Best wayfinding gear to gain an edge in the woods

Orienteering equipment is similar to what any outdoor enthusiast would need in the wilderness. If you’re unfamiliar with the sport, you creatively navigate tricky terrain, pass pre-determined checkpoints, try to finish with the fastest time, all using just a map and compass. It’s a really fun way to spend time in the woods, plus it gives you a decent mental challenge with lots of great aerobic exercise.

You must plot your course by studying the terrain to find the path of least resistance to get to each checkpoint. Also called a control point, it is what you mark on your map and which is represented, in reality, by an orange and white flag and punch. Physics comes into play by having to leap and dash through whatever terrain the course is laid out on, which requires stamina, toughness, and speed. To do this successfully, you’ll want to be equipped with some of the best new woods-worthy wayfinding gear, like the ones we’ve gathered here.

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1. Camelbak Octane Dart 50 Hydration Pack

Staying hydrated is key when you’re contouring through a forest, and Camelbak’s Octane Dart 50 Hydration Pack is a minimal and lightweight (7 ounce) way to carry plenty of agua. Easily accessible front pockets can hold energy gels or bars, and the pack comes with the new Crux reservoir to deliver 20% more water per sip.

[$70; camelbak.com]

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The unique Ombraz sunglasses avoid the temples for a snug elastic cord.
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2. Ombraz Dolomite Sunglasses

Stay on course while navigating an orienteering course and avoid wandering peeks from branches, with the Dolomite Sunglasses from Ombraz. These unique sunglasses avoid the temples for an adjustable band of elastic cord that holds them securely to your face, and are also easy to remove without losing them on the trail. Multiple lens options (including a transparent version) cover almost any scenario.

[From $125; ombraz.com]

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Stay sure-footed in the woods with the Altar Lone Peak 6 trail shoes.
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3. Altra Lone Peak 6 Trail Running Shoes

The Altra Lone Peak 6 trail runners are a godsend when looking for cleverly hidden control kites off trail. Not only do they feature Altra’s famous spacious FootShape design, these lightweight and nimble shoes also have a tenacious outsole that’s studded with knobby lugs to help get you through tough conditions.

[$140; altrarunning.com]

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Track your progress in the woods with the Garmin Instinct 2 smartwatch.
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4. Garmin Instinct 2 Solar Smartwatch

Although you have to rely on your compass for directions while orienteering, attaching the new Garmin Instinct 2 Solar outdoor GPS watch can give you helpful feedback like on-the-fly fitness metrics and even track your way through the course for further study. The long-lasting watch (up to 14 days of battery life) meets military standards for durability.

[$450; garmin.com]

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Clear away thorns and twigs in these hybrid Keb pants from Fjallraven while staying cool.
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5. Fjällräven Keb Pants

Participating in your local orienteering inevitably means crashing through the woods at a breakneck pace. Protecting your legs and staying cool are essential, which is why Fjällräven’s Keb pants should be on your radar. They’re made from a super-lightweight, stretchy fabric blend that’s strategically reinforced with tough, durable G-1000 Eco material; they also include ventilation zippers on all four sides to release heat.

[$235; fjallraven.com]

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Stay on track while working on the map with the Suunto AIM-30 compass.
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6. Suunto AIM-30 NH Compass

The only thing you really need to bring to orienteering is a compass, and Suunto is one of the best. The AIM-30 NH is an orienteering-specific model that makes it easier to stay on target with a fast, stable needle and easy-to-read graphics optimized for fast, accurate navigation.

[$70; suunto.com]

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