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Cammenga 3H Civilian Contract model
on February 2, 2012
I was one of those guys who served in the the early 70's and trained on a similar lensatic compass with basically the same specs as the current (1992+) contractor (Cammenga.) Here's some caveats...
1. Tritium is not a neon glow which backlights your compass and can serve as an emergency flashlight or locator beacon. Only the basic indicator lines and East and West markers glow - faintly. The picture that most vendors (and Cammenga as well) use to illustrate the 3H Tritium lighting is grossly exaggerated.
2. Whoever posted "my compass was made in 1977" didn't bother to take the time to fact-check with the manufacturer. The date code on my Cammenga compass is 12-01-77. Per Cammenga, this indicates it was manufactured in January of 2012. The "77" is a standardized code indicated it was made for civilian market distribution. Simple as that.
3. Make sure you're capable of either learning, or are already skilled at the use of a lensatic compass. When you take a sighting it doesn't get held out in front of you, it goes up on your cheek. Also, if you suffer from any sight issues, as I do with reading glasses, bifocals, etc, you might have difficulty using the magnifying glass viewer. Using a lensatic compass with eyeglasses is a bit tricky. It's not designed for old guys who can't read their newspaper without 'playing the trombone' to sight in the print..
4. The Cammenga 3H is the gold standard for compasses. Anything less is a dangerous compromise. Can you do without the Tritium? Sure. Until you need it.
5. Cammenga offers some great map & compass / orienteering resources, as does the US Army, for free. Don't pay for reprints which are available online for free. After all, your tax dollars helped to pay for the Army field manuals... why not use them? Simply Google "US Army Field Manual for [xyz subject]." There's lots of sources out there. Save yourself $15 bucks on a reprinted book.
6. The vendor who sold me the compass, OutdoorBunker.com, shipped it quickly and safely. Couldn't ask for more.
Cammenga FAQ page explaining date codes:
Excellent orienteering resource can be found at: