The Cammenga Lensatic Military Style Tritium Compass is a sturdy and reliable compass used by the U.S. military.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Tough and Durable
- Tritium Illumination
- Precise Sighting System
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Weight and Bulk
- Requires Experience to Use
- Higher Price Point
For anyone who has served in the American military, the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass seems to be the only compass they trust. It is designed to military specifications, so it is durable, reliable, and precise. While it took us a while to familiarise ourselves with the lensatic sighting system, we found the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass easy to use. It does not have many advanced features, like a choice of scales or a clinometer, but the induction damping system means that the needle settles exceptionally quickly. If you are looking for a military-style compass, the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium is probably the best you can get.
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Analysis and Test Results
The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass is built to military standards, so it is designed to perform in harsh and demanding environments. We are more familiar with baseplate compasses, but anyone who has served in the military seems to be a fan of lensatic compasses and the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass in particular. There appears to be no difference between the model available to buy by the general public and the one the US military use. Instead of the usual methods of providing luminosity, this compass has tritium-filled vials. These provide constant illumination without the need to be charged up by batteries or external light sources, making them readable in low-light or nighttime conditions. The lensatic sighting system allows for accurate direction finding and navigation, making it ideal for military personnel and outdoor adventurers. The compass is a bit bigger, heavier, and bulkier compared to a baseplate compass, which could be less desirable for those seeking lightweight gear. The lensatic sighting system may be a steep learning curve for inexperienced users, requiring practice and familiarity. The compass’s military-grade construction and tritium illumination contribute to a higher cost, potentially making it less accessible to budget-conscious individuals. There is no way to adjust the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass for declination, so you must calculate and adjust for the difference manually. There’s a choice of colors, including khaki and pink!
The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass is a lensatic compass designed primarily for military use. The lensatic sighting system is known for precise direction finding and navigation, making it a favored tool among military personnel and also a popular hiking compass.
Increments and Scales
The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass displays directional increments in degrees and Mils. The outer circle on the dial had Mils in black writing at 20 Mils increments with an accuracy of 40 Mils. The inner circle has degrees in red at 5-degree increments. There is a scale of 1:50,00 (120 mm) on the left side of the compass, which, when the case cover is laid flat, makes a straight edge 5 inches (120 mm) long.
The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass is renowned for its exceptional durability. Constructed to meet military standards, the compass is made from powder-coated aluminum. To close the case, you fold down the lens bracket, then the case cover, and finally, the thumb loop locks the compass closed. When the lens bracket is folded down, it lifts the compass dial off the pivot to prevent damage. The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium is shock-, water-, and sand-proof. It can operate in temperatures between -45.5°C (-50°F) to 65.5°C (150°F). The compass usually comes with a lanyard and a carrying pouch with a belt clip.
Ease of Use
The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass is not for beginners who have never used a lensatic sighting system. While the system offers precise direction finding, it requires practice and familiarity for optimal use. However, if you are confident using a lensatic compass, the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass’s clear and well-defined degree markings, rotating bezel, and tritium illumination make it user-friendly. The bezel has a handy feature as it makes a clicking noise as you turn it, with each click representing 3 degrees. The thumb loop useful for holding the compass steady. The compass must be held at eye level with the lens bracket at a 30-degree angle, as the magnifying lens has a focal length of about 2.5 inches. This may be difficult if you are long-sighted or wear glasses. The other issue we found with the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass is that there is no way to adjust for declination.
Region and Needle
Although the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass does not technically have a global needle, it can be used in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres due to the deep well in which the needle is housed. Because the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass uses induction damping by means of a copper damping shell to slow the rotation of the magnet, the needle dial comes to a complete rest very quickly, usually in under 6 seconds. This means the compass’s capsule is not liquid-filled, so it is less affected by temperatures and will not develop air bubbles. The needle dial is balanced on a precision-made synthetic sapphire jeweled bearing. A rubber cup seals the copper-damping shell making the compass waterproof.
The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass has 7 Tritium micro-lights, including on cardinal points, the needle, and the sighting line. The tritium-filled vials provide constant and self-powered illumination, ensuring clear readability in low-light conditions or at night. The Tritium micro-lights do not need external light sources or batteries for their luminosity, making the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass reliable and practical for use in various lighting conditions. The tritium will gradually start to fade after about 12 years. A cheaper model is available that uses phosphorus to provide the luminosity, but most users prefer the tritium as it is brighter and more reliable.
The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass has a compact size, especially when closed. It measures approximately 3.38 inches (8.6 cm) in length when closed and 5.8 inches (14.7 cm) when open. It is 2.8 inches (7.1 cm) in width and 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep, making it a little bigger than an average military-style compass.
The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass is a bit heavier and bulkier than other compasses because it is made of metal and designed to be durable. It weighs about 7 ounces (199 grams). That’s roughly the same weight as a large apple or a medium potato.
The Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass is considered a premium compass, especially for anyone who has been in the American military. However, it is designed to last, so it is unlikely you will ever have to replace it. The tritium illumination and precise lensatic sighting system offer excellent value for money, especially if you are looking for a dependable and accurate compass for challenging terrains and conditions.
As you would expect from a compass used by the American military, the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass is a reliable compass that is built to last. The tritium-filled vials offer self-powered and constant illumination, facilitating clear readability in low-light or nighttime conditions. The lensatic sighting system provides accurate direction finding, although it may take beginners a while to get used to it. However, the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass is designed to be easy to use with clear markings. It doesn’t have some of the additional features you would find in baseplate compasses in this price range, such as multiple scales and clinometers. Though the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass may be more expensive than other military-style models, its exceptional features, durability, and tritium illumination offer excellent value for money. If you are looking for a lensatic compass for hiking, the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass should be at the top of your list.
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