Soil compaction has been shown to be a problem in forests throughout the United States. Bulk density and air permeability measurements are used as ways of assessing forest soil density and degree of compaction. Three tests--bulk density by the irregular-hole and paraffin-clod methods and air permeability--were compared on 14 soils from three national forests in California. Bulk density was determined by the paraffin-clod method and an irregular-hole method using a levelpoint sampling device. Air permeameter readings were also taken on transects through undisturbed and disturbed sites. The paraffin-clod and irregular-hole bulk density methods were significantly correlated (r = 0.958). Standard deviations of the means for the two methods were not significantly different. Irregular-hole density measurement is rapid, requires little equipment, is equal in precision to the clod method, and accurately measures density of soils with large interaggregate pore space. Air permeability was not correlated with bulk density, but it did show significant differences between disturbed and undisturbed soils. Forest Sci. 27:316-322.