- Some complain it to be sloppy
10. Coghlan’s Map Compass
It has a see-through base and rotating, liquid filled housing, which is ideal for navigation purposes. The base features scales in inches, millimeters, and 1:25,000. The needle is jeweled, which sparkles at night and the pointer is luminous.
The jeweled needle is also reliable and accurate. It is affordable and is essential for camping, hiking, countryside backpacking, treks and more. All the models of Coghlan speak of durability and accuracy.
- Jeweled needle
- Multiple scales
- Difficult to read if not trained
11. SUUNTO MC-2 NH USGS Compass
This is the best survival compass for people who are into hard core adventure like hiking, climbing, and skiing. They are even apt for search and rescue personnel who have to search for people in hard terrains. The sighting mirror attached with the compass allows you to see the bearings.
The compass allows you to take accurate bearing on each of the landmarks. It also includes a clinometer to help you measure angles, which is a useful feature for climbers and hikers travelling on steep hills. It includes lanyards with wristlock, declination correction tool, quickrelease, quickguide and a life time warranty.
Venturing out in a new territory? Get this in your backpack and never get lost.
- Solid design
- Engineered to perfection
- Clinometer included
- Life time warranty
- Logo is disturbing the sight of the bearing
12. LeMotech 21 Compass
If you are an ardent hiker, you should have this bracelet with you all the time. While it has multiple functions, the compass especially is built to rescue you from any terrain. The upgrade compass has a diameter of 0.79’’, which is much bigger than other suppliers.
It provides accurate directions and does its work responsibly in difficult terrains. The compass is big enough to give you a clear vision, which is easy to read. It is best to have it around your wrist for easy access. The 21 features in this bracelet include thermometer, LED light, flint fire starter, paracord, whistle, knife, tool card,
Since the compass has partial liquid base, it may get stuck if not used for a long time, resulting in insufficient sensitivity. Shake it for a few seconds and hold it flat for calibration. Normally, it will slowly stop at the same position. You can use the compass even in heavy rains or in river water, as it is water resistant.
- Easy to use
- Water proof
- Easy calibration
- Adjustable size
- Available in multiple colors
- Feels a little bulky on small wrists
13. Reliable Outdoor Gear Compass
This outdoor gear is not just attractive but also functional. The green base plate is clear enough to give accurate readings on any topographical condition. The fluid housing and the inclinometer shows the accurate direction without fail.
The Bezel adjustment dials in the exact bearing. Unlike partially-filled liquid needle, this one is fast and swivels in the accurate direction. Comes with a lanyard that you can use to hang it around your neck for easy access.
- Simple and affordable
- Compact in size
- Magnetic needle
- Inch and cm ruler included
- Issues with declination
14. HNYYZL Paracord Bracelet
Set in a highly strong paracord bracelet, this compass is compact and built of military grade material, assuring of correct orientation. It is water and abrasion proof too. The bracelet fits well on a 7.5-8.7 inches wrist.
Available in 10 different colors, the compass adds value to the quality of the chords. It goes with casuals and track pants. Optimize the functionalities of the compass to navigate through dense forests, high mountains and tough terrains.
Apart from the compass, the bracelet also includes a number of other features, including a fire starter, a gear knife, a whistle, and 122 inches of paracord when unwound.
- Pack of 10
- Highly functional
- Fits on your wrist
- Available in different colors
- The compass works better when the bracelet is open, because the knife tends to interfere with the compass when its closed
15. Coghlan’s Ball Type Pin-On Compass
The pin-sized compass is highly durable, which goes against its size. Pin it to your jacket or backpack and save space inside your bag. You do not even need to shuffle through things inside your bag to find this compass when you need it the most. Just check your jacket or the back of your backpack.
It is filled with liquid to ensure that the dial is always upright. The luminous directional arrow helps you navigate even in the dark in case of emergencies. A must have inside your emergency backpack, keep this handy to tackle any emergency situation in a rough terrain.
The brass pin ensures that it does not budge from your jacket or the backpack.
- Easy to attach to the jacket with the brass pin
- Easy to lose
- Sensitive to metal objects
16. COSTIN Multifunctional Compass
Made of high strength engineering metal, this multifunctional compass is both sturdy and durable. If you are navigating in the dark, rely on the luminous magnet arrow and the compass card, which allows you to get the exact reading. It uses the energy extracted from the sun in the morning to be used in the dark.
It is engineered with precision and designed to perfection and stored in a metal case for maximum portability. Some of the other features included in the compass are rugged metal body with foldable metal lid, floating compass dial with 360 degree scale, adjustable prism lens, and sighting telescope. The pouch and lanyard attached to the compass makes it easy to carry.
Designed with a military-grade material, it is absolutely waterproof and shockproof, so that it works even in extreme weather conditions. Built-in bubble level can increase efficiency and decrease the errors.
- Luminous compass card
- Durable aluminum body
- Light weight
- Easy reading in the dark
- Waterproof and shockproof
- Clear lid with sighting line
- Inch and mm scales
- Case is not so strong
17. SE 10-in-1 Survival Camping Tool
It is as professional as it looks. It is not just a camping tool, but more of a survival kit if you are lost in tough terrains. Imagine a situation when there is no network connectivity, no GPS and you have to fend for yourself. You have a Bugout Bag with you, but that might not last you long, and this survival tool can help to navigate your way through.
The features included in the compass are fire starter, hygrometer, LED light, level, magnifier, mirror, ruler, thermometer, and whistle. It is compact and lightweight for easy storage and transportation. The package comes with 2 CR1220 batteries. Take it wherever you go- to boating, camping, emergency/survival adventure, hunting or hiking.
- Easy to use
- It runs on battery, which may die over time
18. vikano Survival Watch
The watch is a compact survival tool in itself. The compass, especially, is durable and engineered to perfection. Protected in an outer cover that is water resistant and corrosion resistant, you can wear the compass on your wrist and be prepared for your next outdoor adventure in the unknown depths of a forest.
Set in top-class parachute chord bracelet, the compass is fixed perfectly never to lose its grip. So, while you are using the other attached tools like the whistle, paracord, watch, magnesium rod and scraper to survive you for some time, you can try and navigate through the terrain to find your way to safety.
- Highly functional
- Corrosion resistant
- It is big for a few wrists
- Hard to tackle for new users
19. Sun Company TempaComp
Designed to save you from any emergency situation, the compass is engineered at two levels. Look directly down from the top to view general orientation cardinal points. The compass should be held at eye level to view larger side card for “direction of travel” compass.
It is important to note that the side card should not be used for general orientation purposes. Doing so will cause readings to be off by 180 degrees.
It is also easy to gauge the weather by reading the thermometer at a glance. The carabiner clip is handy and sturdy and can clip on to anything you like. It also has a slip ring included, so that you can attach it to your zipper and use it as a zipper pull.
- Small and compact
- Easy to use
- Carabiner clip included
- Easily attachable to anything
- The size is too small
20. Leabertee Multifunctional Compass
This compass is both about class and functionality. Most other designs could be chic but non-functional. However, this one is all about looks and functionalities.
You can carry it in your backpack or hang it around your neck. The compass will show you accurate results wherever you place it. The cover is designed with finesse to attract customers with its intricate Statue of Liberty and World Map design.
The compass within it is secured and sealed, and therefore works well in all weather conditions and even in rough terrains. It is crafted with special materials with floating compass dial to improve sensitivity and design.
Since it is ideal for all outdoor activities like camping, hiking, scouting, boating and backpacking, this could also be a great gift for family and friends with an adventurous mind. It is accompanied by clear instructions to make you familiar with the functions of the compass.
- Classic look
- Great gift option
- May grow mold if not kept in a ventilated and dry place
21. Wejie Survival Bracelet
A watch and compass combined together with some of the most important survival tools, this kit is all you need when you are alone in the woods. For adults and trained survival guides, this could be the ultimate kit for their next expeditions. For youngsters who need introduction to the wilderness and ensure they survive it, this could be a great training kit.
The compass is fit in well into the wrist watch’s paracord band to ensure it does not fall off. Wejie anyways guarantees design and durability, for which it is very popular among adventure lovers.
- Water resistant
- Shows accurate directions
- Great for training purposes
- Hard to use if not trained
22. Top Lander Survival Kit And Compass
This survival kit with integrated compass is portable, strong and durable. The mini survival kit is laced with a compass that shows you the right directions to rescue, if you are stuck in an emergency and cannot locate yourself.
The aluminum cover saves the compass from rain and water and is fit for paracord survival bracelet DIY. The liquid-filled compass helps in the accurate reading of directions. On an overall, the kit is compact to fit into your bag and functional enough to get you anywhere you want to go.
- A bit too small
23. Sun Company Mini Comp II Compass
Perfect for low-light conditions, this mini compass is easy-to-read. Functional with a magnetic button, the compass stays luminous for up to an hour after exposure to sunlight. The Bezel rotates, which can help you set your course. It is thus best for orienteering.
The lanyard accompanied with the compass can be used as a key chain, a neck piece or can just be stored in your backpack. Extremely lightweight but durable, the left side of the compass baseplate features a ruler in inches and the right side features a ruler in centimeters.
The rulers can be used to determine approximate distances on the map. Weighing just 0.4oz, the compass is ideal for backpacking, hiking, camping and other survival situations.
- Light weight
- Solar powered
- The compass card may stick
24. BIJIA Multipurpose Sighting Compass
It is an all-in-one compass that could be with you even if you are under the sea. Made from military class metal, the case is sturdy and water-resistant to protect the components inside. The dial is clear and sensitive, which can make navigation easier by providing accurate readings.
Built in a bubble level, it is accurate and error-free. There is a conversion chart for angle, gradient and distance measurement on the black plate. There are ruler units on the sides, measuring both in inches and centimeters.
It is laced with a vertical lubber line that improves the optic vision and reduces human error. The clinometer attached is apt for mountaineering, which can alert you regarding avalanches. The luminous magnetic arrow and compass card can help you take readings even in the dark. The only condition is that it has to be exposed to sunshine all day long.
- Accurate readings
- Solar powered
- Needs training to take readings
25. Survival Gear/Kit:Wrist Compass
A must have for hiking enthusiasts, this compass is handy and easy to read with little or no supervision. It has a dual display design and is equipped with both side view and top view windows for effective readings. The rubber wrist band and the waterproof, sturdy compass case can withstand any weather or terrain.
It is quick and easy to read and extremely reliable for location orientation. The product is accompanied by 100% lifetime warranty from the company. So, make this your travel partner for your next trip to the woods or canyons.
- Cost effective
- Lifetime warranty
- Stiff to wear
- Beware of magnets anywhere
Factors To Look For When Buying The Best Compass For Survival
When it comes to choosing the best compass for survival, one has to be extremely cautious about making a selection, because getting stranded in the wilderness or in an unknown location without a safety gear could be a matter of life and death. So, keep the following points in mind when you go out shopping for a compass for a serious adventure activity.
You would not want to land up in the wilderness without knowing where to go, and an inaccurate compass that does not show the magnetic North could be even more dangerous and draw you deeper into the forest to the point of no return. Remember, any compass which shows the magnetic North accurately is a life saver.
Cheap compasses can save you money, but accurate ones will save your life even if they are costly. Remember, there is nothing costlier than your life. So, it needs to be accurate, even if that means you have to pay a little more for it.
2. Water Filled Housing
Ensure that the needle is placed in a transparent liquid filling inside the housing. In other words, the needle must get just about enough resistance to receive the accurate reading without being still. A number of variants are available in the market and on e-Commerce platforms, but stick to the traditional ones because they are tried and tested for.
If you are an adventure enthusiast, you would know the reason why the compass is required. It not only helps you in navigating to safety if you are lost in wilderness, but it can also help you know where exactly you are. Apart from that, it is used for in the building and construction industry too for marking landmarks and borders.
It is also used for measuring horizontal and vertical lines for maps, and for underground navigation in mining. It is also known to play a significant role in helping soldiers navigate, since the use of GPS and other modes of communication could be intercepted by the enemy front. So, depending on your purpose, choose the best compass for survival accordingly.
Some of the most common compasses are the liquid compass, the prismatic or the lensatic compass, and the base plate compass or orienteering compass. Some of the advanced level compasses that are used for navigation in the marine or in cruise ships are the marine compass or the card compass, thumb compass, solid state compass, Qibla compass, GPS compass and Astrocompass.
5. Extra Features
While GPS could be a reliable tool, you cannot rely on it solely, because there might not be network connection in different places. So, this is where a compass comes into use. Some of the compasses have extra features like declination adjustment, which is a capable compass for hikers and other trail users. A sighting mirror can help in more precise navigation when you travel off trail, and a clinometer can help in mountaineering and backcountry skiing.
If you are a global traveler and you wish to travel around, then get a good global needle that comes with a number of extra features too. Even a small feature like a scale can be of great help under a survival situation.
FAQs on Compasses For Survival
1. What Is The Best Way To Store A Compass?
Compass needles are very sensitive to magnetic fields. With time, the needle gets demagnetized. Therefore, store compasses away from cellphones, magnetic clasps, clocks, etc., so that the needle continues to play its role accurately.
2. What Are The Things To Consider While Reading A Compass?
Please ensure that the compass is nowhere around a magnetic field like a running engine, another magnet, a metal picnic table, or even an electric pole. Ferrous elements can interrupt the accuracy of the compass.
3. In This Age Of GPS, Why Is It Still Necessary To Have A Compass?
The answer is easy, the compass got Columbus to India. So, it need not have to prove its accuracy in front of the modern day machines. Machines can fail, but not this one if you buy a good one. GPS may lose a signal, may show the wrong directions due to operator’s error. It may have blown fuses, interruptions from other signals or solar flares. A compass overrides them all.
So, even if you have a GPS onboard, be sure to have a compass and get trained to use it at the time of emergency.
4. Can We Use The Compass As Is When Brought From The Store?
The answer is no. Usually when they are set in a workbench, which is a no electromagnetic environment, the reading is accurate. But by the time, it reaches a store, a lot of magnetic deviations may have happened while on transit. Also, when you are installing a compass on your cruise or boat, it gets exposed to various other metallic and magnetic objects. So, it is always better to check it before relying on it completely.
5. When Does A Compass Need Repair?
Be very careful while handling a compass, because it could be your only savior in the wilderness. Take time out from your day to ensure that the following do not show up:
- If there is a bubble in the liquid
- If there is a crack in the dome
- When the dial cord is discolored or yellow
- When the dial begins to stick
6. What Are The Common Instruments That Can Create Error In A Compass?
To note a few, VHF radio, loud hailers, radar, gauges, tachometers, stereo speakers, engine room blowers, wiring, and instrument panel are some of the devices that can interrupt with the working of a compass.
Get Yourself The Best Compasses For Survival With The Help Of This Guide
A compass is not a fancy item to be kept as a showpiece. It has been helping navigators and sailors for ages to find their way and get back from the sea safely. It also helps mountaineers, hikers and trekkers to get the right direction to safety if they are lost in the wilderness. And most of all, it has helped in making several new discoveries since times immemorial.
A compass should be kept in your backpack to ensure that if you land up in an emergency or get stranded somewhere, you get help immediately or at least lead yourself to safety. Of course, you need some training to read the compass, but that is worth the safety it can bring to you. With the help of this guide, you can stay assured that you do get the best compass for survival out of the ones available in the market.