70 Compass Tattoos for Wanderlust Warriors

Compass tattoos—they’re pretty neat. Just the thought of traveling to far flung corners of the globe is exhilarating. And as someone who travels quite a bit, I can tell you that the idea of traveling is often more exciting than when you’re actually on the road itself. It’s that notion of being in a better place, that pasture of greener grass, that urge to see and be places that you’ve never been before that releases those adventure endorphins in your brain. With all that being said, a compass tattoo is enough to evoke all of those feelings and more. So if you love travel, or at least the idea of traveling, then a compass may just be the perfect design for you. Ahead, are 70 of the best examples of compass tattoos you’re likely to see all day.

An illustrative back piece

It’s usually the outdoorsy types that get compass tattoos. Having a strong desire for adventure is something you would assume a person with a compass tattoo as large as this one would possess.

A watercolor forearm piece

If you’re looking for something ultra pretty and eye-catching, then something along the lines of this minimalistic outline splashed full of gorgeous watercolor hues will no doubt get the job done. Georgia Grey’s watercolor style is recognizable from a mile away and one of my favorites.

A compass hand tattoo

When working on dark skin tones, white ink accents incorporated into black ink designs are very attractive. Scrolling patterns flank this enclosed compass to make it one of the coolest pieces I’ve seen all year. Dark skin tones and white ink accents = amazing.

A world map

This is one of the most common themes you’ll come across during your time on this list. A star compass set to a world map background just makes sense given the context of the design. I try to make each list as diverse as possible, but some types of tattoos make that task incredibly difficult.


Pack your crap and just start moving—is what a true wanderlust would probably tell you. Many of us have dreams of traveling the world or even taking shorts trips for that matter, but talking about it and doing it are, as you know, two very different things. Maybe a cool little travel tattoo like the one above will be just what you need to remind you to get off your butt and get moving.

A watercolor ankle design

Barely there and ever-so-delightful, this girly ankle design checks all the boxes for those of you looking for something small and elegant with an overwhelmingly feminine feel. Mini Lau is a Chinese artist that pumps out some seriously beautiful work. If you like what you see here, don’t forget to check out her full portfolio for endless adorable inspiration.

An amazing watercolor mashup

Every so often a design comes along that literally takes my breath away. This design isn’t quite there but it’s about as close as it gets before I actually start gasping for air. There’s a lot going on in this design yet it doesn’t appear cluttered. Ordered chaos is the best way I can put it.

A creative forearm piece

Here we have another design which appears to have a lot going on in a relatively small space. Abstract in nature, this piece wouldn’t be out of place hanging on a gallery wall in some fancy art gallery in SoHo. It appears that this design is an expansion on a design done much earlier (notice the faded nature of the ship).

A perfect chest piece

Remember that crazy talented artist named Inez Janiak that I mentioned earlier? Well, she’s back. Sketch style compasses are a little overrepresented on this list but for good reason of course. Inez delivers home run after home run when it comes to her striking compass designs, which, you can bet you’ll be seeing more of as you get further into the list.

A back shoulder design

As you’ll soon come to notice—if you haven’t already—arrows are a popular addition to compass tattoo designs. Obviously a play on the arrows of a compass, many artists feel inspired to incorporate full-blown bow-and-arrow arrows into their designs and it usually works out well.