Navigation in nature can be difficult if you don’t have proper resources. Handheld GPS devices and smartphones are useless because of battery and signal issues. However, a compass is more reliable than anything and has many advantages. A compass is a powerful tool with the direction map that determines your location. So, you can reach where you wish to go. Let’s have a look at the best compass for backpacking to explore the natural world.
Types of Compasses for Hiking and Backpacking
Simple Baseplate Compass
Just like its name, it is a simple compass with the baseplate that helps to view the map and read through. Such compasses are the bare-bones device that has few features. Simple and baseplate compass serves hiking and backpacking needs and all-purpose navigation devices for beginners.
Liquid Filled Compass
Many compasses come with a liquid-filled base. The liquid-filled inside of the needle chamber helps to moisten the compass’s swing and lighten the inconstant movement when navigating. This is the essential feature in any navigation device.
Orienteering Compasses have advanced features for great accuracy. They have declination scales, sighting mirrors, clinometers, and global needles. These compasses are meant to navigate with topographic maps. Orienteering compasses are specially made for high skilled navigators and are challenging to understand by an amateur.
How to Choose the Best Compass for Backpacking
Before investing your money to buy a compass for backpacking, ensure that you have complete knowledge about its features. The following guidelines will help you to purchase the best.
Stability and Speed
The speed of the compass is an essential feature. The fast the speed, the better the compass is. However, this may not be necessary for many people, especially when they are hiking or mountaineering because they are not in a hurry. This is beneficial for those who are in the mountains with bad weather, so they want to find ways as fast as possible. Speed and stability help in that way for many people.
Always select the compass that lasts longer and does not break easily. There is a possibility that you accidentally drop your compass, and it may be shattered into pieces. A compass made with several parts, to ensure durability, you should get an anodized metal compass that won’t break easily, and prevents metal from corroding. Your compass should also water resistance so it would not damage if it accidentally falls in the water.
Compasses are available in many features, some have advanced navigational devices, and some are simple that is easy to use and navigate. However, a compass should have some features to consider before buying. Some of the advanced features in a compass are declination scale, sighting mirror, global needle, luminescence, and a base plate.
Some Simple Features
The needle should point to the north instantly with ease. If the compass needle chamber is filled with liquid, it turns freely. Ensure that it must not freeze in cold temperature because your navigation device is supposed to work in every situation.
A transparent base plate allows you to see the map beneath it. Base plates have median lines, side rulers, direction arrow, and magnifying glass for finer map details. It helps to orient better and plan your trek. A lanyard is connected to the base plate to tie the compass to your equipment and wear it on your neck.
Compass is surrounded by the rotatable bezel, markings for all 360 degrees, or even 720 half-degrees. The Higher resolution bezel, the better your navigation will be.
Some Advanced Features
It helps adjust according to your location in different areas that are mainly done by the declination tool attached to the compass.
It helps to see the targeting landmark along with the compass.
The needle moves independently of the magnet. Therefore, when the magnet moves to and fro with the magnetic field, the needle keeps its position. In simple words, the global needle retains its position and is uninfluenced by the tilting shape of the earth’s magnetic field.
If you want to navigate at night, your compass should have luminescence marking that won’t fade if the sun goes down.
Suunto is a famous brand of compass making. They made high-quality products in Finland and reliable navigation equipment. Suunto MC-2G global compass provides a higher degree of accuracy from anywhere in the world. It features like a sighting mirror, sighting hole, and multiple rulers so you will be able to navigate in any condition. The luminous marking on a baseplate helps to read in low light. The straps can be easily come off from the compass, and this is the most useful feature when you want to heave the compass away from the body. Suunto MC-2G global is a game-changer compass that gives accurate navigation in all conditions. It is ideal for hiking, mountaineering, trekking, forestry, hunting, military use, survival, and other outdoor use.
- It is simple to use
- No batteries required
- Accurately navigate the great outdoors
- It has a balanced needle with jewel bearing
- It has adjustable declination correction
- It has a sighting mirror and sighting hole
- It has rubber feet for balance on a surface
- It is heavier than other baseplate compasses
- Can break easily
If you are searching for a high-quality orienteering compass at an affordable price, this compass will work best. It has a top-quality visibility bezel for easy reading and adjustment in illumination conditions; it is a useful feature if you drop your compass, the brightening yellow bazel will help to find it much more quickly. Silva Expedition S is a mirrored sighting compass for greatest accuracy and perfect selection for those planning to do lots of off-trail navigation, orienteering, or adventure racing. It has a declination adjustment. Therefore, once the adjustment is adjusted, you don’t need to calculate it again in your navigation. The compass automatically adjusts it. It is easy to use and read a compass with multiple navigational scales that help map reading and measuring. It is ideal for hiking, trekking, and hunting.
- It has night- enabling luminous markings
- It is easy to place directly on to your route on the map
- Very durable material and lightweight
- It is easy to use easy to read
- Good value of money
- It does not have a sighting mirror
- The size of the compass is small.
The compass is designed to work appropriately all over the world with a global needle. It is a simple baseplate compass that gives accurate readings. Adjustable declination is a must-have feature in any compass for accurate navigation, which Brunton delivers on the TruArc 3. The declination can be easily read and adjusted without any tools. This compass is made in the USA (if that’s a foremost buying consideration for your decision making) Brunton uses cobalt chrome alloys for needles, which are suitable magnetic steels. TruArc 3 compass is ready to go anywhere in the world and reliable for just about any situation.
- Global needle system that is accurate in both northern and southern hemispheres
- It has a tool-free adjustable declination
- It is easy to use
- Two unit measurement
- It is sunlight proof
- There are no cardinal points in the degree markings
- The paper/plastic decal will likely be damaged: by constant harsh exposure
- The print font is small for some users
- It is non-luminous
- It is useless at night.
The lightweight functional and compact compass works accurately in any condition. It has some features such as a transparent base plate, declination adjustment, and black and white bezel. Suunto A-10 NH metric recreational compass for minimal map orientation and navigation. It won’t give you the same accuracy as from an orienteering compass. However, it is affordable and the best compass for the money. It is easy to use and specially designed for beginners. It has a declination scale, ruler, and rotating bezel. They are very durable and made with scratch-resistant plastic, great for outdoor enthusiasts. Suunto A-10 is the best compass for people who need a simple navigation device without having too many advanced features.
- It has high-grade steel needle with jewel bearing
- The liquid-filled capsule help for stable operation
- It is easy to detach for working with the map
- It is durable
- It does come with a lanyard for secure handling
- It does not have a magnifying lens
- It does not have advanced features
It is an excellent compass for beginners to intermediate users. Silva Explorer Pro Compass has many features. The best survival compass with a 4x luminous dial for navigating in low light conditions. It comes with the 2-degree bezel and high visibility navigation ring and the magnifying glass for map reading. It is a lightweight and compact navigational device that provides an average reading. This compass is ideal for on-trail hiking and average navigational needs.
- It has a slope card for measuring
- It has a dry flex rubber grip for secure handling
- It comes with luminous marking
- It is lightweight
- It is effortless to use
- It does not have a mirror or sighting hole
- You need to adjust declination with the built-in screwdriver
- It breaks on falling the first time.
For hikers and backpackers, a compass is an essential survival tool that can really make a difference in many situations between life and death. Especially when you are in the mountains with the bad weather condition, so always choose your compass wisely. Suunto is a well-known compass-making brand, and its navigation device has many advanced features for great outdoor enthusiasts.
It comes with a sighting mirror, sighting whole, and multiple rulers so you will be able to navigate in any condition, along with this the luminous marking on a baseplate helps to read in low light. It is very simple to use and can be a game-changer compass that gives accurate navigation in any condition. Suunto MC-2G global compass can be a matchless purchase for exploring the fantastic outdoor lands.