Geocaching as a Family

In the early 2000s, geocaching took the outdoor world by storm as the next big hobby. The first recorded placement of a cache took place in Oregon. All that remains of that cache is a plaque honoring the beginning of this fantastic outdoor activity. You can find it at the original cache coordinates 45*.17.460’N 122*.24.800’W. 

Tim and I found a few geocaches hiking in Florida State Parks when we lived down there. We enjoyed the challenge of using the handheld GPS and hiking to the cache location. I hope to get back into this hobby with my kids in the near future.

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is an outdoor adventuring activity where participants hide a small parcel of items and share the coordinate locations online. Others use a handheld GPS or map and compass to find the cache. 

Caches are made of a waterproof container and feature a logbook and stamp so visitors can record their find. They usually also have small trade items that you can take as a memento of finding the cache. Traditionally, you will leave a small item for others to take. No one likes finding an empty cache. 

Some items now carry a Travel Bug which allows geocachers to track where that item travels around the world to different caches. The original geocache contained a can of beans that still circulates among caches.

The original can of beans

The only cache items that you may NOT take are the logbook, pencil, and stamp. Common geocache items are coins, small toys, buttons, CDs, and books. Some geocachers make custom coins or pins to leave at the caches they find. Some coins are trackable items too. 

Popular Geocaching Websites

Since this hobby is now over two decades old, there is a proliferation of websites where you can see coordinates and post a new cache if you make one. Some of the most popular ones are Opencaching, Waymarking, Storyseeking, and ARIS. 

Equipment for Geocaching

Going geocaching is just like hiking with a specific destination in mind. The difference is that your goal is to reach a set of coordinates rather than a particular summit or view. Most of the equipment you need is the same for a day hike. Pack enough water, first aid, extra socks, and food. Pack jackets or extra clothing layers depending on the season and weather report. 

The one piece of specific equipment you need is a handheld GPS device. These are not the same as the navigational tools you use in the car. But they are similar and typically made by the same companies. If you already pulled up your Amazon app and got sticker shock, hang with me!

Newer models that have touchscreen technology like your phone are pricey at $200-500. I always suggest getting used or less fancy gear when starting a new outdoor hobby. You can pick up a Garmin eTrex Waterproof hiking GPS on Amazon for about $80. That is the unit Tim and I had years ago and it works great.

Geocaching as an Educational Project

Most of you already know that we are a homeschool family. Whenever I can combine a learning activity with outdoor time, I’m in the zone! Geocaching makes a perfect learning, hiking, moving, nature enjoying confluence. We can learn map and compass skills, survival skills, and mathematics while geocaching. I look forward to sharing some adventures with you later this year!

Categories Family activities, Gear, hobbiesTags , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “Geocaching as a Family

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