The Best Survival Compass – A Buyer’s Guide

The Survival Compass Buyer’s Guide

Many people don’t realize the importance of having a high-quality compass when it comes to survival. Most do not understand that they could be in a life or death situation, whereby the only thing that they have as a reliable survival tool is their compass.

It’s often not until after a person is faced with a life-threatening situation – where they actually have to rely on a compass – that they realize how important a quality, high-level survival compass really is.

Worst of all, most don’t know how to properly use a survival compass.

This is mainly because we are living in a period where the majority of us rely on our own GPS navigation systems or the compasses that are built into our cellular phones. These secondary devices are not as reliable as many may think, (at least not from a survival standpoint.)

As a result, many hunters, hikers or other people who enjoy the great outdoors don’t even see the need for a high-quality survival compass in the first place. They have become confused or misinformed about the difference in the quality between the two types of compasses.

One major flaw is that secondary devices (cellular phones, GPS Navigation systems, etc.) must rely on batteries, which run low after a certain period of time.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a survival compass, think of it terms of being the only tool that you may have to save your life while hiking, hunting, or participating in other forms of outdoor activities.

compass-in-the-mountainsAudrius Meskauskas

Our Top List: Best Survival Compass

Scroll down to read our detailed reviews on each of these items, but you can check out the current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon by clicking the links above.

Survival Compasses Trusted by the Military

If you’ve put thought into purchasing a high-quality survival compass, you may be wondering what type of features a good high-quality survival compass should have. Some key indicators are those features that are found in compasses that are used by military service men and women and other military personnel.

Of all the users of survival compasses, no one relies on it more than members of the military. They must undergo various life-threatening circumstances that could lead them into places that they are unable to get out of, at least not without the use of a good, quality survival compass.

Manufacturers of military survival compasses have designed them to endure rigorous combat environments, save lives, be lightweight, durable, sand proof and waterproof, have the ability to function during the day or night, be maintenance free, be able to withstand temperatures between -50° to +150° F, have a bi-directional rotating bezel and an accuracy level of between +/- 0002.

More detailed information about what features buyers should look for when seeking a quality survival compass is provided in the sections below.

Size and Weight

Compasses that are lightweight and compact in size, make much better survival compasses than heavy, large or bulky compasses. This will be more obvious if you have several other items that you must carry and tend to while you’re on your journey. It could create an inconvenience by weighing you down.

Function’s Well During the Day or at Night

Compasses that contain Tritium Micro Lights are visible and capable of assisting users to continue their navigation when there’s very low-light. They can also be relied on without having to use a flashlight or lights from other external sources.

The great thing about Tritium Micro Lights is that they remain luminous for a period of up to twelve years.

In your search for the best survival compass on the market, it’s important not to confuse Tritium Micro Lights with Phosphorescent Lights. Phosphorescent Lights requires that it first have bright lights shined on it for a while before it can become visible in low light conditions. Additionally, the Phosphorescent Lights do not last very long after it has been illuminated by external sources.

The Tritium Micro Lights, that are used most by military personnel, glows at all times, without the need for additional external lighting or assistance. Compasses containing Tritium Micro Lights, which are high end, reliable lights, are known to be used by both the combating military personnel and law enforcement personnel as well, and on a worldwide basis at that.


Compasses that are waterproof make much better survival compasses than those that are not. If you are in a combative environment or in other types of survival environments, there’s always the chance of the compass being exposed to different weather climates. This will require that your compass be designed to withstand all types of weather conditions.

Having a reliable survival compass on hand during the rain, snow or otherwise, could prove to be the difference between life or death should your compass get wet.


If you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely must rely on a survival compass, it’s crucial to have one that’s fully reliable; one that will guide you in one specific direction as opposed to guiding you into a circle – only to leave you right back where you started from, which could also be life threatening.

Other Features to Consider Prior to Purchasing a Survival Compass

Another feature to look out for prior to making a final decision about purchasing a survival compass includes a compass with a magnifying lens. Sometimes while outdoors, you may find yourself in a strenuous situation and notice that your vision has become more blurred than normal, making it difficult to see clearly. Its at that time that a compass with a magnifying lens really proves to be useful. Those with sight wire as well as a dial in graduations that are available in both degrees are also great additions to a survival compass that buyers should look out for as well.

To help further provide you with the assistance you need to make the best purchasing decision possible, included with this guide are some of the top survival compasses in the marketplace today.

The Best Compass for Survival

One of the best compasses for survival is the Cammenga Official US Miltary Tritium Lensatic Compass, Clam Pack

This device includes great navigation abilities in low light environments. It’s made with a cast aluminum frame and is also waterproof. The Cammenga Compass has been designed to withstand very rigorous conditions, including extreme shock and extreme weather conditions.

This survival compass is considered one of the best in the industry because it is relied upon by not only military soldiers but also by government agencies such as firefighters, police officers, rescue squads and others government staff.

It has the ability to withstand climate capacities from ranges of -50° to +150° it also has an accuracy level of +\- 0002 and 10-year luminous life expectancy.

Although this product was well received, some users indicated that this particular model is not the official US military model as claimed.

The Best Compass for Hiking

The best compass for hiking is the Copper Glow in the Dark Compass from Sharp Survival.

The number one, best compass that is most commonly used for hiking is a glow in the dark, military compass that contains 360° of rotating bezel which makes it easy to navigate and orienteering.

This compass glows in the dark which makes it much easier to read, regardless of what the weather conditions may be. It also allows you to know north at any time of the day or night.

This compass is small yet convenient and easy to handle during camping outings. This particular compass is also very high quality and has a very classic style. It is also exceptionally accurate so that you never have to wonder which specific direction is north.

This compass can be easily and conveniently stored with all of your other emergency survival supplies. This compass is said to be very reliable by its users with one of its greatest features being that it glows in the dark.

Best Compass for Backpacking

The Cammenga Phosphorescent Clam Pack Lensatic Compass is very versatile. It is great for hiking, camping or backpacking. This particular compass is extremely accurate and is very conducive to high stress or military situations. It can be taken anywhere as it is waterproof and comes with a convenient carrying pouch and a clip for the belt.

If you happen to be out at night, while it’s pitch dark, you can still read this particular compass because of its luminescent paint.

One of the drawbacks of this compass, however, is that you must shine an external light, such as a flashlight onto the compass for a few seconds so that the dial glow, which it will do for several minutes. This is an inconvenience that must take place with this particular brand.

However, one great feature that it does have that is not found on most compasses is that the whole dial turns as the direction arrow turns. Its navigation is also very simple to use.

Best Small Compass

The Compact Tracker Button Compass is pressurized, filled with oil, compact and yet of extremely quality. This particular compass is relatively small in size, at only 20 mm, making it very convenient for pockets or for survival kits.

One of the drawbacks about this compass is that it can only be used as a guide, but it is not designed to provide detailed information. It is most known for being used as an overall general aid in identifying a specific location, but suitable for orienteering. It was originally used as a compass during invasions – such as when pilots were down in an unfamiliar area.

This button compass was designed small, yet durable. Another drawback is that it’s never been considered the primary source for obtaining accurate direction.

Leave a Comment