Which Backpacking Compass Among Dozens On The Market Should you Pick?

Written by Steven Masters

If you’re heading into the wilderness at all you should always have a compass. The compass you choose is going to keep you better protected because you’re always going to know where you are and where you’re heading. Not only that, but it should offer you a quick and easy way to get your bearings and to keep the compass handy for the next time you’re going to need it.

List of Top-Rated Backpacking Compasses

Product ImageProduct NameCaseWaterproofCarryMore Information
1. CMMG Official US Military Tritium Lensatic Compass1. CMMG Official US Military Tritium Lensatic CompassYesYesLanyardMore Information
2. Dalvey Desktop Sport Compass2. Dalvey Desktop Sport CompassNoNoPocketMore Information
3. Coleman Compass with LED Light3. Coleman Compass with LED LightNoNoLanyardMore Information
4. MecArmy Keychain Compass CMP4. MecArmy Keychain Compass CMPNoNoKeychainMore Information
5. SUUNTO MC-2 USGS Mirror Compass5. SUUNTO MC-2 USGS Mirror CompassYesNoPocketMore Information

The Best Backpacking Compasses Reviews

1. CMMG Official US Military Tritium Lensatic Compass

This official compass is designed to be used by the US military and that means you’re getting something you can count on. It’s a high-quality piece that will let you know where you are and which direction you’re heading every time.

Overall Features

This compass is designed to give you everything you need to know when you’re heading out into the wilderness. You’ll be able to tell exactly where you’re heading and which direction you should be heading in as well. All you have to do is put the lanyard around your neck or put the pouch in your pocket and be ready to go.

This compass is actually waterproof and fits right on your belt clip if you prefer. Not only that but it’s the official compass that’s used by the US military, so you know you’re getting something that’s high quality and durable.

Construction and Visibility

This system is actually functional from -50°F all the way to 150°F. That way you know you’re getting something that’s durable and ready to go when you are. What’s even better is that this system can eliminate in low light conditions and will be able to do so for over 12 years, so it’s going to last.

With this unit, you’re getting a fully waterproof compass that’s made with cast aluminum to provide added durability. Designed to provide accurate readings in both degrees and mils, this compass is definitely going to have you going the right way.

Does This Compass Come With a Bag?

You’ll get a small bag included with this compass which is made of canvas. This helps to keep it protected when it’s not in use.

Can You Use This Compass At Night?

You’ll need a flashlight in order to see the dials on this flashlight at night but it does have a luminescent accent to it so this is easier.

This compass is definitely high quality if it’s being used by the military and it comes with a bag to keep it safe so you’re getting something that you can count on.

2. Dalvey Desktop Sport Compass

This compass looks probably a lot like you would expect and it’s a very unique style as well. Great as a gift, this one looks like an old-style pocket watch but when you open it up, you’ll be able to get your bearings instead.

Design and Style

This compass isn’t just meant to be used for your basic directions. It’s actually a special piece that you can use as a celebratory gift for someone who is important to you or to recognize a special milestone. It’s a sleek silver exterior and features space for you to engrave it as well.

On the inside, the compass portion looks very simple but stylish while the reverse side features an elegant design that really enhances the beauty of this gift. You’re going to have no problem finding someone who will love it.

Overall Features

Sleek and modern, this is a compass that’s meant to be shown off rather than used while your trekking through the wilderness but it’s definitely going to work for that purpose as well. You’ll be able to take it with you and be sure that you’re getting an accurate reading.

What’s really important about this one, though, is that you’re going to want to put it up somewhere and show it off instead of using it because of how great it’s going to look each time that you do. Everyone you show it to is going to be more than impressed.

Can You Engrave This Compass?

You actually can have the back of this compass engraved to say whatever you like and to turn it into a high-quality gift.

Is This an Authentic Dalvey Compass?

It definitely is and you’re going to get it directly from the company in Scotland. It comes with all of the legal paperwork as well.

This is a high-class compass that’s going to create a great impression and give you a whole lot of style at the same time.

3. Coleman Compass with LED Light

This is a simple compass but it’s one that you’re going to appreciate because it’s designed to keep you going even in the dark. It has a backlight that lights up with an LED so you can see where you’re heading no matter how dark it gets.

Overall Features

This simple Coleman compass is made by a company that’s well known for outdoor products, which means you know it’s going to be high quality. You’re not going to have to spend a fortune in order to get this one either, which means you can easily pick it up to use wherever you go.

This one comes with a push-button LED light and also has the 8 directional reference points. It uses batteries for the light in the background and it even has a lanyard so you can put it around your next and head off wherever you want to go.


When you’re looking to read this system, you’ll have a liquid fill on the inside that helps to make the reading even more reliable. The bezel also rotates with the degree marks so you can make sure that you have the right angle.

With this system, you don’t have to worry about misreading because it’s super simple and the entire process is designed to make sure that you can find your way out of the wilderness if you ever end up lost. You’ll be able to read this compass and find your way back home again in no time.

Would This Compass Be Good For Children?

This is a great compass to start teaching your children how to read one and how to get their bearings with just cardinal directions.

This compass is a good one for those who want to start learning more about following directions with nothing else and for children.

4. MecArmy Keychain Compass CMP

This is a small compass that will easily fit on your keyring or can be put on a string to wear around your neck. It’s convenient and out of the way when you don’t need it but definitely easy to read when you do want to follow it.

Size and Function

This simple compass is actually quite small, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to work for you or that you should get something different instead. It’s super easy to attach right to your keychain, which makes it more convenient when you’re heading anywhere.

This one is also easy to use and fits in the palm of your hand. You can hold it easily and let it point you in the right direction. That’s going to make it easier for you to know where you’re heading whether you’re in the wilderness or in the middle of town.

Overall Features

This compass has a teardrop shape and is super easy to hold onto. It’s also available in 2 different tones so you can choose something that matches your personal preference. When it comes to using it you can either attach it directly to a keychain or you can put it on the included chain to wear.

The system inside this one has encapsulation technology to make it extremely sensitive and it also has a luminous display so you don’t need to worry about trying to read it when there’s no light. On the other side, you don’t have to worry about it when there’s a lot of light either because you’ll still be able to see and get a strong reading from it.

Is This Compass Made With Titanium?

It is actually made out of TC4 titanium so you can trust that it will be durable and that it will last for a long time.

Is This Compass Waterproof?

The compass is more water-resistant than waterproof. It’s not designed to be submerged in water but can handle mild water exposure.

This compass is small and lightweight and it’s also very easy for you to store out of the way when you don’t need it.

5. SUUNTO MC-2 USGS Mirror Compass

This compass is simple but definitely accurate, giving you the lines you need to follow and making sure that you can see the compass bearings at all times. It’s also foldable and easy for you to store in a pocket or a bag while backpacking.

Design and Function

This compass is easy to use because all you have to do is flip it open and the compass dial is right there. It even has reference lines and marks to make it easier for you to pinpoint exactly where you are compared to where you want to be heading.

This compass is actually made with high-quality engineering and it’s intended to work all the time without ever needing batteries. That way you don’t have to worry about running out when you’re in the middle of the woods and need help getting out.

Overall Features

This system is easy to hold and easy to maneuver so you can find north with no problem. It’s also easy to fold up when you’re not going to be using it. That makes sure it’s better protected and you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to keep it from being dropped or scratched.

You’ll get the kind of directional assistance that you need without having to worry about any kind of additional features or any extra tools that you might need. This compass will take care of what you need but it’s not designed to do anything else. The basics are what’s going to keep you safe when you’re trying to get out of the wilderness though.

Can You Adjust the Declination on This Compass?

You can, which means that it’s designed for use anywhere in the world. You’ll be able to take it on all of your trips.

Does This Work Well Even in Cold Weather?

This compass is designed to work great even when the weather turns cold so you can continue to keep your bearings and sense of direction.

This is a great compass for anyone who needs to keep their bearings but isn’t able to do it on their own. It’s great for heading out of the trails and finding your way back.


Any of these compasses are going to help you stay connected with where you are and where you’re going. You’ll be able to easily keep track of what you’re doing and make sure that you don’t get lost along the way. They’re also easy enough to read so you don’t have to worry about a learning curve when you pull it out for the very first time. You’ll be able to start out on that first trip as soon as you open your compass. What’s really great is you’re going to have no problem enjoying your trip and you’ll only need to pull out that compass again if you want to try out your skills or if you’re actually lost. Just having the compass available though will be enough to help you feel more comfortable and confident along the way. No need to worry about anything as long as that compass is there waiting.

About the author


Steven Masters

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