The Best Compass For Backpacking In 2024

Hailey Abbott By, Hailey Abbott
Best Compass For Backpacking
Best Compass For Backpacking

Our Top Picks

1. Best Overall: Sportneer Compass Backpacking

Stay on track and conquer the great outdoors with the Sportneer Compass Backpacking. Designed for professionals and adventurers alike, this military-grade compass is your reliable companion. Read Review

2. Best For The Price: Cammenga Military Compass

For the utmost reliability in your outdoor adventures, look no further than the Cammenga Military Compass. Made in the USA with top-quality materials, this pocket compass epitomizes durability and precision. Read Review

3. Best Durable: SUUNTO A-10 NH Compass

Simplify your navigation with the SUUNTO A-10 NH Compass. Designed for recreational use, this compass is your reliable companion for hiking, orienteering, and various outdoor activities. Read Review

4. Best Easy To Read: Sun Company Compass

Stay on track and navigate with confidence using the Sun Company Compass. This reliable compass offers a large ball for easy reading, a convenient thermometer for temperature checks, and a handy carabiner clip for easy attachment to your gear. Read Review

5. Best Portable: TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass

Find your way with ease using the TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass. This portable, lightweight compass offers professional-level navigation features, including an azimuth bearing, magnifying glass, compass ruler scale, and more. Read Review

Backpacking is one of the best ways to experience the outdoors. It allows you to explore new places and see the world in a way no other activity can. However, ensuring you have the right gear and supplies on your journey is also essential. A good quality compass is one of the most critical equipments for any backpacking trip. A reliable and accurate compass can distinguish between making it safely to your destination and getting lost in the wilderness.

Knowing the best compass for backpacking can be complex, with so many different options on the market. This article will explore the different types of compasses available, the features to look for in an excellent backpacking compass, and the best compasses for backpacking on the market today. Whether you are an experienced backpacker or just getting started, this guide will help you find the best compass for your next backpacking trip.

We think the best compass for backpacking that is available now is Sportneer Compass Backpacking. Its professional-grade construction ensures accurate readings, perfect for camping, military use, emergencies, and off-the-beaten-track adventures. We also provide you with Cammenga Military Compass model that you may consider if the top product is not your choice. And bellow is the helpful buyer's guide to assist you in making your decision.

Our Top Picks

TOP Choice #1 Sportneer Compass Backpacking
Our Score:

Regarding navigation, the Sportneer Compass Backpacking is a true champion. Its professional-grade construction ensures accurate readings, making it perfect for camping, military use, emergencies, and off-the-beaten-track adventures. The ergonomic design enhances precision with a magnifying lens on the rear sight, guaranteeing accurate readings every time.

Built to withstand the harshest conditions, this compass is as tough as they come. Its military construction boasts waterproof and shake-proof properties, ensuring survival even on the most challenging hikes. With a convenient belt loop attachment and a handy carrying case, the Sportneer Compass is portable and always within reach. Plus, its fluorescent interface glows in the dark, enabling you to soldier on even after the sun sets.

However, it would be best if the manual could be improved. In general, the Sportneer Compass Backpacking offers a trustworthy and essential instrument for people who enjoy being outside and will provide an experience of high quality for many years to come.

TOP Choice #2 Cammenga Military Compass
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The Cammenga Military Compass is the compass you can trust with your life. Its accuracy and reliability to +/- 40 mils ensure your navigation is always on point, even in extreme temperatures. This professional tactical compass is trusted by the US military, assuring you of survival in any situation.

Crafted with longevity in mind, this handheld compass is waterproof, sand proof, and built with a powder-coated aluminum frame for optimal endurance. Its self-powered lighted feature will provide illumination for over 12 years, ensuring visibility in low-light conditions. With its versatility, the Cammenga Military Compass is suitable for various activities, including hiking, camping, surveying, backpacking, hunting, and orienteering.

However, it is worth mentioning that the glass face may occasionally have small scratches. Nonetheless, this minor imperfection does not compromise the overall performance and reliability of the compass.

TOP Choice #3 SUUNTO A-10 NH Compass
Our Score:

The SUUNTO A-10 NH Compass is the epitome of simplicity and functionality. Its minimalistic design makes this compass perfect for hikers and orienteers seeking a fast, straightforward navigation tool. It is balanced explicitly for use in the Northern Hemisphere, featuring inch/cm scales and a fixed declination for convenient and accurate readings.

As a baseplate compass, the A-10 NH is ideal for navigating with a map. Its high-grade steel needle with jewel bearing and liquid-filled capsule ensures stable and reliable operation. Made in Finland, SUUNTO mechanical compasses are renowned for their durability and precision. They are suitable for outdoor activities, including alpine skiing, hiking, trekking, mountain biking, and trail running.

The minor issue is that it doesn't have a magnifier. But this minor drawback is overshadowed by its reliable performance and durable construction, making it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

4 Sun Company Compass
Our Score:
Sun Company

The Sun Company Compass is a versatile tool for outdoor enthusiasts. Its large ball compass provides clear readings of general orientation cardinal points, ensuring you never lose your way. The "direction-of-travel" compass on the larger side card offers precise navigation. The cushion-mounted thermometer is perfect for checking the temperature at a glance, whether camping, backpacking, or hunting.

The compass's carabiner clip lets you conveniently attach it to your gear, ensuring it's always within reach. Whether you're hiking, camping, backpacking, or climbing, the Sun Company Compass is a reliable companion. It even comes with a split ring, allowing you to attach it to your zipper or keychain for easy access.

One minor downside is that the compass's side card should not be used for general orientation purposes as it may cause readings to be off by 180°. Therefore, you need to read the instructions carefully before using it.

5 TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass
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The TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass is a professional-grade tool for accurate directions and navigation. Its acrylic baseplate features an azimuth bearing and a 360-degree rotating bezel, allowing you to determine your heading quickly. The magnetic needle, filled with liquid for bubble-free movement, swiftly points you toward the north.

This product has a magnifying glass, perfect for reading and navigating geological maps. The compass ruler scale of 1:25000 and 1:15k provides precise route mapping capabilities, making it an excellent choice for hikers, campers, and survivalists. It comes with a lanyard for added convenience, ensuring you always have it within reach during outdoor adventures. 

Constructed with high-quality materials, this compass is built to withstand the rigors of outdoor use. It's an ideal companion for kayaking, camping, climbing, or observing wildlife. Nonetheless, it would be best if the numbers could be a little bigger to read the map easier.

6 Coghlan's Map Compass
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Coghlan's Map Compass is a reliable companion for hikers who prefer map navigation. Its see-through base and rotating liquid-filled housing make it easy to align with map details and determine your heading accurately. This compass features scales in inches, millimeters, and 1:25,000 readings, ensuring precise measurements for effective route planning.

The jeweled needle and luminous pointer are invaluable features, allowing you to navigate confidently even in low-light conditions. Whether you're a novice hiker or an experienced adventurer, this compass is designed to meet your needs. Its user-friendly features and precise readings ensure you can easily navigate any terrain. 

One minor drawback is that the markings on the bottom of the compass can leave marks on paper maps if not used with a light hand. But this can be easily managed by practicing caution and using a soft touch while navigating.

7 TurnOnSport Boy Scout Compass
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The TurnOnSport Boy Scout Compass is a must-have for anyone venturing into unfamiliar territories. Its adjustable declination dial ensures accurate readings, allowing you to navigate confidently. This compass features an azimuth bearing and a 360-degree rotating bezel, making it easy to read and navigate on cartographic maps. The waterproof design ensures its functionality even in challenging weather conditions, and the glow-in-the-dark feature provides visibility during nighttime excursions.

It has a sighting mirror that lets you view the background and compass dial simultaneously, aiding in precise alignments. You can effortlessly adjust the orienting arrow with the mirror open at a 45-degree angle. Additionally, the protective cover keeps the compass safe from damage, making it ideal for kids and adults.

Nevertheless, it may be quite hard to adjust the first time, but you can get used to it after some use. Overall, the TurnOnSport Boy Scout Compass is a reliable, feature-packed navigation tool that ensures accurate readings and enhances outdoor adventures.

More To Consider

8 Gejoy Backpacking Compass
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9 Sun Company ProSight Compass
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Sun Company
10 The New Antique Store Backpacking Compass
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The New Antique Store

Things you are expected to understand when you buy the best compass for backpacking

The internet is a platform in which you can get almost everything you want. Finding the best compass for backpacking on whatever you need to know about how something works is an incredible guide for all of your needs.

Unfortunately, because of so many various websites out there which are either fraudulent or untrustworthy, finding what you're searching for on a single website might be difficult. Many consumers are hesitant to purchase the best compass for backpacking because they are unclear if they are making the right selection.

The following post will explain four things to consider when purchasing a best compass for backpacking for your needs.


For hiking, the compass should include a declination and rotating scales, as well as a plate that has a ruler. The declination scale allows you to make adjustments to declination for specific areas, so the compass points towards magnetic north. While the rotating bezel lets you measure azimuth easily. When measuring distances on a map, a ruler is useful.


Although there are many affordable options for compasses, it is important to be able to rely on your instrument to get you where you need. It's not a question of safety, but it is a matter for life and death to have dependable and reliable compass.


Because it is possible for your compass to get knocked around in your pack or land on the ground, a hiking compass must be strong. It happens more frequently than you might imagine, particularly since you'll likely be using a map while hiking. The risk of it being dropped increases when you add a little wind resistance and gloves. We only selected durable items in this list.

Stability And Speed

It is better if the needle points north faster. You can be slower with older compasses. You might argue that speed does not matter when you're hiking or mountaineering, as you don't have to rush like orienteering race participants. You will want to get down as quickly as you can if it is bad.


The clinometer is usually found with an advanced compass and used to determine the slope angle (or rockbed for those geologists). A clinometer is a free-moving arrow that moves freely within a liquid capsule below the magnetized needle.
The feature was designed for mountaineers or backcountry skiers, and is used to assess avalanche dangers. This feature is unlikely to be used if you are hiking on maintained trails. This feature is essential for all students of geology.

Global Needle

Some compasses can't be used everywhere in the world. A compass that has a global needle is required if you plan to use your compass in any part of the world. It is usually indicated by the last 'G' in the description.
Compasses are sometimes only balanced in one of the two hemispheres for compasses which aren't global.


What is a compass?

A compass is a navigational instrument used to determine direction relative to the Earth's magnetic poles. It typically consists of a magnetized needle or dial that is mounted on a base or enclosed in a housing, and its primary purpose is to show the user which way is north.

What should I look for when choosing a compass for backpacking?

When it comes to backpacking, you want a compass that is designed for outdoor use and is durable enough to withstand the elements. Look for a model that is waterproof, has a clear baseplate with easy-to-read markings, and has an adjustable declination. Additionally, you'll want to make sure that the needle settles quickly and accurately once you stop moving.

How do I use a compass for backpacking?

To use a compass for backpacking, first orient the map to the terrain. This means that the compass and map should be aligned so that the north on the map is pointing in the same direction as the north on the compass. Once this is done, you can then use the compass to determine direction by aligning the needle with the map’s north arrow. Finally, you can use the baseplate to measure distances and angles between points.

What is declination and how does it affect my compass readings?

Declination is the angle between true north (the direction of the North Pole) and magnetic north (the direction indicated by a compass needle). Depending on where you are in the world, declination can vary significantly, and it is important to take this into consideration when using your compass. If you don't adjust for declination, your compass readings will be inaccurate. Most compasses have an adjustable declination feature to make this easier.


The most appealing aspect of this post is that it contains the top models of best compass for backpacking that clients require. It also sells reliable items and has a lot of positive feedback from customers. 

Then, you may buy items from well-known companies with confidence through this page since you know they are the greatest on the market. You will also have the opportunity to look at a variety of alternatives for your favorite, particularly the DETUCK Military Compass.

What is your favorite item? Please let us know! We're continuously on the lookout for new products and services to give our loyal consumers so that we may continue to provide them with high-quality goods at reasonable pricing.

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About Hailey Abbott

Hailey Abbott
Hailey Abbott is an outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer for CampfireHQ. She has a passion for hunting and fishing, which she often enjoys with her family and friends. Hailey also enjoys staying active through sports such as golf, basketball, and softball. Hailey has worked as an editor for several years, providing content that is both accurate and engaging. She has also had the opportunity to interview numerous experts in various fields. This wealth of experience gives her a unique perspective when writing about the outdoors and other topics.

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