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5 Right Compass for Hiking: Your Ultimate Guide

Image of Right Compass for Hiking Your Ultimate Guide

By VoxplorFollow us for travel inspiration, tips, and the best gear recommendations. Let’s explore the world together! 

Updated On 

Have you ever been at the “nowhere point”, metaphorically or physically, feeling completely misplaced? Perhaps it was in a fresh town, thick woods, or a perplexing intersection of life choices. This is the occurrence that ignited my curiosity for compasses. This tool, which appeared so plain, a needle made magnetic and placed in a round home, was the means to cut my perplexity and direct me straight.

The first compass that I saw was not on an exciting escapade, but in my grandfather’s old and dusty attic. It appeared to be a brass compass, worn out by time and hidden among many disregarded objects. 

The inscription on its lid had become faded with age yet still readable; it stated “To my most beloved explorer: may you always discover your path again.” The dowsing compass was my grandfather’s, he was a traveler who went around the world and gathered tales as keepsakes. When I grip it in my hand, an emotion of awe fills me. This is not only a compass but also an entrance to an adventure realm, a quiet guarantee that using correct instruments makes every unclear path possible to steer through.

In the following years, that curiosity from my childhood transformed into a useful necessity. On my initial independent backpacking adventure – an exciting but somewhat frightening experience – I found myself depending greatly upon this reliable compass. Inside the wild, where tall trees blocked sunlight and made my sense of direction unclear at times, it was the compass that became like a rope keeping me connected to reality. 

It was not only about north, south, east and west – it was a realization that I had the ability to find my own way.

But the importance of compass goes much deeper than just for physical trips. Life itself has its own surprises, times when we feel confused and without direction. Changing careers, a relationship ending or personal disappointment; these are the inside wilds that we have to find our way through. In these times, the metaphor of compass gains potency. We can use our inner “magnetic north,” which is our values and principles, to locate direction.

In this blog, we will learn about the compass – both the physical tool and its symbolic strength. We’ll dig into history and science of compasses, their part in various cultures, as well as how they surprisingly connect with our contemporary world. 

But above all else, this blog will examine how a compass can serve as metaphor for journeys in life that are significant or minor. In this section, you can discover tales, advice and tools for guiding yourself to your personal “true north”, navigating through life’s unknowns.

Now, come along. We shall embark on the journey of compasses – understanding their workings and most significantly, using them to steer our path through existence with curiosity and strong will.


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Top 5 Trekking Backpacks:
Your Ultimate Outdoor Companion

Choose your favorite Compass for Hiking...

1. What Are The Best Compass for Hiking?

2. What Are The Different Types of Compass for Hiking?

3. Factors to Consider When Choosing  Compass for Hiking

4. Tips for Choosing Your Compass for Hiking

What Are The Best Compass for Hiking?





Leabertee Multifunctional Zinc Alloy Classic Compass

Leabertee Multifunctional Zinc Alloy Classic Compass

  • Best for hiking
  • Multifunction
  • Waterproof
  • Proster Professional Compass IP65 Sighting Compass

  • Luminous magnet
  • Waterproof
  • Clinometer
  • Orienteering Compass

  • Portable
  • Waterproof
  • Compact
  • AOFAR Military Camo Compass

    AOFAR Military Camo Compass

    • Waterproof
    • Adjustable
    • Sturdy
    Sun Company Sighting Map Compass

    Sun Company Sighting Map Compass

  • Adjustable Torso
  • Compartments
  • Long Lasting
  • What Are The Different Types Of Compass for Hiking?

    Leabertee Multifunctional Zinc Alloy Classic Compass

    For trail navigation, a compass is your quiet friend that directs you through the trail’s bends and corners. Different types of compasses exist, which might make picking one seem complicated. Let us dive into the universe of hiking compasses to understand their functions better and assist you in selecting an ideal match for your adventures.

    Baseplate Compass: The Versatile Champion

    Function: The top selection, baseplate compasses are preferred by hikers.. Their main characteristic is the transparent baseplate which has a map scale printed on it. You can use this to directly measure distances on your topographical map and align the compass with the map for precise navigation.

    Additional Features: Many baseplate compasses have a rotating bezel, marked with directions that can be matched to the map for more accurate navigation. Also look for adjustable declination, which helps you correct the variation between magnetic north and true north. In situations with poor light, compass dials and needles that glow in the dark are very helpful.

    Pros: Easy to use, lightweight, versatile with map integration, affordable.

    Cons: Might not be as robust for rough terrain, less suitable for accurate orienteering because of its basic construction.

    Lensatic Compass: The Rugged Navigator

    Function: Designed to perform in extreme scenarios, lensatic compasses are preferred by committed hikers and backpackers who explore without using a marked trail. A built-in sighting mirror is their characteristic feature. This assists with accurate direction finding by matching a far away point of reference with the compass needle through the enlarging glass.

    Additional Features: Lensatic compasses usually include every feature of a baseplate compass, such as baseplate, rotating bezel, adjustable declination and luminous markings. Some models might also have a clinometer for measuring slope angles which can be useful when checking the danger of avalanches in winter times.

    Pros: Highly accurate, durable construction for tough terrain, sighting mirror for precise navigation.

    Cons: More weight and bulk compared to baseplate compasses, navigating with the sighting mirror may require more practice.

    Wrist Compass: Convenience on the Go

    Function: When it comes to convenience, wrist compasses are perfect for people who frequently need to check their direction while keeping their hands empty. Usually, you wear them on your wrist just like a watch and they provide an easy look at the main directions.

    Considerations: Wrist compasses are usually less precise because of their small size and location on the wrist. The metal in your watch or backpack buckle might affect the compass needle, so it’s important to remember this while using it. Wrist compasses are not good for detailed navigation or taking bearings.

    Pros: Hands-free navigation, lightweight and comfortable to wear.

    Cons: Less accurate, limited functionality, not ideal for precise navigation.

    Thumb Compass: Discreet Directional Checks

    Function: Thumb compasses, which are small and can be worn on the thumb for fast and secret directional checks. Backpackers and hikers who often need to know their direction frequently use them, like during technical climbs or when moving through thick forests.

    Considerations: As with wrist compasses, thumb compasses are also small and emphasize on being portable rather than highly accurate. They might not be ideal for meticulous navigation or taking bearings.

    Pros: Very compact and lightweight, allows for quick directional checks.

    Cons: Limited functionality, not ideal for precise navigation.

    Choosing Your Compass:

    The ideal compass for your requirements will rely on how you prefer to hike and what you need from it. Here is a summary:

    These steps should help guide your selection process when choosing the right compass model for your hiking needs. Check all these factors together with cost and reviews of different models before making final decision! The perfect compass is out there waiting just for you! You simply need to consider these elements when selecting one: Your level of experience with orienteering instruments; The main purpose – general use or special activities? Weight restrictions?, Budget limitations? And lastly but not least – personal preference!

    Factors to Consider When
    Choosing Compass for Hiking

    AOFAR Military Camo Compass


    The hiking compass must endure rough conditions and drops. Seek a housing made from strong plastic or metal, capable of enduring intense impact.

    The plate on which the map is placed should be clear and marks for reading must be in degrees or larger.

    Map Scales

    You can use baseplates with different rulers printed on them for various map scales.


    An orange-colored arrow that can rotate to indicate the direction you are going in.

    Magnifying Glass

    A built-in magnifying glass can be useful for reading small map.

    Declination Adjustment

    The variance between magnetic north and true north is known as declination. When we say that a compass has the ability to adjust itself for declination, it implies that we are capable of setting it up at our existing place in such manner that the compass lines up precisely and provides correct readings.

    Sighting Mirror

    This assists you in obtaining more precise bearings, especially beneficial when navigating without a path or during low visibility situations.


    This measures slope steepness, helpful for assessing avalanche risk or determining hill grade.

    Size and Weight

    Think about the compass’s size, weight and how it will be carried. A bigger one might offer better readability while a smaller size could feel more comfortable in your hand. Not all compass models come with lanyards or straps for easy carrying purposes.


    A hiking compass can cost as low or even more expensive depending on the features and materials used in its construction.

    Accuracy and Speed

    A compass with a needle that settles quickly and is precise enough to always point towards magnetic north, settling fast after any movement.

    Considering these elements, it’s crucial to pick a compass that aids in the safe and confident navigation of hikes. 

    Tips for Choosing Your Compass for Hiking

    Fast-settling needle: When selecting a compass, search for one with a needle that will become magnetized quickly and settle down smoothly. This characteristic is significant as it ensures your readings are precise even if you are in motion.

    Strongly built: Your compass should be tough enough to handle rough weather conditions like rain, snow, and drops.

    Bezel with degrees: The compass housing’s rotating ring, known as the bezel, has degrees on it. Look for a bezel that is marked in at least 5-degree intervals and ideally every degree.

    Baseplate you can see through: A baseplate having a map scale will help viewing of your map via the compass as you take bearing.

    Declination adjustment: You can make allowances for the variation in direction between magnetic north and true north. This is significant when it comes to precise navigation.

    Sighting mirror: A sighting mirror is a handy tool for taking more accurate bearings. It can be beneficial when you are navigating off the trail or require extra precision.

    Clinometer: It’s a measuring tool to find slope angle, useful in mountaineering and backcountry skiing.

    Global needle: If you want to go south of the equator, you’ll require a compass that has a global needle, one which can spin around without restriction in all directions.

    Magnifying lens: This can be helpful for reading small text on maps.

    Luminous markings: For hiking during the night or in places with low-light conditions, select a compass having luminous markings that shine in dark.

    Image: unsplash

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