According to Geocaching.com Geocaching is a ‘real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.’
In other words I use my iPhone or GPS to find Tupperware in the woods! Yep, really!
To get started all you need to worry about is registering for a free account on Geocaching.com. If you have a GPS enabled smart phone the easiest thing to do is download the free Geocaching App. This gives you access to enough local geocaches to see if you like it or not and is also simple to use. I my opinion it’s not the most user friendly app (Better apps can be purchased.) but for a taster – it’s perfectly fine. If you don’t have the relevant phone and want to try it then you can head to several national trust properties and borrow a GPS handset and find some onsite geocaches. A word of warning these caches tend to be a little uninspiring due to the fact they get trashed fairly quickly by people who are learning the ropes.
Some Geocaches are premium listed which can only be accessed by becoming a premium member. The fee isn’t huge and you do get other benefits, but this really isn’t necessary.
Another option you may wish to explore is to invest in a specialist GPS handset, these really are an investment though. I have one and love it, especially as I’m really good at dropping things. 😉
So what is a geocache? They literally come in all shapes and sizes. Teeny tiny magnetic tubes, disguised as insects or pine cones or even whacking great big treasure chests full of surprises.
Generally you are given a description of what you are looking for, other times you don’t even know what size it’s going to be. Smaller caches have just a log book, you sign this with the date and your username. You then replace the log book and re-hide the cache.
Larger caches generally hold swag. If you geocache with children you will want a small supply of swag to trade. Geocaching etiquette means you must trade for something with the same value, or leave something of a higher value. In other words don’t take a brand new toy car and leave a manky old feather in its place. Yes that does happen.
I tend to keep duplicates of toys the children have or buy party favours for fun swaps. We’ve had some pretty cool swaps from caches, you also wouldn’t believe the pieces of tat children find appealing to take home….
If you find a toy or item attached to a dog tag or similar with a code, this is not for keeps, it’s a trackable. Your choices are either take it, log it and move it to another cache, or until you are used to proceedings leave it for the time being.
Once you have cunningly rehidden the cache, you are officially no longer a muggle! Woo!
Though not compulsory but very much the done thing to do is to leave an online log to say if you have found the cache or not. Those who place caches love to read the story of how you found their geocache.
Why not give it a try? It’s a wonderful way to get the family engaged in the great outdoors and as a way to discover exciting new places to explore – it really can’t be beaten.
Happy Caching folks.
6 thoughts on “Guide to Geocaching”
This is a very nice summary. I linked to it from my blog, which is sometimes (but not always) about geocaching, and I thought readers could use a quick guide. I hope that’s ok!
That’s fine. Thanks for letting me know and glad you liked it 🙂
Hi. Which GPSr did you get for xmas? (Do you fancy reviewing it in a blog?) I still use Cgeo o my phone but was considering buying one. is it worth it? Thanks.
I have a Garmin Oregon 650. I do love it, it’s accurate for finding and exceptionally so when placing caches too.
I still cache with both GPS and phone. I prefer the GPSr when out on a long trail and prefer the ease of a phone for every day caching. I’ve a tendency to be a bit clumsy so the GPSr gives me a bit of reassurance as it’s very rugged. Like the phone it makes short work of battery power but a higher quality battery will of course last much longer (the standard rechargeables provided aren’t all that great.)
Are there any local geocaching events planned near you?
local cachers would happily let you have a go with their devices I’m sure. Such a big investment it’s worth waiting to get the one that’s right for you.
Any other questions feel free to fire away…
oh and meant to say that if you get on well with your phone, why not just consider buying a battery back up rather than a GPS. 🙂