Equipping yourself with a mechanical compass is a necessary thing to have in your emergency bag. You never know what could happen in survival situations, so you better prepare all the essential things to safely help you with your journey to go to the right destination. Listed down below are the top ten products of the best survival compasses that you can choose from:
Top 10 Best Survival Compasses Reviewed
- Clipper Compass by Suunto – Best Overall
- Military Lensatic Sighting Compass by Sportneer – Best Value
- Best Camping Survival Compass by Sharp Survival – Editor’s Choice
- Tactical Survival Compass by Eyeskey
- Map Compass by Coghlan's
- Base Plate Compass by Brunton
- Deluxe Map Compass by UST
- Pocket Compass by Coleman
- Multifunctional Military Compass by Eaggle
- Military Lensatic and Prismatic Emergency Compass by SE
#1. Clipper Compass by Suunto – Best Overall
- Length: 1.18 inches
- Width: 0.94 inches
- Height: 0.43 inches
- Weight: 0.18 oz
- Does not require any batteries
You can still find the right direction even if you are traveling at night with Suunto’s product called the Clipper Compass. You can bring this product wherever you go thanks to its very small and compact size so it wouldn’t take much space on your bag. It was made to have a clipper structure so you can attach it to your map to prevent the hassle of carrying it.
You don’t need to charge or put some batteries on this survival compass, for it is mechanically made. It also has a water-resistant feature, so it will not break down even if you dropped it on mud or while crossing a river. This compass’s cardinal directions have a luminous print feature to help you navigate even during the night.
|Easy to identify direction even in the dark with its luminous cardinal directions||Creates a large bubble inside, and it sometimes misdirects the cardinal directions|
|Very accessible since it can be attached to various equipment with its clips||Can easily break and lose due to its tiny size|
|Has a super-compact built that can be used for underwater navigation|
|It is lightweight due to its small-scale size|
#2. Military Lensatic Sighting Compass by Sportneer – Best Value
- Length: 3.3 inches
- Width: 2.5 inches
- Height: 1 inch
- Weight: 0.39 lbs.
Sportneer’s product, the Military Lensatic Sighting Compass, will be your navigator in your adventurous journey that will help lead you to your destination. This survival compass will help you orientate your location, measure the scales, slopes, and angles in the direction you are going. This product is designed for military activities, so you can rely on its durability that it can handle tough and rough conditions wherever you go.
This survival compass product is also water-resistant and shake-proof, so it will not easily break in situations that you need it the most. It also glows the dark feature so you can continue your journey even during night time. You can use this survival compass to help you navigate different activities such as adventure, hiking, camping, and survival situations.
Pros Cons Accessible even during your night activities since it glows the dark feature The cardinal directions or the needle takes time to turn and navigate Reading's accuracy is increased due to its luminous cardinal directions A bit heavy and chunky for a hiker or a scout Easy to carry with its handy size and small-size quality Waterproof, shake-proof, and durable
#3. Best Camping Survival Compass by Sharp Survival – Editor’s Choice
- Length: 1.95 inches
- Width: 1.95 inches
- Height: 0.35 inches
- Weight: 0.01 Pounds
- Color: Brass
If you want a classic compass design to help you navigate your journey, you can choose to have the Best Camping Survival Compass by Sharp Survival. This survival compass has a compact design so you can easily store your emergency items. Adults and even children can comfortably use the small size that it provides with small hands.
You can have peace of mind that as you include this product on your survival kit, knowing that this compass can help you navigate your way. It also glows the dark feature so that you can hike even at night.
|It is best for hiking and camping due to its compact and lightweight feature||The needle of the compass is loose and has a poor material quality|
|Features 360 degrees rotating bezel for trouble-free navigation||Lacks durability|
|It glows the dark feature, best for night hiking|
|Simple but great-looking design|
- Material: Zinc Alloy and Acrylic
- Length: 85 mm
- Width: 63 mm
- Height: 30mm
- Weight: 6.79 oz
You can use an old-school way with this product by Eyeskey, the Tactical Survival Compass, which can beat any of your GPS and smartphones since it does not require any battery or signal. This product can handle any weather condition on your journey since it is equipped with water-resistance and shock absorbent features. This compass was made from anodized zinc alloy metal for its construction to withstand rough conditions such as sand particles or in case you dropped it in the water.
This compass can offer you a wide temperature range that it can handle, starting from 30° C up to 60° C. You can use it on both extreme weather temperatures, whether it is too hot or cold, and it can ensure you that there will be no bubble build up inside the compass. The needle of this compass product can quickly adjust to catch up to you even if there is bad weather while you are hiking, so you will not have trouble finding your way.
|It has a lock bearing feature that enables you to mark which direction you are heading||Some features aren't needed on a compass, making you confused while using it|
|Uses a liquid-filled capsule that supports the accuracy of navigation||It is a bit bulky since it is non-compact designed|
|Built with waterproof and shock absorbent for intensive use|
|It glows the dark feature for better and accurate readings|
- Styles Available: Standard and Deluxe with Lanyard
- Has a clear plastic material for its base
Coghlan’s product, the Map Compass, can provide you a lightweight and compact compass that you can bring wherever you go to avoid getting lost. This product has two available styles that you can choose from, a standard style and a deluxe that comes with a lanyard that you can wear around your neck to navigate your way easily. This product provides you a see-through base material so you can use it without covering your map.
This survival compass has a liquid filling inside and has a scale measured by inches and also millimeters. You can use this product while you are hiking, scouting, boating, camping, and you can also include it in your survival kit.
Pros Cons Lightweight quality is best for hiking to reduce the load of other survival gadgets The materials of the compass are cheap, making it nondurable It contains a liquid-filled capsule making it more reliable in navigating Instances where it has inaccurate navigation Has a small scale feature making it portable and handy to use It has an affordable price
- Color: Clear
- Length: 3.5 inches
- Width: 2.5 inches
- Weight: 1.1 ounces
You can stay on track wherever you go with the Base Plate Compass made by Brunton. This product is easy to use with the metric scale to include this on your survival equipment list. It provides you a lanyard on its package so you can wear the compass like a necklace to easily follow the direction that it leads you.
This survival compass can operate in two-unit measures so that you can scale it on any type of map. You can manually navigate your way with the help of this product so you can use it without needing any batteries or signals.
|It has features that can resist magnetic interference, and it does not lose its polarity||The materials are not so sturdy, making it not good for rough activities|
|Gives you a simple design yet an accurate navigating compass||The air bubble inside the capsule is huge and can affect its accuracy|
|It is easy to use due to its imperial and metric scales|
|Very handy since it is small in size|
- Length: 5 inches
- Width: 2.25 inches
- Height: 0.75 inches
- Weight: 1.76 ounces
The Deluxe Map Compass made by UST can help you survive in the wilderness and guide you to your destination by assisting you in navigating your way. This survival compass product has a transparent material, so you can place it on top of the map without covering its content. It also provides you a lanyard to wear on your neck to quickly and easily check the direction you are going without any hassle.
It also provides you versatile features since it provides multiple scales so you can precisely plan your route. This survival compass is lightweight and compact to use, and you can include it in your survival kit without worrying that it will take a lot of space inside your bag.
|Has a clear plastic background to easily navigate your direction by placing it on your map||The needle of the compass usually comes off its jewel bearing|
|Map compass has a portable and compact style that you can keep inside your pocket||Easy to break due to its cheap material used|
|It is lightweight to use that helps in reducing the weight of your travel equipment|
|It comes at an affordable price that can fit your budget|
- Length: 7.2 inches
- Width: 3.4 inches
- Height: 0.54 inches
- Weight: 0.16 Ounces
The Pocket Compass made by Coleman has a small and compact size that you can easily keep on your pocket, backpack, belt loop, or place it as a keychain. This survival compass provides eight reference direction points, such as northeast, southeast, etc., for better accuracy. It also glows the dark feature so you can travel in any type of weather, even during the night, so you can easily see the direction you are going.
It also has a snap lid to protect the face of the compass to prevent breaking during your travels. This survival compass is filled with a liquid substance inside the product to quickly and accurately point out the direction you must go.
|Portable and handy due to its small-scale size and can be hung in a belt loop or bag||It sometimes does not give the right direction|
|Glow in the dark quality makes it easier to see when traveling in the dark||Has a cheap quality of material used|
|Impact-resistant and durable, capable of intensive activities|
|It has a liquid-filled design for better accuracy of direction|
- Length: 2.99 inches
- Width: 2.24 inches
- Height: 1.06 inches
- Weight: 2.96 Ounces
If you like to have outdoor activities, you should equip yourself with a survival compass such as the Multifunctional Military Compass by Eagle. You can avoid getting lost on the road with this survival compass product that can be bought at an affordable price. It has both waterproof and shockproof features so that you can use it in all types of weather conditions.
It also has a metal shell to improve its durability and shield the survival compass from any sharp objects while not using it. It is specially designed for strenuous and rough activities such as hunting, camping, scouting, and survival situations.
|Have various features including magnifiers, scale, and sightline for different activities||The needle turns very quick, making it hard to pinpoint the direction|
|Compact and lightweight making it accessible for a long period||The cardinal direction has an inaccurate direction|
|Designed for intensive use, making it durable and heavy duty|
|Features water-resistant and shock absorbent|
- Length: 3 inches
- Width: 2 inches
- Height: 5 inches
- Weight: 3.68 ounces
You can easily navigate your surroundings with this Military Lensatic and Prismatic Emergency Compass made by SE. It has a thermo-elastic feature with a liquid-filled capsule and a floating dial to help you have good visibility of your compass even at night. This product consists of features such as a conversion chart intended for gradient, angle, and distance on its backplate. All the necessary features a compass need to ensure its effectiveness.
You must hold this compass at eye level while securing your thumb on its loop to properly hold this compass. You can also use this compass product during survival situations and camping, training, hiking, scouting, and other activities that you need navigation. It also provides you a nylon material pouch on its package with a water-resistant feature so you can use it for different underwater activities such as scuba diving.
|Durable and excellent to use for heavy-duty and for rough activities||Often it has a huge bubble inside its capsule|
|Comes with a water-resistant nylon pouch for underwater activities||Bulky gear due to its thick size|
|Versatile and can be used in hiking, training, scuba diving, etc.|
|Reliable and accurate to use due to its liquid-filled capsule|
Out of the ten survival compass products discussed in this review, the most recommended item to have that will help you survive is the Clipper Compass made by Suunto. This survival compass has a small and compact size to ensure that it will not take much room in your survival kit. It also has a clipper feature, so you can put it on the side or top of your map so you can conveniently follow the direction that it points out. This survival compass product is lightweight to use, and it can be used underwater, so you can use it in different kinds of situations that need navigation.
Best Survival Compasses Brands
Listed down below are the type of compasses to help familiarize yourself with which kind of compass best suits your preference and to know which one you most feel comfortable using:
Types of Compass:
Liquid compasses use a card or magnetized needle material submerged in the liquid fluid inside the compass. This medium helps reduce the needle’s excessive swinging and wobbling to improve its reliability and reduce wear.
Marine type of compass is constructed with a fixed needle, and while the compass card is fluid-mounted, that rotates based on orientation. This type of compass is commonly used on boats hence the name. The moving card of the marine compasses absorbs the boat’s motion so you can easily read its navigation.
This type of compass has a glass lens together with a lid. A prismatic compass is used to line up with an item that is searched for its bearing. The compass card rotates in the base, and once the compass card stops, it means that the lens scales the bearing. Some prismatic compasses are made with a liquid that serves as a damping tool, while other kinds use electromagnetic induction. Some prismatic compasses have tritium and a combination of phosphorus to help you read your compass even in the dark.
Base Plate Compass
This compass has a rectangular base made from transparent plastic, so you can place it on top of the map without covering its contents. Baseplate compasses usually provide a magnifying lens to help you read your map. This kind of compass is usually used for plotting.
A Thumb compass is one of the variations of a base plate compass. The difference between thumb compass is that it has a smaller size, which can be fixed on your thumb to free your other hand so you can freely move around.
Solid State Compass
Solid-state compasses are usually set-up on electric devices such as clocks, smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets. This type of compass usually has two to three magnetic field sensors that help the microprocessor examine your device’s orientation data.
It is often used by individuals who have a Muslim religion to help them navigate Mecca’s location to help them know the direction they will pray.
A GPS Compass relies on the satellites that are located in the geosynchronous of the Earth’s orbit. These satellites help in directing the exact direction and location of the place you are going to.
Gyrocompasses and magnetic types of compasses are usually unreliable when you are in the Earth’s polar regions. That is why people in these places use astronomical bodies’ position to help locate the north direction. They also use the latitude and longitude based on the current time and their geographical position.
Features to Look for When Buying a Survival Compass – Buyer’s Guide
This guide is here to provide you the necessary information that you will need so you can buy the best survival compass for yourself:
Meridian lines are the straight lines you see in the compass to point to the true north location, helping while plotting direction. The purpose of this feature is to help you accurately read your map by placing it over the meridian lines of the map.
Control Marking Holes
This feature helps in marking the places you need to go on the map. These control marking holes will help you turn or stop in another direction so you can record your movements during your journey.
The durability of the compass is an important factor to consider upon buying your ideal compass product. You must ensure that the compass that you will buy can withstand extreme weather conditions and survival situations so you can use it for a long period. You don’t want to get lost in the middle of your journey because your compass breaks down, which can be dangerous if you are out in the wilderness.
A compass with anodized treatment for its metal housing can improve its durability since this feature helps avoid corroding your compass’s metal. It would also be ideal to have a compass that has shockproof and water-resistant features.
A compass that has a magnetized needle can immediately point the north direction without a problem. This feature is usually inside a liquid compass to help the magnetized needle from freely turning. You must also check the temperature the compass’s liquid can handle to ensure that it will not freeze while you are in areas with low temperatures. What you need is a compass product that you can use in any season of the year.
Bezel With High Resolution
Your compass should have a rotatable bezel surrounded by 360-degrees or 720-degrees markings if possible. It would be better if it has a higher resolution since this can improve your navigation.
Other Features to Consider
It is also ideal to have the following features on your compass:
A ruler will help you search for your location on the map to determine each place’s distances easily.
A magnifying glass can help read your map and mark specific locations on your map so you can point to the place you intend to go.
It would be better if the compass that you will buy has a luminescent bezel on its markings. This feature will help you see your compass even at night. Check the material that it was made to ensure that this feature will not fade after a long period.
A clinometer feature helps measure the ground’s angle, whether it was a slope, tilt, or elevated ground. It can help you find out how steep the hill you are walking on to avoid the possibility of danger, especially an avalanche if you are walking in a snowy area.
A declination adjustment tool will be the one that will help you adjust your current location. This feature is important to help you set and adjust the current location since the true north, and magnetic north are different.
A sighting mirror is a great tool that will help you see the landmark you have targeted along with the compass. This feature commonly comes with a notch. You can use it by opening the mirror at a 45-degrees angle and then use its notch to help you align your compass on the target. You can look at the mirror and align the arrow properly.
The power of modern technology can be a great help in our daily lives. Still, we cannot fully rely on it, especially during survival situations where there is no power or signal available. It is still ideal for equipping yourself with a mechanical compass to help navigate your way, especially in the wilderness. It is better to equip yourself for the unforeseeable circumstances than to be caught off guard and unprepared. If you are searching for the best survival compass to include in your emergency kit, the Clipper Compass that is made by Suunto is the best product to have.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How does a compass function?
A survival compass has a magnetic card or needle feature, which is the one that rotates freely rotates around the compass. If you have set your compass in a horizontal position, the compass needle will align itself based on the Earth’s magnetic field, which will result in pointing to both North and South.
How is the ‘true north’ different from ‘magnetic north’?
The difference between these two is that the term true north refers to the longitude line in the map which connects to the North Pole. On the other hand, the magnetic north pole is where the compass’s needle points are directed. The angle of true north and magnetic north may vary depending on your location.
What are some tips that you should avoid while choosing a compass that you will buy?
Avoid buying compasses that do not have fluid-filled housing. The needle of the compass must be within a transparent liquid inside the compass. This liquid fluid helps in dampening the motion of the compass’ needle for a more accurate reading.