The only piece of equipment you really need to go orienteering is your brain. However, it is useful to have a good compass (though you can rent one at most events) and suitable footwear (light hiking boots or running shoes will do) and clothing (dress as you would normally for a hike that might take you through some brushy areas). Some orienteers find that with increasing skill they wish to use pants and shoes designed specifically for orienteering.
Equipment for an orienteering event
Clubs usually have a set of control flags, punches, and control cards, although an event can be organized with mild cartons as substitutes for flags, different colored crayons instead of punches, and pieces of paper with boxes drawn on them instead of control cards.
Compasses, orienteering shoes and clothing, control flags, punches, and control cards, as well as various books and teaching aids can be purchased (or a catalog requested) from:
There are several ways to go about acquiring an orienteering map. If there is an existing map, it is usually owned by a club based in the general area; for a listing of clubs and maps, see Rick Slater's Orienteering page.
If no orienteering map exists, one can be made. Orienteering maps are usually created by
A good guide to making simple maps suitable for teaching and beginning orienteers is the IOF's Simple Maps for Orienteering ($6.00). The best book on making top-quality orienteering maps is Robin Harvey's Map Making for Orienteers ($26.95). Both are available from A&E Orienteering.
Ed Hicks, doing business as Orienteering Unlimited (3 Jan Ridge Road, Somers, New York 10589; (914) 248-5957) has been providing orienteering instruction and workshops for over 20 years. He specializes in working with schools, teachers, youth groups, and corporate groups, and will coordinate production of maps of schools or other sites. Ed is a valuable source of advice and information, and if you want to get your school or organization started in orienteering and have a budget to work with, Ed can set up and run a program for you.
The orienteering newsgroup, rec.sport.orienteering, is a good resource and a place to get answers to questions that are not dealt with here.