If you’re not sure how to use the compass in Escape from Tarkov, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. The 12.12.30 patch wipe introduced a new feature that you may have noticed but not quite been sure of how to use. This has to do with the three special slots in your PMC inventory.
While you don’t have to use one of your three special slots for the compass in Escape from Tarkov, there isn’t really a reason not to. Continue reading our guide for how to use the compass, how to set the keybind, and if it’s lost on death or not. The last answer varies depending on your setup.
How to Use Compass in Escape from Tarkov
How to Get the Compass
Before you can start using this tool to try and figure out what direction you’re running, you’ll need to get it. As goes with most things about Tarkov being difficult, you don’t immediately start with a compass. It’s an actual item that you can get from the task, “Search Mission” via Prapor.
The requirements for starting the Search Mission task are reaching level 5 and completing the Debut task from Prapor. For the Search Mission, you’ll have to find Prapor’s missing convoy on Woods and a nearby USEC camp. Unfortunately, you also have to successfully escape while doing it as a PMC.
Once you’ve returned to the Tarkov menu, you can complete the task and get your EYE MK.2 Professional Hand-held Compass from Prapor. If you have trouble finding the missing convoy and USEC camp, visit our Woods map guide. They’re near the top-left corner of the map in that guide.
While there is another method for getting a compass, I don’t recommend it. You can purchase one from Jaeger after unlocking this trader via the Introduction task. You’ll have to spend 203k Rubles to buy it so it’s definitely a bit pricey. But, this is one way to get it back if you lost yours.
How to Set Compass Keybind
If you already have the item, you just need to learn how to set the keybind now. This confused me at first as well since I went to the settings to search for a compass keybind or tactical tool that may fit. However, there isn’t a set keybind for it because of how it works in Tarkov.
Instead, you’ll need to place it in your inventory and set it to your hotkey bar like a bandage or medkit for example. Before you jump right in, you’ll want to place it in one of your special slots. This prevents you from losing the compass on death. Any item in a special slot won’t be lost on death.
However, you can only place a few items in the special slots. These items have a brown background and a SPEC tag over the image. Another example is the Vortex Ranger 1500 Rangefinder that you can buy from Jaeger as well.
Once you have your compass in the special slot or inventory slot (if you so choose for some reason), you can then drag it to your hotkey bar. Or you can hover your mouse cursor over the item and press a number to immediately set it to that number. It’s worth mentioning that you can rebind the quick use/hotkey bar slots in the Controls settings. Each one is listed as, “Slot 4” “Slot 5” etc.
How the Compass Works in Tarkov
While doing some digging around about the compass in Escape from Tarkov I’ve learned that it may not be quite perfect. This can make it difficult to use especially if you try to use the in-game item maps. For those that don’t know, each in-game map isn’t set upright so north is up, south is down, and so forth.
Therefore, you’re often better off using one of the many maps we’ve made guides on instead. These are put together by players and groups in the Tarkov community to make it easier for players. Especially if you’re new to Tarkov since it has such a large learning curve. Our guide hub includes every map guide we’ve written.
With that said, once you get into a raid, you can press your set hotkey to pull up the compass. The red arrow represents north, and the green/white arrow represents south. From what I’ve heard, the bearings can be finicky so you may not want to rely on them.
The compass can help in a pinch if you’re learning a new map and don’t know the extracts yet. Especially if you’re on a difficult map like Woods or spawn somewhere you’re not familiar with. Over time, you may find that you no longer need it as you learn each area.
Is the Compass Lost on Death in Tarkov
Whether or not you lose the compass in Escape from Tarkov is dependent on where it’s in your inventory. If you place it in your Tactical Rig, Pockets, or Backpack, you’ll lose it on death. This makes it so another player can loot it from your body.
However, patch 12.12.30 introduced the Special Slots where you can store it to prevent losing it. Similar to the Pouch. The main difference from the Pouch is that you can still set Special Slot items to your hotkey bar/quick use bar.
That’s all there is to this Escape from Tarkov guide on how to use the compass. Do your best to learn the many different landmarks and structures so you don’t have to rely on it. Otherwise, you may find yourself looking at it when a player takes a shot at you. Or even an AI SCAV.
Jeff is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing, streaming, and making content about video games. With an associate degree in journalism, he’s a sucker for RPGs, survival games, roguelikes, and more.