Geocaching is something we have had a lot of fun with. It has an ulterior motive though for me, and that is it’s a way to keep my three little people going on a hike. Although you can find geocaches in urban areas as well. The distraction of a “treasure hunt” is enough to make them forget their grumbles out on a trail. You can take geocaching to different levels, but we stick with the simplest version which is still a lot of fun.
So What Is Geocaching?
Geocaching is an outdoor activity that you do using your phone (like us) or a GPS device to locate various sized containers. These can range from very tiny to large containers. You can do the simpler more traditional way of geocaching (this is what we do), which is search for a container at a set of coordinates, find it, sign the log book, and if it has any swaps do that, and then move on. Or the more complicated way of multi caches. You build up a set of coordinates for a final cache as you go along through a set of stations. Inside the container you should find a log book, a pen or pencil, and maybe something to swap. These can either be small items such as rubbers, mini toys, etc (never edible as you don’t want to attract wildlife to it), or a “trackable”. There are a few types of trackables such as a travel bug (attaches to an item) or a “geocoin”. These have a tracking ID and travel from cache to cache and build up a little travelling story. You can log your geocache find on an app.
How To Do Geocaching:
The most popular way is through an app, such as from iTunes, and you can find more about one of the most popular ones through the website https://www.geocaching.com/play. You can then look on the app at your location (or where you plan to head off to) and see if there are any in your area. We pay a yearly subscription (about £25) to have all of the geocaches showing, not just a select few. Choose the geocache you are going to head for and read the description. Each one has a rating for difficulty and terrain, and also it will state its size. There may even be a background story as to why it has been placed there. Then follow the compass directions and distance on the app, and you will hopefully end up in the right vicinity before scrambling around to locate it 🙂 Other people also log their comments and photos from their search and these can sometimes be helpful – or spoilers, so be careful!!
Why Do Geocaching?
- It makes hikes a little more fun and interesting especially for the little people.
- It teaches children some basic navigation awareness.
- It can be seen as a challenge and develop teamwork between friends or family members.
- It is a reason to get outdoors with all the benefits that come with that.
How To Start Geocaching:
Head over to the iTunes app store and download the app. Bear in mind there is the free version and a paid version. Start on the free and see if it is for you, but if you pay, a whole heap more geocaches come up on the map! Make sure you have a bag of small swaps with you when you head out. We use small cars, novelty rubbers, road safety reflectors, hair clips, mini craft stamps etc.
Our Geocaching Experience:
We have been geocaching now for nearly 4 years, and I have found it so useful to motivate everyone out hiking, and the children love “hunting for treasure”. We started doing it in the UK, but have used it as a way of getting to know our new area where we moved to in Sweden. We have seen many types. Micro ones, huge ammo box ones full of swaps, and beautiful puzzle boxes where you have to work out how to get into the container first! We have a whole trail of those near where we live in Sweden and they are beautiful, but very hard to open in the middle of winter!! We have also placed 2 geocaches as well now. Just before we left the UK we introduced one of our little lady’s best friends to geocaching. Her Mummy then subsequently researched and organised a cache that the girls could plant called “BFF” (best friends forever) in the area where they had geocached together. Forward wind a year later, and whilst they were staying with us here in Sweden, we planted a matching one also called “BFF” with the story written inside the container and in the App’s description.
I hope if you have ever wondered what geocaching is all about this gives you some tips and ideas to get started and see if it is for you. Let me know in the comments how you get on, or if you are a seasoned geocacher, let me know any tips that work for you 🙂