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Is Geocaching for Me?

Updated on November 10, 2016

A Traditional Cache

Picture of a Traditional Cache, Opened
Picture of a Traditional Cache, Opened

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a technology based, outdoor "treasure hunt". In a nutshell, geocachers use high-tech GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) technology to find containers (or caches) that have been hidden by other geocachers.

As the joke goes, "I use multi-billion dollar satellite technology to find Tupperware containers in the woods."

The geocache containers range in size from "nano", which are tiny, to very large containers. Every hidden container must contain a log book that a successful finder signs. If the container is large enough, the cache may include goodies, known as swag. In the earlier days of geocaching, swag often consisted of valuable items such as cell phones. Today's geocaches are more likely to contain small trinkets that interest children. For adult geocachers, the excitement is in the find, not in the possibility of acquiring goodies.

Those wishing to take swag items from a cache are expected to replace it with other items of similar value and then re-hide the cache where they found it.

The tiniest caches have room for nothing but a small log book.

Once a geocacher finds a cache, he or she signs the log book, then registers the cache as "found" on the geocaching.com web site. After that, its on to the next find.

Once the geocaching bug bites you, you are likely to want to hide your own geocaches and become a cache owner as well as a cache finder.

Photos are my own work, unless otherwise indicated.

Signed Log Book

A Signed Log Book in a Geocache
A Signed Log Book in a Geocache | Source

Why is Geocaching Fun?

Truth be told, lots of folks don't "get" geocaching. It's clearly not for everyone. But for the right person, it can turn into passion.

Which one are you?

For starters, if you are saying, "What's the point if there aren't any great prizes?", then my guess is that this is not going to be your next great interest. For us, its all about the finding and not the getting, remember?

But -- if you can answer yes to most or all of these statements, then I encourage you to get yourself a Global Positioning System device and start hunting!

  • I enjoy solving puzzles
  • I like using technology
  • I enjoy nature and the outdoors
  • I like activities that can be done solo or with other people
  • I enjoy discovering new locations that I didn't know existed
  • I like walking or hiking or cycling or maybe even kayaking
  • I am patient and enjoy overcoming a challenge
  • I can appreciate a hobby that can cost as little or as much as I want to spend

I would bet the farm that all dedicated geocachers would say yes to most or all of the above. I could be wrong, but I doubt it!





Geocaching Supplies to Get Started

Hand -held GPS devices receive data from billion-dollar satellites floating high in the heavens. The good news is that you do not need to buy a billion dollar satellite. You simply need the hand held device.

These devices receive positioning information from the satellites and display it to you as longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates. You "follow" these co-ordinates until you are at or near the cache location, or Ground Zero as we call it. Then you start to hunt.

You will need either a hand-held GPSr (receiver), or a Smart Phone with a geocaching APP. The geocaching APP costs about ten dollars.

In an ideal world, you would have both a Smart Phone APP and a GPSr because each comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

If you already have a Smart Phone, it would make sense to start out with the APP and later, work up to owning a GPSr.

Note: In some locations, Global Positioning Satellite Receivers (GPSr) are known as satnams (short for satellite navigators).

An Event Cache

Picture of an Event Cache or a Social Get-together
Picture of an Event Cache or a Social Get-together | Source

Other Geocaching Supplies

What you need depends upon how seriously you want to pursue this hobby. Some people plan travel vacations around geocaching and others simply go poking around their own community.

At the least, you will need the following small ticket items:

  1. A water bottle (for drinking, of course)
  2. A flashlight (because some caches are hidden in dark places)
  3. A pencil or pen for signing the log book (in case the cache doesn't contain one)
  4. Tweezers for pulling logbooks out of tiny tube containers
  5. Some sort of map, compass or phone if you are prone to getting lost on park trails.
  6. A package of moist towelettes is nice for hand cleaning after you have been reaching down inside tree stumps and digging around under fallen logs.

10 Reasons Why Geocaching is a Good Thing

When done correctly, geocaching is a good and positive activity on so many levels. It's good for people of all ages and abilities, good for families and relationships and good for the planet.

How Can This Be True?

  1. Geocaching is exercise. The quality of the exercise depends upon the degree of physical effort that you put into the activity. However, even if you don't break a sweat, its still more exercise than watching television.
  2. Geocaching is suitable for people of almost all ages and abilities. Many caches are wheelchair accessible.
  3. It's a good activity for kids and parents. Kids love to geocache, especially when they get to crawl around and have fun in parks and nature trails.
  4. This activity gets you out in the fresh air and encourages you to enjoy nature. A tiny number of geocaches are hidden indoors, but they are few and far between.
  5. With this hobby, you will explore areas that you have never seen before, and learn much about your own community and other locations as well.
  6. Earthcaches are special caches that require you to visit a significant location where you research and submit information about the spot, rather than finding a hidden cache. Hence, you learn new things and keep your brain active.
  7. CITO events are special activities in which people get together and carry trash out of a location while searching for a cache. CITO stands for Cache In, Trash Out. Many geocachers practice CITO as part of their searching routine. The environment benefits.
  8. Event caches are occasions in which geocachers meet at a specific time and place to socialize or to conduct a specified activity. Hence, there is a social aspect and a sense of community.
  9. Many caches today require the finder to first solve a puzzle or research clues in order to obtain the cache coordinates. This requires new learning, adds to the interest for many, and helps keep the brain active.
  10. Geocachers can combine their enthusiasm with other activities, such as cycling, camping, hiking, boating and travel. Geocaches are found in many countries of the world, and there is even one on the International Space Station.

Hiding a Geocache Video

Poll: What's Your Pleasure?

So What's Your Favorite Outdoor Activity?

See results

© 2014 June Campbell

Please Say Hi!

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    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I'm DzyMsLizzy over here, over there, and pretty much everywhere! LOL

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Good for you. Who are you on geocaching.com? Maybe I can friend you. I don't know how to friend people but I could figure it out. I'm campbelj on that site.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      P.S. I've recently renewed my membership on Geocaching, and have decided that if hubby does not want to go (he is feeling a bit better, and claims to want to try to build up his endurance), then I'll go by myself! I'm saddened that he did not seem at all interested. He thinks it sounds "dumb" .. sigh. I think just going for a walk for exercise..just walking--is boring, and geocaching makes it into something fun to do.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Its lots of fun, David, if you like poking around in the woods and solving puzzles and playing with technology -- all at the same time.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      3 years ago from New York City

      First time I heard of geocaching, and it definitely sounds like fun.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Thank you so much! I appreciate it. And now I am going to edit this hub and fix the photo credits as you described.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      What an interesting activity! I've never heard of this before. It sounds like a new variety of scavenger hunt and a lot of fun. I'm going to pass on this great idea. Enjoyed your article and voted up.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Sorry about your husband and that your geocaching was cut short. I do not have a GPS receiver at this time. I am using the Smart Phone. It has its strengths and weaknesses. For instance, I often lose connection to my service provider when I am deep in the forest looking for a cache. Also, since the smart phone gets its signal from a cell tower rather than a satellite, the coordinates are less reliable. I hope to eventually get a GPS receiver when the budget allows.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      When I first heard about this sport, we had recently acquired a car with GPS capability. Unfortunately, you could only plug in an actual street address. While you could switch to Lat/Long mode, it would only show where you were currently; the coordinates could not be input as a destination.

      So, off to the electronics store to find a GPS unit with that capacity. We found only one in our price range that allowed either street address or lat/long coords for input. That was the TomTom One XL. We don't have, and refuse to get "smart" phones, so this remains our GPS unit.

      Sadly, my husband has developed health issues that preclude his being out and about very much, so I guess my one Geocaching adventure was the first and last. :-(

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Its a little like beach combing. You might like it. Thanks for visiting.

    • Jemjoseph profile image

      Jemjoseph 

      3 years ago

      I never heard of Geocaching before, but it does sound interesting, it reminds me of how much I used to love Beach-combing as a child and wanted to own a metal detector when I grew up, just to seek buried treasure.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Wow, another geocacher! Isn't it amazing how this hobby grabs you and holds you captive? LOL

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      My wife and I have been geocaching since Feb 2002… still have some of your originally placed caches active, visited every week. An Amazing activity!! Thanks for sharing!! ;-)

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Something that I never heard of, but sounds like a wonderful adventure. I can see where this could become very addicting!! Thanks for sharing this fun :)

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando FI Chor 

      3 years ago from Andalusia

      This is interesting and sounds real fun. I had never heard of geocaching before. Reminds me of us as kids looking for hidden Easter eggs in the garden.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      4 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Its easy to do and easy to get started. Why not give it a try, especially if you have a smart phone? A friend introduced it to me last Christmas and I have been hooked ever since.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      my boys would love this, so would I!

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 

      4 years ago from Minnesota

      It would be fun to do some geocaching and get good at it, and the more the merrier.

    • Ilona1 profile image

      Ilona 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      I have a friend who is an avid geocacher- it looks so interesting. Great hub!

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