Compasses have been trusty tools by several travelers and soldiers around the world. For hundreds of years, the best survival compass is a requirement before you go to the wild outdoors.
Compasses made it easier to reach campsites, mountain summits, landmarks. The compass can also direct lost adventurers towards paths to avoid going in circles. Compasses have been a valuable asset that has made adventures easier, as well as save lives.
But how do you specifically need to consider the best survival compass when buying one? To understand more, you should first check the following best compasses in the market.
In a Rush? The Winner after 19 hours of testing is:
1 Sportneer Military Lensatic Sighting Compass
The Sportneer Military Lensatic Sighting Compass made it to the list of top survival compasses because it is designed for military-level survival. It is designed with their speciality compass needles for accurate bearings, granting efficiency to anyone experienced with a compass. It also comes with a carrying bag to further protect your compass.
A lensatic survival compass can direct you with accuracy and with ease to read it since it has a magnifier. The magnifying lens can be seen at the rear sight to track directions in a jiffy once you open the compass’ casing. It is also designed for professionals thanks to its bezel and sight, making it perfect for hunting, camping, emergencies and military purposes.
It is tough compass needle and bearing is made of high-grade metal for it to still function regardless of any exterior damage. The mechanism of the compass is also designed to be shake-proof and waterproof to really prepare you anywhere at any time. Additionally, its carrying bag boosts the durability of the compass when not in use.
Cost and Value
The Sportneer Military Lensatic Sighting Compass will get what you paid for. For such a high-quality compass, you can say that its price that ranges for $20 is a worthy adventure investment. The other products on this list do not have a carrying bag. So consider it as a bonus!
2 Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Metal Sighting Navigation Compass
The Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Metal Sighting Navigation Compass is another military survival compass for the skilled, or at least experienced. To be straightfoward in explaining this particular compass, beginners may find its additional features quite confusing. This magnificent compass boasts features perfect for both hunting and scouting, not just for hiking and adventures.
Navigation Made Easier
This very handy compass has liquid with an integrated mechanism for its bubble level to provide accurate readings when reading the compass at any angle. It sports a luminous dial and an adjustable luminous marching line. It has a thumb hold to access the compass easily. It also comes with a canvas pouch and lanyard. Comes with a canvas pouch and lanyard to make it easier to carry.
Built For Survival
It literally is a survival compass not just because of its optimized compass features, but because of its extra add-ons. The compass is made of rugged aluminum for lightness and military-level toughness. It also sports extra features such as a sighting hairline, diopter sighting lens, and a measurement conversion guide. The most relevant compass when it comes to your needs for survival.
Cost and Value
The Eyeskey Navigation Compass is not guaranteed cheap because of the product’s build, materials and the features meant for advanced-level tasks out there in the wild. Beginners might find it too expensive based on their skillset. On the other hand, experts see it at a fair price for a high-quality survival compass!
3 SUUNTO M-3 NH
Several adventurers around the world prefer the SUUNTO M-3 NH Compass for its overall simplicity and purpose as a baseline compass. It has a ruler and orienting lines to help you draw a guide on your map. Its needle is made of high-grade steel for durability, and jewel bearing to prevent friction.
Keeping It Simple
The SUUNTO M-3 NH Compass is a straightforward compass. But thanks to that, the manufacturers just focused on the overall functionality of the compass for this product such as its size and easy to use. The manufacturers made sure that the compass is stable thanks to its liquid filled capsule and adjustable declination correction mechanism.
Built for Efficiency
It is the most efficient to use compared to the rest of the products on the list. You will not have to open or pull up something to reveal the compass. All you have to do is to grab the compass and look at it when needed. For added efficiency, it is already balanced in the northern hemisphere.
Drawing a map guide is also easy with this compass because it has a ruler, orienting lines and a baseplate.
Cost and Value
The SUUNTO M-3 NH Compass has features fit for several experienced adventurers. It is also worth paying for because of its top-notch durability. This may be the most expensive one
4 X-Plore Gear Emergency Paracord Bracelets
The X-Plore Gear Emergency Paracord Bracelet is what you can consider as the best survival compass in terms of design. It is attractive not just because of its looks, but how useful it is for camping or when survival skills are needed. Instead of keeping track of time, you will keep track of directions easily when you wear this watch-like compass.
It has a smart design to make it look stylish all the while being easy to carry like most compasses. You can either strap it on your wrist, belt or on your backpack, and you are good to go! The strap also has a wide variety of colors to choose from, so you can mix and match to your clothing. The compass is also minimized for convenience in strapping it on your wrist on your belt. The manufacturers still made sure the compass can accurately function despite the size of it.
Some Handy Extras To Enjoy
The X-Plore Gear Emergency Paracord Bracelet is not just a compass on a strap. It has a flint fire starter, a whistle which emits a loud noise that can be heard at a far distance, a paracord rope for security purposes, and a scraper. It is almost like a Swiss knife, but strapped on your wrist!
Cost and Value
The X-Plore Gear Emergency Paracord Bracelet is surprisingly cheap despite having numerous features and a smart and expensive-looking appearance. You also see this as a wise choice because it costs less than $10. But the cost of the product also makes sense because the compass size is relatively small.
5 Sharp Survival
Despite its very elegant look, the Sharp Survival Best Camping Survival Compass is still an effective tool, earning its spot at the top survival compass in the market. There are several manufacturers out there that sacrificed functionality over good looks, or vice versa. But this product made sure that both are balanced.
Elegant, Not Just Stylish
It has the appearance of an antique copper compass. It has an average size so then both kids and adults can easily use it. The size of the compass and its readings ensure that navigation will just take seconds for you to figure it out. This ensures that it is still focused in providing its general functionality as a compass, not just for good looks.
You can feel assured that this is not just all about looks. The compass is built with a rotating bezel to make orienteering fast and easy without any mistakes. It can help you read during the dark thanks to its glow-in-the-dark feature. Just the right size to easily read everything in the compass. You can confidently say that this is a quality compass that plain works!
Cost and Value
If simplicity over a compass is what you need, then this survival compass is the best for your needs. It is cheaper compared to most survival compasses in the market, but still provides a good look if you like shiny materials. Its simplicity as a compass and ensures that you will find this product as a money-saver, especially if you have a budget that is less than $20.
The size mentioned in this criteria only for the compass, its house and the bezel. It is a given fact that a bigger compass size means more accurate navigation. An inaccurate reading in geography and cartography has a huge difference than a correct one . A small compass is often misleading in the eyes of a veteran survivalist.
A small one can suffice, but it is only good for tracking general directions. In the end, it all depends on how you treat a compass based on your skills and understanding.
Compasses have to be water and shockproof. Needles should be made of high-grade steel for longevity. Remember: your compass may hit rocks upon climbing, and your compass may fall on the ground if you accidentally slip while traveling.
However, durability is not just all about the needles and bearing of the compass. The exterior casing and the glass cover of the house should be durable as well. Compasses have to withstand friction and impact. This is why you have to do your research when it comes to the compass’ material as well.
The effectiveness of the compass depends on its mechanism and what additional features it can offer for you. Some have a magnifying glass installed to it so then you can find it easier to read. Another notable example is the liquid inside the compass capsule for better needle balance.
Measuring guides, carrying bags for added durability, and even extras like flint and whistle are very useful add-ons. After all, you are looking for a survival tool.
Portability, compared to size, is both the size and weight of the entire product. The size of the product may add up to the weight, or may impact the way you hold the item. The product’s weight may slow down your performance, making it less portable.
Portability also depends if the compass you can easily open or view it. Another notable factor that may impact portability is how you can strap or attach it with you or on your bag.
The style of the compass can affect the way you can efficiently use the device. Some compasses can be styled in a way where it may look similar to a watch. This kind of style makes the product easier to purchase because all you have to do is look at your compass just like taking track of your watch’s current time.
Just remember to never go with a shiny compass if you are a soldier on a mission or if you are going to a place with wild animals. But in the end, the final decision for it entirely depends on your taste in style.
Orienting Your Map
Keeping your map oriented for your trip is a must so then you can easily use your survival compass if the need arises. Orienting the map also helps you understand how your compass “speaks” to you as you use it with the map.
To orient the map, you need to draw a line along the magnetic north line on the symbol area using your compass as the guide. Next, draw lines 2cm parallel to the initial line. This simple method of drawing magnetic north lines will let you freely use the compass as a quick map guide.
Declination is about understanding the two “norths”. The true north is the “north” presented by the map, while the magnetic north serves as a wandering point due to the planet’s magnetic field going vertically down into it.
Defining declination using the two norths is done by simply comparing the angle between the true north and the magnetic north shown by your compass. Adept survivors, mariners and pilots often use declination to make navigation easier.
Other Factors To Consider
There are two types of compasses nowadays: analog or digital. But due to the given choices above, the analog compass is still trusted by many. The digital compass is not a recommended option by several survivalists because it can cause issues like battery drainage.
There are some reviews showing that digital compasses are not advisable when being used to track locations that are extremely far away. The traditional mechanism of the analog and how it matches with the use of a magnet is proven to be more accurate.
What matters most is how the compass glass is being stored, or protected. Protection is crucial when keeping your compass, especially if you purchased an expensive one. If the product comes with a bag or case, it should not contain magnetic materials as it can permanently demagnetize the compass.
Most compasses come with a case or a small bag/pouch to easily store your compass. Compass must be attachable with a lanyard to easily hold it as you hike. Consider the size for storage purposes as well.
Since you are going to purchase a survival compass, any additional features are allowed. This is a must if you are going to use the compass for drawing a map guide, or you want a compass that can “do a lot of stuff”. Here some noteworthy features
- Jewel bearing – prevents friction.
- Luminescent indicators and bezel – enables you to operate the compass in the dark.
- Protection – shock proofing, water proofing, you got it!
There is more to the list. Just imagine having a compass with various features makes it look like the cousin of the good ol’ Swiss knife. That is why it is recommended to have at least 3 extra features.
Similar to many other products being sold around the world, the brand also defines which is the best survival compass within the market. Brands can be popular enough to define the product they are selling, rather than defining the business itself.
Some of the best survival compass manufacturers around the world are mentioned in the list above. Their years of hard work and guaranteed quality in manufacturing compasses gave their own products a reputation in the market and reviews.
Lastly, you have to consider the price before making that final decision. The price of the compass defines its overall quality. Manufacturing costs often depend on the material used for the compass. However, this does not mean added features may add up to the lst.
Price often matches the durability, which is why experienced ones prefer expensive compasses. But with online stores, you can get more for less. All it takes is good research and bargaining to find a good compass for a lesser price!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you use a compass without a map?
A: Using a compass and your instincts can lead you to the right way if you are going without a map or if your phone is dead. With instincts, while looking at the path you are taking, draw a map with the survival compass. Using your drawn map with the compass can tell if you are lost or back on a certain area.
Q: Are cheap compasses accurate?
A: Not at all times. Low quality materials are always present in cheap survival compasses. Cheap compasses are only recommended to beginners who are still learning how to use a compass. Most cheap compasses are only precise with the general direction, but not accurate.
Q: Can a magnet really damage a compass?
A: Yes, and this is very important! Magnets can permanently damage the compass. Compass needles are ferromagnetic, which may demagnetize depending upon the strength of a nearby magnet. Even metallic cases are not allowed for your compass storage.