These are those who believe that GPS has certain limits and cannot do what the best compasses can offer. For one, GPS devices and apps are dependent on their power source, the battery; without it, it is nothing but a useless device. That is just one of the many things that concern many travelers.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Several features should also be given consideration if you are looking for the best compasses. In this section, we classified these features in three basic categories namely Basic, Advanced, and Extra features.
This is the red end of a spinning needle compass. Its function is to point to the magnetic pole. The majority of the needle floats in a stifling fluid that aids their steady motion. This type of fluid does not freeze. However, there are times when it creates bubbles.
Azimuth Ring or Rotating Bezel
This ring contains degrees ranging between zero and 360. It encloses the outer brink of the needle capsule. The best one should have smaller azimuth ring degrees interval. This feature means that the device is much easier to accurately navigate.
This is the flat and clear base with a wide assortment of markings used for navigation. It usually comes with a ruler to measure the distances of the map.
The term declination refers to the difference in terms of degrees between the magnetic north and the true north. Since it varies based on where you are located, it is essential for a compass to have an adjustable declination. With this feature, you can establish it and forget about it until you go to another region.
This feature aids you to aim more accurately when you follow an accurate bearing on a far landmark. It also transforms to an emergency signaling device.
The clinometer is an essential feature that enables you to measure the steepness or in other terms, the vertical angle of a slope. It is also very handy if you want to assess the heights of the objects around you or if you want to measure the hazards caused by an avalanche.
The best ones are usually hemisphere-specific. This means that you must have a one for the southern hemisphere and another one for the northern hemisphere. The global needle is responsible for compensating for the variance in terms of magnetic field and enables you to work accurately and smoothly whether you are in the northern or southern hemisphere.
This feature enables the handles of the needle to tilt to up to 20 –degrees. This means that it prevents the needle from dragging on the bottom or at the top of the capsule caused by the differences in the magnetic field of the Earth in various locations. This feature is perfect for those who are often on the road and do different kinds of activities in various compass zones.
Generally, there are five various time zones that we follow. This includes Europe, Russia, North America, Caucasus, Mongolia, Northeastern China, Kazakhstan, and Japan. The second includes the Middle East, Mesoamerica, India, North Africa, and all the places in Asia except for the Indochinese peninsula.
The third group includes the Indochinese Peninsula, South America except for Argentina and Chile, and sub-Saharan Africa up to the equator. The fourth group includes Chile, Papua New Guinea, Argentina, Sub-equatorial Africa, and Indonesia. Lastly, the fifth group is consists of Australia.
This feature is very helpful especially if you are traveling before sunrise or if you are looking for your way after the dusk.
There are several models that come with a set of magnifying lens affixed in the baseplate. This is very useful especially if you are reading details on the map.
Orienting Arrows And Lines
The orienting lines and arrows are the marking you find within the housing of the needle as well as on the baseplate. These are utilized in different types of tasks related to basic navigation.
There are many types that you can buy anywhere. It is important that you know and understands the different types as well as each of their function.
This type utilizes the spinning of the earth as well as the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum to locate the true north.
This one concentrates on locating the true north instead of the magnetic north. To be able to do so, it utilizes the latitude, longitude, date, and time.
This type is now becoming the standard. Unlike other types, it uses a set of satellites revolving the planet in a geosynchronous orbit to reach your location.
The solid-state uses the sensors that are magnetic in nature to locate the true north.
As mentioned above, there are some models that are integrated with a magnifying lens.
While this is not really necessary, some travelers still prefer the models that come with this type of additional feature. You may one day find yourself in a situation where your vision has become blurry that inhibits you to see properly. This is the time where the magnifying lens comes in very handy. Also, models that have sight wire and dial in their graduations that come in degrees are helpful.
In addition to the factors discussed above, another important criterion that you should take into consideration are the weight and size.
Models that are compact in size and lightweight are much easier to carry for survival compared to those bulky and large ones. This is particularly useful especially if you have a lot of things to bring with you while you are traveling.
Another important factor to consider in choosing the best is its speed and stability.
This means that the quicker it is for it to find the north, so much the better. There are old models that are slow in this area that could also mean it could slow your journey down.
There are some who would claim that speed is not really necessary when they are mountaineering or hiking because they are not in a hurry at all. However, if you are, for instance, hiking or mountaineering and the weather is terrible, you definitely would like to find your way in the fastest possible way.
1. Suunto, MC-2G In
This is a perfect choice if you are looking for a product that you can use wherever you are in the world and is known to many hikers and outdoor enthusiasts because of the great functionality that it offers.Read more
It features a strong construction making it durable to withstand dirt, shock, and water. It is loaded with features like an adjustable declination key integrated into the lanyard for easy adjustment. It also comes with a global needle that allows you to use it in any types of zones. This model does not require being entirely leveled to achieve accurate measurements. When it comes to night viewing, this device is equipped with luminescent indicators.
This product is made of high-quality materials with rugged construction. This means that it is very durable and can withstand harsh conditions and rough handling.
It comes with a clinometer, a sighting mirror, and a global needle. The pack is consists of a lanyard that comes with a wristlock. It also has a declination adjustment key and an instruction manual.
This product has an overall item dimension of 4 inches x 0.7 inches x 2.6 –inches.
It has an item weight of 2.72 -ounces and a boxed product weight of 4 –ounces.
It is equipped with a declination adjustment key and a global needle that enables you to use it anywhere regardless of the geographical location.
2. Silva Ranger S
This could be the best choice if you are looking for a shock-proof product that you can use for various outdoor activities.Read more
It features a snap lid that protects it from shock, dirt, and water. It’s filled with fluid and has a rotating bezel. This model also comes with luminous points that are perfect especially when there is low visibility. It has an adjustable declination and it provides stability, speed, and accuracy. It also comes with a sighting mirror for a more accurate reading.
It is made of a housing made of Dryflex and a pair of feet made of silicone rubber for accurate map work.
The whole pack is made of one unit, a lanyard, and an instruction manual.
It has a total product dimension of 5.5 –inches x 3.9 -inches x 1.2 –inches.
This model has an item weight of 4.41 –pounds and a shipping weight of 4.2 –ounces.
It has an adjustable declination is filled with fluid making it more stable in giving fast and accurate readings.
3. Eyeskey Military
This is the ideal choice if you are looking for a product that glows in the dark providing you with the right direction even at night time.Read more
It features a strongly engineered body that can withstand rough handling and extreme weather conditions. It has a specially designed fluorescent body that allows you to use it even at night time or in the dark. This model comes with an integrated bubble level that enhances accuracy and minimizes errors. It is shake-proof and waterproof, which means it is a perfect device when you are camping, boating, kayaking, hiking, trekking, and any other outdoor activity.
This model is made of aluminum alloy material. This means that it is lightweight, durable and resists rust and even corrosion.
It is equipped with a rotating bezel ring, tripod screw holes located at the base, and sighting lines on the cover. It also comes with a built-in bubble indicator or level, adjustable sighting lens, and a conversion chart that you can use for interpreting distance, angle, and even gradient. The pack contains a free pouch and an 18 –inches lanyard.
It has an overall product dimension of 5.8 -inches x 4.2 -inches x 3.5 –inches.
This product has an item weight of 4.8 –ounces only so it is lightweight and easy to carry.
It is integrated with a bubble level to reduce the chance of error and improve its accuracy.
4. Sportneer Military Lensatic
This could be the supreme choice if you are looking for a product built for accuracy and precision in terms of reading directions.Read more
It features a professional grade item that you can use for emergencies, camping, military usage, and many more. Its ergonomic design with the lens placed on the rear sight helps in magnifying the card dial, this way you get more precise readings. In addition, this model has a tough military construction with shake-proof and waterproof properties to withstand rough handling. It also comes with an interface that enables it to glow in the dark allowing to see the markings and the readings even during night time or when under a terrible weather condition.
This model has a military construction. This means that it is made of premium quality and highly-engineered materials and design.
The entire package comes with one unit.
This product has an overall dimension of 3.3 –inches x2.5 –inches x1 –inch.
It a very lightweight model that only weighs 0.39 –pounds.
It has an ergonomic design where the lens is positioned at the rear sight. This allows magnifies the markings allowing you to get more accurate readings.
5. Eyeskey Inclinometer
This could be a great choice if you are looking for a sturdy but compact product with impressive construction and perfect for various outdoor activities.Read more
This model comes with an added metal case for extra durability. It is equipped with a luminous march line that can be adjusted and enhances the accuracy of the reading. For better usability, this device comes with a magnifying viewer and a thumb hold. You can also use it during night time thanks to its floating luminous dial and its sighting hairline. This model is fitted with a capsule filled with fluid for quick readability.
This model is made of aluminum alloy materials. In other words, aside from being a lightweight item, it is also very durable and can resist rust and corrosion.
The package consists of one unit, a pouch, a lanyard, a warranty card, and an instruction manual written in the English language.
This model has an overall product dimension of 3.9 –inches x 2.6 –inches x 1.3 –inches.
It has an overall item weight of 7 –ounces or a boxed product weight of 11.2 –ounces.
This device is equipped with a fluid-filled capsule and an adjustable march line that is luminous for a more accurate reading.
6. SUUNTO A-30
This could be the ideal choice if you are looking for a product that you can use in two zones system.Read more
It is a versatile and lightweight that features a two-zone system. This means that it offers reliability in terms of northern hemisphere readings. It is equipped with a declination correction gauge, marking holes for the control points, and jewel bearing. For better visibility of the marking especially at night time, this device has luminous marking and bezel.
Furthermore, its global needle is made of high-quality and durable steel for added durability. It also comes with a magnifying lens making it more convenient and easier to see the readings of all locations.
This versatile and lightweight device is made of scratch-resistant and durable acrylic material.
The entire pack contains one unit, an instruction manual, a lanyard, and a pouch.
It has an overall product dimension of 7.2 -inches x 3.5 -inches x 1 –inch.
This model has a total product weight of 1.6 –ounces and a boxed item weight of 2.6 –ounces.
Most Expert Criteria: Accuracy
It has an adjustable declination scale and utilizes a global needle for better and accurate readings.
7. Brunton TruArc 3
This could be the perfect choice if you are looking for a top-quality product that will give you the right precision during your most demanding outdoor activities.Read more
It features reliable and entry-level features that can offer basic mapping and orienteering anywhere you go. It comes with an advanced navigation feature that repels interferences that are magnetic in nature. This also enables the device to hold its polarity. This model is equipped with a global needle that is precise in southern and northern hemispheres. It utilizes both metric and imperial scales for easy reading.
This model is made of premium quality Acrylic that is resistant to scratch. It is also lightweight and waterproof.
The whole package includes one unit that comes with a free lanyard.
It has an overall product dimension of 2.5 -inches x 0.5 -inches x 3.5 –inches.
This model has a boxed item weight of 3.2 –ounces and a total item weight of 1.12 –ounces.
This model is equipped with advanced navigation feature that enables you to use it anywhere in the world and prevents magnetic inference from affecting your readings.
8. Under Control Tactical
This could be the best choice if you are looking for a product with tactical features and can be used in many military situations and perfect for camping, survival or emergency purposes.Read more
It features a professional grade construction intended for handling life and death situations and are used by emergency rescue teams, scouts, and guides. It comes with an adjustable marching line that is luminous, a magnifying viewer for better viewing of the markings, and a thumb holds for optimum usability.
The sighting hairline is perfect for accurate readings in all the hemispheres. You can depend on the readings given by this device because its global needle works on a floating luminous dial and in a structure filled with fluid.
This model is made of aluminum alloy housing making it very lightweight but very durable. It can resist corrosion and rust and its heavy construction helps make it withstand rough handling.
The pack contains one unit of a foldable compass, a lanyard, and a carrying pouch.
It has a folded product dimension of 75 -millimeters x 57 -millimeters x 30 –millimeters.
It has an overall item weight of 3.2 –ounces.
This item is equipped with a global needle, filled with fluid, and has luminous markings that make it a reliable item for getting accurate readings.
9. Reliable Outdoor Gear
This could be the supreme choice if you are looking for a digital type that is lightweight, accurate, and very reliable.Read more
It features a ruler, magnifying glass, and scales for easy reading of topographic map. Its housing is filled with fluid and it is equipped with precise inclinometer that shows you the true north. This model has bezel adjustment in the precise bearing of 2 –degrees graduation. In addition, it features a declination scale that can be adjusted. This enables you to utilize it in different hemispheres because it caters for the disparity between the magnetic and the true north. This model also comes with a magnetic heading that is perfect for navigation in different kinds of locations.
It is made of high-quality acrylic material that can withstand harsh outdoor elements.
The entire package comes with one unit, a lanyard, and an instruction manual.
This product has an overall item dimension of 5.03 –inches x 2.51 –inches x 0.59 –inches.
It is a lightweight product with a total item weight of only 1.6 –ounces.
This model comes with an adjustable declination scale, a housing filled with fluid, and magnifying glass to produce more accurate readings. It also has a bezel adjustment to ensure that you get the right reading wherever you are in the world.
10. SUUNTO A-10 Recreational
This could be the supreme choice if you are looking for a simple and accurate but inexpensive travel companion.Read more
It features a rotating bezel, a declination scale, and a ruler. It is filled with fluid that enables the needle to settle fast. This is the perfect item for beginners who would like to earn more about navigation.
The needle of this product is made of high-grade steel embedded with jewels. The entire body is made of premium quality plastic material that is resistant to scratch.
The entire pack contains one unit, a lanyard, and an instruction manual.
It has an overall item weight of 1.4 –inches x 3.2 –inches x 5.1 –inches.
This product has an overall weight of 0.6 –ounces.
While it is just a simple and a recreational item, it is equipped with a declination scale and is filled with fluid to ensure you get accurate readings.