6 Best Orienteering Compass For 2023- (Reviews & Buying Guide)

In the fast-paced, tech-savvy world, navigating through the great outdoors has become increasingly reliant on electronic devices like GPS and smartphones. While these gadgets offer convenience, they come with limitations, such as limited battery life and potential malfunctions in the field. Imagine finding yourself deep in the wilderness, only to realize that your GPS has run out of battery, leaving you stranded and disoriented.

Enter the time-honored art of compass navigation—a reliable, durable, and foolproof method to find your way in the wilderness. Unlike electronic gadgets, an orienteering compass doesn't rely on batteries or cell service. It's a fail-safe tool that can lead you home safely, no matter how remote your adventure takes you.

The compass is not just a nostalgic relic; it's a fundamental skill that every outdoor enthusiast should embrace. By mastering compass navigation, you gain the freedom to explore uncharted territories with confidence, knowing you won't get lost in the wilderness.

Compasses are renowned for their durability, making them ideal companions for all types of adventures, from leisurely hikes to life-saving survival situations. Military personnel and search-and-rescue teams all rely on compass navigation because it works when other devices fail.

Beyond its unwavering reliability, compass navigation enhances your connection with nature. By learning to read the land and navigate using a map and compass, you develop a deeper understanding of the terrain, natural landmarks, and the landscape's secrets.

So, whether you're planning a weekend backpacking trip or embarking on a life-changing expedition, don't forget to pack the one device that doesn't rely on satellites or Wi-Fi. Embrace the time-tested art of compass navigation and experience the freedom, confidence, and connection to nature it brings. In this write-up, we'll explore some of the best orienteering compasses on the market, ensuring your outdoor adventures are filled with awe and wonder, just the way nature intended.

List Of The Best Orienteering Compass

  • Best Overall - SUUNTO A-10 Compass
  • Best Mirror Compass - BIJIA Orienteering Map Compass
  • Best Multipurpose - SUUNTO MC-2 Compass
  • Best Affordable - Reliable Outdoor Gear Boy Scout Compass
  • Best Heavy Duty - Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Sighting Navigation Compass
  • Best Portable - SharpSurvival Best Camping Survival Compass
  • Best for Kids – TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass

Best Orienteering Compass Reviews 2023

Best Overall - SUUNTO A-10 Compass

SUUNTO Compass

Discover the outdoors with confidence using the SUUNTO A-10 Compass - the best compass for orienteering enthusiasts. This compass stands out as a great companion for your hiking and navigational needs. Its minimalistic design and user-friendly features make it the top choice for both beginners and seasoned adventurers.

Crafted for northern hemisphere exploration, the A-10 compass boasts inch/cm scales and a fixed declination, ensuring accurate readings and a hassle-free experience. Its compact baseplate design is tailored for map-based navigation, integrating a high-grade steel needle with a jewel bearing and a liquid-filled capsule that guarantees consistent performance even in challenging terrains.

Originating from Finland, Suunto's A-10 compass is a reliable tool for various outdoor activities like alpine skiing, trekking, mountain biking, and trail running. By blending innovative engineering with robust materials, this compass sets you on the right path with speed and stability. Plus, its battery-free operation ensures you'll never be caught off-guard by dead batteries.

For those embracing the spirit of exploration, the SUUNTO A-10 compass is your ultimate partner, offering precision, durability, and simplicity in one extraordinary package. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned pro, this compass has the quality to make every adventure a success.


  • Compact and lightweight compass.
  • high-grade Steel body for durability.
  • A fixed declination feature for accurate readings.
  • It is user-friendly.
  • Liquid-filled for stable and precise reading.


  • Some users say that it is fragile.
  • The capsule may not be liquid filled.

Best Mirror Compass - BIJIA Orienteering Map Compass

BIJIA Orienteering Map Compass

Looking for the ultimate orienteering companion? Look no further than the BIJIA Orienteering Map Compass. This compass isn't just good; it's the best in the business. Whether you're an avid hiker, a world traveler, or an outdoor enthusiast, this compass has got you covered.

What sets this compass apart is its global needle, ensuring accurate navigation anywhere on the planet. No matter where your adventures take you, this compass won't let you down. But that's not all – the orienteering compass comes equipped with a handy sighting mirror. This innovative feature allows you to simultaneously view your target landmark and the compass, enhancing your navigation precision. Even when the sun sets, the built-in LED light and luminous markings come to the rescue, making nighttime reading a breeze.

Hikers will especially appreciate the adjustable declination feature. It's a game-changer for those who embark on journeys across diverse regions. The clinometer adds an extra layer of functionality, enabling you to measure slope steepness and evaluate avalanche risks or object heights. Despite its impressive capabilities, the compass remains lightweight at just 76g, making it an ideal companion for hiking and backpacking escapades.

But the perks don't end there. This multi-functional compass also boasts a magnifying lens, measuring scales in inches and millimeters, and a lanyard complete with an LED light. It's clear that the BIJIA Orienteering Map Compass has redefined navigation tools. So, whether you're scaling mountains or exploring new territories, make this compass your go-to partner for a world of precise and exciting adventures.


  • Effortless simplicity for beginners
  • Accurate navigation in northern hemisphere
  • Compact and portable baseplate design
  • Sturdy construction for durability
  • Versatile outdoor companion for various activities
  • Reliable battery-free operation


  • No magnification for detailed map reading

Best Multipurpose - SUUNTO MC-2 Compass

The Best Multipurpose Magnetic Easy To Use Camping

If you're a serious hiker in search of the ultimate navigational tool, the SUUNTO MC-2 Compass should be at the top of your list. This multipurpose orienteering compass is a game-changer for adventurers who demand precision and reliability. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, this professional mirror compass caters to the needs of global explorers.

Designed to excel even in challenging conditions, the MC-2 Compass boasts advanced features that set it apart. The sighting hole and notch ensure accurate bearings. The included declination adjustment tool and clinometer keep you on track. Whether you're trekking, biking, or running, this Finnish-made compass is your reliable companion, keeping you safe outdoors.

Engineered with a pioneering spirit and built to last, Suunto's compasses epitomize durability, stability, and ease of use. The MC-2 Compass is a prime example, offering unparalleled performance without the need for batteries. If you're ready to elevate your outdoor adventures, make the SUUNTO MC-2 Compass your go-to tool and experience navigation at its finest.


  • High precision for accurate orienteering
  • Global needle for worldwide use
  • Adjustable declination for enhanced accuracy
  • Clinometer for slope angle measurement
  • Durable build for outdoor ruggedness
  • Additional sighting tools for accuracy


  • Slightly bulkier than basic compasses

Best Affordable - Reliable Outdoor Gear Boy Scout Compass

Reliable Outdoor Gear Professional Boy Scout Compass

The good-looking Boy Scouts compass is well-labeled and easy to read. It is one of the most convenient navigational devices that both beginners and experienced navigators will find useful.

It has a magnifying glass clear baseplate orienteering compass and rulers to help you find your Direction effortlessly. The compass has everything that you need for a successful hike or camping.

Various orienteering compass reviews from customers are quick to point out the capable clinometers and fluid housing that enhances your accuracy. It also has a fluorescent needle that glows in the dark. You, therefore, don't need a torch to guide you through the bushes in the dark.


  • A well-labeled Boy Scouts compass.
  • It is easy to read and use.
  • Appropriate for both beginners and experienced navigators.
  • An efficient clinometers and fluid housing.
  • Lightweight and compact.


  • It does not have an adjustable declination.
  • The compass may not be appropriate for hiking long distances.

Best Heavy Duty - Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Sighting Navigation Compass

Eyeskey Compass

For hikers and campers seeking a trustworthy navigational companion, look no further than the Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Sighting Navigation Compass with Inclinometer. This compact and durable lensatic compass is one of the finest orienteering compasses available, and its performance speaks for itself.

With its versatility, this sighting compass allows you to accurately measure the azimuth angle, slope, and deviation angle, ensuring you reach your destination comfortably and swiftly.

Boasting an impressive accuracy of up to 0.5 degrees, the compass provides precise readings, and its transparent calibration through the glass further enhances its reliability. Additionally, the sighting glass feature aids you in determining the distance of objects with ease.

Rest assured, this military-grade compass is impact-resistant and waterproof, capable of enduring the rugged outdoors and unpredictable weather conditions. Whether you're hiking through challenging terrains or camping in remote locations, this lensatic compass with its magnetic needle will be your loyal and indispensable guide.


  • The compass is a versatile hand-held device that you can use to determine the azimuth angle, the slope as well as the deviation angle.
  • It is efficient and accurate.
  • Its accuracy is up to 0.5 degrees, and the calibration is clear.
  • The orienteering compass has a sighting glass to help you determine the distance of objects.


  • Beginners may have a hard time understanding it.

Best Portable - SharpSurvival Best Camping Survival Compass

SharpSurvival Best Camping Survival Compass

When it comes to hiking and camping, having a reliable compass is essential, and the SharpSurvival Best Camping Survival Compass fits the bill perfectly.

With its 360-degree rotating bezel, this orienteering compass allows for efficient navigation through unfamiliar terrain. Whether you're a seasoned boy scout or a beginner hiker, the user-friendly design of this brass survival compass makes it a breeze to use.

A top-notch hiking compass should also be functional in low-light conditions, and this compass excels in that aspect. Its luminous features ensure you can easily find your direction even in the dark, eliminating the need for a flashlight.

Not just function, this compass also scores high in aesthetics, as pointed out by numerous orienteering compass reviews from satisfied customers. The compass's visual appeal adds a sense of confidence and pride to its ownership.

Despite its powerful features, this hiking compass remains compact and lightweight, fitting comfortably in your pocket or backpack without adding any hassle to your journey. It's also designed to be easy to hold, making it suitable for small hands, so even little kids can use it with utmost comfort.

When it comes to navigating through strange lands, the SharpSurvival Best Camping Survival Compass is the perfect companion that you can always rely on.


  • A reliable compass.
  • It is user-friendly.
  • It glows in the dark, and you don't need a flashlight.
  • The compass is lightweight and compact.
  • Comfortably fits in small hands.


  • The compass looks fragile.
  • Some users say that the compass does not point north.

Best for Kids - TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass

TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass

Discover the perfect navigational tool for kids and outdoor companions with the TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass. This manual magnet compass boasts an Acrylic Baseplate with an Azimuth bearing and a 360-degree rotating bezel. Its magnetic needle, encased in a bubble-free liquid-filled capsule, effortlessly guides you northward. Equipped with a Magnifying Glass for map reading and precise route mapping via the 1:24000 compass ruler scale, it's an invaluable aid for young explorers.

Compact and lightweight, this Boy Scout compass is a must-have for survival gear, fitting snugly in pockets or hiking backpacks. Designed for all ages, its portable design is perfect for field trips and outdoor adventures. Its professional construction ensures accuracy, catering to hikers, campers, scouts, and survivalists.

Crafted to withstand the outdoors, this compass offers security and reliable map reading during every excursion, whether you're kayaking, camping, climbing, or wildlife watching. This Versatile survival gift acts as a guiding light in emergencies. The ideal present for cub scouts, outdoor enthusiasts, and adventurers of all ages.

The TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass doesn't just provide directions; it also kindles a spirit of adventure in both young and seasoned explorers. Prepare to navigate with unwavering confidence, crafting enduring memories along the journey.


  • Precise orienteering for hiking and backpacking
  • Advanced design suitable for scouts and professionals
  • Compact and portable for easy carrying
  • Durable construction for outdoor use
  • Great gift for survival enthusiasts
  • Supports accurate map reading


  • Not optimized for use in extreme conditions

6 Best Orienteering Compass: Comparison and Reviews


SUUNTO A-10 Compass

1.1 ounces

1.39 x 3.2 x 5.09 in


BIJIA Orienteering Map Compass

2.56 ounces

2.36 x 0.79 x 4.33i n

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

SUUNTO MC-2 Compass

4.0 ounces

1.71 x 4.98 x 3.56 in


Reliable Outdoor Gear Boy Scout Compass

2.9 ounces

4.56 x 2.24 x 0.43 in


Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Compass

8.16 ounces

5.8 x 4.2 x 3.5 in


SharpSurvival Best Camping Survival Compass

0.16 ounces

1.95 x 1.95 in


TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass

1.2 ounces

4" x 2.4" in


Best Orienteering Compass

Precision navigation made simple with the best orienteering compass

What is an orienteering compass?

The base plate compass or an orienteering compass is vital navigation equipment that combines a protractor within it. The compass is an essential component, and any person going outdoors to have fun should never be without it.

There are various essential features on the orienteering compass among them is the fixed sight. You use a fixed sight for accurate measurements.

The travel indicator is usually the luminous North box, and it points in the direction that you need to go. It is your intended course, and the needle should be inside it.

The luminous needle is especially important during the night. All you need to do is shine a light on to it, and it remains luminous for up to 15 minutes.

Another important feature is the side mirror which shoots an azimuth, which also determines the bearing of distant objects on the map. You will also find the spindle that has between 0 and 360 degrees Mark. It is not hard to spin.

There are also other dials on the best orienteering compass, but the spinning dial is the most important. The best played as a measuring tool and it helps you determine the distance on the map.

What do all excellent orienteering compasses have?

There are various features that you need to look out for when choosing the best orienteering compass on the market. It always makes sense to select the best equipment to be effective on the ground. It is never fun getting lost in the middle of nowhere.

1. Digital vs. Analogue

Typically, most people will choose a digital compass as opposed to an analog compass.

A digital compass comes with various bells and whistles which any technological savvy person will find attractive. For example, they may have a hiking watch among others.

And despite all these attractive features, digital compasses rely on battery power to work. You will need to charge them before you can use them.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to use them in the wild or away from civilization when you forget to charge them.

Your best option is the analog compass. You can use it any day or anytime without the need to charge or change the battery. They may seem old-fashioned, but analog compasses are reliable.

Therefore, if you are planning on going off the grid to enjoy a hike, kayak, or even camping, you are going to need reliable devices and an analog compass is better than a digital compass.

Need to read detailed comparison about digital compass vs. analogue compass click here

2. Sighting Mirror

This is one of the critical features in advanced navigation. The sighting mirror lets you view your surroundings as well as the compass at the same time. And even better, you can use this feature in emergency cases.

Therefore it is a feature that you should consider if you're thinking of taking advantage of advanced navigation features in your next hike.

3. Global Needle

Even some of the most accurate compass may not work in certain areas. Most of the compasses on the market need calibration for magnetic variance depending on the region. For example, a compass calibrated in Australia may not be efficient in a place like France.

It may drag and stick, affecting its efficiency.

If you are planning on traveling around the world in different places, then you may want to find the compass with a global needle. Orienteering compasses with a global needle are more accurate and reliable, especially if you are traveling in different places around the world.

Such a compass saves you from the hassle of having to calibrate every time you move to a new place.

4. Declination Adjustment

As a hiker that wants to extend the fun beyond the limits of civilization, then you must know true north and magnetic North. The point that points to the geographic North Pole is the true north. on the other hand, magnetic North Pole points in the direction of Magnetic North Pole.

Magnetic North Pole and Geographic North Pole may not be the same thing. The two points vary by a few degrees that may prove significant if you are making long treks. The angle that measures the difference between the two points is the declination.

However, you will find compasses that have a declination adjustment feature to account for the differences between the two points and make the necessary corrections. A compass with adjustable declination subtracts or adds to the declination angle.

After you have made the adjustments, the declination feature automatically determines the correct point without having to waste time calculating it yourself. It is a useful feature for those people that made long hikes in different regions in the world.

5. Backlighting and Lumosity

Camping or hiking during the late hours can present several challenges, and among them is poor visibility. It is therefore vital to have a luminous compass or a compass with backlighting to be visible at all times.

A compass with the luminous light or backlight saves you from the hassle of having to use your flashlight now and then.

It is a convenient feature that the best orienteering compass 2023 should have.

7. Durability

In the majority of cases, durability goes hand-in-hand with the top-quality devices. A top compass should not only have the necessary features but also be durable. It would be unfortunate if the compass breaks down at the middle of nowhere, with nothing else to help you navigate the wild.

But how do you determine the durability of a particular compass?

Orienteering compass reviews from customers is the best way to determine the quality as well as the durability of the navigation equipment. If a good number of customers have nothing else to say apart from good things, then you should purchase the compass since it is good quality.

8. Warranty

The Warranty period and the overall terms is another important consideration before you can purchase a Suunto a-10 compass or any other type of compass. Some of the best and reliable brands on the market have better warranty terms than others, and they are the most appropriate for you.

A particular brand can prove more expensive than the others, but it is always better to spend more to buy quality.

How to Use an Orienteering Compass

Best Orienteering Compass

Discover the secrets of using an orienteering compass for outdoor adventures!

A base plate compass or an orienteering compass Incorporate a protractor within and ensures that you carry minimal equipment for navigation.

When using the Orienteering compass, open one mirror and put the map on one edge of the base plate. It can be an edge.

The two critical spots are the place where you are right now, and the area that you want to go to.

If the two points are farther apart than the combined length of the base plate and mirror, you can place the orienteering compass on a ruler.

Place it along the edge of the ruler.

Make sure that the travel indicator is pointing in the right direction, which in most cases is the direction that you want to take.

After placing the compass correctly on the map, turn the dials so that each direction lines correspond with the North-South points on the map. Make sure that the red shed is pointing to the north on the map.

You can ignore the needle and use the compass as a protractor. You will be using it to map the angle and hold the needle is doing does not matter.

And without regard to magnetic declination - You can have a compass with adjustable declination - your compass is set after aligning with the map’s North-South direction.

Hold the compass squarely in front of you and rotate until the red north indicating point. This point should be within the red luminous North Box. With red Fred inside his crib, you are more than set to start your journey.

The indicator is now pointing in the direction that you should take.

How Do You Read an Orienteering Compass?

Are you excited to explore the world of orienteering with us?

Orienteering beckons adventurers of all ages and experience levels, promising exhilarating escapades and the thrill of discovery. But before you can immerse yourself in the thrill of orienteering, there's a fundamental skill you must possess: the ability to read a compass. Have you ever wondered how this simple yet indispensable tool can lead you through uncharted terrains and mysterious paths?

Let's start this exhilarating quest by delving into the heart of compass reading and paving the way for unforgettable adventures ahead.

To read an orienteering compass, first, identify the north arrow on the compass dial. Then, align the compass housing with the direction of travel while keeping the needle inside the housing's orienting arrow. Finally, read the direction indicated by the north end of the needle to determine your heading.

To read it accurately, follow these steps:

  • Locate the North Arrow: Look for the prominent arrow on the compass dial, which points towards magnetic north.
  • Align the Compass Housing: Hold the compass flat and turn the housing until the orienting arrow aligns with the north arrow.
  • Point the Compass: Aim the direction-of-travel arrow (usually a long, straight line) toward your destination.
  • Read the Needle: The compass needle will point to magnetic north. Read the direction indicated by the north end of the needle to determine your heading.

By following these steps, you can confidently navigate through the wilderness and enjoy orienteering adventures while staying oriented and safe.

How do You Use a Clinometer With an Orienteering Compass?

Using a clinometer with an orienteering compass is a breeze! First, set up your compass on a flat surface and aim it at the target object you want to measure the angle of elevation or depression. Hold the compass steady and look through the clinometer's sighting tube to align it with the top or bottom of the object. Read the degree shown on the clinometer's scale, and you've got your angle!

In orienteering, combining a clinometer with a compass can be handy for measuring slopes and heights. Here's a more detailed guide on how to do it:

Set Up the Compass: Find a stable spot and place your compass on it. Make sure the direction-of-travel arrow points at the target object.

Aim at the Target: Look through the sighting tube of the clinometer while keeping the compass steady. Align the sighting tube with the top or bottom of the object you're measuring.

Read the Angle: Now, the clinometer's scale will show you the degree of the angle. That's your measurement!

By using a clinometer with your trusty orienteering compass, you can conquer even the steepest hills and navigate like a pro in any terrain.

How Do I Use a Compass Alone to Learn Orienteering?

Don't worry, learning orienteering with just a compass is totally doable! To start, get familiar with the compass and its parts, like the north arrow and the direction-of-travel arrow. Find a landmark you can see from your starting point, set your compass bearing to that landmark, and start walking. Pay attention to any obstacles or turns you encounter, and adjust your bearing accordingly. Practice this skill, and soon you'll navigate through forests, fields, and mountains like a pro!

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  • Know Your Compass: Understand the basics of your compass, like where the north arrow and direction-of-travel arrow are located.
  • Choose a Landmark: Spot a recognizable landmark in the distance that you can easily walk to.
  • Set Your Bearing: Align the direction-of-travel arrow with the landmark, and rotate the compass housing until the north arrow lines up with the needle.
  • Start Walking: Keeping the compass level, walk towards the landmark, following the direction-of-travel arrow.
  • Monitor Your Progress: Along the way, watch out for obstacles or turns. If needed, adjust your bearing to stay on course.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: The more you practice, the better you'll become at orienteering with just your trusty compass.

With dedication and practice, using a compass alone for orienteering will empower you to explore the great outdoors with confidence and a sense of adventure.

Is True North or Magnetic North Indicated on An Orienteering Compass?

An orienteering compass primarily indicates magnetic north.

When using an orienteering compass, it points to magnetic north. The compass needle aligns itself with the Earth's magnetic field, which is the direction towards the magnetic North Pole. This magnetic north may not be the same as true north, which is the direction towards the geographic North Pole. The difference between true north and magnetic north is called the magnetic declination and varies depending on your location on Earth. Some advanced compass models may have an additional feature to correct for the magnetic declination, allowing you to read true north as well.

In orienteering, it's crucial to be aware of the difference between magnetic north and true north to ensure accurate navigation. Always check the compass's manual or the local magnetic declination for your area, so you can adjust your bearings accordingly and confidently find your way in the wilderness.

How Do You Know If it's True North or Magnetic North?

You can determine whether you are facing true north or magnetic north by using a few simple methods.

Sun Method: During daylight, if you have a watch, find the hour hand and point it towards the sun. The midway angle between the hour hand and the 12 o'clock position will point approximately to true north.

Star Method: At night, locate the North Star (Polaris) if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. The North Star is nearly aligned with true north.

Compass Method: If you have a compass, you can compare its reading to the local magnetic declination. This information is often available on maps or online resources. If the compass reading is adjusted for the magnetic declination, it points to true north.

GPS Method: Some GPS devices or smartphone apps can display both true north and magnetic north readings, helping you identify which direction you are facing.

Knowing whether you are facing true north or magnetic north is essential for accurate navigation, especially during orienteering and outdoor adventures. Choose the method that suits your situation best, and you'll never lose your way again!

What is The Purpose of The Orienteering Compass?

The purpose of an orienteering compass is to provide a reliable and accurate tool for navigation and orientation in outdoor activities, such as orienteering, hiking, camping, and other wilderness adventures.

An orienteering compass helps you:

Find Directions: The compass points towards magnetic north, allowing you to determine your heading and navigate in the right direction, even in unfamiliar terrain.

Orient Maps: By using the compass in combination with a map, you can align the map with the actual landscape, helping you understand your position and plan your route effectively.

Measure Angles: Many compasses come with a clinometer, allowing you to measure slopes, heights, and angles of elevation or depression.

Navigate without Technology: Unlike GPS devices or smartphones, an orienteering compass doesn't rely on batteries or signals, making it a dependable tool in remote or off-the-grid locations.

Improve Outdoor Skills: Learning to use an orienteering compass enhances your outdoor skills, boosts confidence, and ensures you can safely explore nature.

Whether you're a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a beginner explorer, having an orienteering compass as part of your gear ensures you can enjoy outdoor activities with greater independence and self-reliance.

What Are The 2 Types of Compasses Used in Orienteering?

In orienteering, two main types of compasses are commonly used:

1. Baseplate Compass:

  • The baseplate compass is a compact and lightweight compass designed specifically for orienteering and navigation purposes.
  • It features a transparent baseplate with ruler markings along the edges, which can be used for measuring distances on a map.
  • The compass needle is mounted on a rotating housing that allows for easy alignment with map features and direction finding.
  • Baseplate compasses often have additional features like a magnifying lens for reading small details on maps and luminous markings for low-light conditions.

2. Thumb Compass:

  • A thumb compass is a specialized compass that is worn on the thumb of the orienteer's hand. It is often used in combination with a map held in the other hand.
  • The compass capsule is compact and lightweight, with a clear top for easy map visibility. The capsule typically contains a liquid-filled dial and a magnetic needle.
  • The orienteer can easily rotate the compass capsule using their thumb while keeping the map in view. This allows for quick and precise alignment with map features and direction.
  • Thumb compasses are favored by experienced orienteers for their speed and convenience in fast-paced navigation.

Both types of compasses are designed to facilitate accurate navigation, map reading, and direction finding during orienteering activities. The choice between a baseplate compass and a thumb compass often depends on personal preference, the specific orienteering course or terrain, and the orienteer's level of experience.

What is The Difference Between an Orienteering Compass and a Regular Compass?

The main difference between an orienteering compass and a regular compass lies in their design and features, tailored for specific navigation purposes.

Orienteering Compass:

Baseplate Design: Orienteering compasses typically have a transparent baseplate with ruler markings. This feature allows users to plot courses on a map and measure distances more accurately.

Direction-of-Travel Arrow: An orienteering compass usually includes a prominent direction-of-travel arrow. This arrow helps users point the compass accurately towards their intended direction of travel.

Clinometer: Many orienteering compasses come equipped with a clinometer. This feature enables users to measure angles of elevation or depression, which can be useful for assessing slopes and heights. A compass clinometer is a valuable tool for assessing avalanche hazards during ski orienteering by offering a combination of navigational and slope angle information. When used effectively, it can enhance safety and decision-making in avalanche-prone environments.

Easy-to-Read: Orienteering compasses often have large, high-contrast markings and clear needle indicators, making them easier to read and use in various lighting conditions.

Regular Compass:

Simplified Design: Regular compasses often have a more basic design with a fixed base and limited markings, suitable for general directional reference.

Compact and Portable: Regular compasses are usually smaller and more lightweight, ideal for casual use, like finding cardinal directions while hiking or camping.

Sighting Mirror: Some advanced regular compasses may feature a sighting mirror, which helps users align the compass with distant objects for more accurate bearings.

Minimalist Features: Regular compasses may lack the clinometer and other advanced features found in orienteering compasses, making them less complex but still functional for basic navigation.

In summary, an orienteering compass is specifically designed for precision navigation and map work, making it a valuable tool for orienteering, land navigation, and outdoor adventures requiring detailed route planning. On the other hand, a regular compass is more simplistic and suitable for quick and straightforward direction finding during everyday outdoor activities.

What Does The Clear Base Plate on an Orienteering Compass Allow The User to Do?

The clear base plate on an orienteering compass allows the user to perform several essential tasks for navigation and map work:

Plotting Courses: The transparent base plate with ruler markings enables users to align the compass with the map, making it easier to plot and follow specific courses or routes accurately.

Measuring Distances: By placing the base of the compass on the map, users can measure distances between points on the map, helping with estimating travel distances and planning routes.

Determining Bearings: The clear base plate allows users to see the map beneath it while aligning the compass with the intended direction of travel. This alignment helps determine the bearing or azimuth to follow.

Aligning with Landmarks: When used in conjunction with a map, the clear base plate enables users to align the compass with visible landmarks or distant objects, helping with navigation in the field.

Calculating Angles: In combination with the compass's clinometer, the clear base plate allows users to measure angles of elevation or depression, which can be useful for assessing slopes, heights, or obstacles.

In summary, the clear base plate on an orienteering compass enhances the user's ability to interact with maps, plan routes accurately, and perform various navigational tasks during outdoor adventures and orienteering activities.

What is The Most Important Tool in Orienteering?

The most important tool in orienteering is the compass.

A compass is a fundamental and indispensable tool for orienteering, providing accurate direction-finding capabilities. It allows orienteers to determine the direction of travel and helps them navigate through unfamiliar terrains with confidence. The compass helps users establish a bearing towards their destination and stay oriented during the course of their journey.

While maps, GPS devices, and other tools are valuable aids in orienteering, the compass remains the primary tool for reliable navigation in various outdoor activities. Its simplicity, ease of use, and independence from external power sources make it an essential companion for orienteers, ensuring they can confidently explore and navigate through challenging landscapes and wilderness areas.

What Equipment is Needed for Orienteering?

To embark on an orienteering adventure, you will need the following essential equipment:

Orienteering Compass: The compass is the core tool for navigation, helping you find directions and maintain a sense of direction during your journey.

Orienteering Map: Specialized orienteering maps depict the terrain, trails, and control points, essential for planning and executing your route.

Sportswear and Footwear: Wear comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing suitable for outdoor activities. Sturdy and supportive footwear is crucial for traversing diverse terrains.

Whistle: A whistle is an essential safety item, allowing you to signal for help in case of an emergency.

Watch or Timer: A reliable timekeeping device helps you manage your progress and stay on schedule during timed events.

Water and Snacks: Carry sufficient water and energy-boosting snacks to stay hydrated and fueled during your orienteering journey.

First Aid Kit: A basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers is crucial for addressing minor injuries.

Sun Protection: Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat protect you from harmful sun rays during outdoor navigation.

Notebook and Pencil: Having a small notebook and pencil can be handy for recording important information or marking your map.

GPS Device (Optional): While not necessary, a GPS device can serve as a backup navigation tool in case of emergencies or when navigating in challenging conditions.

Having these essential pieces of equipment ensures you are well-prepared for an enjoyable and safe orienteering experience, helping you confidently explore the great outdoors and conquer new terrain.

Final Note

The best orienteering compass is an essential piece of equipment for people who fancy the idea of going off-grid once in a while. Sometimes stretching the boundaries is the best way to have fun outdoors. Get the best Orienteering equipment and have the best fun that you know how.

The above suggestions are undoubtedly some of the best orienteering compasses, and you can rely on them to guide you through the wild or whatever place your heart wants to explore. Have fun, and don't get lost!



  1. Steven Rods
  2. William Jack
  3. Glenn Sharpe

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