Do you like a little mental challenge mixed in with your outdoor physical activity? Prefer to wander off the beaten path – but carefully navigate your way? Orienteering combines exploration of the beautiful Canadian wilderness with navigation using detailed maps and a compass. Many people are finding a passion for this challenging sport and Canada offers countless opportunities to participate!

Whether your orienteering plans are for a low-key experience in a local park or a high-energy adventure through the backcountry wilds, ensure you are well-prepared by practicing and honing key skills:

The Right Gear

Taking the Essentials:
  • Flashlight
  • Fire making kit
  • Signalling device (i.e. whistle)
  • Extra food and water
  • Extra clothing
  • Navigational/communication devices
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency blanket/shelter
  • Pocket knife
  • Sun protection
Leave a Trip Plan with responsible party, family member or friend.

Take equipment specific to orienteering:

  • Strong map reading skills are a must! Have a detailed map of your destination and ensure you know how to read it.
  • Got a compass? Know how to use it! Be sure you can take bearings and triangulate.
  • Ensure you can use your map reading and compass skills together to plan and follow routes, and to relocate if you go astray.
  • If you’re new to the sport, or your skills need a tune-up, take a course or workshop with your local Orienteering club. Many clubs also organize orienteering events for all levels of experience.

Before you set out:

  • Check the weather and be prepared for it to change.
  • Be bear aware and cougar aware. Bears and cougars aren’t just in the backcountry – our parks and cities encroach on their habitat. Ensure you know what to do if you meet one.

Photo: NWTT/Terry Parker (banner); Canadian Orienteering Federation

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