How to choose a compass

When the battery runs out in your GPS device and the phone loses a cellular signal, the only thing you can rely on is compass. This device has been known for centuries and still has not lost relevance, providing the ability to navigate even in those conditions when the sky is overcast, and around – an impenetrable forest. Of course, only when the compass is selected and set up correctly, and the traveler himself knows how to use it.

choose a compass

The best manufacturers. Which compass to choose?

In technical terms, a modern compass is a device that does not have any supernatural mechanisms, and therefore on sale represented by quality devices. When choosing a compass, give preference follows trusted manufacturers:

  1. Silva;

  2. Suunto;

  3. Brunton International;

  4. Sonar Inc.

You should also pay close attention not only to characteristics of a particular model, but also on the features of work with her, on the advantages and disadvantages. Find useful information easier everything on the Internet, only there are many reviews, describing the real situation.

Types of Compasses

All modern compass models can be divided into three main groups

Liquid compasses

Liquid Compasses

The most simple and at the same time accurate devices. Present a compact container with a liquid over which is fixed copper or aluminum coil with a ferromagnetic needle. On both on the side of it are two magnets that create a magnetic field. Turn the compass horizontally to determine the exact location can be fast enough. The liquid also gives additional stabilization of the arrow, greatly improving accuracy measurements.


  • Compact size;

  • Low cost;

  • No setup and calibration required;

  • High accuracy of measurements;


  • Tanks are usually made of glass and require utmost careful handling;

  • Do not suffer sharp blows and shaking;

Magnetic compass


Good old, known to each of us, device. It is a compact “round” with fixed inside a dial and a rotating hand, the red end of which magnetized and always points north. Define in this way own location, knowing where the north is, will not amount to no labor even in the darkest night.

The compass magnetic system is widely used not only in universal travel compasses but also in highly specialized models – military, geological, devices for navigation, astronomical and other compasses.


  • Small and easy to use;

  • Low price;

  • Unpretentiousness;

  • High accuracy of indications;

  • Ease of use;


  • May give incorrect readings if present nearby strong magnetic fields;

Electronic compass

Electronic compass

A modern analogue of the classical model with an extended functionality. The role of the arrow and dial is performed by the LCD with backlight, and the determination of direction is carried out using ingenious information estimation algorithms. On sale can be found advanced models equipped with GPS-navigator and capacious battery working for 4-6 days.


  • Exact determination of coordinates;

  • The presence of a GPS navigator in advanced models;

  • Ease of use;

  • Compact size;

  • High functionality;


  • It is necessary to charge the battery;

  • High price.

What are the main criteria for choosing a compass?

compass selection criteria

Dimensions of the case and its characteristics

Choosing a device of this class, its dimensions should pay close attention. Compass must be compact and do not cause discomfort during transportation and operation. Preference should be given to impact-resistant models. moisture and made in shockproof housing;

Compass type

When choosing a particular compass, you should focus on the above characteristics. If the device is purchased at as a kind of insurance and backup option, best of all purchase a compact water or magnetic compass. In the case of when the compass becomes the only device designed to Orienteering, it is best to prefer high-precision Digital compass with built-in GPS. Similar devices not only allow you to quickly determine the cardinal points, but also display the coordinates of your location.

Additional functionality

Advanced army or geological compasses may be equipped with an engineering line, a magnifying glass for usability, lighting designed for use devices at night, as well as a vizier, which simplifies navigation on terrain in the field. More functional are electronic compasses, on board of which there are various devices, up to a full GPS navigator and chartplotter, providing full navigation and allowing laying route.

The presence of a gyroscope

Not everyone needs compasses equipped with a gyroscope. However, such devices are indispensable for river navigation, as well as with aeronautics. The presence of this device allows the compass determine not the magnetic, but the true north pole, which is the maximum improves navigation accuracy and negates the negative impact all kinds of electronic devices that distort readings.

The presence of a barometer and altimeter

These devices are extremely useful for mountain climbing and multi-day expeditions. A barometer is a device that measures pressure, and according to his testimony, you can predict a change weather conditions. A sharp drop in pressure certainly means rain and thunder, and a constant, consistently high pressure – clear and cloudless weather. The altimeter is designed to measure height relative to sea level, this device is extremely useful travelers conquering the mountains. Using it is quite simple. monitor the progress of the expedition and analyze the altitude, on which managed to rise over a certain period of time.

In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose tourist lantern and secrets of choosing binoculars.

Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

Rate article
An online magazine about style, fashion, etiquette, lifestyle, and about choosing the best products and services.
Add a comment