Page 1 of 1

orienteering forums?

Posted: 28 April 11 12:16 pm
by Op Ivy
From reading through posts here I gather there's a few geocachers who are also into orienteering. Just wondering if anyone can point me towards any orienteering forums. I've been reading up about it a lot online especially on the Orienteering Australia and Orienteering Qld websites but now would really like to find some discussions about gear (especially compasses).

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 30 April 11 9:59 pm
by Captain Terror
Try contacting user 'Rogainer' for obvious reasons. I know at least one of his caches is orienteering based.

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 02 May 11 9:29 pm
by kennythe1st
There are a few specialist orienteering forums e.g. mapping, but few general ones. I know of one only in NZ. Chances are, relevant forums will be linked from your state orienteering website.

Else suggest to the state prez that s/he establish a forum for newbies. Hmmm, why stop at that? - maybe as a newbie, you could set up a Twitter or one of those other social media thingies and be the centro for O newbies with answers from not-so-newbies. And cadge (I'm sure there is a more withit term) a link from the state or national website.

Go to it op ivy! Maybe even I will (con)descend to being a Twit for that occasion :-)


Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 03 May 11 8:47 pm
by blossom*
Op Ivy wrote:From reading through posts here I gather there's a few geocachers who are also into orienteering. Just wondering if anyone can point me towards any orienteering forums. I've been reading up about it a lot online especially on the Orienteering Australia and Orienteering Qld websites but now would really like to find some discussions about gear (especially compasses).
Best thing for orienteering is to go along to a local event. There will always be people very happy to tell you anything you want to know from what gear to wear, which course would suit you and how to go about it all. Most of the discussion often occurs at the events except (as previously mentioned) for a few quite specific discussion web sites. When you are just starting out, a normal base plate compass is quite ok and you will also find that you can hire a compass at events when you are just starting out.

Alternatively, what do you want to know? I'd be happy to give you a few hints on anything :D

For a compass if you are planning to buy one, the most popular type for orienteering is a thumb compass with a fast setting needle. There are still a lot of orienteers who use a base plate compass but the thumb compass is ideal for orienteering, especially if you get serious.

The fast setting needle becomes important once you are running through the terrain and trying to navigate on the go. A normal needle is fine until you get to this level.

There's pretty well no reason to choose one brand over another. But it is CRITICAL to get a southern hemisphere compass for orienteering in the southern hemisphere.

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 03 May 11 10:18 pm
by Team Wibble
I'm not really aware of any good orienteering forums but then I've been a bit less active over the last year or so. I'll ask around.

Definitely check out a local event, orienteers are welcoming to newcomers to the point of looking desperate sometimes :mrgreen:

Compass wise, absolutely go with a thumb compass if you can afford it. Even if you don't end up becoming serious about orienteering they're just easier overall when you're on the go. I think the last time I used a base plate compass orienteering was when I was about 8 years old! A good quality one should last you for years, most common brands used by orienteers tend to be Suunto or Silva.

Happy to answer any orienteering questions too, I've been orienteering for 26 of my 31 years.

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 04 May 11 1:03 pm
by Op Ivy
Thanks everyone for your replies. Well since my first post I went to an orienteering event so I was able to ask a lot of questions there. I had a great time and can't wait for the next event. :D

I got to borrow a baseplate compass but afterwards asked about buying a compass. It was recommended to me that I keep borrowing a compass until I can get a thumb compass. One of the guys showed me his thumb compass and explained how to use it - which turned out to be the same way as I had used the baseplate compass as I hadn't set any bearings on it (and still don't know how to :? ). I've looked around online and have seen that the most basic Silva thumb compass is about $60 and it looked the same as a lot of people there had so I'll probably aim to get one of those when I can.

Will go look for the NZ forum next - if nothing else sometimes I pick up a lot just searching through archives. Don't think I'll take you up on your twitter suggestion though Kenny - I tried twitter once but just didn't get it at all.

For those happy to answer my newbie questions...

I am wondering about which gear to prioritise since I'm on a budget. I was able to turn up with nothing and get started so that tells me I don't HAVE to spend up until I'm ready which is cool. But, with the map, compass, control card and sportident stick I felt like I had my hands full - so I'm thinking a control card-holder and thumb compass might be the best things to get first. On the OQ website I read somewhere that SI sticks are in limited supply at larger events so wondering if I should prioritise that? (What does that mean anyway - that you might miss out, or that you might have to wait for others to finish so you can hire an SI stick?). Other than that, how highly recommended are things like gaiters, O-Suits and club membership?

Also, a question I didn't think to ask on the day as I had my other half waiting at the finish line holding my phone/wallet/keys - do those O-suits have pockets for these sorts of things... or, where does everyone leave them? In the car? Oh yeah, and whistles - on the website it says you should have one, but I don't and didn't carry one with me - do people really take these (and again, how/where to carry it)?

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 04 May 11 2:05 pm
by allrounder
+1 for the thumb compass..
I don't use a control card holder...
I would recommend gaiters...I use them for caching as well...
You can normally tuck your car keys in a safe spot (leave everything else in the car)...or if you must take other stuff with you, get a SpiBelt...
I run with a whistle on a lanyard tucked inside my shirt (haven't had to use it yet)...

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 04 May 11 7:40 pm
by blossom*
Your very first priority should be a whistle. In an urban event, this is not important but for any bush event, it is really good to have. The idea is that if you are injured (or badly lost), you can draw attention to yourself way better with a whistle. It's also possible that you will come across another orienteer who is injured and the same applies to summon help - whistles can be heard for quite a distance. Six short blasts is the call for help. This is a safety issue and a whistle is really cheap. I have one attached to a safety pin and I pin it to my running top every time I go into the forest. I've never needed it but I know for sure if I don't take it one day, that will be the time I do need it!

After that, I would give first priority to what's in your hands. Tie everything to yourself:

Buy yourself a thumb compass when you're ready and this will be attached to your thumb which is one less thing to drop. In the meantime, a piece of string attached to the borrowed base plate compass can be looped around your wrist so you can let it go if you need and it's still attached and won't be lost.

The sportident stick will sit on your finger via the elastic strap so that ought to be ok. As far as them being in short supply sometimes, I wouldn't worry too much. At larger events, you will generally find most orienteers have their own SI stick so you ought to be able to hire one ok for quite some time. When you buy yourself one, be sure to put a bit of string through the little hole and tie it onto your wrist - they are expensive to lose!

If you have a control card to carry around, it is very common practive for orienteers to have a piece of elastic ready-made, with a loop tied in each end (one big loop, one small). You stick a hole through the control card with the pointy end of a pen, shove your small elastic loop through, then push the rest of the elastic through the loop so it's now attached to the card. Then put the bigger loop around your wrist and you no longer HAVE to hang on to the card 100% of the time. That's cheap and easy.

Another item you will have is the Control Description paper. If you are at a smallish event, there will often be sticky tape provided and you can stick this to the control card or the map. One less thing to carry :D Personally, I would recommend a "control description holder" as a good item to buy too as they're not too expensive and are very handy.

After the thumb compass, I would put gaiters as a next priority. You can run in a t-shirt or sports shirt of any type and a pair of shorts with gaiters is very convenient at a lot of events. They will protect your shins and keep grass and junk out of your running shoes. I run in lycra tights with gaiters all the time, except if it's really hot when I use my o-pants and gaiters ('cause I don't like getting my knees scratched with shorts). And I always use an o-top with long sleeves - stops getting my arms all scratched and they are so light.

Nobody ever takes car keys etc out in the forest. You're almost guaranteed to lose them and have to hang around for hours waiting for RACQ to turn up :( At an urban event, the registration table will often have a box for car keys, just throw them in there but make sure you can recognise them amongst the pile! If there isn't anything like that, leave the key under the back wheel with a rock over it or at the base of the nearest tree with a stick over it or whatever. Some o-pants do have pockets but they're best kept for a hankie.

Glad to hear you had fun at the event. There is no need to join a club until you feel you want to be "part of it all". Give yourself a bit of time to get to know some of the others and join up when you're ready.

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 05 May 11 1:28 pm
by allrounder
great list blossom...

I'd forgotten about the control description holder - I do have one of those...

however I tend to run with the control card and the map together...although one day I thought I had the control card in my pocket only to reach the next check point and not have it....funnily enough I was able to backtrack and locate it to continue on!....needless to say, if I'm going to stick the card in my pocket, I make sure I wear deep pocketed shorts!

orienteering is great and I need to do more of it!

(I'm a member of the ACT Bushflyers...)

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 09 May 11 9:51 am
by Op Ivy
Thanks allrounder and blossom. Lots of great tips there. I went to a coaching session for beginners on the weekend and its all starting to come together in my head. When I did my first event last week I was on a blue course so barely got off the path. At the coaching though I got an opportunity to try cutting through the (very thick) bush rather than sticking to paths - very eye opening. I can see how you could get injured and need to use that whistle, lose your car keys (and never find them again) and by how scratched up and itchy my legs got I totally get the argument for gaiters. In fact, I think after getting a whistle, gaiters are probably now top of the list. Love the elastic tip for the control card - great idea - will take some next time.

Is the best place to get orienteering gear online? I'm wondering how to work out size for gaiters (and maybe o-suit later) - are there any adventure stores or anywhere that sells gaiters?

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 09 May 11 1:40 pm
by allrounder
for gaiters go to places like Paddy Pallin, Kathmandu, Mountain Designs, Mont...

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 09 May 11 4:19 pm
by Team Wibble
I can't remember whether QLD has its own orienteering supplies shop that goes out to events (we're fortunate in SA to have that setup).

I wouldn't recommend gaiters from the outdoor shops like Paddy Pallin etc for orienteering. Those gaiters tend to be heavier and designed for bushwalking. Orienteering gaiters are a lot slimmer and lightweight and better suited for running.

I'd ask around at an event - see what others are wearing, and my guess is if there isn't a small shop at events then online would be your best bet. Be aware that orienteering fashions change frequently too! When I was a kid I wore plastic fronted knee-high socks over orienteering pants (the lightweight nylon pants - I do recommend these, by the way!), then gaiters over nylon pants, then lycra tights, then nylon pants with no gaiters, and a lot of this was influenced by the "o fashion" at the time. I haven't actually worn gaiters in years, I find the nylon pants give enough protection (most of the time).
Fashion wise, don't get me started on tops..... that's a whole 'nother ballpark :mrgreen:

Definitely don't take your keys out with you, I think you've realised why this might end up being a bad idea! Most orienteering supply shops sell nice cheap, lightweight flat whistles that sit happily in a pocket. I'm a big fan of the elastic for control cards and the "strap to your forearm" clue sheet holders (which are pretty cheap to buy).

Re: orienteering forums?

Posted: 10 May 11 3:27 pm
by Zytheran
Another thing to have in the car is a decent first aid kit and make sure you have tweezers for extracting bits of broken scrub and yakkas, plenty of antiseptic and a bottle of water for washing the inevitable scratches/wounds and gashes. As others have said clue sheet holder is handy as when you fold your map odd are the control listing can't be seen.
As Wibble said about gaiters, the O gaiters are a different kettle of fish from what most outdoor shops call gaiters. Thin long pants and tops are good for reducing sunburn when you're wandering around lost :oops: and keeps a bit of cold wind off when waiting for events to start in winter.