A Guide to Geocaching

As many of the regular readers of this site and my Twitter account will know, I’ve very much integrated GeoCaching into my daily life. Just like pringles you won’t be able to stop once you’ve started. GeoCaching is a very simple premise that is similar in principle to the old idea of letter-boxing. You can sign up at geocaching.com for an account an begin looking for GeoCaches in your area straight away. You will need some form of GPS receiver such as a Garmin. This article provides a little information on how to find a GeoCache and the best ways to hide your own caches.

Finding a GeoCache

When attempting to find a GeoCache there is no particular set of rules that you need to adhere to. The following is a list of how I’d recommend you start looking for a GeoCache.

  1. Look for something out of place, or something placed deliberately as its extremely difficult to make a hide look natural.
  2. Be aware of the container you're looking for, look for a gap or hole that the container could fit in.
  3. Caches are often covered in leaves, rocks, sticks or a camouflage bag.
  4. If you're new to GeoCaching, then read the hint provided, look at the photos posted and read recent logs of the cache to see what other people have said when looking around for it.
  5. Have a little patience. Sometimes it can take a while to find a cache, even experienced GeoCaches will have times when they don't find a cache quickly.
  6. Try to be discreet. You're often in public areas and no one wants caches to get trashed/muggled. At times, you will need to use stealth.

How to Hide a GeoCache

After you’ve made your first finds you’ll have a better understanding of what makes a great GeoCache. I usually recommend that people consider hiding caches after they’ve made 50 or so finds as you have a better knowledge of the sport. The list below provides some tips on placing a GeoCache and things to avoid doing.

  1. Cross check your co-ordinates with other devices. iPhones and smart-phones do *not* provide good co-ordinates under any form of tree cover. If you have difficulty in getting co-ordinate accuracy, please note this in your cache listing. People won't mind, they just want to know the right areas to search and finders are happy to post their co-ordinates.
  2. Make your cache hide as natural as possible. If you're using rocks at the base of a tree, or sticks in a rock formation then it will be too easy for the GeoCachers to find.
  3. Holes make great hiding places.
  4. If there is more than one way to approach your cache, make sure you've hidden it from all approaches.
  5. If you need to use a lot of camouflage then consider a different location.
  6. If its on the bank of a waterway, use “East Bank” for descriptions and hints. Using “Its on the other side” is almost useless in these situations.
  7. Try to get permission before placing your cache. Places like Peak District, National Park, Forestry Commission are all happy to give permission for caches. They just like to know where they are.
  8. Try to place caches in areas of interest that people will enjoy seeing. Would you like to go here yourself?
  9. Remember, people love a challenge. Be inventive.
  10. Don't forget that you need to maintain a cache. If for some reason you can no longer maintain it, say so and usually someone is happy to adopt it.

Other Tips

  • Wear long trousers and take gloves as you'll most likely encounter nettles and hawthorns.
  • Always take a drink/bag of crisps with you, you'll nearly always be out for longer than you expect.

If you have any other tips or comments then please add them in the comment section for others to read.