Geocaching is a treasure hunt of the technological age as participants have to navigate to specific GPS coordinates to find a geocache hidden at the location. A geocache is usually a waterproof container with a logbook and a ‘treasure’ item, such as a toy, inside. They can be placed anywhere, and there are currently millions of people worldwide listed on the various geocaching websites.
Taking part in geocaching is a great reason to get the whole family out of the house and exploring the great outdoors. All you need is a GPS-enabled device, such as a smartphone or tablet, and a membership to a geocaching website. There are many different levels of the game - you may need to solve riddles, codes or puzzles or visit multiple geocaches before finding the ‘treasure’.
On a basic level, geocaching involves following these simple steps:
- Visit the site you’re registered to.
- Enter your postcode and hit ‘search’.
- Choose a geocache from the list.
- Enter the coordinates into your device.
- Find the location and look for the hidden geocache.
- Once found, sign the logbook and return the geocache to its hiding place.
There aren’t many rules involved, but it is important that you keep the game going when you take the item in the box by replacing it with your own.
History of geocaching
Believed to have been started in May 2000 by Dave Ulmer from Beavercreek, Oregon, geocaching is similar to the 150-year-old letterboxing, which uses clues embedded in stories to lead people to locations. The first geocache was a black plastic bucket, which was found twice and logged once, and the ‘treasure’ was software, videos, books, food, money and a slingshot.
Types of geocache
As we mentioned, there are different levels to geocaching that are usually dictated by the type of geocache that you find. Types of geocache include:
This is the original and most straightforward geocache, which can come in many different sizes and usually contains a logbook and tradeable item.
Mystery or puzzle
This type of geocache usually contains a puzzle that needs solving to reveal the coordinates of the ‘prize’ geocache.
To complete this type of geocache involves visiting multiple locations and solving clues to the location of the next geocache.
Visiting these geocaches will teach you something about the Earth and will require you answering questions on what you’ve read to be able to log the location. For more information on Earth caches, visit EarthCache.org.
An event cache is a gathering of local geocachers who meet at a set location. Numbers can vary with mega events attracting 500+ people and giga events over 5000.
Many people experiment with geocaches so you may wander across something new if you decide to take up this hobby.