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Anupama Pradeep

Top 10 Best Hiking Compass [2022 Reviews]

Navigating through the green nature is really a tricky job as the visibility is poor and also due to the indistinct landscape characteristics. Built-in GPS watches, GPS devices and smartphones come in handy, however they tend to be useless if they go out of signal or battery. There is nothing as dependable as an old compass.

Compasses are having lots of benefits over the navigational devices. They are light weight, durable and above all they are not dependable on batteries.


A compass will show four cardinal directions: North, East, South and West. In addition it has got a bearing along with various other important measurements which is required for navigation.

Compass can be used for doing triangulation for deciding your exact location. Along with a route map, an “old compass” is one of the most powerful tools which you can rely on.

In this write up, we will help you choose the best compasses for your hiking needs, thus helping you to take decisions easier.

Quick Comparison: Top Hiking Compass

**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

How to Choose Compass for Hiking?

Your map as well as compass can perform many helpful tasks such as telling your exact location, what is around and the best route to get there.

Some of the basic compass features may include magnetized needle, rotating bezel or azimuth ring, baseplate, orienting arrows and lines. In addition to this, there are certain compasses which include extra features like magnifying lens and luminescent indicators.

A compass is specially designed keeping in mind to use in specific situations as they are having various features. Having a handheld compass for your outdoor activities is really helpful, however the process of choosing a particular model seems to be challenging.

Basic Compass Types

Basic Compass

A basic compass incorporates all the features which you require for orientation as well as navigation.

Advanced Compass

The advanced versions hold additional accessories that will help you improve the accuracy and the navigation above the basic models. Some of the additional features which you may notice in this may include a flint, a magnifier, signaling mirror and various other survival tools. They are more expensive as well.

Accessory Compasses

They are small in size and are found on a watch or on a keyword. They are small globes which does not have base plate. However this is not the right one to choose for while you are moving through the woods.

Traveler Exploring Map With hiking Compass

Major Features to Look For While Choosing a Hiking Compass!!!

Declination Adjustment

This is the one which is fit for hikers and other trail users who go for outdoor activities.


A compass which has a clinometer will help you to judge about the sudden hazards. The search-and-rescue experts and the field researchers also prefer using a clinometer.

Sighting Mirror

This has both declination adjustments. So if you are planning to go off trails or wish to have more precise navigation, try choosing compass with sighting mirror.

Global Needle

If you are a hiker who wish to travel worldwide or simply enjoy trips which takes you to the south of equator, get a compass with global needle.

Things to Consider before Picking up Your Hiking Compass!!!

Consider Your Requirements

If you are planning an outdoor adventure, then try to get a compass based on your requirements. Also, make sure that you know well to read a compass prior to exploring the next outdoor adventure.

group orienteering in nature with hiking compass and map

For instance, try to get a model which has got the best needle stability if you are an orienteering or a racer. On the other hand, if you just want to find and maintain the route which you are planning to go more accurately, then choose an advanced base plate compass model.

Right Fluid-Filled Housing

It is highly recommended to avoid choosing compasses which lacks the fluid-filled housing. This is because, the accuracy will be lost if the liquid is not sufficient. Also it dampens the movement of the compass needle.

Prior to placing your order, ensure that the needle is within a transparent liquid in the compass.

Don’t Go For Cheap and Inaccurate Compasses

Keep in mind that there are lots of inexpensive models out in the market and be sure that you can well distinguish between those two.

Try to pick a model which has got all the 360 degrees marked on it, bigger enough to read and with better needle stability. Cheap compasses will definitely compromise on its reliability as well as accuracy.

Type of Arrow

You can either opt for an adjustable arrow or a fixed orienting arrow. The adjustable arrows will help you set the compass once, while the fixed arrow helps you in making manual adjustments for every possible measurement you make.


If you are holding a compass while hiking around, then you should make sure that the compass is capable of withstanding situations such as water, snow, cold, wind or any other hazardous elements. Of course, the best bet will be going for a metal.

Even though the hard polymer compasses are good in nature, metal ones are highly durable compared to any others. Try to choose the one which is water resistant as well.


The size of the compass should be really small so that you can comfortably carry it on your hand or hung around your neck using a lanyard. However, larger ones tend to be more readable.


Choose the one which you can read even in total darkness or in dim lights if you are planning for camping or hiking at night times. There are basically two types of illumination and they are battery-powered and light-powered.

The light powered models will be using either the sun or the portable lights for holding a charge. On the other hand, the battery-powered models create more amount of light for the compass.

How to Maintain Your Hiking Compass?

The very first thing is to learn how to clean as well as maintain your hiking compass. As the compass is small and handy, it is easy to clean it using a small cloth. You can even wipe it with wet cloths if the dirt is thicker. Clean it after each hike, so that you can maintain it well for the next use.

Prior to buying the compass, decide your requirements and then settle with the model. A ferrous metal will distort the reading of a compass. Try to use it away from the car or any other metallic things such as metal picnic table or post.

There are chances that even the iron levels within the lava field may influence the compass. It is a known fact that the electric fields will also affect the accuracy of your hiking compass.

Remember that, you should never keep your hiking compass near an electric or magnetic field. As time passes, exposure to these may demagnetize the compass needle. Also make sure that you don’t place it inside your pocket near to the cell phone.

Review of some of the Best Hiking Compass

Our Recommendation

Our #1 Rated

SUUNTO SS004231001 MC-2 NH Mirror Compass

Our #1 Rated

Rated 4.5 out of 5

The Suunto MC-2G compass comes with better functionality and so is chosen by majority of the hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The compass is made out of a robust construction and hence offers better resistance power against the shock, water and the dirt.

The compass is well equipped with many features like ruler, rotating bezel, magnifying lens, sighting mirror and clinometer. The declination of the compass can be adjusted with the help of the adjustment key that is fixed to the lanyard.

Apart from these features, Suunto compass contains a global needle which works well in all the time zones and hence need not completely leveled for any precise measurements. It is also set with luminescent indicators and can be used during night hours as well.

Major Features:
  • High grade steel needle attached with jewel bearing
  • Balanced for even the northern hemisphere
  • Adjustable declination correction
  • Liquid filled housing for stable operation
  • Compass mirror for sighting bearings as well as signaling


Our #2 Rated

Ueasy Professional Multifunction Military Army Metal Sighting Compass High...

Our #2 Rated

Rated 4.2 out of 5

The Professional Multifunction Military Army Metal Sighting Compass offers amazing features for its users. They come with 1 U easy shopping bag. It provides fast and easy leveling as required to free up the movement of the compass pointer for aligning accurately and quickly in the direction of magnetic north.

 The lines on the face of the compass are aligned correctly in the pointer center. It will articulate the directions with the face turning precisely. The compass comes with a reference table for estimating the scope as well as the distance.

It also features a sighting window together with a sighting line. It will well suited for night view and is shake proof and waterproof as well. The materials which are used for the making of the compass include glass and metal.

Major Features:
  • Reference table for calculating distance and scope
  • Sighting window along with sighting line
  • Luminous display inside and hence clear night view
  • Waterproof and shakeproof
  • Size: 65*53*26mm
  • Made up of metal and glass


Foot Note!!!

Whether you are planning for an outdoor adventure or simply a hike, a good quality compass is an essential factor. They are a great addition to any hiker’s backpack.

Making use of a map and a compass is having huge benefits for both the backpackers and the campers. It can help you find the right direction without any hassle and reach your target without getting lost.

Hence it is highly advisable that one should pick the best hiking compass when you hike or camp or when you are out into the jungle.

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