I have three compasses and each developed bubbles at 4000m elevation (photo below).

Even the nifty Suunto had a bubble on the first trip. The best was the Silva (on the right of the photo), which developed a bubble only after a few trips to the mountain. These bubbles disappear again at sea level, but I am concerned about accuracy when used at this altitude.

Can anyone recommend a compass that doesn't develop bubbles?

photo of 3 compasses at 4100m elevation that each has a large bubble

  • Good question. Apparently many people think that the bubble needs to be there, but that seems to be wrong. I do remember though that I have read in the manual of my compass that a small bubble that exists under certain pressure conditions is nothing to worry about. Can't find the source for that, though.
    – PMF
    Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 11:10
  • 2
    Related: Compass bubbles: what to do about pesky air pockets in your compass fluid. Note that you can get a digital compass such as this although I am not making an actual recommendation. Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 13:40
  • @WeatherVane Thank you for the pointer to digital compasses. I didn't know they existed. I'll try to read up about their accuracy. I've also found compasses with thermo-elastic capsules, like the Kasper-Richter M1, but these seem to be sold out.
    – Norbert S
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 4:34
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    Does this answer your question? Is it normal for a compass to develop an air bubble at high altitude?
    – Martin F
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


Cammenga makes inductance-damped compasses that don't have liquid, so no bubbles.

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