Compasses - helping you keep your bearings on tour


Compasses are an essential piece of navigation equipment and belong in all backpacks. They are useful for determining your location and path finding. Though these tasks may not seem very complex, there is a great deal of variety when it comes to compasses. In addition to the needle and housing the features for the bearings are important. These include the capsule, the rose, the north-south lines and, depending on the intended use, a mirror.

High-quality compasses by manufacturers such as Suunto and Silva can be found in our shop.

Important features

Some minimum requirements should be met for orientation and positioning:

  • Capsule: The capsule is a movable ring on the compass with which you can adjust the degree of deviation from the north. Without this ring navigation and positioning is not possible.
  • North-South lines: It is important to make sure that the base of the compass is transparent. It should also have North-South lines. This allows you to align the compass on a map.
  • The needle: Ideally the needle should be damped so that it does not shake with every movement. This is sometimes achieved using liquid. Fluorescent markings that are easily recognizable at night are also practical.

Compasses for map navigation

A transparent base with north-south lines is particularly important for map navigation. Some compasses are also equipped with a ruler for determining distances and a magnifying glass for map details such as heights.

The mirror compass for correct bearings

A lensatic compass or sighting compass is always equipped with a mirror. Because the compass needs to be held level, it is difficult to see the needle and capsule when pointing at targets. A mirror allows you to take a bearing and adjust the deviation at the same time.

Different areas of use

Inexperienced hikers should always carry a compass. Even if you are familiar with your surroundings a compass can be handy in rising mist or hanging clouds.

Used in combination with a topographical map you can determine location, distances and sometimes even altitude. Compasses are therefore the ideal companion for hiking, trekking, touring, basically any activity where you don't want to lose your bearings.

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