Recta - More Than 100 Years of Heritage

How to Use


The first recorded use of the compass dates back thousands of years. The invention of the compass was based on the realization that a small piece of lodestone (a mineral composed of an iron oxide), when floated on a piece of wood in a bowl of water, would always turn and align itself in a north-south direction.

This primitive compass became more accurate when man invented the compass needle, a strip of metal that was magnetized by stroking it with a permanent magnet. When this magnetized needle was balanced on a pivot, it was able to rotate freely. The modern compass seen today was developed as late as the 1930´s when the standard air-filled compass capsule was filled with oil. This development eliminated the rapid and erratic behavior of magnetic needles and improved the accuracy and readability of the compass exceptionally.

When is a compass used, and what are the real benefits of these direction-finding instruments?

Whether for outdoor sport or for professional use, on land or at sea, a map and a compass are essential items in terms of safety equipment. They are the most important ways of taking appropriate and often life-saving decisions in critical situations such as unknown terrain, sudden fog, darkness, etc. Apart from their basic direction-finding purpose, many RECTA compasses also offer
useful additional functions such as the ability to measure heights or angles of inclination in sloping terrain, a feature which can be very important in determining avalanche risk for example. A RECTA compass can also provide crucial information for the solution of geographical and geometrical problems.

Baseplate compass

The baseplate compass is a practical, simple to use liquid filled compass that features a baseplate which is marked with a red arrow pointing along the long axis, and a rotating compass housing marked in degrees. Baseplate compasses are ideal for taking quick bearings and map use.

Mirror compass

The mirror compass features a mirror that allows you to view the compass dial and the background at the same time. The fact that the compass dial can be seen at the same time the reference point is aligned makes mirror compasses more desirable for taking accurate bearings.


The bearing is the angle between true North and the direction of travel and is also called the azimuth. The value of this angle (degrees, gons, mils) can be read directly off the capsule graduation.


A clinometer can be used for measuring slopes of terrain, heights, etc., and it is included in some RECTA compass models as a standard feature.

Recta Manual

Recta manual is available in 2 versions: