Outdoor Skills:

Compass & Orienteering 

For each level, learn all of the required information and complete the challenges. These activities can correspond for any age group.


Work these skills into your regular programming and outdoor activities. These outdoor skills are perfect for Guiding and Scouting groups, camp providers, teachers and anyone wanting to learn important outdoor skills. Incorporate these skills in your outdoor education programming today!

All levels of the merit crests can be purchased from E-Patches & Crests.

Click photo for direct link and easy ordering.


  • Identify the main parts of a compass

  • Learn cardinal points of direction

  • Learn the difference between a standard baseplate compass and a Lensatic compass and their uses

  • Read and follow a basic map with the cardinal directions

  • Find North on a map

  • Understand what a bearing is

  • Understand what a landmark is  

  • Learn how to pace count your steps

  • Learn the direction of where the sun rises and sets 


Challenge I​

Participate in an activity or game using basic directional points and compass


Challenge II

Help plan and participate in a hike using a basic map. Plan your basic directions

Helpful Links & Resources


Level II

  • Complete Level 1

  • Understand Longitude and Latitude

  • Learn how to dial, set and follow a directional degree bearing on a compass

  • Learn how to orient a basic map using a compass

  • Learn at least 2 different ways to tell direction without a compass: anolog watch, sun position in sky, Polaris (North Star) at night, sundial, floating needle in water or landscape indicators; how to identify the north sides of trees….

  • Understand how to use a basic GPS unit and how it works

  • Learn what a Waypoint is

  • Learn how to program coordinates on a GPS unit or Smartphone device

Participate in at least 2 of the following 3 Challenges

Challenge I

Help plan and participate in a hike using a basic map. Plan your direction

Challenge II

Participate in an activity or game using more complex directional points and compass than you completed in Level I

Challenge III

Participate in a Geocache hunt using a GPS unit or Smartphone device

Helpful Links & Resources​


Level III

  • Complete Level 1 & 2

  • Learn what Magnetic Declination is, and how to adjust and set for geographical location and how to tell if your map has adjusted this for your area

  • Understand topographical maps: contour lines (contour lines and contour intervals), sea level...

  • Learn about map scales and symbols and how to read them 

  • Learn how to triangulate your location on a map

  • Learn how to plan and just your route for slope inclination and trail barricades

  • Explore and discuss the pros and cons of each of the following: compass, GPS and Smartphone devices

Participate in at least 2 of the following 3 Challenges

Challenge I

Plan and plot route on a topographical map, and participate in a hike and  follow route using map and compass bearings 

Challenge II

Create and hide a geocache or treasure or someone else to find

Challenge III

Match the terrain and mountains to the topographical map

Helpful Links & Resources


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