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The Best Survival Compass of 2024: Our top 5 Picks to Help You Find Your Way

Finding the right survival compass ensures you’ll never get left in the dark again. With all the endless selections out there, it can take a lot of work to pin down the right option for you.

That’s where we come in. We created this guide on the best survival compasses to help point you in the right direction.

Whether you’re looking for a durable investment piece to stand the test of time, or a cheaper option to help in emergencies, you’ll find the best option for your specific needs.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the best survival compasses to guide you on your way.

Survival Compass

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Sportneer Military Lensatic Sighting Compass

Budget Option
TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass

Best Miniature
MecArmy Titanium/Brass Grade Compass

Best Overall

Sportneer Military Lensatic Sighting Compass

Sportneer Lensatic Military Compass, Compass for Easter Gifts, Baptism Gifts for Boys, Catholic Gifts for Men, Camping Survival Compass with Carry Bag for Hiking Hunting Outdoor

The Sportsneer Military Compass snagged the top spot on our best survival compass guide for many reasons. With this professional-grade compass in your back pocket, you never have to worry about being led astray.

The lensatic design increases accuracy and gives you the most precise reading of your direction. Since you can measure azimuths and compass bearings, you can also use this option for map measuring without any hassle. This option also allows you to measure slopes and angles, making it ideal for mountain climbing or hiking in uneven terrain.

We also chose the Sportsneer Military Compass as our top pick because of the smart, ergonomic design. The metallic cover includes a glass window that provides an easy view of your direction. It comes with reference lines painted on the glass to help you orient your location without effort.

When nighttime falls, you can still read your location thanks to the glow-in-the-dark compass material. Just make sure to expose it to light to activate the fluorescent glow.

The frame was crafted with durability in mind and can withstand harsh conditions without breaking. It’s shake-proof, waterproof, and has a rugged construction that stands the test of time.

Sportsneer understands that the best survival compass is easily portable, so they included a belt loop attachment and a durable carrying case.

At an affordable price tag, the Sportsneer Military Compass is hard to beat and deserves the top spot on our best survival compass guide.


  • Lensatic function provides precise location measuring
  • Waterproof and shake-proof
  • Includes weather-proof case
  • You can measure maps and slopes


  • Lens has difficulty focusing

Best Budget

TurnOnSport Orienteering Compass

Orienteering Compass Hiking Backpacking Compass | Advanced Scout Compass Camping Navigation - Boy Scout Compass for Kids | Professional Field Compass for Map Reading - Best TurnOnSport Survival Gifts

We wanted to include an excellent survival compass that works with smaller budgets, and the TurnOnSport Orienteering compass fits the bill. It includes many features found in professional-grade compasses at a fraction of the price.

This magnet-powered compass will help you find your precise location without much effort. The bubble-free liquid capsule allows the magnetic needle to spin freely and point you in the right direction.

The waterproof acrylic baseplate material keeps the option incredibly lightweight, making it perfect for tossing in a bug-out bag or satchel. It comes with a lanyard, so you can also tote it around your neck for easy access.

The best features of this compass are the see-through material and built-in ruler, which makes measuring maps a breeze. Just place it on your terrain map and let it work its magic.

The only downside of this option is that it doesn’t glow in the dark, but at such an incredibly affordable cost, it’s a small price to pay.


  • Lightweight and waterproof material
  • Very affordable
  • Easy-to-measure maps


  • Doesn’t glow in the dark
  • Doesn’t include case

Best Mini Survival Compass

MecArmy Titanium/Brass Grade Compass

MecArmy CMP Titanium/Brass Grade Compass, Teardrop Shaped Survival Compass, Waterproof IPX5 Hiking Compass, Handheld Compass Easy to Recognize Direction (Brass)

We had to include a mini option in our guide to the best survival compasses, and the MecArmy brand does not disappoint.

This professional-grade compass is the perfect size to wear around your neck or attach to a keychain. It measures under a single square inch and weighs just 0.2 ounces.

Despite its tiny size, you’ll find many of the same features included in a more expensive compass.

The interface is simple to read and provides precise measurements. The numbers also glow in the dark, so you can see where you’re going even during a nighttime hike.

This compass is water-proof and performs in temperatures ranging from -10° F to 120° F. The combination of brass and titanium material carries a level of increased durability and also just looks plain cool.


  • Very small and lightweight
  • Glows in the dark
  • Aesthetically pleasing


  • Doesn’t offer map measurement
  • The number might be hard to read

SUUNTO MC-2 Compass

SUUNTO unisex adult Northern Hemisphere compass, USGS UTM, MC-2 NH US

SUUNTO created a top-of-the-line survival compass with some serious features. If you’re searching for a sound investment that will stand the test of time, this option is for you.

This compass has a clinometer and declination adjustment tool to help you measure the elevation angle. This feature comes in especially handy when hiking uneven terrain, alpine skiing, and mountain biking.

The SUUNTO compass uses a mirrored system to provide exact directional measurements and has been balanced for global use.

This option glows in the dark, so you can stay on course no matter the time of day. The see-through design makes it incredibly easy to measure maps, and you’ll find a sighting hole and a notch to make accurate bearings.

While the SUUNTO survival compass doesn’t include a carrying case, there’s a lid for ultimate protection and a lanyard with a wrist lock for easy portability.


  • Includes a built-in clinometer and declination adjustment tool
  • Has glow in the dark navigation
  • Uses mirrored system for increased accuracy


  • Doesn’t include a carrying case
  • Pricier than other options

AOFAR Military Compass

AOFAR Military Compass AF-4580 Lensatic Sighting Navigation, Waterproof and Shakeproof with Map Measurer Distance Calculator, Pouch for Camping, Hiking, Hunting, Backpacking (Camo)

The best survivalist is prepared for anything life throws your way, and the AOFAR Military Compass echoes this pledge. It’s well-built, sturdy, and designed to withstand any survival scenario.

This option uses heavy-duty metal to provide ultimate durability. It’s waterproof, shake-proof, and crafted to resist weather conditions without faltering. In other words, this compass is made to be your reliable sidekick in the unpredictable wilderness.

Despite the affordable price tag, you’ll find many impressive features to help you along your way. The luminous magnet arrow and dial glow in the dark, and the magnified viewer lets you easily read your exact location. You’ll also find an aiming line and slope chart for trekking through mountainous regions.

Reading terrain maps is a breeze with the AOFAR Military Compass. There’s a small ruler on the side that measures both inches and centimeters, and the measuring wheel helps estimate straight and curved distances.

The waterproof carrying pouch attaches to a lanyard, making it effortless to hang this compass around your neck. You can also connect it to your leather belt for easy access.

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty, professional-grade compass to lead you through the wilderness, the AOFAR Military Compass is hard to beat.


  • Durable, rugged design
  • Easy-to-measure maps
  • Glows in the dark


  • Bulkier than other options

Best Survival Compass: Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve learned about the top five survival compasses check out our helpful buying guide. Below, you’ll learn about the different considerations to ponder before making your purchase.

Map Measuring

Before buying the best survival compass, consider whether or not it includes map-measuring capabilities.

Being able to correlate the compass measurement to your topographical map can be a helpful skill for your next hike, canoe trip, or camping expedition. If you fall into this category, you’ll appreciate the TurnOnSport or the SUUNTO option for the best map-measuring capabilities.

However, this might not be necessary if you don’t plan on using a map on your voyage and just want a compass for emergencies.

Slope Chart or Clinometer

A slope chart or clinometer is another handy feature that you can find on some survival compasses. If you’re planning on climbing or hiking through a mountainous region, a compass that measures slopes can especially come in handy.

The SportsneerAOFAR, and SUUNTO all offer slope-measuring capabilities, which will come in handy when traversing elevated terrain. Whether skiing, hiking, mountain biking, or just living in a mountainous region, this feature is a must-have. If you live in a flat area, you won’t get much use out of a slope chart or clinometer.

Compass Material

Keep the material in mind when deciding on the best survival compass for you.

Many options we listed use metal to craft the base. This is the most heavy-duty material that will ensure longevity and protection against the elements.

Some options, like the SUUNTO and TurnOnSport, are crafted from industrial plastic, which might not handle durability as well, but they are lightweight and easy to map measure. Decide which feature is most important to you before making your purchase.

Lit-Up Backdrop

To be a good survivalist, you must prepare for every scenario imaginable. That’s why finding a compass that glows in the dark is important. You don’t want to be stuck in the dead of night without knowing where you’re going, so finding a glow-in-the-dark option is crucial.

Some compasses don’t offer this vital feature, like the TurnOnSport option. Still, the options that do offer this feature come with a catch.

in a warm spot so the liquid can expand to its normal volume.


Portability is another factor that will make or break your survival compass purchase.

When it comes to ultimate portability, we have to hand it to the MecArmy option for creating a tiny compass that’s easy to bring around. You can store it around your neck, on your keys, or in a pocket and forget it’s there until you need it the most.

The TurnOnSport compass would be the next best option, with a lightweight frame that measures a mere 2×4 inches.

The rest of the options might have better durability, but they falter slightly in the portability department since they’re bulkier and heavier. Still, some options like the Sportneer and AOFAR include a carrying case that increases the portability factor.

Best Survival Compass: Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you’ve found the best survival compass for you, check out some of the most frequently asked questions to guide you on your compass journey.

What compass does the military use?

If you want to purchase the best survival compass that’s up to military standards, look for a lensatic compass like the Sportsneer Military option. The army uses this variety because it is more precise than other compasses.

The reason why it’s called “lensatic” is because there is a lens on the rear side of the compass, which helps with the orienting process. This type has three main components: cover, base, and reading lens, all of which create a superior compass with excellent precision.

Is a liquid-filled compass better?

All of the options we listed in our best survival compass guide contain a liquid-filled capsule because this variety will provide more accurate readings.

The liquid, usually created from an antifreeze solution, slows the turning of the needle and makes it stop faster. This way, you’re not left with a needle spinning out of control when trying to find the right direction.

What can throw off a compass?

Compasses are amazing pieces of technology that allow you to see your location without any power source, but a few things can throw off your reading.

Be sure to use your compass far away from ferrous metals, including anything from your car to a metal picnic table.

Electric fields can also affect your compass reading and eventually cause damage to the magnet. Keep your compass away from your cell phone, laptop, running cars, or any other sources of electricity.

Can you use a compass with an air bubble inside?

The only downside of using a liquid-filled compass is its susceptibility to air bubbles forming inside. Although you may think this means the end of your beloved directional companion, you can actually still use your compass despite the air bubble.

These bubbles can form from high elevations or cold temperatures, which causes the liquid to contract and small bubbles to form. This won’t affect your compass’s accuracy, and you can continue to use it as usual.

Once you’re in a warmer spot or closer to sea level, this bubble should disappear.

Wrapping up the Best Survival Compass

We hope our guide helped you find the right survival compass for you. No matter what features you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with the Sportsneer Military Compass for the best affordability, accuracy, and durability.

Now that you’ve found the best survival compass check out our Navigation Page to learn how to use your new purchase.

You have to place your compass outside to soak up the sunlight, or else it won’t glow in the dark at night. In some cases, the glow will only last for an hour. The brightness and longevity of the fluorescent light will depend on how long the device was exposed to the sun, so keep this in mind when using your compass.