How to Use a Suunto Compass

••• compass with map image by Paul Hill from

Explore America's Campgrounds

A compass is a magnetically sensitive instrument that determines direction relative to the Earth's magnetic poles. Suunto is a manufacturing brand that offers compact and lightweight compass models. Sunnto's compasses also feature a fixed declination correction scale for improved accuracy. Learning how to navigate with the Sunnto compass takes just a few steps.

Items you will need

  • Map

  • Suunto compass

Place the compass on the map so that its long edge connects between your starting point and your intended destination. Make sure that the Suunto compass's direction red arrows are pointing to your target destination.

Hold down the compass steadily and turn the rotating circular capsule until the North-South lines on its bottom are parallel with the North-South coordinate lines on the map. The N on the capsule should point to the North on your map.

Pick up the Suunto compass and hold it in front of you while making sure that the red direction arrows are pointing straight ahead. The compass's base plate should be in a horizontal position.

Turn your body slowly until the N on the bottom of the rotating capsule matches and lines up with the magnetic needle. The red end of the magnetic needle should point in the same direction as the arrow.

Look at the red directional arrows on the compass's base plate. This direction now points you to your intended destination.

Pick a suitable landmark such as a tree or rock towards the direction the Suunto compass's directional arrows point. Walk to your chosen landmark and once you reach it, repeat by finding a new landmark that is aligned with the directional arrows.


  • Avoid magnetic objects when using a compass because this can cause an erroneous compass reading. Do not have magnetic objects nearby such as pocket knives, audio equipment, belt buckles, etc.


  • Check the capsule consistently to make sure that it has not deviated from the set direction. Sometimes the capsule may get turned by accident which can cause an inaccurate reading.
  • Remember that the magnetic needle always points to the North Pole and the directional arrows show your travel direction, which isn't necessarily the North.