Our family started geocaching a few years ago. If you don’t know what geocaching is it is using a cell phone with GPS to find a hidden container that usually has a visitors log and sometimes has cool things to trade! Yes to the naked eye it can appear like we are searching for Tupperware in the woods, but there is more to it than that. That Tupperware is our treasure! The treasure may be the satisfaction of finding the container or maybe even a trinket like a keychain.
The major appeal of geocaching for me is the fact it is relatively FREE. You can download an app on your phone like geocaching , pick a find nearby , grab a pen on the way out the door , and you are on your way! Here is a link to the app we use https://www.geocaching.com/play.
Another major benefit to geocaching is the bonding time with family and friends. When we go for a geocache it gives us a few minutes in the real world to be completely present in the moment. Searching for a geocache makes you aware of your surroundings and along the adventure you may see things you wouldn’t have otherwise.
It can be a map reading teaching tool for the little ones. If you to let the little ones help read the map on a geocache they can practice orienting the surroundings to the GPS map images. It helps that they know treasure is on the line.
We have had a lot of fun and have learned along the way. Some geocaches were on our routine routes. Geocaching has taught us that MUGGLES are REAL! LOL
Muggles are people who aren’t Geocachers. We must be discreet around muggles, because they may trash the geocaching container without making fair trades as they might not get the concept of geocaching. Also the geocache container loot is referred to as “swag“. On our adventures we haven’t ever been met with muggles that we know of, but we have shared our hobby with people wondering what in the world we were doing. Giggle.
Let’s just discuss swag a bit more. The rule is always trade up swag. If you take something make sure whatever you swap is of equal or more value. The value doesn’t necessarily mean monetary value it is more of a coolness factor. Yes, the value of swag is different for everyone. I was reading on another site that people were complaining for finding pennies in caches, but other people like myself were happy to find coins. Usually swag has to be small to fit in the cache container, but just in case we bring things of different sizes.
What you need before you go geocaching?
Well, you can go with only a pen and a GPS of some sort. We probably over do it a bit, but we will share what we bring.
- Pen & Notebook- We keep a pen and notebook so we can make a record of our adventures.
- Swag- We bring swag to trade. The dollar tree is a great place to find things to trade. Some ideas for swag are party favor items, pirate coins, bead necklaces, and gems.
- Hand sanitizer- It can be a lifesaver! Trust us.
- Water- We always bring water because it’s good to be hydrated even if the geocache is only in the parking lot of a grocery store.
- Snacks- If you plan a hike or multiple caches bringing snacks for the munchkins in a must.
- Baby Wipes- We bring them in case we get a little messy along the way.
- Pocket Knife- Just in case. Remember a boy scout is always prepared.
- Compass- Using a compass can add some fun for kids who aren’t holding the GPS/phone.
- Hiking or Walking Shoes- Always wear good comfortable shoes! One time I wore sandals and stepped in a fire ant hole. Not worth it!
- Extra Paper- We bring precut strips of paper to replace logs inside caches that may be full.
- Sunscreen- Being out in the sunshine is good for you, but SPF is strongly recommended.
- Bugspray- Nobody likes to be eaten alive so bring some!
- Towel- You never know right? Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy suggest it and so do we.
- Scissors & Paper- Who knows? Maybe the scenery will inspire you.
- Comfortable Bag- We usually use a backpack or a messenger bag to keep things light.
If you try geocaching let us know how it goes. We love to hear from our readers! We may even share your story.