How to Choose: Compasses

How to Choose: Compasses

Is it time for a new compass? Curious about the different options available? Let us help you determine the best option for you.


  Model 2 Model 3 Model 8 Model 9 Model 11 Model 22
Price* $58 $58 $58 $58 $40 $31
Speed/Stability Fast Stable Stable Super stable Good Moderate
Face Display Compass degrees Compass degrees Rainbow colours Clear Compass degrees Compass degrees
Special Features     Coloured housing allows for quick rough bearings      
Available Plates All Moscompass Plates
To order     Click here Click here   Click here


Moscompass Plates Baseplate Left Open Right Open Left Closed Right Closed Wrist Plate



  Race Jet Race S Jet Race Plate Zoom
Price* $75 $75 $75
Face Display Clear Rainbow colours Clear
Special Features   Coloured housing allows for quick rough bearings  
Available Plates Left or right thumbplate Left thumbplate  Baseplate
To order Click here 



  Str8 Compass
Price* $90
Face Display Clear
Special Features

Adjustable thumb angle

Anti-slip map gripper

Available Plates Left or right thumbplate
To order Click here

*If price on chart and price on product page are different, price on product page is taken as accurate.


Factors to Consider when Choosing your Compass

Target Audience

We offer the Moscompass Models 11 and 22 as affordable options for school, cadet, scout, guide, and other groups.  For recreational and competitive orienteers, we recommend Moscompass models 2, 3, 8, or 9, and any of the Silva or Str8 compasses.



When selecting a compass, one of the first things to consider is the type of plate you want.   We generally recommend thumb plates for orienteering.  If you are more familiar with a baseplate, it may take a few tries out in the woods with a map to get comfortable with the thumb, but we think you will learn to love it relatively quickly.

The thumb plate allows you to keep map and compass together and helps you keep in contact with the map.

Left or Right

If you choose a thumb plate, you want your compass in the same had you like to hold your map.  It is not related to whether you are left- or right-handed.  By the way, if you choose a MosCompass, you can watch this video to learn how to switch a compass from left to right if you ever change your mind or lend it to a friend.

Open or Closed

This is only an option for MosCompass thumb plates, and it is entirely personal preference.  Some people like the open as they feel it gives their thumb a better grip on the map.  Some prefer the closed as it gives them a longer red direction line to point them forward.

Silva compasses come with open thumb plates.  Str8 compasses use the anti slip pad rather than the thumb to grip the map.

Adjustable Thumb Angle

If you feel that you might hold your thumb compass at a bit of angle and your direction line isn’t pointing straight ahead of you, then this feature of the Str8 compass might be right for you!


Reaction Time and Stability

Consider whether you want a quick reaction time of the needle and less stability in pointing your direction, or a bit slower to get there but more stable when it is there.

Face Display

Orienteers tend to NOT look at the degrees on the compass.  The “rainbow” version (available in Silva and Moscompass) allows you a quick glance at your compass for the direction you want to run.