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An Introduction to Rogaining

Updated on December 25, 2014

Rogaining Explained

Well, what is rogaining? No, it has nothing to do with that product that assists you to grow more hair. Rogaining is similar in some ways to orienteering. There are teams of between two to five people, who, with a map and compass, navigate their way on foot from a start point to an end point finding various checkpoints along the way. You can only use "natural" methods of navigation therefore the GPS is left at home. There is a set time period (the championship standard is 24 hours) and while it's optional to get to all the checkpoints, points are awarded for each one. Rogaining is a social sport and generally the organisers will provide catering. As a sport, rogaining offers intellectual and physical challenges, the company of others, a natural environment and meals!

While In it's original form rogaining is conducted on foot in rural and wilderness areas, over time other forms have emerged. According to Wikepedia the varieties of rogaining are:

  • Metrogaine - An event of usually around 6 hours and held in predominantly urban areas.
  • Cyclogaine - Usually run for 6 hours in areas with trails suitable for mountainbiking.
  • Snogaine - Held in areas that are snowbound and participants may either snowshoe or ski to reach checkpoints.
  • Paddlogaine - A rogaine on a water covered area, such as a set of interconnected lakes, participants can generally use any human powered watercraft they want.
  • Pubgaine - A much shorter (2–3 hours) social event held in urban areas where all the checkpoints are pubs.

There are also four wheel drive clubs that conduct their own version of rogaining.

History of Rogaining

Rogaining emerged from several Australian university mountaineering clubs and has developed into a worldwide phenomena. Rogaining is now conducted in many countries and there are world championship rogaining events. For a detailed look at the history of rogaining see the Australian Rogaining Association's site.

A step by step explanation

So how do you conduct a rogaine?

The International Rogaining Federation has produced a manual on how to conduct a rogaine which runs to a surprising 100+ pages and provides detailed instructions on organising your very own rogaine. The philosophy includes emphasis on the fact that all participants, including organisers, volunteers and cooks, should enjoy the experience. Highlighting enjoyment as a criterion might seem self evident, however as the author notes, some sports have greater emphasis on the hardships which may be expected to be endured as a result of undertaking a sporting activity rather than focussing on the positive benefits.

Who goes rogaining?

While rogaining is a sport that does attract very fit people, there are shorter and less challenging versions for those who may not be so fit and those who are looking more at the leisure and social side of the sport. Rogaining is a competition which involves strategy and working with others to achieve a goal, which also makes it attractive as a corporate teambuilding activity.

Where can I go rogaining?

The International Rogaining Federation provides a list of contacts and events worldwide to help you find a local organisation that conducts rogaining. Alternatively, you could organise your own rogaine, in the country, the city, or around local sites.


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    • JanHeath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Australia

      Hi Cardisa, yes I agree, it's great to have sports with an emphasis on having fun as well as the healthy aspects. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Wow, when I saw the title I did think it had something to do with hair. Sounds like a wonderful energy filled sport. I could do that. You get to have fun while you exercise, it sounds really fun.


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