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How Does Geocaching Work?

How Does Geocaching Work

Geocaching with kids will get you exploring places you would have never found otherwise.

In this beginner’s guide to geocaching with kids you will learn what is a muggle, the technology you need to find a geocache container, and the code of conduct all geocachers follow.

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is today’s high tech treasure scavenger hunt that gets people exploring new places. Thousands of caches are hidden around the world and there are probably several hidden in your area. Geocaching is open to anyone, kids and adults, that enjoy the outdoors and a little (or a lot) of adventure. By adding a geocache to your day hiking exploring outdoors, you’ll be taken to new discoveries you may never have found otherwise. Often people hide the geocache in places they frequented as children or are known only to a few local residents. You might discover a hidden waterfall or new park, remnants of homes from previous centuries, trace the path of early residents to the area, or learn about the local wildlife.

How do you geocache

Buy a GPS unit like this one to find geocaches. You will need a GPS that directs you to a longitude and latitude point by road and by walking. Smartphone geocaching apps only work with cell service.

Can You Geocache with a Smartphone?

Yes, you can use an app on your smartphone for geocaching. And it these apps work very well, as long as you have cell phone service. If you plan to travel away from civilization and cell phone towers, then you will need a handheld GPS unit.

How Do You Geocahe?

Go to the official geocaching website (geocaching.com) to find a cache. Basic membership is free, although the paid membership gives you access to more caches and website features. If you have a geocaching app on our phone, then you can just turn it on to look for nearby caches. However, by browsing the website for caches you can read the cache clues and background information and pick caches that sound most interesting to you.  These can then be downloaded to your GPS.

Geocaching with kids

Geocaches are often hidden under rock or debris piles.

Choosing a Cache

Choose a general area that you would like to explore. You can search by zip code or city. Find a zip code for the area you want to visit by doing a search at USPS.com. Entering the zip code into the geocaching.com search feature will give you a list to choose from starting close to the zip code.

If this is your first time and you are just learning how to geocache, then pick several easy caches to find, more than you think you will have time for. Often first time geocachers have trouble finding their first couple of caches. If you have several easy ones to try for, you will be more likely to have cache hunting success.

Dress appropriately for the elements and the trail that will take you to the cache. Pack food and water and gas up the car if you are traveling to less populated areas.

geocaching swag

Bring geocaching swag. These are things, toys, or trinkets to trade. Many caches are containers full of items. You are allowed to take an item if you trade it for something you brought.

Geocaching Etiquette

Do not let the “muggles” see you seeking out a cache. “Muggles” are people nearby that do not know about geocaching or the nearby hide. Keeping muggles in the dark is part of the game and protects the cache from unwanted attention.

Sign the notebook that will be inside the cache; think guest book for cache finders. Many geocachers create team names to sign the book with.

Put the geocache back exactly where you found it. Even if your GPS unit says the cache is in the wrong location – do not move it. Each GPS can be off by several feet. You can leave a note for the cache owner who can decide if it is correctly placed or needs to be move.

Be a responsible and respectful geocacher. Do not leave trash behind and do leave nature where you found it. “Cache In Trash Out” (CITO) is the motto all geocachers follow.

For more, watch this What is Geocaching video:

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