The best survival compass is essential equipment for many outdoor enthusiasts, militia, and soldiers worldwide. There are so many survival compasses available in the marketplace that it can be confusing to purchase the right compass.
This is why we are looking at the best compass for survival today. We have equipped the list with the highest reviewed compasses and tested them against our experts’ opinions. Based on that, we have listed the best compasses for survival.
You will find the experts’ suggestions under our compact buying guide and a maintenance guide.
Best Survival Compass Reviewed: Our Top Picks
Let’s see the best compasses available in the market!
Cammenga Tritium Lensatic Compass is an official compass for the US military-grade compasses; it has all the survival features. It is a very high quality, professional compass.
This is a Tritium powered compass that has a long-lasting life. It needs no recharging and can work for a long time. The compass features a high contrast luminescent bezel and luminescent needle to help you read direction even in low light conditions.
This shockproof compass design makes it a durable survival gear for all your needs. It is a military compass that has all the features that make it useful in the harshest conditions.
This ultralight compass comes with a carrying pouch and a belt clip for easy carry and keeping it away from electronic and magnetic interference. This military lensatic compass is one of the finest in the market today!
The waterproof pouch is made of nylon materials that make it durable, dust proof, and long-lasting. It comes with a sighting wire useful for shooting a magnetic line to a distant object. This is exactly what is needed for civilian use, as well as military compass use.
This is a heavy-duty compass for activities like Camping, Orienteering, Hiking, Hunting, Survival, Navigation, Mountaineering, Outdoors, and Field Trips.
The price of this compass is a bit higher. But it is a military compass, an official compass used by the US military under the harshest conditions on the planet! It is worthwhile spending, and the compass will last a long time functioning!
- Tritium powered military compass
- Points to magnetic north
- Durable and portable sighting compass
- Usable even in low light conditions for accurate readings
- Magnifying glass and sighting hole
- Official compass for the US military
- A bit higher on price, not for a tight budget
The Sportneer Military Compass is the highest reviewed compass on our list. This is one of the professional grade military compasses. This is also an affordable option. Let’s see why the users so highly review this.
These are lensatic compasses made in military grade. You can use these lensatic compasses for camping, trekking, military usage, and other emergency use. With a lens on the rear sight, the ergonomic design magnifies the card dial; the lensatic feature improves reading accuracy, ensuring you always receive an exact reading.
The military construction makes the compass tough and sturdy. It is a waterproof and shockproof compass that gives you the perfect reading every time. The compass is fluorescent for reading at night. This luminescence makes sure the arrow and the compass dial glow. This helps you read the compass easily.
The compass comes with a belt loop and a bag that allows you to carry it easily on your hiking. There are centimeter and inch scales that make it easier for you to read any map. The rugged metal casing makes the compass very sturdy and durable. It comes with a glass frame on the hinged lid or covers the actual compass dial that makes sure you can see the right direction with just a glimpse. The glass frame has reference lines that allow more accuracy.
This good compass cost an affordable price point. Additionally, this is an excellent choice for a gift also!
- Shake-proof military style compass
- High-quality compass, professional compass
- Portable small compass with belt loop
- Basic features for a survival situation
- Rugged metal casing
- Illuminated bezel and needle points to magnetic north of the globe
- Fake products exist (make sure to buy from the verified store or from Amazon)
Suunto MC 2 compass comes very highly recommended by survival experts and users. Let’s see why that is, and let’s look at the features.
This is an advanced navigational compass. This is a perfect compass for hikers and off outdoor trail activities. Suunto MC 2 compass comes with a professional mirror that facilitates directional measurement, and it has been balanced for the northern hemisphere.
This compass is precise. You can even use this compass in low lights conditions. A clinometer and a magnetic declination adjustment tool with a sighting mirror hole and accurate bearing come with the compass.
Suunto MC 2 is made with precise engineering and gives you maximum durability and precise readings. This is a fast and ready compass for skiing, hiking, trekking, mountain biking, trail running, and more.
There are options for global and northern hemisphere specific compasses with metric UTM scales, Imperial scales, and inch rulers. The price point on this professional compass is a bit higher, but the features make sure that this is a worthwhile investment.
Suunto MC 2 comes from the Suunto Compasses brand that has a heritage of making high quality products for people and boasts of its accuracy. With all the features and recommendations, you can buy this compass without any hesitation.
- Professional mirror compass, with a sighting mirror
- Versatile compass with multifunctional features like Sighting mirror, accurate bearings, adjustable declination tool, and a clinometer and cardinal compass points for accurate reading
- Durable and portable sighting compasses with the magnifying glass
- Good compass fit comfortably, Usable even in low light condition
- Precise engineering compass for survival
- It can be used in Northern and Southern hemispheres
- Comes in metric UTM scales, Imperial scales, and inch rulers
- No global needle
This compass is another premium quality orienteering compass. We will review the features here.
TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass has an acrylic baseplate with an Azimuth ring. This compass can be used for cartographic map navigation and getting directions. This compass comes with a magnifying lens and a 1:24000 scale.
There are orienting arrows and a direction arrow for your orienteering needs. The magnetic needle comes within a liquid filled housing. Also, you will find a 1:63360 scale for reading a map.
This is a durable and lightweight compass for your hiking and scout. This advanced compass can be used for camping, orienteering, hiking, hunting, survival prepping, navigating, mountaineering, outdoors, and field trip. This compass is a portable and handheld compass with a lanyard.
The compass’s needle is housed inside an oil filled housing. This makes sure the liquid doesn’t freeze under low temperatures.
The compass comes with a lower price point. You can buy these compasses for yourself and as a gift.
- Azimuth Ring bearing and Acrylic baseplate compass
- High-quality compass with a magnifying lens and 360 degree rotating bezel
- Portable magnetic compass, with the lanyard and magnifying glass
- Durable compass and portable
- Oil filled needle housing that points to magnetic north, orienting lines
- Compass scale includes 1:24000 scale and 1:63360 scale
- Not luminescent bezels, no global needles
Eyeskey Tactical survival compass is the next high quality compass on our list. These are higher-end compasses that help you in your outdoor activities.
This compass has a metal base plate for durability and long time use. Some compasses with plastic baseplates; serve map reading purposes but can be less durable than metal baseplates.
This compass has a floating compass dial that has a 360 degree bezel. The magnetic needle floats on a liquid that gives it the freedom to move and stable operating space. A bubble level allows you to lay the compass flat or compensate for the magnetic declination scale angle. A sighting mirror window on the top shell allows you to read the compass even on the go. The window comes with lines to allow you more accuracy.
You can read this compass even at night. It features a luminescent needle and bezel for easy reading. It is not powered by any batteries, and it converts sunlight to luminescence for night navigation use. You can use this compass in a tripod if you want, there are threads for that, but the tripod is not included with the compass.
There are conversion charts for angle, gradient & distance on the backplate. This is an all-weather compass that can work even in the jarring conditions. It comes with a pouch and lanyard for easy carry.
The price of this compass is affordable. This is a perfect gift item as well.
- Azimuth ring 360 degrees, with reverse 360 degree
- Thermoelastic liquid, anodized Zinc Alloy metal housing
- Usable even in low light condition sighting compass
- Bubble level for perfectly level measurement, metal baseplate compasses
- Great compass with a high resolution rotating bezel ring
- Conversion chart
- Lanyard and pouch included mechanical compass
- Some products arrived defected
Sportneer Lensatic Military Compass with Clinometer Multifunctional Survival Compasses with Distance Calculator
This is another Sportneer compass on our list. This is one of the most premium products that you have seen in a long time. Here’s why-
This compass comes with a built-in clinometer; you can measure the angles of the slope, elevation, and avalanche risk. You can avoid volatile and risky places. This compass gives the most accurate ready, with an error margin is 0.5 degrees.
This professional compass comes with a glow in the dark dial with luminescent markings for easy reading in the dark. This makes this the perfect camping compass and works best for other hiking and trekking adventures. The green light of the compass needle and the bezel makes it very convenient to read.
This is a light weight compass that you can carry on your belt or the thumb loop or wrist. The compass is durable and has served you for a long time. It is waterproof, sturdy, and can withstand the growling conditions that are very common in hiking and other outdoor activities. The fact that this is a waterproof compass makes it useful for scuba diving as well!
This compass has a better metal baseplate than plastic baseplates because it resists breaking from a fall.
It is a perfect guide for your directional navigation, positioning identification, slope measurement, azimuth measurement, driving, wayfinding, boating, camping, hunting, and hiking. This compass has centimeter scales and inch scales on the sides for reading maps. And the inclinometer can help you measure the height of the slope angle.
The price of this compass is affordable and very reasonable. Buy now for your next hike.
- Built in inclinometer military style compass
- Usable even in low light condition
- bubble level, metal baseplate compass
- High resolution rotating bezel ring
- Inch and centimeter scales on the straight edge
- Lanyard included
- No magnifying glass
A Complete Guide to Buying The Best Compass for Survival
A compass is the most important gadget for hikers, travelers, bikers, climbers, soldiers, and household work. Many smartphones come with an installed backup compass, but that can sometimes be a hassle. Phones require charging, and it is not always safe to use your phone outdoors. If you want to get away from all the modern life cacophony, you will leave your phone behind for hiking, climbing, and scuba diving, right? Also, there is magnetic interference; a phone can not resist magnetic interference in magnetic zones without being damaged. A compass resists magnetic interference in magnetic zones and points you in the right direction.
With that in mind, a compass is your best option. They are a lightweight, portable, inexpensive option (compared to your phone) and waterproof at times. These are the essential features that you should look for, but not only these features.
In this buyer’s guide, we will split the features into three sections. Basic Features, Advanced Features, and Extra features. Basic orienteering is the bare minimum that a compass must-have. Advanced features help with some other outdoor activities areas. The additional features are the cherry on the top. You can find compasses with all three tiers of the feature on our survival compass list! You will have a maintenance guide as well.
Let us point you to the features of the types of compasses!
Basic Compass Features
These features are the bare minimum a simple compass should come with. These features lack the sophisticated features that facilitate an off trail hike, but they should suffice for your basic navigational skills for a daytime hike, work, or outdoor adventure.
i. Magnetized Needle
All compasses must have a magnetized or magnetic needle that points to the Earth’s magnetic north pole. This is the minimum qualification of a compass. The magnetic needle often comes in a liquid filled capsule that allows free movement. Make sure the liquid doesn’t freeze if you go for a winter hike or go hiking in a place that has a low temperature. This survival gear feature can be the deciding factor in a life or death situation.
Because it is survival gear, you need one that lasts long. The compass should not break easily if you drop it. The compass should be working even after you drop it.
There are compasses with an anodized metal housing that can be very durable. You can opt for those compasses. The metal makes sure there is no corrosion, and this makes sure your compass lasts longer, even in the harshest conditions.
Some models are sand proof and made sturdy to resist weather conditions.
iii. High Resolution Rotating Bezel
A bezel surrounds the compass housing; it should be a rotating ring. The bezel should have 360-degree markings of luminous markings. Your navigation needs to go in the right direction.
The plate on which the compass housing rests is called the baseplate. The plastic baseplate should be transparent for convenient reading of the map. The plate should also have other navigational lines like median lines, directional arrows, side rulers, and other orienting arrow lines for accurate compass readings of the distances and navigation. A magnifying lens on the clear base plate is also a very convenient feature; this allows you a finer reading. The baseplate should have a hanging mechanism like a lanyard or thumb loop. This makes your hiking easier by making the compass accessible.
Advanced Compass Features
Advanced compasses are sometimes called orienteering compasses or modern compasses because the orienteering compasses have more added features than basic compasses. Moreover, these compasses are survivor compasses for outdoor activities. Orienteering compasses can be very useful in extreme hiking, trekking, climbing, etc.
The following features are-
Orienteering compasses are best for use in life and death situations. These are compasses for when things go wrong. These compasses are used day and night as well. This is why luminescence is an important feature for survivor compasses. Many compasses often ensured this feature with luminescent elements like radium. This doesn’t require any power whatsoever.
The clinometer measures the ground slope, angle of elevation. This feature comes in handy for trekking and climbing. This also helps you avoid places that are volatile and risky. This is a very useful feature for a survival compass.
If your compass is waterproof, it is a huge plus on the side of compass purchase. A waterproof compass can be used in the rainy season and even underwater extreme conditions. This makes sure you can use the compass for your hiking, trekking, and even scuba diving.
iv. Declination Adjustment
A discrepancy between the true north and south pole is termed declination scale. It’s critical to calibrate it to your location in reference to the earth’s rotation simultaneously, which is generally accomplished with an adjustable declination tool linked to the compass. As we know, Earth’s magnetic north and true north are not the same. Declination adjustment makes sure you find true north and go in the right direction.
v. Global Compass Needle
The compass’s global needle needs to tilt independently from the magnet. If you move up or down with the magnetic field, the global needle should stay in the position. The global compass needle or the global needle needs to be uninfluenced by the Earth’s magnetic field and find magnetic north.
These features are not necessary, but if you get these features on a compass, it is better. These features allow you to get the most out of the compass. These are military compass features.
Let’s see the great features-
Most military compasses have a whistle. While this doesn’t affect the orienteering of the compass, it is useful in survival situations. This can affect the rescue operation in an emergency situation. You can contact other nearby hikers in case of emergencies. This is a very handy feature that helps in life and death situations, for instance, if you are hurt and can’t call for help. A whistle travels further than any other sound.
If you find a whistle with the budget compass, you should get that.
There are a few brands that add silicon or rubber feet under the baseplate. This helps with reading the map, and it prevents slipping. This allows accuracy and the right direction.
The reverse degrees of the landmarks you’re walking towards are shown on the reciprocal scale. You may use this data to create intersecting lines on the map and locate your present location.
Tips for Survival Compass’s maintenance
- Keep your compass away from any metal or electronics. This can weaken the magnetic needle, and in turn, weaken the compass.
- You need to check the compass’s alignment now and then. It ever so often happens that the compass needle’s polarity deteriorates. There are ways to restore the magnetism; if not, you need to change the compass.
- Cleaning the compass after every hike or trekking is essential. Some compasses are sand proof, but it is necessary to clean the surface because this can add to the problem.
- See if there is any bubble near the needle. This can affect the needle’s movement, and this will affect the orienteering. You should replace this compass.
We have made this list based on the customer reviews and the survival expert’s opinion. These compasses are the best of both worlds. These are tested compasses; users and customers have used these compasses for their survival needs. And they recommend these compasses.
How do I know if my compass is accurate?
Ans: See if your compass has a suitable global needle & a global needle makes sure your compass is accurate for global use.
What can throw a compass off?
Ans: Magnetic zones, metal objects, and electronic devices are the most common type interference can throw a compass off on the wrong direction.
What causes a compass to malfunction?
Ans: Compass malfunction can be caused by magnetic zones, metals, and electronic devices, and it no more points north.
What is the best compass for navigation?
Ans: Generally speaking, the best compass to navigate is Sportneer Military Compass.
What is the finest military compass?
Ans: On our list, the most reliable compasses for navigation are the Military Compass from Sportneer and Cammenga Official US Military Tritium Lensatic Compass. Some people suggested Silva ranger, but it has lower ratings than other compasses.
What is the most accurate compass?
Ans: On our list, the best compass is Sportneer Military Compass. Some people have suggested a Sharp survival compass and Silva ranger, but the ratings didn’t pass our bar.
Why do some compasses have MILS instead of degrees?
Ans: Because MILS compasses divide the degree into smaller parts, which ensures greater accuracy.
Why is a compass good for survival?
Ans: In life and death situations, the direction is of importance. Survival compasses direct you to the right places.