At Str8 we believe that the best fitting compass will enhance orienteering skills. In each individual hand size and unique orienteering technique is a challenge to customise the connection between map and compass.  Str8 helps connects you to the map better.


 Determining factors in choosing a compass size on best connecting Map to Compass

  1. Hand Size

Like gloves or any other personal fitting product, compasses can be fitted according to size. Consideration should be made of the connection between map and compass in a ergonomic way and hand size has a direct correlation  A smaller size compass is ideal for a small hand as much as a large size compass is best for a large hand. While this is most likely the case other factors can change this.

  1. Orienteering Technique

Each orienteer has their own unique way of finding controls, their own technique. Amongst the many ways some use an exact point on the side of the main compass body as the connection to the map, others a zoned area off the side and many the point or tip of the main pointer. Whichever way your technique takes you can be part of determining what size compass to chose. 

  1. Line of Sight

The main pointer on a compass is the line of sight. The longer this is the better line of sight we have when taking a direction. If you prefer a longer line of sight then a larger compass could be more suitable.

Note* All Str8 thumb compasses have twin outside pointing lines to assist in drawing more attention to the main line of sight. The Str8 magnifier has added line of sight stickers to achieve better dierection when running under magnification. 

  1. Technical Challenge

Some races have far more technical challenges than others. Not only tricky forest terrains but this also applies to intricate sprint areas.  In these circumstances many our best athletes prefer to have a more precise connection with the map and chose smaller compasses to suit.

  1. Traditions

The first ever thumb compass dates back to the 1980’s and since then not much has really changed in regard to the size. At the same time maps have changed and become far more accurate with greater detail. The map scales have changed a lot and now we can run on anything from  1:3000 to 1:15000. While accepting tradition is important, taking into consideration map details and scale is a factor that can affect compass choices

  1. Personal Taste

While we strongly believe compass size can make a difference to orienteering performance, ultimately the only thing that matters is personal choice and we at Str8 are the first and only to offer that choice.

  1. Who use what and why?

As a general guide people with larger hands tend to prefer the bigger size compass and those with smaller hands prefer a smaller compass. Forest orienteers tend towards a longer main pointing line compass like the Original or Kompakt while in more technical forest terrains the Kompakt has become more popular. For its greater precison. In really technical forest or action packed Sprint races the new Exsakt compass has become the go-to-size with many of our athletes choosing it at the recent WOC sprint including new world champion Megan Carter-Davies.




Dimensions : 91mm Long.  74mm Wide

Reach: 39mm

Suggested Hand Size Range:  Large Adult


The Original is the largest of the Str8 compasses and matches the approximate plate size of many other brands. The popularity of this size is linked with the original thumb compass dating back to the 1980’s. The advantage of the long pointing line is undeniable and perhaps the reason things haven’t changed much



Dimensions: 83mm Long. 72mm Wide

Reach: 35mm

Suggested Hand Size: Medium Adult


The Kompakt was the second stage and medium size of the Str8 compass model roll out. Initially considered unnecessary by some it has become almost as popular at the Original in a very short while. The advantage of a closer connection with the map and in particular the pointing tip while not losing the advantage of the flat map surface under the plate has made this size a revelation. It is now the go to size for most sitting between  the larger Original and Smaller Exsakt.



Dimensions: 76mm Long. 72mm wide

Reach: 30mm

Suggested Hand Size: Small Adult


The Exsakt is the final piece of the Str8 compass sizing puzzle. Aimed directly at best ever  contact with the map the Exsakt has instantly proven a success with a World Championships win and many best ever results at WOC while still in its prototype stage. With the same exacting needle characteristics and precise fit of the magnifier, there is no compass as brilliant in innovations as the Exsakt in moving navigating forward with the times.


Str8 Evo

Dimensions: 89mm Long. 74mm Wide

Reach: 37mm

Suggested Hand Size: One size fits all


The Evo is the ideal high performance compass at a mid level price. Carrying over many of the features of our premium compasses with a size that sits between our two most popular models. Compatibility with the magnifier, the universal sizing and reasonable price makes this a simple choice.