A compass is an instrument that has accompanied the history of mankind. These little dials have helped sailors and soldiers find their ways for thousands of years. We might have never used one, but I believe we all know what they are, and why they are so useful. People tend to get tattoos of things that are important to them or that have a great symbolism in their lives. In that sense, it is very common to see men with compass tattoos.

Compass tattoo ideas

There are different types of compass tattoos for men. Many of them include the north star as an orientation insignia, the letters of the cardinal points or some other related objects. In terms of symbolism, it can be either literal or philosophical. All in all, they are very popular.

The Origin of Compass Tattoos

The compass is an instrument related to nautical themes. For this reason, many seamen opt for one of these tattooed on their bodies. It is believed that Spanish conquistadors were the first to use compass tattoos. Later on, sailors started believing that having one of these tattoos would protect them when at sea. In those days, being on a ship for days or months was a very dangerous enterprise. Having that in mind, these men chose the compass as their good luck charm. If we think about it, this made total sense. It was the compass what prevent them from getting lost and never returning home. In the same way, members of the military forces also have this little object in high regard. Compasses have been an essential tool for soldiers throughout history. Actually, an incredible thing about the compass is that it is still used by military personnel all over the world. For them, the difference between having one of these or not might be vital. Therefore, the symbolism of protection is still present in this group of men, which are very likely to get one of these tattoos. However, not only sailors and soldiers are allowed to get one of these tattoos.

Why Are Compass Tattoos Popular?

Compasses have other more philosophical symbolisms that can apply to everyone. Travelers, for instance, also look for that sense of guidance and protection. Those people who are avid to go places and meet new people and cultures have the compass as their insignia. Therefore, many of the members of this wanderlust tribe also boast proudly one of these designs on their skin. For many, having a compass tattoo might symbolize a period when they were lost and then found the right path for their lives. For others, it might be a reminder to never choose the wrong track. Finally, there are the ones who believe a compass represents the right things they do in life. These people think they are helping others or society, and the compass is a symbol of that path they chose. All these reasons and symbolisms are very similar, but also they have subtle differences between them. All of them very compelling and important. Compass tattoos for men are a great way to express a certain feeling or to seek protection from a higher force, while having powerful and varied designs.

Check Out The Best Compass Tattoos for Men


This simple black ink design is sure to make everybody do a double take. It depicts the compass embedded within a single arrow, representing direction in life. The simple yet intricate design ensures that the tattoo looks stunning, while the bold lines form a sharp contrast against the skin tone.


This black-ink wrist tattoo depicts the beauty of the compass. Extremely intricate, it is brings about the nuanced details of the device. Representing various directions, the multiplicity of arrows and sections within stand for the endless possibilities. Moreover, the bold black lines ensure that the entire tattoo stands out.


Embedding the compass within an arrow is the best way to depict setting sail along the right direction in life. This simple black ink design clearly symbolizes this. Made with bold black lines, it is perfect for those who’d like to keep it simple.


This compass tattoo is inked on alongside an anchor, portraying two very important aspects of life. While the minimalist black ink compass represents direction, the simple anchor shows how one must always remain rooted to their origins.


If you’re someone who loves the simple compass tattoos but considers the black to be too plain, check this incredible design out. It shows a beautiful compass that stands out because of the splash of colors in its background.


A compass placed alongside the map of the world can only mean one thing – wanderlust. So if you love to travel, this is the tattoo for you. While it only involves the outline of the map, keeping it simple, it is the intricate compass that makes the whole design look brilliant.


This beautiful tattoo depicts the compass connected to an anchor. While the bold black ink is clearly visible, what makes it pop is the splash of bright colors in the background! It represents success as you set sail along the right path in life, while always being anchored to your core values.


The only thing better than a beautiful compass is one that comes with a splash of color. This tattoo depicts the ever-so-popular design with a beautiful blue and light-lavender combination in the background. With purple highlights accentuating the background, the colors ensure that the focus is directed on to the simple yet beautiful compass in the forefront.


This is a beautiful compass tattoo idea for the traveler at heart. It depicts a minimalist device with a border around the bottom. The center is replaced by gorgeous hills during a starry night. So if you’ve fallen prey to the wanderbug, this is the best way to depict it.


A beautiful tattoo, this design is as popular as it is simple. The compass, here, is inked on in a raw yet simple manner, but the intricate details give rise to an unforgettable end result. The bold black lines form a beautiful contrast against the bare skin for optimum effect.

More compass tattoos for men on the next page…