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Explore the Great Outdoors: Orienteering Basics

Explore the Great Outdoors: Orienteering Basics

Are you looking for a new and exciting way to explore the great outdoors? Do you want to challenge yourself and improve your navigation skills? If so, then orienteering may be the activity for you! In this article, we will cover the basics of orienteering, including what it is, the equipment needed, and how to get started.

What is Orienteering?

Orienteering is a sport that involves navigating through an outdoor course using only a map and compass. The goal is to navigate to a series of checkpoints marked on the map as quickly and accurately as possible. Because the sport can take place in a variety of terrains, including forests, hills, and urban areas, orienteering can provide a unique and challenging experience for participants.

Equipment Needed

The equipment needed for orienteering is relatively simple and includes a map, a compass, and appropriate clothing and footwear. Maps used for orienteering consist of a detailed topographical map of the area, which includes the checkpoints to be found.

When selecting a compass, it is important to choose one designed specifically for orienteering. These compasses are more accurate and easy to read, making them ideal for the sport.

Finally, clothing and footwear should be appropriate for the terrain and weather conditions. This may include sturdy boots, breathable clothing, and warm layers if necessary.

How to Get Started

Getting started with orienteering is easy and can be done by following a few simple steps. First, find an orienteering club or event in your area. These clubs often host events throughout the year and may offer training and beginner courses.

Once you have found an event, it is important to familiarize yourself with the map and course before beginning. This may include identifying key features and planning a route. During the event, be sure to stay focused and use your map and compass to navigate accurately.

Tips for Success

To be successful in orienteering, it is important to focus on navigation and pacing. When navigating, be sure to use a combination of map and compass to stay on course. Additionally, pacing can help ensure you are on track and reaching checkpoints in a timely manner.

Other tips for success include staying hydrated, keeping a positive attitude, and practicing regularly. Orienteering can be a challenging and rewarding sport, but it takes practice and dedication to improve your skills.


In conclusion, orienteering is a unique and exciting way to explore the great outdoors. With a few key pieces of equipment and some basic knowledge, anyone can get started in the sport. By focusing on navigation and pacing, and practicing regularly, participants can improve their skills and enjoy the challenge of orienteering.


What is the difference between orienteering and hiking?

Orienteering involves navigating a course using only a map and compass, while hiking involves walking along a trail for enjoyment or exercise.

Is orienteering safe?

Orienteering is generally a safe sport, but like any outdoor activity, it carries some risks. Participants should be aware of the terrain and weather conditions and take appropriate precautions.

What are some benefits of orienteering?

Orienteering can improve navigation skills, physical fitness, and mental endurance. It also provides a unique and challenging outdoor experience.

How can I improve my orienteering skills?

Practice regularly, focus on navigation and pacing, and seek out opportunities to attend events and get feedback from more experienced orienteers.

Can children participate in orienteering?

Yes, orienteering is a family-friendly activity and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.

Do I need to be in good physical shape to participate in orienteering?

While orienteering can be physically demanding, it can be enjoyed by people of all fitness levels. Be sure to select an appropriate course and pace yourself accordingly.

How do I choose the right compass for orienteering?

Choose a compass designed specifically for orienteering that is accurate and easy to read. Consider factors such as durability, size, and weight when making your selection.


  1. Orienteering USA. (n.d.). What is Orienteering? Orienteering USA. Retrieved from
  2. British Orienteering. (2019, February 26). What is Orienteering? British Orienteering. Retrieved from
  3. United States Orienteering Federation. (n.d.). Orienteering Equipment. United States Orienteering Federation. Retrieved from


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