Choosing the Best Survival Compass: Features, Reviews, and Tips

Choosing the Best Survival Compass: Features, Reviews, and Tips


When it comes to surviving in the great outdoors, having a reliable compass is an essential tool. Whether you’re trekking through dense forests or exploring rugged terrains, a compass can help you navigate and prevent getting lost. But with the multitude of options available, how do you know which is the best survival compass for you?

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top features to consider when choosing a compass, review some of the best compasses on the market, and provide tips on how to use a compass effectively. So, let’s dive right in and prevent any future mishaps while navigating the wilderness!

Key Features to Consider

When searching for the best survival compass, it’s important to consider certain key features. These features will dictate the compass’s reliability, accuracy, and ease of use. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Type of Compass:

– Baseplate Compass: The most common type of compass, it consists of a clear baseplate with a rotating magnetic needle and a transparent ruler or magnifying lens.
– Lensatic Compass: This type of compass is more advanced and often used by military personnel. It features a sighting lens that allows for precise directional readings.


– Look for a compass that is water-resistant, shockproof, and built with sturdy materials like aluminum or metal. This will ensure that it can withstand rugged conditions and last for a long time.


– The accuracy of a compass is crucial. Look for a compass that has a liquid-filled housing, as it helps to stabilize the needle and provide more precise readings. Additionally, a compass with a declination adjustment feature will allow you to compensate for the difference between true north and magnetic north.

Size and Weight:

– Consider the portability of the compass. Choose a compact and lightweight compass that is easy to carry in your backpack or pocket without adding unnecessary bulk.

Glow-in-the-Dark or Illuminated Dial:

– Opt for a compass with a glow-in-the-dark or illuminated dial. This feature will facilitate navigation during low-light conditions or at night.

Top Compasses on the Market

Now that you know what features to look for in a survival compass, let’s take a look at some of the best options available:

Suunto MC-2G Navigator Compass:

– This compass combines precision and durability. It boasts a global needle with a sighting mirror, adjustable declination, and luminous markings. The baseplate also includes a magnifying lens for added convenience.

Brunton TruArc 3 Compass:

– The Brunton TruArc 3 is a lightweight compass that fits comfortably in your hand. It features a global needle, a clear baseplate with map scales, and a declination adjustment. The glow-in-the-dark arrow and luminous markings make it easy to use in low-light conditions.

Silva Ranger 515 Compass:

– The Silva Ranger 515 is a reliable and versatile compass favored by outdoor enthusiasts. It offers a clear baseplate, an adjustable declination, and a durable construction. The large, easy-to-read bezel and luminous markings make it user-friendly, even in the dark.

Tips for Using a Compass

Now that you have a compass, it’s important to know how to use it effectively. Here are some tips to help you navigate like a pro:

Orient Yourself:

– Stand in an open area away from any magnetic interference (metal objects, electronics) and hold the compass level in front of you. Rotate yourself and the compass until the magnetic needle aligns with north on the dial. You are now oriented, and the compass will show you the direction you need to go.

Taking a Bearing:

– To determine a specific direction, hold the compass level and point the direction-of-travel arrow towards your desired destination. Rotate the compass housing until the orienting arrow aligns with the north end of the magnetic needle. The degree reading on the compass housing will indicate your bearing.

Navigating with a Map:

– To navigate using a map, lay the compass on the map with the edge of the baseplate along the desired path. Rotate the map until the compass’s orienting lines align with the map’s north-south lines. The direction-of-travel arrow will now point towards your destination.

My 2 Cents

In the age of advanced technology, a compass may seem like an outdated tool. However, when it comes to navigation in the wilderness, it is a reliable and essential item. The ability to find your way using a compass is a skill that should not be underestimated.

When choosing a survival compass, prioritize reliability, accuracy, and durability. Look for features like a liquid-filled housing, declination adjustment, and a compact design. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the proper use of a compass to ensure you can navigate confidently.

Remember, technology may fail, but a compass will always guide you in the right direction. So, invest in a high-quality compass and keep it as a trusty companion on your outdoor adventures.