Best Compass Reviews 2023 For Outdoor Adventures

With spring here, it’s a fine time to go hiking. My memories of the last time I went hiking, which was also the first time, are absolutely dismal. I got lost and couldn’t find myself, but was found only after I shouted out to my friends for help.

This year, I know better than to do that again. I will go hiking, and yes, I will go fully equipped, compass and all. That's what was missing in my last adventure, but no more of that now. I'm all excited about the upcoming hike and need to be sure I'm getting it all right this time.

So, to begin, let's go out and get a best compass. But hey, wait, which one's the best for a hike? I'll have to scour the market for the best pocket compass that will be of immense value to me on this hike and after.

Best Compass

Best Compass Comparison Chart

Best for

CMMG Official US Military Compass

0.16 kg

Lensatic compass

Rotating bezel

Outdoor activities

Cammenga 27CS Lensatic Compass

0.18 kg

Lensatic compass

Rotating bezel

Outdoor activities and government agencies

Eyeskey Military Metal Sighting Navigation

0.27 kg

Lensatic compass; military compass.

Rotating bezel

Hiking and other survival activities

Cammenga S.W.A.T. Tritium Compass

0.16 kg

Lensatic compass

Rotating bezel

Harsh maritime and desert conditions

Suunto MC-2G In Global Compass

0.13 kg

Sighting compass

Luminous two-color bezel ring

Outdoor adventure activities

Cammenga Official US Miltary Compass

0.19 kg

Military lensatic compass

Rotating bezel

Adventure activities; war

Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Compass

0.21 kg

Lensatic compass

Rotating bezel

Outdoor adventure activities

Best Compass Reviews 2022

For the best hiking experience, you need to arm yourself with a compact and lightweight compass. An added advantage would be accuracy. This will help you a great deal when you tread on the unfamiliar ground. So, when choosing a best compass, always get the best, regardless of the price.

One really good option is the CMMG Official US Military Tritium Lensatic Compass for being lightweight, portable and compact. At barely 91 gm, you can hold it in the palm of your hand, since its dimensions are just 6”x4”x3”, making it ideal for hiking and backpacking.

It is also highly robust and can withstand extremes of weather conditions. So, it is resistant to water, sand, and shock, reasons why it's regarded as one of the best military compasses. It’s also durable and can work even in low light conditions thanks to its seven Tritium Micro Lights.

It can work up to temperatures of -50 F to +150 F. So, whether you’re hiking in a forest or are deserted in a desert, your compass will help you navigate well. This best compass also works well in the dark, as its dial is luminous, and can remain so for over 12 years. It has a robust aluminum body and comes in a smart canvas pouch. Not surprisingly, it is touted as the best lensatic compass.


  • It can be used in extreme temperatures, making it highly reliable.
  • Its dial is easy to read.
  • It’s battle-tested to work in extreme conditions.
  • Seniors with poor night vision can also read it clearly.


  • Users find the lock mechanism difficult to handle.

You can’t do without a Cammenga 27CS compass as it has all the ingredients that make the best compass—accuracy, lightweight, durable, enables night vision and sturdy construction. Are these its finest features? Not at all. The finest are yet to come. Here they are:

This compass is sturdy, uses resistant engineering and is highly durable. Put its robustness down to its aluminum frame. It is also endowed with a sapphire jewel bearing and a drab olive colored lanyard.

It is highly water-resistant, making it ideal for fishing. Overall, it can withstand very high temperatures, ranging between -50 F to +150 F. It’s also shock-proof and sand-proof.

Not being a map compass but a lensatic compass makes it easier to navigate. Plus, since it is illuminated by phosphorescence, it allows better night vision, particularly for seniors.

Being richly feature-oriented, this compass is regarded by experts as the military compass.


  • It is equipped with advanced navigation systems.
  • It is sand-proof, water-proof and shock-proof.
  • Its dial is highly luminous.
  • It is very durable.


  • The lens is not securely fitted.
  • It is heavier, as compared to baseplate compasses.

Whether you’re new to hiking or not, the Eyeskey Multifunctional Military compass can be your perfect companion for a variety of reasons. It’s a reliable professional compass that even the military can depend on.

First, it’s lightweight, compact and is highly accurate—in fact, up to 0.5 degree. It is robust and built to suit all weather conditions and climates. It will also guide you on top of a mountain, or even down a trail, or wherever you want to go.

Its engineering is very robust and made of metal, and is highly portable too at 0.29 kg. It is olive in color and has a military kind of appeal. However, this apart, it is very different from a conventional military compass—the Eyeskey does not have a flip-up optic which is common in lensatic compasses.

Instead, it has a sighting optic, which enables you to directly read the compass’ internal card lodged in the capsule. It also helps you measure an object’s horizontal distance.

A built-in clinometer measures height differences, There’s a clinometer to measure height differences, too. If accuracy is one of your main concerns, this compass is worth checking out.


  • It has a rotating bezel ring.
  • It is a high-quality product.
  • It is robust and has several easy-to-read features.
  • It is great value for money.


  • A disappointed user complained that it is not a professional instrument.
  • It is not accurate in its readings.

Here’s a black beauty that’s so robust that it can give excellent results on the battlefield with features that navigates you to your exact location.

A top-rated compass, the Cammenga S.W.A.T. Black Tritium Lensatic Compass is built to be waterproof, shockproof and sandproof so it can withstand all the rigors of extreme weather. It works well between temperatures of -50 degrees F to +150 degrees F.

It is built with seven Tritium micro lights that don’t call for any maintenance to be luminous for a 12-year period. They are operational in low light conditions and therefore do need a flashlight to help you along.

This compass is endowed with a magnifying lens, dial gradations in degrees and mils, sight wire which goes to ensure you get accurate readings. This compass’ Copper Induction Damping System retards the magnet’s rotation without using liquids.

And durability to this product is enhanced by its lightweight aluminum frame and waterproof structure so that it doesn’t let you down when you’re in the midst of a rigorous expedition.


  • It is excellent for accurate sightings, thanks to its copper-induction damping ring.
  • The housing of the compass is filled with air, so it does not develop bubbles.
  • It is easy to read.
  • It works well in difficult terrain.


  • It gives inaccurate readings, says a user.
  • It does not have a thumb loop to hold up to the cheek to enable easy sighting.

Perhaps the finest of them all among equipment to be taken on a hike, the Suunto MC-2G stands out for a few but vital reasons. No wonder, people buy this repeatedly, even if the market is rife with other compasses.

The outstanding features of this best compass make it difficult for users to look elsewhere for a compass. For instance, it has a sighting mirror that works by giving the user precise directional measurements worldwide.

Here, even if you hold the compass at eye level and at arm’s length, you can still get a precise reading of your bearings on the dial. With this compass, you get better relative elevation to your target area than any other compass can offer.

Being a sighting mirror, it gives the additional benefit of being a signal mirror in cases of rescue and relief operations.

It has an extended base plate of seven inches that makes reading the compass and plotting locations much easier with orienteering lines highly visible.

If you’re hiking in snowy terrain, you’re definitely going to need a clinometer, so don’t leave home without one. Whether you’re a pro or a novice, you know that a clinometer reads slope angles; here too, precision means everything to you.

With the Suunto MC-2G, you can either use the clinometer independently or in sync with the sighting mirror when up or down a slope. The Suunto is an accurate compass for all types of terrain, one that never lets you down.

There may be times when you feel the need to estimate distances. How do you do it? By using the two scales integrated into this best compass-- 1:24k and 1:62500. For all these many features, is it surprising to find that the Suunto is expensive? Oh no, it’s value for money.


  • The bezel has easy-to-read degree markings.
  • The mirror is large and bright.
  • Its field and map measurements are accurate.
  • It gives a clear reading, no matter where you are.


  • In one case, the declination setting couldn’t be tightened.

Claimed to be the world’s No. 1 military compass, the Cammenga Official compass is robust and is made of cast aluminum and is totally waterproof. Its accuracy level is +/- 0002 mils, and its bezel displays readings in degrees and mils.

This is a good quality survival tool in the true sense of the word, and it is built to work in exacting conditions from temperatures ranging from -50o F to +150o F, rendering it water, shock, and sand proof. No wonder it has been the official survival compass of the U. S. Military for years.

It can navigate you well even in low-light conditions without a flashlight due to its seven Tritium Micro Lights which stay luminous for more than 12 years.


  • It is battle-tested to work in extreme water, sand and shock conditions.
  • It is easy to read and has a clear sighting. 
  • It can be used comfortably in extreme temperatures.
  • Seniors with problems of poor night vision can read this compass very well at night.


  • It is bulky.

When you’re in the heart of a jungle or a desert, to get back to civilization, you need to be guided by the best compass. That’s when the Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Compass is your best survival guide, as it steers you through life and death situations and plays a pivotal role in emergency rescue operations with its integrated GPS tracking ability.

This is rugged enough to work in all kinds of terrain, all thanks to its superb engineering that offers a superb job without the need for batteries or recharging.

It has an integrated bubble level which helps improve its accuracy level. Its heavy-duty aluminum alloy frame makes it highly durable and resistant to shocks and weather conditions. So, you can easily use it in the rains, or in extremely hot or cold weather.

Another innovation is that it’s waterproof and shake-proof. This enables you to use while engaging in some rough activity like climbing or other activities like fishing, motoring, boating, exploring, camping, and mountaineering. This also proves its versatility and renders it the most accurate compass.

Its fluorescent display enables it to be read even in the dark. All it needs is some sunlight exposure.

Lastly, it is ergonomically designed to be lightweight and compact. It weighs Sixth, the navigation instrument is compact, lightweight and ergonomic. It weighs 0.18 kg and measures 2.75” x 2” x 0.98”.


  • It offers accurate readings, thanks to its bubble level.
  • It works dependably in all kinds of weather conditions.
  • It has an inbuilt conversion chart that helps calculate distance, gradient, and angles.
  • It has a rotating bezel ring for accuracy.


  • The illumination, according to some, is insufficient.

Features to Consider When Choose Best Compass

There are six main features to look out for when selecting the best compass:

Stability and Speed:

If a magnet's needle quickly points you in the right direction, that's better than a slow one as the latter can slow you down. This is particularly important if you're trapped in bad weather and want to find your way out of it quickly.


If you're using it when hiking, your compass must definitely be durable, or it might fall on the ground or get bumped while in your backpack. This is a common occurrence, particularly when you try to take your map out of your bag and the compass pops out. If it's windy at the time, the chances of your dropping it, only increase.

Declination Adjustment:

This feature is a must if you’re a hiker.

Sighting Mirror:

This feature has both adjustments of declination. So, if your need is for extremely precise navigation, ensure that your compass has a sighting mirror.


If you’re into backcountry skiing and mountaineering, your compass should contain a clinometer so that you can easily assess the hazards of an avalanche.

Global Needle:

Perhaps, you're a world traveler, or you're soon to be exploring a destination south of the equator. For either situation, you definitely need the best compass with a global needle.

Magnetized Needle:

At the heart of a compass lies its compass needle. Usually, the end of the needle that's red in color points towards the magnetic pole and this helps determine your direction with accuracy. Generally, the needle is made to float in a damping liquid for steady movement and accurate reading. However,, if it forms a bubble, the accuracy of the compass is impacted.

Tips on Using a Compass for Hiking & Backpacking

Here are a few tips you can use when going hiking with your compass:

  • Ensure that your arrow that shows your travel direction is actually pointing in the direction that you want to go.
  • Your orienting arrow should be pointing in the direction of the true north.
  • Once you find your bearings, follow the travel direction arrow, not the magnetized needle.
  • When taking bearings, choose a stationary landmark.

Now that you know how to select the most accurate compass for your needs let me hop over and put before you the best available. This should lay to rest the question that perhaps dogs you every day, “What is the best compass to buy?”

The verdict

Leaving home to hike in difficult terrain can only be complete if you have the best of these compasses. As a seasoned hiker, you know the importance of a quality compass, and as a novice, you're too nervous about going without anything that you might need. And a reliable compass is one bit of equipment you’re going to use a lot. So, go out there and buy one today.

Read Also: Best Compass Watch.



  1. George Howells
  2. James Hoke
  3. Mark Teller

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