Although using a GPS may seem like the best and most efficient way to navigate through your chosen terrain, there is still no substitute for a good compass and topography map when it comes to terrestrial navigation. There are many forms of compasses available to meet your individual needs and preferences, some with the most basic of features and others including more advanced options such as declination adjustment, sighting mirrors, and magnifying lenses. In the process of selecting the top candidates for best compass, factors such as accuracy, reliability, consumer reviews, and supplementary navigational features were given prominent consideration.
Although a pricey option, this compass has an exceptionally strong and loyal following. It's practically indestructible, waterproof, and accurate in multiple hemispheres. Brunton offers special balancing if you desire absolute precision when traveling to more distant locations. Read Full Review
Whether you need a top-notch compass for field work or rugged recreational use, the International Pocket Transit Pro Compass won't let you down. It is a pricey option, but many consumers rave that the benefits of this compass are well worth the premium price. For starters, just try to destroy this thing. You will likely be unsuccessful due to the extremely strong cast aluminum body. The needle moves with exceptional smoothness, and aligns rapidly with magnetic north. Adjustable declination, a tripod mount, and a waterproof silicon seal all contribute to the intense accuracy and reliability of this compass. It even comes with a leather case for carrying and storage.
This compass is one of the most accurate compasses on the market. The housing is waterproof, the dial includes both degrees and mils, and the aluminum frame is extremely sturdy and can handle the abuses of your expedition. Read Full Review
For starters, the Cammenga 27 Phosphorescent Compass meets the performance specification MIL-PRF-10436N, and is approved by the Department of Defense. In other words, it possesses the accuracy necessary for soldiers to carry out tasks where precision is imperative. This compass has phosphorescent paint, so if you need it at night, just shine your flashlight on it and the face will illuminate for several minutes (a tritium version is available, which offers self-powered illumination at close to twice the price). It is waterproof, extremely durable, and can be used internationally and in extreme temperatures.
This compass looks incredibly simple but don't be fooled - it is a time-tested, top-performing navigation system. It may not be the best compass option if your travels require absolute precision, but it is an easily accessible tool for gathering your bearings and navigating through a city, mountain, or forest in the Northern Hemisphere. Read Full Review
The Suunto M-9 wrist compass earns high marks for accessibility and accuracy, despite its small size. It is lightweight and compact - two features that make it an excellent option for backpackers and adventurists exploring remote terrain. The sighting window and serrated bezel ring are nice added features. You can even use this bad boy under water. Note that this compass should only be used in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Suunto M-3 is a great choice for an easy-to-use, reliable compass. The needle settles quickly, the baseplate includes a magnifying lens, and the declination is adjustable. Oh, and it just so happens to be globally balanced, so feel free to use it all over the world. Read Full Review
This compass is ideal for those searching for a simple, reliable, global compass. When used correctly in conjunction with a good topo map, you can practically find your way anywhere. It can be worn comfortably around your neck or strapped to your pack. The M-3 also allows you to adjust the declination for your area, and the luminous markings are handy if you end up needing to use this compass in the dark.
This compass is worthy of consideration if you want quality construction and accurate readings at an excellent value. It is also a great pick for more novice navigators. Read Full Review
The Suunto A-10 is an excellent choice if you want a lightweight compass that provides accurate readings at a great value. The construction is solid and the fixed declination scale is helpful for more novice navigators (especially if you are looking for a reliable plan B in case of GPS failure). This compass is big enough to easily take a bearing yet small enough to fit into your pocket or an easily accessible section of your pack.