Orienteering Gear

Must have equipment for Orienteering

Just like any sport there are varieties of equipment you can choose to use. Depending on your budget, how often you participate, what you prefer to use is up to you.

As a guide, start with sturdy footwear (joggers similar to those suitable for grass sports), then think of an affordable compass (remember you can borrow at each event until you are ready to purchase one). Protection with clothing and legwear are something to consider down the track, but remember the options are open and it is totally up to you how much you want to spend.


Compass are used primarily to assist the orienteer to navigate around the course and to provide a reading of Magnetic North for map orientation.

Standard Style Base Plate compass

Traditional Orienteering Compass

The classic compass. A large and distinct direction of travel arrow will assist you with your direction. Compass housing with stable needle, which settles quickly while running.



Thumb Compass

Thumb Compass

Thumb Compass is ideal for those who don't need much in their baseplate. The thumb compass provides a straight and wide needle for easy and fast reading. Strong magnet gives quick dampening. Clear baseplate for easy reading of the map. Easy to read markings on baseplate. Elastic thumb strap and rubber pad for safe grip.

What if you don't have a compass?

Compasses may be borrowed at events, but it is best to get your own if you intend to compete on a regular basis. There are a number of reputable companies producing baseplate and thumb compases. Please talk to a club member for suggestions on what to look for, alternatively please view our recommended supplier list.



Sturdy footwear such as joggers are adequate for those beginning orienteering. There are a wide variety of special orienteering shoes avaiable but many people find that shoes with rubber studs, designed for grass sports such as hockey and football, are also quite suitable. Standard running shoes do not provide sufficient ankle protection in rough terrain.

For more information please contact a club person, alternatively please view our recommended supplier sites.

Leg protection
Knee high socks

Leg Protection

Gaiters are used to protect your legs against the vegetation and small branches that are on the ground. They are attached just below the knee, generally with a tie up cord, and at the bottom there are two holes that you will feed your shoelaces into for further protection.

The gaiters are made of nylon with a heavier material at the front that is padded which provides the actual protection and impact.

In some areas where the vegetation is "lighter" an orienteer may opt for the knee high socks with the nylon strip at the front to protect legs and shins from scratches and soft vegetation.

Orienteering Suits

O'suits as they are known, are made from lightweight, breathable nylon or lycra. They provide protection against vegetation as well as being comfortable in Queenland's weather conditions. They come in many colours and designs. Most clubs have their own shirts and O pants supply so you may be able to purchase material/order O suits through your local club.

If you would like more information please contact your club representative who can assist you further.

SportIdent electronic card

Sportident Timing System

In 2002, Orienteering Queensland purchased an electronic timing system known as SportIdent, which is now used internationally. Orienteering Queensland originally used this system at all major events like OY, Badge, Qld Championships and any major national event held in Queensland.SI is now being also used at most local club events as clubs now hav their own SI stock.

The system replaces the card punching system traditionally used at orienteering events. The SI control units are usually mounted on a stand, with a control flag. The control number will be on the SportIdent device and in some cases on the control flag.

Competitors use a plastic electronic card(SI-stick) to insert into the timing unit to record the time they visited that control.( as pictured). It will have a unique number whihc ties it back to the competitor. When the competitor finishes, the information on the stick will be downloaded, including the control numbers visited, the time and order they were visitied, and the split time for each leg.

SAIC Air card

Note: The latest SI sticks are SAIC Air cards. These have the capability of registering a time from a control unit by simply being waved over the unit. These are being used a lot in sprint events and by Mountain Bike orienteers

What if I do not have a SI-card?

At each of these events you can hire an SI-card, however if you lose it or damage it you will be asked to re-pay the full replacement cost. Alternatively, if you are going to be a regular participant it is certainly worth your while to purchase one. These can be bought from Orienteering suppliers (see list below).

Should a unit fail, what do I do?

If for some reason the unit does not produce a flash and beep, the stands still have ordinary punches and the competitor should punch the side of their map instead.

Things to note about the use of SportIdent:

  1. As your SI-card becomes your personal competition identifying number. It is very important that each competitor uses their own card at each event. Family groups should pay particular care not to mix their cards as this will create major problems in the computing system and for the system operators. We endeavour that each regular competitor in Qld is already in the database, however it is important that competitors always produce the SI-card when they register for an event to confirm their details are correct.
  2. Before each new event where SportIdent is being used, it is important to remember to "clear" your card before starting your new event. It is important to ensure that you do this as there is only so much information that can be held, so we want to ensure that you have a clear card prior to your course commencement. To assist there will be positioned before the start a "clear" and "check" station.
  3. Where start times have not been allocated, the start procedure will be that competitors will mark their map in their own time and then insert their SI-card into the Start control unit before proceeding on the course. Their start time will commence at this point.
  4. As no control card is being used for these events, competitors may need to invent imaginative ways in which to carry their control descriptions. Suggestions that are currently in use by some orienteers are: plastic sleeves strapped to the wrist, a list wrapped in plastic contact attached to their o'suit, alternatively tape the descriptions on the back of the map. There are control description holders that are available from our OQ Coaching Director for a nominal fee. These are available for purchase at most major events.
  5. Because competitors do not carry control cards, some people using SportIdent have experienced difficulty in remembering which controls they have visited and where they are up to since there are not punch marks in a card to remind them. It is also very important to remeber to insert your SI-card at the Finish control or you will be classified as DNF'd - Did Not Finsh. The Finish control will be placed under the finish banner and there will be multiple stations to avoid any waiting. The SI-card carries the course information until you download it in the Master SI-unit at the administration tent. From here you will recieve a print out of your course information including your total elapsed time and the split times between each control leg. If the competitor has inadvertently gone to a wrong control for their course, this will be recorded as "mp" Missed Punched and you will see this result on your print out.
  6. Should a competitor visit a control out of order, this information will be recorded on the card. If the competitor realised there error and then goies to the right control in the right order (one control visited twice) then the "mp" will not be recorded. Similarly, if a competitor visits a wrong control, punches it but then later realises their error and finds the correct control the "mp" will not be recorded.


There is a vast array of equipment orienteers can use and there are various ares where you can get this. We have put together suggested vendors to make it easier for you.

Here is a list of preferred suppliers:

Wildfire Sports

Specialist provider of Garmin watches, compasses, clothing, map boards and other sports equipment.

Contact Brenton Gray (available at all major Queensland Orienteering events)
Ph: 07 3339 1433 or 0422 248 549
Email: brenton@wildfiresports.com.au
Web: www.wildfiresports.com.au

Scientific Instrument and Optical Supplies

Unit 1, 62 Bishop St, Kelvin Grove QLD 4059
Ph: 07 3356 0233
Email: sales@sios.net.au
Website: www.sios.net.au

Orienteering Services of Australia, Victoria

Orienteering Service of Australia (OSoA) is a distributor for SILVA, and carries a wide stock of compasses, MTBO products, control flags, cards and punches, gaiters, books, headlamps, maps, etc.

Contact: Ralph Koch
Ph: 03 9714 8540
Mobile: 0419 577 514
Fax: 03 9714 8303
Email: info@osoa.com.au
Web: www.osoa.com.au

Aussie O gear

Aussie o gear is the Australian Distributor of Sportident Timing Equipment , Importer of Vavry Orienteering Clothing & Trimtex Orienteering Clothing.

Colin Price
Email: colin@aussieogear.com
Ph: 02 43845003
Website: www.aussieogear.com

Moxie Gear

Moxie Gaiters are designed to protect shins and keep grit out of your shoes. Our Shin Gaiter has padded panels over the shin, soft stretch fabric around
the calf and comes in three sizes with ties for adjustments. Our Ankle Gaiter is designed to fit comfortably underneath the shin gaiter or simply on its own.

Daren Clark
Email: darren@moxiegear.com.au
Website link: www.moxiegear.com.au

Hart Sport and Leisure

Hart Sport and Leisure, sell orienteering control flags, compasses, books, and games:

Building East 2/605 Zillmere Rd Aspley QLD 4034
Ph: 1300 764 719
Website: www.hartsport.com.au

Windchill Sports

Website: www.windchillsports.com.au

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