Do you know which company has invented the world’s first tritium-illuminated knife? It’s our own US Company Cammenga. But for what they are mostly known for is, manufacturing military-grade compasses with tritium or phosphorescent illumination.

The world-class compasses have tritium illumination, which is a self-light source. Except for typical compasses, the company has worked on making wrist compasses to provide full-on support to the militaries on the battlefield.

Cammenga compasses perform flawlessly under any temperature and weather conditions +/- 40 mils. Stay with us, as you have more to know about these compasses.

What is the Cammenga compass, and what’s the use?

Cammenga is a world-class military-grade compass manufacturing brand that started the journey back in 1992. They have manufactured highly accurate compasses that include both affordable and expensive options.

However, knowing about the basic things you have in the compass is important as well.

  • A metal thumb ring to grab the compass
  • A top plate containing the model name and details
  • A base plate that is hinged with the top plate
  • Tritium or phosphorescent illuminating line
  • Sighting wire on the top plate
  • A magnifying glass on the base plate
  • Bezel ring turning all the way around
  • Floating dial with a non-movable black line
  • Magnetic north seeking arrow with tritium line
  • East and west marks with tritium lines underneath
  • Navigation numbers in mils and degrees.

Although the compasses are mostly meant for law enforcement and survival, they are severely used by the consumers.

  • As a camping compass
  • Hunting compass
  • Surveyor compass
  • Backpacking compass
  • Hiking compass
  • Boat compass
  • Orienteering compass
  • Youth scout compass

Most, of this navigational gear, is available as a handheld one that is kept in the pocket or wrist wearable.

As it’s a military-grade compass, it’s obvious that the consumers may have to deal in low-light conditions. Thinking so, the manufacturer has included a self-illuminating light source as tritium that doesn’t require any charge.

Unlike most other top-grade compasses used for law-enforcements, it doesn’t have any water or liquid inside. Consequently, the accuracy of the compass isn’t affected due to any bubble or fogging.

How to use the Cammenga compass?

For relentless hiking or orienteering, you need to have precise direction from the compass. But without learning the basic steps of how to use it rightfully, it’ll only remain a dream. Basically, the Cammenga compass works in two methods.

  • Compass to cheek method
  • Center hold or two-hand hold method.

Comparatively compass to cheek method offers a more precise result than the center hold method. Now, let’s go through the first method which is more like holding a handgun, and see how the compass works.

  • Bring the top plate close to the magnifying glass
  • The top plate should remain at a 60-degree position
  • Keep the magnifying glass at a 30-degree position
  • Insert one thumb through the thumb ring
  • Hold it by keeping the index finger on one side
  • Make it stable by grabbing the holding hand with the other hand
  • Take it close to the eyes letting the cheek touch the thumb ring
  • Look through the magnifying glass and the sighting wire
  • Align it with the black fixed-line and distant object
  • Then, look down on the floating to identify the azimuth.

Another popular method to use this compass is the center hold. The user must hold the compass with both of his hands and that’s why it’s also known as the two-hand hold method. Here’re the simple steps to use it.

  • Open the base plate all the way up
  • Insert the thumb into the metal thumb ring
  • Keep the index finger alongside the compass body
  • Put the other thumb on the compass
  • It must stay in between the sight glass and the dial
  • Place the other index finger on the other side of the compass
  • Ensure a tight grasp on it through the remaining six fingers
  • Position the elbow to your body tightly
  • Move the entire body a bit
  • Point the compass in any direction
  • Read the azimuth when it aims to the target.

Both methods are pretty similar, where the main difference is that the first one requires rotating the top plate towards the sighting glass and bringing one eye close to it.

Meanwhile, two more methods are there to use the compass.

  • Following the center hold method in one hand.
  • Orient the map to the north using your compass.

However, you may have to consider the accuracy a bit during both these methods.

How accurate is a Cammenga compass?

According to military performance specifications, a compass should be accurate for up to approximately 2.5-degree. And Cammenga offers an accuracy level of +/- 40 mils which is equivalent to 2.5-degree.

Even if the number remains between 1.5-degree to 2-degree, it’s still fair enough to state that the compass is giving accurate results.

However, one crucial thing to know regarding the accuracy is that there should not be any big metal near the compass.

The north-seeking arrow is magnetic, and if there’s any large metal object in front of the compass, the arrow is going to follow that. Consequently, you have every chance of being misled by it.

Cammenga is the best compass: Is it good to use?

It’s hard to state Cammenga as the best brand producing navigation compasses as there’re more options available. However, being a military-grade manufacturing company, it has developed the compass quality with high-end accuracy.

If you want to lock the azimuth in place, the top plate of the compass lets you do so. Just close the lid or top plate, and the azimuth will remain locked in its position.

But why else Cammenga navigation compasses are good to use?

  • Works in severe weather conditions and temperature
  • No fogging or bubbling inside the floating dial
  • Highly accurate results
  • Visible at night because of tritium light
  • Allows azimuth reading in both mils and degree
  • Both handheld and wrist compass options
  • Durable aluminum body construction.

These few things are enough to prove how good these navigation compasses are.

What are the different types of Cammenga compasses?

Do you like keeping the compass in your pocket or wearing it on your wrist? Well, everyone doesn’t have the same test and that is why Cammenga has brought two different types depending on the portability.

  • A handheld compass that stays in the pocket
  • Wrist compass that is worn around the wrist.

Basically, these two compasses have nothing different except for one thing. The wrist one comes with a heavy-duty nylon Nato wristband, which is missing in the pocket version.

Another term to categorize the compasses is depending on the type of illumination lights.

  • Tritium illuminating light
  • Phosphorescent illuminating light.

Some of the Tritium compasses from Cammenga are –

  • Tritium Lensatic compass 3H
  • SWAT tritium Lensatic compass
  • Tritium protractor compass
  • Tritium Compass 3H pink
  • Tritium compass 3HJP
  • Tritium wrist compass J582T.

Some of the Phosphorescent compasses from Cammenga are –

  • Phosphorescent Lensatic compass 27CB
  • Phosphorescent wrist compass J582
  • Phosphorescent Lensatic compass 27.

Cammenga Lensatic Compass 27 vs. Compass 3H: Phosphorescent vs. Tritium

One of the key factors that divide Cammenga navigation compasses is illumination. However, the battle between tritium and phosphorescent ends before starting as tritium is the clear winner here.

The sole reason for stating tritium as the winner is because of the longevity and freedom of this illuminating light. Let’s compare two products with two of these illuminating lights and distinguish the differences.

Lensatic compass 3HLensatic compass 27
Tritium illuminating lightPhosphorescent illuminating light
Radio-active illuminationGlow in the dark material
Requires no extra lighting sourceWorks only by absorbing light from any lighting source  
The illumination lasts for 10 to 12 yearsThe illumination doesn’t last without any light source
Doesn’t require chargingRequires recharging  

Are Cammenga compasses expensive?

Navigation compasses from Cammenga can cost you as low as $35 and as high as $140. However, the huge price range enables us to categorize these directional gears into three categories.

  • Affordable compass costs no more than $45
  • Mid-range compass costs no more than $80
  • A high-end compass will cost you more than $100.

Meanwhile, one more thing that decides the cost of these compasses is the illuminating light type.

Typically, tritium ones are comparatively more expensive than phosphorescent ones. You can get a high-end phosphorescent compass for $80, but spending approximately $110 will provide you with a high-end tritium compass.

Choosing the most appropriate Cammenga compass

After the above discussion, you might be wondering what these compasses offer individually. And before purchasing any of these knowing briefly about these navigation gears is mandatory.

  1. Cammenga 3H Cammenga G.I. Military Tritium Lensatic Compass

It comes with self-powered, tritium-based illuminating lighting. With the 7 tritium microlights, you are supposed to get the support of up to 12 years.

It provides flawless and accurate performance in temperatures from -50-degree Fahrenheit to 150-degree Fahrenheit. It’s constructed with a powder-coated, aluminum frame for extra durability.

The compass is waterproof, sand proof, shockproof, and damage resistant. It has a non-liquid-filled floating dial or needle housing.

2. Cammenga Official US Military Tritium Lensatic Compass

It’s a multi-purpose, pocket compass with a high accuracy level. Even during extreme temperatures, it maintains a +/- 40 accuracy level. With optimal endurance and waterproofing, it becomes perfect for any situation.

3. Cammenga 27CS Lensatic Compass

This particular navigation compass comes with phosphorescent illuminating light that requires another light source. Without recharging it, you won’t get the full performance out.

Moreover, it comes with cast aluminum construction and has similar specs to any other high-end tritium compass from Cammenga. It comes with a bi-directional rotating bezel.

4. Cammenga Tritium Wrist Compass, J582T

The inclusion of tritium microlights allows easy readability on the compass in both day and night conditions. It comes with a durable machined aluminum casing and operates uninterruptedly from -25-degree Fahrenheit to 125-degree Fahrenheit.

To wear it on the wrist, the navigation gear has a heavy-duty nylon wristband. You can get up to 10 years of maintenance-free illumination here.

5. Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Coyote Brown Compass

This navigation gear has a copper damping induction system that slows down the rotation of the magnet without requiring any liquid. Finding out the azimuth reading is relentless with the radioactive tritium microlights.

Cammenga compass vs. Suunto compass

Whoever doesn’t like carrying anything bulkier in the pocket would definitely love to have a Suunto navigation compass instead of a Cammenga. The sole reason is that Suunto offers a lightweight and compact-sized compass.

Cammenga navigation compassSuunto navigation compass
Bulky designLightweight and compact design
Long-lasting illuminating lightsIlluminating features fade relatively quicker
No logo on the floating dialSuunto logo on the dial
Magnifying glassMirror for signaling
Price can go above the $100 markPrice remains within $80
Top plate locking keeps the azimuth in placeNo such features are available

Why Cammenga compass is better than its competitors?

Even though Cammenga compasses are relatively more expensive than other brands’ navigation compasses, it still serves in a better way. We’ve other renowned brands in this field including –

  • Suunto
  • Brunton
  • Sportneer
  • TurnOnSport

However, none of these brands will offer you a long-lasting tritium illuminating light that is one of the key features of Cammenga navigation gears.

Moreover, you can try out navigating through different methods through the gear. Also, it doesn’t use any liquid inside the floating dial to ensure the most accurate result.

Final thoughts

When you need accuracy, you can rely on a brand that has been producing military-grade navigation gears for nearly 30 years. Take the quality, performance, durability, and weather condition; it passes the test in every category of navigating.

With the variety of options available, Cammenga also lets the buyer choose one that meets his demands. Don’t worry about the cost as well because both affordable and expensive gears are included.

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