Gear! What you need and where to find it…

One of the delights of orienteering is how little stuff you need to do it. Essentially all you need is;

Maps are given to you at the start of each race. So you really only need to think about the last 3.


a Str8 thumb 

There are two main types of compass, baseplate and thumb. Baseplate are the sort used in cadets and scouts but in the sport of orienteering, generally thumb compasses are used. Due to their unique shape, these enables you to easily hold the map and the compass in the same hand, set and hold quick bearings and use other techniques which make fast navigation easier.

Some good makes are Str8 (a great, new Australian brand, founded by Australian orienteer, Warren Key), the Swedish Silva and the Latvian maker, Frenson.

SportIdent sticks

Sportident Stick

SportIdent sticks track your time across the course as you insert or wave them at the control stations that you’re hunting down through the race with the aid of your map and compass.

They’re all made by the good people at SportIdent GbH. You can buy them through suppliers (such as the Australians or Europeans listed below) but also through Uringa from the Club Treasurer by arrangement. Get your own and you can race under that SI-sticks serial number anywhere in the world as it’s a universal system with unique serials.

You can also rent these sticks at most races for a nominal fee.

Running shoes

Icebug Orienteering shoes

Orienteering shoes are a lot like trail shoes with deeper tread and a lower heel than in many other shoes designed for the street. The lower heel (often just 4mm) helps stability when navigating cross-country and is pretty common amongst orienteering shoes, while deeper tread is near-universal. Trail shoes or any shoes with a good tread are solid starting options too.

Spirit8 Mens OLX Responsive Trail & Fell Running Shoes
Spirit8 Mens OLX Responsive Trail & Fell Running Shoes

More specialised shoes have metal dobs, or short metal spikes, for added traction, especially when running over wet, snowy or icy conditions in forests. While harder-soled than traditional running shoes, nothing beats dobbed shoes in said wet or icy conditions. These shoes were made popular by the Swedes, those crazy Scandinavians who invented modern orienteering.

Some great dedicated orienteering shoes are made by Swedish company Icebug, the Finnish VJ Sport or NVII Sport and or the English Inov8 shoe company.

Other Stuff

You can, of course, go crazy with other gear such as;

etc, but feel free to just start with the basics! The beauty of orienteering is how little you need for maximum fun!

Local Suppliers

We have great local suppliers/importers of orienteering gear who have also provided tremendous support for the sport in NSW;

  • Peter Shepherd (0419 610 797 or )
  • Colin Price at aussieogear (0415 210 339 or 
  • Ralph Koch at OSOA (03 9714 8540 or 0419 577 514 or )

Online/International Suppliers

Obviously, there are online suppliers too who have a wide range of gear and ship to Australia. While delivery is from Northern Europe, it is only about 3-4 weeks. Some good ones are;