Suunto Arrow 20

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Weight 33 g / 1.2 oz
Dimensions 57 x 114 mm / 2.2 x 4.5 in



Simple, effective baseplate compass with fast-settling…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $66


Simple, effective baseplate compass with fast-settling needle.


  • Fast settling needle
  • Easy to read dial


  • No declination adjustment
  • Expensive

I purchased the Suunto Arrow-20 for general wilderness navigation and occasional orienteering events. The Arrow-20 is a conventional baseplate compass fitted with a millimeter scale and an oddball 1:15,000 map scale (probably intended for maps commonly used in orienteering competition). Circular and triangle cut-outs in the baseplate allow the orienteer racer to pencil in control markings on the map.  

The Arrow-20 has a large rectangular orienting gate for capturing its blocky, rectangular magnetic needle, along with meridian (orienting) lines in the base of the capsule so that the compass may be used as a protractor to measure bearings from a map. The Arrow-20 has a fairly long baseplate that is advantageous when marking lines of travel on a map, and is fitted with a hole for a lanyard.  The compass is marked 0-360 degrees in two-degree increments, and can be read to 1 degree of accuracy without difficulty.  

The main advantage of this compass is its very stable magnetized needle, which doesn't shake about and settles almost instantaneously — under 1 second. Unlike the wobbly needle or dial found on many competitive compasses (Cammenga, K&R), you can actually walk or jog with this thing and get fairly accurate compass bearings on the move.  This feature is also great for use aboard other types of wilderness transport, such as kayaks or canoes.  

For what it costs, this compass has one notable omission — there is no way to preset or pre-adjust magnetic declination — you'll have to compute that each time when transferring your magnetic bearings to the map or when taking a map bearing for use with the compass.

The Arrow-20 is not well-suited to navigation in darkness, as this model lacks any luminescent paint on the direction-of-travel indicator, orienting gate, or north end of the needle (you can of course use a small flashlight to illuminate the dial). At least the 'hi-vis' orange paint on the north end of the needle is fairly visible in overcast or dim light.  

Anyone who needs a high quality compass with a fast-settling needle, but who has no need for adjustable declination or a compass dial readable in darkness should definitely try out the Arrow-20.

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Manufacturer's Description

Visit Suunto's Arrow 20 page.

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

Make the right orienteering decision quickly with the revolutionary fast-settling needle of the Arrow-20 compass from Suunto. This baseplate competition compass keeps your direction-finding fast so you can race to the next marker with unsurpassed speed and precision.

- Mountain Gear

For competitive orienteering, the Suunto Arrow 20 Orienteering Compass features a fast settling needle for quick readings. The Suunto Arrow 20 has everything you need in a competition Suunto compass: an ergonomically shaped base plate for comfortable holding, dual and jewel bearings to accuracy, twin magnets, and marking holes for drawing control points. And the water-resistant print stands up to rainstorms. The Suunto Arrow 20 uses a Two Zone System to achieve precise measurement. Back in the day, users had to purchase a compass balanced for one of 5 different zones. Suunto compasses are balanced based on only the northern and southern hemispheres. This means that Suunto compasses balanced for the northern hemisphere also provide accurate readings in many northern parts of the southern hemisphere. The Suunto Arrow is designed for the northern hemisphere. If you are traveling very far south into the southern hemisphere, you may want to look for a Suunto compass balanced to that location.

- Altrec Outdoors

The Suunto Arrow-20 Compass is a top of the line competition compass for speedy direction taking


Free Shipping. Suunto Arrow 20 Competition Compass FEATURES of the Arrow 20 Compass by Suunto Available for northern hemisphere only Printing technology designed for active orienteers Dual and jewel bearing Twin magnets Wide plastic needle Ergonomically shaped base plate Control marking holes Extremely fast setting steady needle Comes with lanyard SPECIFICATIONS: Size: 57 x 114 mm / 2.2in. x 4.5in. Weight: 33 g / 1.2 oz Ruler Orienteering compass Baseplate compass Control marking holes Double bearing needle

- Moosejaw