What Do I Need To Go Geocaching?
Of course the first thing you’ll need for Geocaching a geocaching GPS device.
Prices for a geocaching GPS start from around $50.00 for a basic model and can run up to over $500.00 for more high end GPS models. There are also geocaching apps available for most smart phones that are available for free or for low cost that you can obtain (see details below) that will give you a feel for whether or not you really want to get into the geocaching hobby. If you have a car gps that will work on batteries and allows you to enter GPS coordinates you can go that route as well.
Just keep in mind that cellphones and car gps units aren’t durable like a handheld geocaching gps, so you risk damaging them.
The Apisphere Geomate jr. is the easiest and quickest way to get in on the geocaching fun; just switch it on and be directed to your closest geocache! With over 250,000 pre-loaded cache locations covering all 50 U.S. states, you and your family could be out enjoying your own adventure before the packaging even hits the floor.
Apisphere Geomate jr. Features
- Cache Hints – get hints like the size,how well it’s hidden, and the terrain
- Get Lost Proof – after charging off into the woods, Geomate.jr will get you home
- Found Log – want to review the caches you have found? No worries…
- Back to Basics – and if you wanted the basic stuff like compass, latitude, longitude,and elevation, then you’ve got it!
The Garmin GPSMAP 62s is probably the best geocaching gps unit on the market and is backed by a 1 Year warranty.
Garmin GPSMAP 62s Features
- Rugged handheld navigator 2.6-inch, sunlight-readable TFT display with 160 x 240 pixel resolution
- Built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief; download Garmin Connect photos for picture navigation
- Built-in 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass and barometric altimeter for bearing and altitude
- Share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches wirelessly with other compatible Garmin device users
- 1.7G of onboard memory and microSD card slot for adding a wide array of topographic, marine and road maps
The gps that we use is the Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx, when I bought mine in 2008 it was the best rated handheld gps available. It is waterproof, has a ton of features including dedicated geocaching function. I also use it in my car and my boat. I replaced the 64MB Micro SD card with a 1GB card and have more storage than I’ll ever need. I love the electronic compass which points in the direction of my next cache and makes it easier to stay on track. When we get close to ground zero it switches over to display how close we are to the cache.
Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx Features
- High-sensitivity GPS receiver gives you improved satellite reception even in heavy tree cover or deep canyons
- Barometric altimeter provides extremely accurate elevation data
- Electronic compass can determine your heading and direction, even when you’re standing still
- IPX7 waterproof case can withstand an accidental dunk in the water and still perform
- Large, color TFT display makes viewing the screen easy, day or nightBuilt-in Americas autoroute basemap, including highways, exits and automatic, turn-by-turn directions
If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch you can buy a kit from Magellan that turns it into a waterproof GPS unit. ToughCase is waterproof to IPX-7 standards allowing your device to be submersed in water (up to one meter for thirty minutes) and shock resistant. The unique case design allows you to interact with your device while it remains protected from the elements, including the touch screen, hard buttons, and audio headphone jack access. The integrated high sensitivity GPS chip set enhances the accuracy of most GPS, location based, or navigation apps. Extend your iPhone or iPod touch’s versatility by transforming it into a handheld GPS receiverToughCase has an integrated battery that transfers power to your iPhone or iPod touch. Enjoy twice as much power in the outdoors!
Here are some geocaching apps you can find for free, or low cost for Windows Mobile devices, iPhone, and Android phones
- GCzII – available at Nicque.com
- Groundspeak’s Geocaching iPhone Application – available at iTunes
- GeoBeagle – available at Appbrain.com
The next thing you’ll want to do is join Geocaching.com they are the original and still the best site for geocaching information and finding cache locations. Basic membership is free and premium memberships are only $10/3 mths or $30/year. I have, and highly recommend the premium membership. It’s well worth the small investment.
You’ll want to make sure that you have good, sturdy hiking shoes. I prefer waterproof hiking boots as they support my ankles and allow you to get through wet areas without getting your feet wet.
Finally you need a few other things, depending on how advanced you are. A few of the items in the list are just my personal choices and as you’ll notice there are a few you should take on every geocaching outing.
I have a backpack that I keep ready just for geocaching and here what I keep in it:
- Pen with waterproof ink for signing logs
- Tweezers – for pulling out splinters and getting log sheets out of nano and micro caches
- Spare GPS batteries
- Print outs of cache descriptions and coordinates
- Bug spray
- Camera – you’ll want to document your geocaching adventures and you’ll never know what wildlife you’ll come across and want to capture a picture
- Hand wipes – yes you will get dirty, and if the kids are along and snacking you wish you had them
- First aid kit
- Water – the most important thing to bring along
- Snacks – especially if you bring kids along
- Trash bags for CITO – Good geocachers practice CITO (cache in – trash out) it helps both the environment and the community
- Duct tape – great for temporary repairs of damaged caches you find
- Assorted Zip Lock bags – if you come across a damaged cache you can help protect the cache owner’s log
- Disposable rain ponchos – worth their weight in gold. You know the weatherman always lies
- Bear repellant – if you are caching in an area known to have bears it’s good insurance
- Last but not least you need some SWAG (stuff we all get) if you want to trade, if you take something – leave something. Some ideas for SWAG included, small toys like matchbox cars or happy meal toys, pencils, pens, batteries (put them in a ziplock bag in case they leak), coins (coins from other countries make great SWAG), waterproof match containers,empty film canisters, and playing cards. I keep some 1 dollar bills in case i run out. Later if you really get into geocaching you may want to think about, geocoins, travel bugs, and cache buddies (I’ll discuss this more when I write about caches)
One final note: Never leave anything hazardous or sharp in a geocache and never leave any kind of food as it can attract critters that will destroy a cache.