Without a doubt, becoming lost should be one of the most disturbing and scary things that can happen on the trail. Bad weather can happen unexpectedly, or you may do everything right, but somehow you still find yourself off course unintentionally.
Without a doubt, the best compass for orienteering in terms of features is Silva Ranger 2.0 Compass. It features a slope card, detachable distance lanyard, map measuring scales, built-in adjuster, mirror sighting with sighting hole, and robust material makes it convenient to use. It is worth the investment!
Our top pick for the best compasses for orienteering is Suunto MC-2G In Global Compass. Its adjustable declination, durable construction, the ease of reading the measurements in dark situations, and lightweight design makes it our top choice.
The best compasses for orienteering are made for orienteers who want to chart their own course.
Table of Contents
- Best Compasses – Comparison Table
- What Is Orienteering?
- How Do Compasses Help In Orienteering?
- What to Look for?
- Best Compasses for Orienteering
- Key References
Best Compasses – Comparison Table
What Is Orienteering?
Orienteering is a sporting activity that needs navigational skills using a compass and map to navigate from one point to another in diverse and often unfamiliar terrain while moving at high speed. Participants are typically given a topographical map which they use in finding control points.
How Do Compasses Help In Orienteering?
Anessential item that should always have high priority in your adventure kit is a compass. Portable GPS devices are ideal for data acquisition and can quickly determine your location. However, they still depend on batteries and satellite signals and will, therefore, likely disappoint you in difficult times. The best compass for orienteering combined with a good topographic map is, therefore, essential for reliable navigation on the trail.
What to Look for?
A) Declination Adjustment
The best compasses for orienteering should have a small tool on the compass strap that can be used to turn a screw on the compass housing. Turning the screw changes the direction of the alignment arrow so that it does not point from north to south, but instead moves to account for the magnetic declination of the area you are traveling.
B) Sighting Notch and Mirror
Often, the sighting mirror is raised like a compact, and the sighting notch is at the top. The notch is used to point at a reference point, and the mirror is used to view the bezel simultaneously. This feature allows for more accurate bearings. Also, the mirror can be used as a signal generator in case of danger.
C) Luminescent Indicators
Luminescent indicators on the bezel allow you to take bearing in low light or in the dark.
A clinometer can be used to measure the slope. This helps determine the slope of a mountain or the severity of the avalanche risk (if traveling in winter).
E) Reciprocal Scale
A reciprocal scale shows you the opposite direction from your traveling direction in degrees.
- This can be useful when trying to locate your exact location on a map.
- For instance, if you discover that a fork in a river is 300° and a bridge is 240°, the opposite angles are 120 and 60, respectively.
- When you look at the map, a line can be drawn from the bridge to 60° and a line from the fork to 120° where the lines intersect is your position.
F) Silicone Feet
The best compasses for orienteering should have silicone feet that can be attached to your map so your compass won’t slip when reading.
Best Compasses for Orienteering
Here are the 6 best oritenteering compasses on the market today:
1. KanPas Elite Thumb Orienteering Compass
This is a thumb orienteering compass that allows you to touch and feel your map by your thumb directly.
- It features a curve design on the baseplate that makes holding it more comfortable. Also, it is small and light and sits well on the map.
- The strong and clear baseplate material helps to make your map more visible. It comes in a choice of three different casings (clear or rainbow, 0-360 degrees) – they are full twistable as well.
- Beyond that, the compass has luminous markings to help with visibility in low lights.
- Overall, the KanPas Elite Thumb Orienteering Compass helps you calculate distance quickly and easily.
- We liked the bright color and width of the compass, which makes it easily visible.
- The small size of this compass can make long bearings quite difficult.
2. KanPas D-50 Ocean Elite Wrist Compass
The KanPas D-50 Ocean Elite Wrist Compass has durable magnetic material and transparent filling machine liquid, which makes the dial reliable and stable.
- The high-intensity housing can withstand 6Bar pressure, making it an excellent choice for outdoor adventures.
- The large side-view window ensures precise readings during movement. Even in a dark environment, the readings are still very visible.
- It has three steps that allow you to position the direction of advance accurately. The sighting system and a rotating bezel system makes reading bearings very easy.
- It features an index dial that makes blind operation possible.
- The KanPas D-50 Ocean Elite Wrist Compass is a lightweight, optimized wrist compass that ensures easy and comfortable wear. It comes in a plastic box packing for convenient storage.
- Easy to read
- Comfortable to wear
- Large side view window.
- Strong magnetic material
- Lightweight design
- The wristband is poorly made.
3. Cammenga Lensatic Phosphorescent Compass
For a long time, this military-grade compass has been a favorite of outdoor adventurers, government agencies, and armed forces.
- Dial graduations in both mils and degrees ensure very accurate readings while waterproof casing and phosphorescent paint guarantee durability in different conditions.
- This best military compass can be used in total darkness since its micro lights allow for navigation in low light conditions.
- The copper induction dampening system helps slow the rotation of the magnet with no use of liquids.
- The Cammenga Lensatic Phosphorescent Compass receives top marks from many customers who report durability and high-quality in all conditions – it keeps adventurers on track and safe even in torrential rainfall.
- This best survival compass is sand, water, and shockproof, making it a functional compass for orienteering.
- Durable construction
- Dial graduation in degrees and mils.
- Shock, sand, and waterproof.
- Expensive for some users.
4. Suunto MC-2G In Global Compass
Mountaineers and hikers rely on this unit for its sturdy construction.
- It has a global needle that works in all compass zones without any hassle of entirely leveling it every time for an accurate reading.
- While the Suunto MC-2G In Global Compass is the most expensive compass on our list of the best compasses for orienteering, it is definitely worth it.
- This suunto compass features sighting tools for accurate direction taking. Additionally, the sighting hole ensures superior accuracy.
- The 20 degrees tilt margin makes bearing reading easy. This best compass for land navigation has easy to use features and reliable performance makes it a solid choice for orienteering.
- We like the adjustable declination, durable construction, and the ease of reading the measurements in dark situations.
- Also, its lightweight design makes it easy to manipulate even with a thin glove on.
- Balanced needle with jewel bearing.
- Adjustable declination correction
- 20 degrees tilt margin.
- Functional and durable
- The lid closure is a bit tight.
5. Silva Ranger 2.0 Compass
If the terrain requires a mirror sighting compass, the Silva Ranger 2.0 Compass is an optimal companion.
- It comes with a slope card that helps with detecting avalanche risk and determining how challenging a hike will be.
- The distance lanyard has 4 scales, which facilitates measuring the distance of your hike.
- Its soft and bendable design makes it easy to place on your map. The Ranger 2.0 features a rubber grip for excellent grip and secure handling of the compass.
- It comes with a built-in adjuster for magnetic declination based on your location. The markings and scales are in a clear font, making navigation easier.
- Also, the luminous markings make nighttime navigation possible. The robust material of this compass can withstand harsh conditions and treatment.
- The Silva Ranger 2.0 Compass has black/red South-North lines in the capsule bottom ensures safe and secure settling.
- Slope card and a detachable distance lanyard.
- Rubber grip for easy handling.
- Sighting hole and mirror sighting.
- Robust material
- The declination correction isn’t adjustable.
6. Moscompass Model 3 Orienteering Compass
The Moscompass Model 3 is an elite orienteering compass with incredible needle stability and needle settling speed during movement.
- Its ergonomic thumb design ensures accurate and fast map reading with quick map alignment.
- The adjustable thumb strap will ensure a secure and comfortable map grip.
- To ensure natural tilt in the magnetic field, this compass has a balancing system for each magnetic zone that leads to excellent needle stability and fast needle settling times during running.
- With its robust and sturdy design, the Moscompass Model 3 Orienteering Compass can withstand harsh conditions.
- It is an excellent option for adventure racers and orienteers.
- Robust and sturdy design.
- Adjustable thumb strap
- Ergonomic thumb design
- Extra high-power magnet
- Rotatable and transparent compass housing.
- None found
Undoubtedly, the best compass for orienteering in terms of features is Silva Ranger 2.0 Compass. It includes a slope card, detachable distance lanyard, map measuring scales, built-in adjuster, mirror sighting with sighting hole, and robust material makes it convenient to use.
Our top recommendation for the best compasses is Suunto MC-2G In Global Compass. It features an adjustable declination, durable construction, the ease of reading the measurements even in dark situations, and lightweight design makes it our best choice.
Nature should not be a nightmare, but an enjoyable experience that regains your energy and refreshes your mind to improve the quality of life. Adding extra security with the best compasses for orienteering is essential for your wilderness safety.
- “Compass use in Orienteering”. Accessed June 17, 2020. Link.
- “Magnetic Compass Accuracy, Sighting, and Triangulation by Blake Miller – Section Hikers Backpacking Blog”. Accessed June 17, 2020. Link.
- “Land Navigation: Finding Bearings & Topo Maps | The Art of Manliness”. Accessed June 17, 2020. Link.