I’ve been geocaching for several years now and I can safely say I love geocaching. I recently took monkey to his first ever Geocahe flash mob and to log his first 3 caches and sparked several conversations about caching on twitter. So I thought I’d write a post to share what I know about geocaching and hopefully inspire you to all get outdoors and start finding some.
Geocaching is like one big worldwide treasure hunt. The quickest way to describe it is, someone hides a cache (box or film canister for example), they then take note of the coordinates at “Ground Zero” (where cache is located) and post the details about the cache online at geocaching.com.
You can view the details of the cache either online or via several smartphone apps. I use the official geocaching.com app which costs just over £5, but there are free apps available. If you have a map, notebook, compass and a computer you can access the details on, you have everything you need already. I have only ever used the iPhone app to cache and get on fine, but my dad for example, bought a GPS device to use in areas where his mobile wasn’t sufficient.
So what’s a geocache exactly? –
A cache can come in different shapes and sizes and can be as straightforward find or take more work than just following one set of coordinates, but I’ll get to that shortly.
Nano cache – these caches are tiny, often magnetic and usually require extreme stealth when locating.
Micro cache – commonly these are film canisters or similar sized containers.
Caches can also be lunchbox sized, hidden in small key safes or clever hides can blend into their surroundings using ingenious creations. I’ve even seen some caches in America that are humongous.
When downloading the details of the cache, it will usually specify the size of the cache using a boxed sizing scale. This can help you when searching as you’ll have an idea of the size of container you are looking for.
Is there anything inside a cache? –
Every straight forward cache I’ve ever found had either a small piece of paper or a note book inside it. This is referred to as the log. This is there for you to write your geocaching username on and date, to show you’ve found it. If you find the log book is full and you can’t fit your name on it, you can mention this in your notes when you log it online and the owner of the cache should replace the log book.
I like to carry some small toys from the Pound store to pop in any caches I find. They don’t have to be expensive swaps, they just make it more fun for people when they find it.
If you discover the cache is damaged or is damp inside, mention this in your log online, so that it can be maintained by the owner.
Geocaching is a hobby that can be done by someone 1-101+. Each cache comes with it’s own attributes and it should tell you wether a location is puschair, wheelchair or dog friendly. Always check beforehand that the area you are visiting is safe for those you are caching with.
What are the different types of caches? –
The Geocaching site has a great page dedicated to this here. But if you want to get started as soon as possible, I recommend a traditional cache or a multi. A traditional gives you the co-ordinates of where the cache is located and you can head straight there and search. A multi gives you either one or several different co-ordinates which take you to a location where you have clues to find the final locations co-ordinates. The more you discover, the more you will start to think like a geocacher.
You have all the information you need now, to start geocaching. Go think of a great username, register with geocaching.com and head outdoors and start exploring.