Choosing a Compass: Things You Should Know

By | February 14, 2017

Compass and maps are the essential factors when navigating outdoors activities like hiking in the Caribbean. Bad weather could indeed present itself unexpectedly, or you may get lost and want to find your way back, a compass, GPS or a map will come in hand. However, a GPS cannot be relied on your survival toolkit because they only rely on batteries and satellite signals thus becoming prone to disappointing you when you lose your course. It will help you navigate the map, identify features in the terrain, or pinpoint the exact location. There are various types of compasses out there in the market, and it’s your responsibilities to choose the one that suits your needs.

There are two types of compass a base plate and a sighting compass. A base light compass is a compass that is assembled on the transparent and flat surface while sighting compass is a compass same as a baseplate, but a mirror is attached to it. Avoid cheap compasses because they don’t have the fluid housing which typically helps enclose the fluid to dampen the needle and give accurate bearing. View our consumer’s compass reviews and rating to get a good reliable compass for hiking. The following are factors to consider when choosing the best compass for hiking.

Speed and Stability

Having a faster compass needle that shows north is always the best preferred by professional hikers. Having an old compass will slow you down. Other hikers may say speed is not significant when hiking because you are not in a hurry but in case of bad weather, and you want to find your way back you will have to consider the speed of the pointing needle.


This is one of the most significant aspects of a good compass. Ensuring you have a compass that can provide accurate bearings for an extended period of time is paramount. If you drop the compass and shatters, it will be useless therefore it needs to survive in sub-zero temperatures and withstand in case it falls on the rocks.

Luminescent Dial

This will make it easier for the hikers with poor visibility condition to read effectively by glowing in the dark. The indicators can be mounted on the four cardinal points, orienting arrow or the magnetized needle. A sudden storm can emerge and darken when the sun is high above. Therefore even if you not hiking or camping at night you will probably need one to read in the dim light. There are two types of compass illumination the light powered, and the battery powered so choose the one that suits your needs. Battery powered illuminate more light. However, the battery will run dry eventually, while light powered compass use a portable light (flashlight) or the sun.

Bearing Accuracy

Consider how the compass is precise and accurate to the reading. A compass with various increment to measure the degrees and has a large face is usually the best. Check for the brand name or the company on online stores and compare them.

Global Needle

A compass with a global needle will perform efficiently on any part of the map that you want to hike. It performs better unlike a normal one this is because it can’t be used unless it is completely flat. Normally the earth magnetic field will incline the global needle while obdurate it’s normal motion.

Declination Adjustment

Always purchase a compass with declination adjustment which is a convoluted pointing arrow. Declination is the difference between magnetic North and the true North. If hiking for long distant adventures the declination presents an error which becomes more significant. For short adventures, the declination error causes no intense deflections. The declination adjustments assist you in conforming the compass’s readings to contemplate the magnetic declension of the place you intend to travel. It helps you eliminate any errors resulting from the deviation between the magnetic North and the true North.


Always consider buying a compass that will assist you in assessing the steepness of the slope.


The compass should be small enough to be carried easily and comfortably without affecting your other activities or be hanged around with a lanyard on your neck.

Magnifying Glass

This feature will help you study the markings on the map at close range. It is mounted on the base to read small text on the map.

Sighting Mirror

Choose a compass with sighting mirror to help you aim the distant landmarks which will be used to assert the directions. You will be able to sight the direction or an object with the capsule of the compass visible co-occurring.


Always carry a lightweight device that you can be able to take anywhere in your hiking adventure especially for long hiking trips.

In Conclusion

The profile for anglers searching the best compass to purchase is diverse. There isn’t any compass that will satisfy the whole spectrums of anglers. Therefore, when choosing to buy the best compass considers your needs and some of the greatest features it has.