Control Flag Storage Tips

If you've ever volunteered at your club's orienteering event to help pick up control flags and markers, you've likely wondered the best way to package those flags for storage.

Perhaps you securely package control flags by wrapping the loose punch and hanging strings around the side(s) of the flag so that they don't flop around. Or maybe you tuck the corners into the opposite side. These methods are not only time-consuming for the next flag hanger to undo, but can also damage the control flag's frame.

The following method stores orienteering flags in a neat, compact package that is not needlessly difficult for the next user to unwrap. Use it the next time you pick up controls and your club's equipment manager will thank you!

  1. Hold a control flag by two top and bottom adjacent corners and let the punch and string hang down opposite those corners.
  2. Tuck the punch and its string into the pocket formed opposite the corners you are holding. (* see note)
  3. Flip the pocket up over the top of the flag and hold it horizontally.
  4. Take the hanging string and wrap it gently around two edges of the flag and secure with a simple slip knot to a support string. The next person hanging this flag can simply pull on the loose end of the slip knot and the marker will flop open, ready to hang!

Credits: Thanks to Ann and Charlie Leonard of CNYO for teaching me this method!

*Note: Instead of leaving control marker flat at this point, you could turn the top frame so that you're holding the next corner (this twists the flag somewhat) before securing the hanging string. This method reduces the amount of loose flag fabric, but still allows a pocket for the punch and string. (Thanks to George Walker for this suggestion.)

Photos by Janet Tryson