Rogaining is the sport of long distance cross country navigation. Teamwork, endurance, strategy and map reading are features of the sport. Rogaining is a team activity for people of all ages and levels of fitness, which aims to support and encourage people to develop respect for and enjoyment of rural and bushland environments, and to encourage the development of navigational skills, self reliance, general fitness, and the ability to work in a team.

Description of the Sport of Rogaining

Rogaining originated in Australia, where the sport can be traced to the creation of the rules in 1968 and the first intervarsity 24 hour score orienteering competition in 1969.

The objective of rogaining is to collect the highest score by finding checkpoints within a set time limit. Teams of two to five members travel entirely on foot, navigating with the aid of a topographic map and analogue compass. Teams select their own order of visiting checkpoints, in terrain that varies from open countryside to hilly forest. The classic rogaine includes both day and night navigation.

At many rogaines a central base camp (the Hash House) provides hot meals and teams may return at any time to eat, rest or enjoy the fellowship. Teams travel at their own pace, and anyone from children to grandparents can experience the personal satisfaction that comes from cross-country navigation at individual levels of competition and comfort.

Rogaining is a real adventure sport and is a lot of fun.

What is the duration?

The traditional rogaine is 24 hours in duration. However, there are also shorter events of 3, 6, 8 and 12 hours. Most events are located within a two hour drive of major cities. Rogaines are held on foot in picturesque bush and farmland locations, however, some events are held in metropolitan areas (Metrogaines) or on bikes (Cyclogaines).

Who is it for?

Rogaining is a team activity for people of all ages and levels of fitness. Everyone from elite athletes to families with young children can enjoy rogaining. New rogainers are always welcome and event organisers are willing to help you get started. The parts of the course you visit are entirely up to you and your team members. There are no set routes and you don’t have to spend the whole time on the course. You can even return to the Hash House at anytime for some hot food and rest around the campfire, or even a sleep, before heading out again.

Some competitive teams may cover 50 km in a 12 hour event and even more in an event of 24 hours duration. However, the distance you travel is entirely up to you. The satisfaction comes in finding your way around the course according to the route that you have chosen, and navigating back to the finish within the time limit.

What do you need?

Rogaining is good value for money; all you need is basic bushwalking gear including a compass, whistle, pencil, water bottle, comfortable clothes, sturdy shoes, and a basic team first aid kit. Clear contact or a map bag will help to protect your map while out on the course. You should also bring your own cup, plate and eating utensils to enjoy the food on offer at the hash house. On 12 and 24 hour events you may also wish to bring along camping gear and spend some time resting overnight at the Hash House.

What does it cost?

Entry fees vary from $20 to $80, depending on the event. This covers hot food during and at the finish of the event, your map, information sheets, and facilities at the Hash House.

How does it work?

Between 1 and 3 hours (depending on the length of the event) before the start of the event, each participant receives a map of the course with all the checkpoints marked on it. They also receive a description of the checkpoints and their point values. Teams choose their own route to get to whichever checkpoints they want. It is important to get back before the time limit expires as there are hefty point penalties for being late. At each checkpoint there is a punch to make a hole at the corresponding numbered square on the control card. At Metrogaines you often have to answer multiple choice questions at the control point. Rogaining is a team sport and the team MUST stay together at all times.

Like to know more?

Download the NTRA Novice Pack for loads more useful information for first-timers (and probably some old-timers as well).

Adapted from, by David Baldwin