The Very Best Compasses for Hiking
- 1 The Very Best Compasses for Hiking
- 2 Best Compass for Hiking- Buying Guide
- 3 Suunto A-10
- 4 Suunto A-30L Field Compass
- 5 Silva Ranger 3
- 6 Adventure Warehouse Navigation Compass
- 7 Eyeskey Military Alloy Compass
- 8 Cammenga Lensatic Compass
- 9 Core Survival Paracord Survival Bracelet
- 10 GWHOLE Military Lensatic Sighting Compass
- 11 Suunto-M9 WITH Velcro Strap
- 12 Conclusion
Ok, picture this…the weather is perfect, you have all the gear you need & the perfect pair of hiking boots, then suddenly….half way through your hike your compass fails, there’s no signal and you’re as we say in the UK… fu**ed.
If only you’d invested in a more robust compass, you wouldn’t be in this situation, eh?
So here we are, trying to give you the answer to the question of what is the best compass for hiking uk trails & terrain? We’ll go over a few of the top products, along with providing a Buyer’s Guide of what you should really be looking for when purchasing a compass. So, without further delay, let’s get started! Starting with the Buyer’s Guide:
Best Compass for Hiking- Buying Guide
There are numerous brands of hiking compasses to choose from but finding the best among them may require more than just a little bit of due diligence. The following essential features should be considered when shopping for the best hiking compass:
This is one of the first things you should look out for when contemplating a compass to buy. You want to ensure that the compass has the right luminous features. A backlit compass will come in handy when you’re hiking at night or in poorly lit situations.
It will save you the trouble of reaching for a flashlight every time you want to use the compass.
A device that is not backlit is only useful during the day and may be rendered obsolete in lowly lit situations, especially if you didn’t remember to carry a flashlight.
Some compasses have been calibrated for a specific hemisphere’s magnetic variance. As such, it may not be possible to use these compasses in every part of the universe since their needles tend to drag when used in the wrong hemisphere.
When choosing a compass to hike with, opt for one that has a global needle. This will keep the compass relevant in any part of the world your hike takes you. They have been specially designed to account for adjustments in magnetic variance.
Also, remember to make sure that the needle is magnetized. This enables it to settle fast and saves you crucial time when reading the directions.
Analog vs. Digital
When you go looking for a hiking compass, you might have to decide whether you want a digital or analog model. On the one hand, digital compasses are battery-powered and need to be recharged, every once in a while, to remain useful.
This means you’ll either have to carry a portable charger or bring along a few extra batteries. On the other hand, analog compasses don’t require an external source of power.
They continue to work even after being in storage for eons. They’ll be the right fit if you don’t have a power source for a digital compass. Make a choice that best suits your preferences and situation.
You should always select a compass that comes with a sighting mirror. It ensures that you view your compass and your surroundings concurrently while also making the readings more accurate.
This feature reduces the likelihood of your compass misleading you. You can also use the compass to signal for help when you find yourself in a sticky situation.
A clinometer is paramount, depending on where you plan to hike. It makes it easier to gauge the slope and determine the nature of the trail you’re about to face. If you’re hiking during winter, it might alert you to the possibility of an avalanche and help you avoid the risk.
It proves to be an essential tool when mountaineering or hiking in winter conditions.
Some compass models come with a whistle, which can turn out to be a life savior when you find yourself in an emergency. A whistle is a survival tool that will alert fellow hikers to your predicament when you need help.
You can also use it to warn your troop of impending danger.
Usually, hikers have their way of sending signals; for instance, one sharp whistle means STOP whereas two sharp whistles mean COME TO ME. Three imply COME TO ME QUICKLY!
The compass you buy should be rugged enough to cope with the tough hiking conditions. You can’t have a compass breaking even before you reach your first resting spot.
Some models feature an anodized metal coating to increase durability. This also guards against corrosion and abrasion. The compass should also have the ability to survive high altitudes, as well as stormy weather, so waterproofness is something you should consider.
A reciprocal scale comes in handy when you want to find your position on the map. It shows the opposite bearing of the direction you are heading to. For example, you may find that a particular mountain is at, say a bearing of 200 degrees and there is a warehouse at 340 degrees.
The opposite bearings will, therefore, be 20 and 160 degrees respectively.
To establish your location in this case, draw a line on the map from the mountain in a 20-degree direction and another from the warehouse in a 160-degree direction. The intersection point of the two lines is your location!
Declination adjustments make for a safe hiking adventure. During navigation, there’s usually a “true” and “magnetic” south. The true south refers to the direction to the geographic South Pole whereas the magnetic south points in the direction of the magnetic South Pole.
Declination here refers to the angle that measures the difference in degree between these two points.
It is not constant and can change based on your location and time. A compass with a declination adjustment function will account for these changes to enable you to navigate safely without having to keep on calculating the declination.
Finally, you also have to check that the compass you’re buying has silicon feet. These help the compass to grip on the map and prevent slipping when you want to read the directions.
This may prove crucial during extreme conditions where you want to save time reading the map without inaccuracies.
The Suunto A-10 is a simple compass that won’t eat into your budget. It is easy to use and would make the perfect first compass for an inexperienced hiker. It comes with useful features such as a declination scale, bezel, and ruler. The compass has been constructed using scratch-resistant plastic to enhance durability.
It is liquid-filled, which allows the needle to settle quickly to enable you to save time when reading directions.
On the downside, the Suunto-A10 doesn’t feature a clinometer, sighting mirror, and magnifying lens.
However, there is a lanyard for effortless handling. Overall, this is a wonderful choice for newbies and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a simple navigation tool without too many advanced specifications.
Simply put, it’s perfect for hiking those tough trails!
Suunto A-30L Field Compass
The Suunto A-30 is a solid compass. This is another great product from a brand that has built a reputation for designing industry-leading navigation devices. The compass has a minimalist build but offers a durable and accurate performance.
It is cheap yet functional and comes with useful features for hikers in the outdoors. Firstly, it is fitted with a balanced pointer for the northern hemisphere. It is worth noting that most ordinary compasses tend to change their course, especially in countries such as Canada, Greenland, Russia, and Northern Asia.
This can make it difficult to read the exact direction. But with the Suunto-A30, you get an accurate and balanced reading.
Also, its high-grade steel needle comes with a jewel bearing that helps to enhance its balance. The liquid-filled compass allows for quick settling of the needle and smooth operation.
Furthermore, there is a declination adjustment that allows you to rectify the compass when you notice that it’s not correct. Overall, the A30 is a compact, lightweight, and sturdy device that will serve you diligently during your hikes. Its bezel is luminous and its snap-lock lanyard is detachable.
Silva Ranger 3
Silva is a reliable manufacturer when it comes to the market of compasses. Their products are known for their quality and should assure you that you won’t lose your way on your next camping expedition. The Silva Ranger 3 Compass boasts a sleek and nifty build, which makes it easy to carry on the go and user-friendly.
It comes with a sturdy baseplate with a rubber grip that increases the durability of the device while providing for excellent grip when using it. There’s a detachable safety lanyard to ensure that it is always within your reach.
You also get a declination scale in the capsule that can be used everywhere. A mirror sighting featuring a sighting hole makes for accurate bearing when reading the compass and luminous markings on the compass mean you won’t have a difficult time reading the compass in the dark.
Another thing to note, the compass has been calibrated in inches and millimetres to make for easy reading.
Although the Ranger 3 will cost you more than other brands, it offers a great performance that proves its value for money. The dial is crystal clear for effortless reading while the needle mount has been designed in such a way that it doesn’t stick when the compass isn’t flat on your hand or map. The only shortcoming on this compass is that the luminous feature isn’t as bright in pitch darkness and the neck strap is short.
Just because your budget is tight, it doesn’t mean you should risk getting lost in the middle of nowhere for failing to bring a simple compass. The Adventure Warehouse Compass provides you with one of the most cost-friendly options for a functional hiking compass in the market.
This device comes with a thick and secure baseplate that serves to keep everything in place. It also features a detachable lanyard, keeping the compass closer to you throughout the hike.
Three measuring scales have been included in its design (1:25k, 1:50k, 1:63k) while luminous points light up the compass for easy reading in poorly lit environments. The reading is further made easier by a magnifying glass whereas rubber feet help to keep the compass steady while reading it on the map.
The calibration has also been done in millimetres and inches on the measuring ruler that has been provided. Overall, this is a practical item that ticks all the boxes. Any avid hiker setting out on a trip would be wise to have it in their hiking gear list!
Eyeskey Military Alloy Compass
The best hiking compass for hiking uk trails is one that tells you the direction, calculates for you the distance, as well as allows you the freedom to roam in any kind of environment during a hiking expedition. This is precisely what you get from the Eyeskey Multifunctional Military compass.
The device is designed with a rugged engineering metal body that is also weatherproof, making for one of the most durable hiking compasses out there. You can comfortably use it in the outdoors come rain or shine! A fluorescent display that glows in the dark means that this compass remains readable at all times of the day.
The waterproof and shake-proof compass also allows you to engage in vigorous activities like climbing without messing it up. Another thing you’ll appreciate on this device is its high level of accuracy.
There is a built-in bubble level that lets you improve its efficiency by reducing errors when you notice them. The compass is highly versatile and can be applied in a range of outdoor activities.
Apart from hiking, you’ll also find it useful during camping, boating, fishing, mountaineering, exploring, etc. Finally, the Eyeskey Multifunctional Military compass is small, lightweight, and ergonomic; it makes for easy handling on the trail and comes in adventurous colors such as silver, green, and camouflage.
Cammenga Lensatic Compass
This is another impressive hiking compass that accounts for all the features you’d want in the ideal navigation tool. It is durable, waterproof, accurate, and can be used comfortably in the dark. The manufacturer used a sturdy construction to make for a durable device while still keeping it compact and lightweight. The best part is that you get all these amazing features without having to stretch your budget. The Cammenga Lensatic compass offers phosphorescent luminosity, which makes it visible in the dark. This means you won’t have to cut short your hike just because the night is setting in with the risk of losing direction.
The compass has also been constructed using cast aluminum for the frame materials and a sapphire jewel bearing, as well as an olive drab lanyard. This results in a rugged overall construction that allows the device to be used in all kinds of weather. It can withstand extreme temperatures the same way it can cope with endless downpours. The compass does not require any liquid in the damping process. It boasts a +/- 0002 accuracy and features a bi-directional rotating bezel. At 6.41 ounces, it is a lightweight device that will hardly tire you after a whole day of carrying it.
Core Survival Paracord Survival Bracelet
The Core Survival Paracord Compass Bracelet is one of the best compass’ for hiking uk terrain and trails. If you feel that carrying a compass around your neck adds too much clutter and interferes with your comfort, this light, and diminutive bracelet offers you a viable escape route without sacrificing the utility you get from a compass.
It allows you to tell your location accurately, just without all the bulkiness. This is a multipurpose tool that features a heavy-duty climbing rope for straps and a magnesium fire starter to go with a whistle and compass.
The bracelet remains intact on your hands at all times and there is no chance of you losing it. If you are embarking on a distant hike that forces you to carry limitless supplies, then the last thing you want to do is add bulky accessories when you’re already carrying a heavy backpack. This is just the tool you need for this. It is pretty compact, yet allows you to carry several items in single and simple bungle.
The Paracord bracelet appears short in construction but it is, in essence, quite long. In fact, it is around 10 feet long when deconstructed. It weighs only 601lbs and boasts an impressive rating from independent safety testing labs.
You can slide this compass bracelet up and around your wrist so that it is impossible to fall off.
It also comes off easily; just slide it back whenever you want to take it off. In short, this is a survival bracelet that carries a compass. It also features a range of tools, including a whistle that can sort you out during any emergencies you encounter in the depth of your hiking trails.
GWHOLE Military Lensatic Sighting Compass
The Gwhole Military Compass This is another useful product that will enable you to find your way to safety when you’re lost in the jungle. It comes with useful features that can be the difference-maker in such situations. The compass has a heavy-duty digital print cover with a camouflage design.
A conversion chart for gradient, distance, and angle has conveniently been included on the backplate. There are also sighting lines on the cover. Another feature that improves the quality of this compass is the adjustable diopter sighting lens that has been added.
You also get a variety of extra features such as a tripod screw hole on the base, built-in bubble level, folding thumb ring, ruler units on the side calibrated in inches and centimeters, thermo-elastic liquid-filled capsule holding a floating capsule, as well as a rotating bezel ring.
All these cool features make this compass quite versatile for you during a hike.
The package also features an 18” lanyard for increased practicality. Note that you have to expose the compass to light for the luminous features to work in the dark.
Suunto-M9 WITH Velcro Strap
The Suunto M9 is another compass model from Suunto that only proves their quality in the market of navigational tools. It comes with a nice and contemporary design that would be the perfect alternative to the traditional compass models.
This compass is worn around your wrist just like a watch and remains secured thanks to Velcro straps.
The straps are also comfortable to touch so you won’t feel any kind of discomfort after a whole day of wearing the compass. It is a reliable device that maintains high-performance wherever you find yourself. A luminescent display allows you to tell directions even in the dark, ensuring that the compass remains useful throughout.
Since it has been balanced for the northern hemisphere, it may not apply to people looking to hike in the southern hemisphere. It also features a jewel bearing. The compass is lightweight and water-resistant.
Its small build rids you of clutter when you are taking part in adventures that require the use of both hands. One complaint from users is that the Velcro strap somehow gives the compass a cheap feel, although you can always exchange with a strap of your choosing.
The only way to make sure that you’ll have a successful and fulfilling hiking adventure is by carrying all the necessary supplies during the trip. A compass is one of the devices you should always prioritise if you want to always remain on course. Choose any of the above models for the best hiking compass you’ll need for this.