Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3+ adventure travel stars


Which way to go?

If you’re a fan of adventure racing then you need to learn about orienteering because it’s one of the often-used disciplines.

Sports orienteering is a competitive form of land navigation combined with a method of travel that can be geared toward any age group or fitness level.

So, anyone with a sense of outdoor adventure can join in on the fun.

Following are some of the different kinds of orienteering.

  • Foot orienteering
  • Mountain bike orienteering
  • Ski orienteering
  • Trail orienteering
  • Canoe orienteering
  • Mounted orienteering
  • Mountain marathon
  • Rogaining

There are many more ways to go orienteering, so you might want to look for a course that includes your favorite adventure activities. Combine two, or more, of the endurance disciplines with orienteering, and you’ve got an adventure race.

Just so you know, generally speaking, there are some rules that most organizations follow when administrating an adventure race course for sports orienteering. And they are…

  • No motorized modes of travel
  • No outside help
  • No using a GPS device
  • Teams must carry all mandatory gear

So leave the Garmin behind and understand that there are no caddies in sports orienteering.

Risk Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars

When you’re out racing around in the great outdoors there will be times when you’re going to get some bumps and bruises. And for those who participate in high-level sports orienteering events there is the possibility of some significant risk.

The main risks include injuries from falling and tripping, bad weather that deteriorates the conditions of the course, difficult terrain and getting lost.

Hopefully you’re not going to go on a course that exceeds your level of fitness or navigation abilities, so that should reduce the chance of you getting lost.

The weather, however, is out of your control, and when you combine that with difficult terrain (mountains, ravines, etc.) there are going to substantial risks at times, so make sure you’re up to the task when you commit to a course.

Skill & Physical Factors
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars

Because a course can be created with a range of difficulty levels, sports orienteering can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. So, I’m going to rate this adventure sport right in the middle.

To be good at this you do need to develop some skills, and when you’re in good physical condition you’re going to have more courses to choose from and that translates into more opportunities for some good clean fun.

Some of the basic skills you’ll need to know for an easy course include reading a map, understanding the symbols used to direct your path, and you’ll need to know how to use a compass. Sound easy, right? Well, wait until you have the pressure of competition weighing on you as you race against others to the final point.

For those who progress in this sport it gets more complicated as they master the ability to work with grids, scale and distance, overlays, aerial photos, navigation equipment, units of measure and conversion and much more. It can get pretty complicated.

Fun Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ – 4 adventure travel stars

Orienteering is kind of like a treasure hunt where you search for points that guide you to the prize, which for many is simply knowing that you reached the end point before anyone else.

There really isn’t any limit to the fun you can have when different ways to get from point A to point B are mixed together over some beautiful scenic locations.

For the adrenaline junkies, you may want to add some of your personal favorites to the mix. How about if you started on the top of a mountain and parasailed to one point where you got into a raft and paddled through some white water to another point where you then mountain biked and trekked your way to the finishing point?

Get creative. You may even come up with a unique spin on orienteering and develop your own perfect adventure race.

20 popular places for orienteering
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Croatia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • The Netherlands
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine