The Best Pocket Compass for Hiking, Backpacking, and Mountaineering

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Whether you’re hiking, backpacking, or mountaineering, you’re going to want the best pocket compass for the job.

So many backcountry activities warrant a map and compass. The why is pretty clear: in case you get lost, you need to know how to find your way back to the trailhead safely. This could be from a day hike, weeklong backpacking trip, or multi-week mountaineering expedition.

But we get it, the amount you carry on a trip is important, and you don’t want to lug a huge tool around for a “just in case” incident. That’s why a compass is so perfect, especially one that fits snuggly into your pocket.

Though any compass works, here is the best pocket compass for these outdoor activities.

Why it Works for Hiking and Backpacking

 Best Pocket Compass - brunton and map

It doesn’t matter if it’s a day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, either way you’ll need a compass that’s compact, durable, and accurate. The best pocket compass for exploring the backcountry is the TruArc 15. Why? It contains a sighting mirror which aids in more accurate orienteering. It will also not lose polarity and resists magnetic interference to ensure that it will continue to function on your adventure.

If the TruArc 15 is still a little too much compass for you, there is also the TruArc 3, which is the no-frills version. This is for anyone who is getting acquainted with a map and compass. It’s perfect to test out on a day hike, and just as accurate to get you through the backcountry.

Why it Works for Mountaineering

best pocket compass - truarc 15

When you’re mountaineering, it is an entirely different experience from hiking or backpacking. The stakes can often be higher given the extremity of certain peaks. The TruArc 15 will still serve you well. Built with a triple clinometer system, this compass gives fast and accurate reference information for avalanche safety, which is vital when mountaineering. Mountains like Denali, located in Alaska, have seen avalanches slide as late as June, so it’s vital to have a tool that can read the terrain.

Compasses can be used to guide your travel, as well as help get you home in the event of an unexpected detour. Either way, it’s important to pick the best pocket compass for your outdoor needs.

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