Navigation racing offers a unique opportunity to explore off-trail, find adventure, and test your backcountry navigation skills. Whether you're a hiker out for the scenery or an endurance athlete looking for a challenge, nav racing is adaptable to your own idea of fun in the outdoors.
Nav racing is a sport of map and compass (GPS is not allowed), however outdated curricula have taught navigation as a skill that starts indoors with pencils, rulers, and abstract concepts such as triangulation. By contrast, nav racing proves that much off-trail travel can be accomplished through interpreting the map and relating it to the landscape around you, a more immediate and pragmatic skill than drawing lines on a map to find your location. Of course, map reading is best augmented with basic compass knowledge.
While advanced compass skills are useful, they are not required to enjoy a navigation race. Furthermore, checkpoints vary in navigational difficulty and it is up to you to decide which you want to find. In navigation racing, you really do choose your own adventure!
If you're interested in what nav racing has to offer, but are unsure if you have the skills needed to participate, read on! We hope this guide serves as an inspiration and resource on learning practical navigation skills.