Orienteering is the competitive sport of navigation. What other sport has vampire themed courses for Halloween, works with your feet, bike or skis, and hosts a world competition with thousands of people racing through the woods? Fun + Life skills + Critical Thinking + Competition (Photo from the International Orienteering Federation)
Generally, you use a map and compass to race along a course stopping at specific checkpoints along the way. It is really a critical thinking challenge using the map to plot the shortest route between checkpoints and to the finish. But variation on this straightforward race format are amazing!
- multiday, long distance
Although we rated it at a moderate skill level, orienteering groups and events usually cater well to beginners and enjoy sharing their knowledge. There is some skill in using the map and learning the international symbols for the score cards.
You may also find permanent courses that you can work at your own pace and practice. Check with local orienteering groups for more information or learn more at Orienteering USA or International Orienteering Federation.
- Time: 1/2 day+
- Season: any
- Skill required: moderate
- Accessible: not usually
- Competition: yes
- Specialty gear: map specific to area/event, compass
- Water activity: no
- Electronics needed: no
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