25 Brilliant Compass Tattoos for Men

A compass tattoo is the perfect choice for a man who wants to show his sense of adventure and wanderlust. After all, a compass is used to find one’s way in unfamiliar territory. The compass tattoo can be designed in a number of different ways, from a simple nautical theme to a more elaborate design that incorporates other elements such as stars or anchor. Compass tattoos can also be placed on any part of the body, although the most popular choices are the forearm and the chest. Regardless of the design, a compass tattoo is sure to turn heads and start conversations.

1. Elemental Compass Tattoo

Most of the time, compass tattoos are associated with sea travels. However, it is also used for other sorts of travel. If you love nature and appreciate all its beauty in life, you might be inspired to have some natural elements in your compass design. How about some mountain peaks, pine trees, or leaves? Green is the color of wealth, and it also shows the world that you are a nurturing person. 

2. Simple Compass Tattoo

The simple compass tattoo design is perfect for laid-back men who prefer minimalist designs. It features crossed arrows with letters representing the four directions – north, south, east, and west. These fundamental elements make it an instantly recognizable image despite being stripped back.  The two crossed arrows also represent friends who traveled in different directions, but you share a bond that will not break. This design might be the perfect one to share as a best friend tattoo. 

3. Small Compass Tattoo 

For guys who are not into large and intricate pieces, a tiny compass tattoo is a meaningful design to choose from. It is minimal and straightforward, so it is also ideal for those getting inked for the first time. It suits various placement options, but it will look excellent on the wrist or at the back of the hand because you’ll be able to see it every day. However, if you want this ink to be somewhat discreet, have it inked on your foot to symbolize travel or behind the ear for your endless imagination.

4. Watercolor Compass Tattoo

Compass tattoos are appealing when done in black ink. But they look magnificent when done in watercolor technique. This unique and eye-catching design features the fluidity of watercolor. Instead of the usual blocks of color, your ink is beautifully colored with splashes and drops of paint. Thus you get a blended color effect. Watercolor compass tattoos have a unique and bold finish that you can proudly wear in apparent spots. But be sure to work with an experienced artist to have the perfect outcome.  

5. Geometric Compass Tattoo

Geometric tattoo style enhances any traditional image that you might want to have inked. It gives a novel and modern look to what could be an old but gold image. Geometric style tattoos feature dots, shapes, and lines to create patterns that are intricate and satisfying. It works wonderfully with simple, black ink and minimalist tattoos. A geometric compass is an attractive option for men who love an exciting and unique vibe. 

6. 3D Compass Tattoo

If you are looking for a compass tattoo that will genuinely stand out, opt for a striking 3D compass tattoo on your arm. This design features creative shading for the 3D image illusion. The artist can make this image look hyper-realistic on your skin. The component is an ideal placement for this because it is visible and moderate on the pain scale. This style will take time and effort to complete, so search for a specialist in this style. 

7. Viking Compass Tattoo

The Viking Compass, otherwise known as the Nordic compass, has long been used as a protective symbol that helped ancient Norsemen in their dangerous terrains. It has eight points instead of the usual four points. Protective runes also surround it. In Icelandic, it is called the Vegvisir, meaning “signpost” or way-finder. This ink design is an ideal choice if you are looking for a unique compass tattoo. It is also an excellent choice for paying tribute to your Scandanavian heritage. 

8. Nautical Compass Tattoo

Compasses are instrumental in ocean voyages for generations. A classic nautical tattoo represents faith and hope in finding your way back home. This tattoo is ideal for men who like technical and mechanical designs, like sailors who want to connect to their roots. Nautical tattoos are angular and masculine. You may enrich its nautical feel by adding other elements like degrees, ropes, or an anchor.

9. Broken Compass Tattoo

If you are looking for a tattoo design that will express a significant turning point in your life, you might relate to what a broken compass tattoo represents. A broken compass tattoo is associated with changing paths and making your own decisions. It may also serve as a tribute to a loved one who has passed away.

10. Star Compass Tattoo

Men who are into minimalism will appreciate a classic compass tattoo design. A star compass tattoo features long points accented with black shading creating a slight 3D effect. Compass tattoos are typically related to traveling, but including the Star links it with the Navy. Star compass tattoos are often seen on ocean maps, and the design is often adorned with nautical symbols. This tattoo design evokes an air of discipline and sophistication.

11. Compass Rose Tattoo

Both the compass and rose are popular tattoo elements. When combined, they feature a classic charm and appearance. Some love how trendy it looks, but others choose to have this combination because of its meaning. Roses symbolize love, and when a compass is included in the design, it represents the power of love that guides you through life. 

12. Heart Compass Tattoo

The heart is a universally recognized symbol of love and passion. Combined with a compass tattoo, it creates a meaningful design that you might find very appealing. A heart compass tattoo represents the guiding force in your life and trusting your instinct. Some men prefer the anatomically designed heart tattoo, but there are various options for you to explore if you like this combination. You can have it inked in Old School, artistic or neo-American style.  

13. Small Compass and Wave Tattoo

Not everyone prefers detailed and intricate tattoo pieces. If you want something quick and easy, a simple and small compass tattoo will work for you. But if you’re going to add an element that deepens its meaning, the sea or wave ink makes for a beautiful combination. It shows that you seek salvation and that you dare to face your storms.  

14. Anchor and Compass Tattoo

This classic nautical ink combination features the anchor and the compass. Individually, anchors are associated with feelings of safety, protection, hope, and stability. Sailors often earn an anchor tattoo once they have successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Combining the anchor and compass in a tattoo design represents grounding and guidance in your life. Some men choose to personalize this design by adding the names or initials of their family members and loved ones. 

15. Ship Wheel and Compass Tattoos

Another great combination with your compass tattoo is the ship wheel image. These two elements are masculine pieces, which you can have inked on your chest, leg, or arms. The Ship Wheel represents your struggle to find the way through rough seas that we call life. It is a reminder that you should choose a path, whether right or wrong, and face unseen dangers. But combined with the compass, the tattoo design symbolizes one promise to stay on course and never to lose sight of your goals.  

16. Compass and Clock Tattoo

For a significant tattoo design, opt for the compass and clock tattoo. The clock represents how fragile and fleeting life is for humans. When you include a compass in your design, it is associated with guidance and a journey through life. Ideally, you can also have elements that guide, such as arrows. The overall image will be something to remind you to persevere and continue your quest for success.

17. Compass and Map Tattoo

These two items are essential items for navigation. Thus they make quite an impressive combination for a tattoo design. If you love the outdoors and have a passion for adventure and travel, this is the design for you. A map and compass design is a fascinating choice for people who are not afraid to forge paths and make their way in life. The overall design represents boldness, fearlessness, discovery, and also optimism. 

18. Ship and Compass Tattoo

The ship and compass tattoo design is another distinct choice for men. This tattoo should be placed prominently to showcase the details and intricacies of the boat and compass. It is an ideal choice for a full-sleeve or back tattoo. This masterpiece will probably take several sessions to complete, but the outcome will undoubtedly be extraordinary. The ship is associated with new beginnings, journeys, good luck direction, honor, bravery, and for some, a troubled past. Adding the compass to a ship tattoo creates a talisman that symbolizes that a suitable vessel, your mind, body, and spirit, will take you far.

19. Compass and Crown Tattoo

For a unique tattoo design combination, the compass and crown are something to consider. Crowns are linked with royalty. Thus, it represents authority, power, and leadership. Men who combine these two elements are in charge of their destiny and control their decision. If you want a tattoo to express your boldness, you can freely and confidently wear this design.  

20. Hand Compass Tattoo

Back in the day, hand tattoos were associated with prisoners, criminals, and gang members. But these days, hand tattoos are worn by people from all walks of life. Most men choose the back of their hand as placement for significant tattoo designs. These are perfect for images that you want to see every day. If you put a compass hand tattoo on this spot, you too will have a permanent reminder and guide for you to stay on your path.

21. Compass Neck Tattoo

When done right, neck tattoos can look sexy and intriguing, but it is not a placement choice for everyone. If you have a job that allows you to express creativity through body art, you might want to have the compass neck tattoo. It is evident and easily spotted. This tattoo design represents one’s inner will and power to conquer fears. If you have struggled and overcome your obstacles, this one’s for you. 

22. Shoulder Compass Tattoo

Compasses are classic tattoo designs that men have worn for decades. Thus, it is also suited to the traditional placement that men popularly choose – the shoulder. It is the all-time favorite spot for conventional and masculine tattoo placement. Ink designs on this spot are easy to hide or display. Likewise, the shoulder is low on pain level when it comes to inking. A compass tattoo is a meaningful element that will be perfect for the shoulder. Some even create amazing half-sleeve tattoos with various others symbols but with the compass as the focal point.    

23. Elbow Compass Tattoo

If you want a one-of-a-kind tattoo design, or if you are toying with the idea of adding an excellent element to your sleeve ink, consider getting an elbow tattoo. One of the best designs that are perfect for elbow ink is the star compass design. The elbow has a circular knobby shape and extends outward. A tattoo will look amazing on your elbow. On the other hand, be warned that elbow tattoos can cause high levels of pain and discomfort in the process. This spot is ideal for those with high levels of pain tolerance or on their nth inking session already.

24. Chest Compass Tattoo

Another popular tattoo placement for men is the chest. This spot provides a big canvass for an artist to create intricate and detailed tattoo designs. If you want an extensive compass with lots of details, this could be the best spot for you. You can add other elements and create themes. You may also make your ink more meaningful by putting it on the left chest, just above your heart.  

25. Leg Compass Tattoo

Compass tattoos are versatile design choices because they suit a variety of placement. A compass has circular and linear elements that complement the shape of your calf. It is also popularly seen on the lower leg suitable shape. This spot also provides a flat and broad surface for the artist to create a detailed and intricate design.  


What Goes Well With a Compass Tattoo?

Since compass tattoos are small and simple, they can be paired with many elements. The best designs that work well with compass tattoos are features like a skull, star, or anchor. 

What’s the Best Place for a Compass Tattoo?

Although you can get a compass tattoo anywhere on your body, the best place for it is in open yet subtle areas. These placements include the inner forearm, shoulder, or calf. 

What Do Compass Tattoos Mean?

Compasses are often associated with journeys. After all, they’re a crucial piece of equipment when exploring the vast outdoors. For this reason, people associate compass tattoos with the wearer’s journey in life. But when you combine compass tattoos with other elements, they gain a new meaning. 

How Long Does a Compass Tattoo Take to Finish? 

If you get a small and simple compass tattoo, the session will be short. You can expect around three hours or less. However, if you went for a bigger compass tattoo, it can take around 5 hours or more.