What is orienteering?

Orienteering is the sport of navigation with map and compass. It's easy to learn, yet always challenging. The object is to run or walk to a series of points shown on the map, choosing routes - both on and off trails - to find all the points and get back to the finish in the shortest amount of time. The points on the course are marked with orange/white flags, called "controls".

Orienteering is enjoyed by a wide range of people - hikers, kids, mountaineers, runners, scouts, family groups - anyone interested in fitness, the outdoors, and a mental and physical challenge. Every orienteering meet offers a choice of courses that vary in length and difficulty, from easy trail walks, to strenuous runs with plenty of off-trail navigation required.

Orienteering was invented by the Swedish military in the 1920's to help train combat troops to be more effective in dense forest terrain. Today, it's a popular sport in Scandinavia and throughout Europe, where competitors will gather for huge events in the forest on summer weekends and kids are taught the basics of map reading in primary school. 

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Orienteering 
Videos

1 / Your First Orienteering event

Our friends at Cascade Orienteering (Seattle) have partnered with REI to create a fun Q&A on attending your first orienteering event. 

2 / The joys of running through the woods

Let the infamous Swiss orienteering brothers, the Hubmanns, give you a feel for what high-speed orienteering can feel like

2 / "Go Fast, No Mistakes"

What happens when the world's most accomplished orienteer visits New York?