Basic Equipment

Although orienteering doesn't require a lot of gear, some basic equipment you might want is:


The compass is the main orienteering tool (other than the map, of course!). There are several types of compass, each of which is described below.

Base-plate compass
If you're new to orienteering, a base-plate compass is a good low-cost option. Many people already own a base-plate compass and it works just fine for orienteering.

Thumb Compass
As you become a more experienced orienteer, you may want to opt for a thumb compass. As its name suggests, this compass is worn on the thumb, which allows it to more easily be held to the map while running, thus making orienting the map easier.


A SportIdent e-punch tracks your progress and time from one control to another. While several versions are available, emphasizing speed or ability to handle data, our system works with all of them on the major US sites.

Where to Buy Equipment

A good local supplier of compasses and e-punches is available at the local meets or online:

Wildwood Adventure Outfitters (

Control description holders: Handmade locally, contact

Generally, orienteering gear is available only online or by mail. An extensive list of online stores is on Orienteering USA's website ( major US online stores are: