Planning an afternoon of power caching? Maybe a 24 hour Cache Machine Run? Ready for an all-day cache adventure? We’ve had some great times power caching and would like to share some tips with you.
Just what are 'Power Caching' and 'Cache Machines' you ask?
Power Caching is any geocaching adventure for the main purpose of finding many caches over a space of time, such as an afternoon or even a 24 hour straight geo-marathon.
Cache Machines (popular in the US Northwest) are organized group-caching on a pre-planned route, usually from dawn to dusk, with a group dinner following the day’s activities. Travisl is the main organizer and his profile has the upcoming schedule of Cache Machines and also a great tutorial on how to put one together.
We know caching isn’t all about the numbers. We all geocache for all different reasons and some with certain goals in mind, and these can vary from day to day. So if you are thinking about a Cache Run, here are some tips to get you off to a good start and keep you going:
Location: Plan ahead and look over the area you want to cache in. Is the cache density good enough for you to find the caches you want to find? For speed caching, pick caches that are all on one side of the road; it’s hard to pass up caches on the other side, but you can come back for them later. It’s safer to not cross oncoming traffic.
Caches: Of course 1/1 caches will usually be faster to find. But we’d like to recommend that you throw in more difficult and higher terrain caches throughout the day. You will be ready for a challenge to clear the brain, and a good hike does wonders for your caching stamina.
Food: Geocaching is hungry business! Even if you are caching in an urban area, it’s a good idea to bring along a lunch and lots of quick snacks. You may not find a good place to stop and eat so having food along can save the day. If you are caching in a new area we also recommend chatting up the locals for dinning suggestions -you can find some great places this way!
Water, caffeine, beverages: Bring along enough beverages to keep you going. Geocaching is thirsty business too! Just as mentioned above about food, beverages can be hard to find on a power run.
Communication: Before heading out, be sure that everyone on the trip has a good understanding of and agreement with your Power Run goals. Be sure to get everyone's cellphone number BEFORE you head out. If you are caching with a group, we recommend using FRS radios for instant communications. Geocachers traditionally use channel 2.
Geocaching supplies: Be sure to have plenty of batteries, pens/pencils, extra log sheets, and swag and trackables for trading. You can make up a special stamp or group sticker for the day, but we recommend NOT using stickers on micro caches as they can quickly fill up the cache container causing extra work for the cache owner. On Cache Machines, one signature (such as "TCCM" for Tri Cities Cache Machine last weekend) can cover everyone in your group for micro cache logs. Be sure to do any cache maintenance that you can, and add extra log sheets to caches that might be getting full. Always Cache In Trash Out (CITO).
Bathrooms: These can also be hard to find -don’t pass up a bathroom break! We also recommend bringing wipes and other cleanup items to use throughout the run.
Local street maps: Even if your GPS has roads on them, a local map can be helpful as roads do change and you will get more detail.
Pets and small children: Power Runs are a lot of in-and-out of the car and park-and-grabs. These are not much fun for little children and hard on pets too, especially if it is hot, or even just sunny. We recommend leaving them at home or being sure that everyone understands what the day’s activities are all about.
First Aid Kit: It’s all fun and games until someone gets a cut or other injury. Be sure to check your kit before heading out to see if it is well stocked and if anything has expired. On a recent power run our driver got a head cut, and we discovered that the first aid kit was all out of band aids. Duh!
Keep it going: Lastly we recommend keeping an eye on the gas gauge (running out of gas sure can ruin the day!) and and the setting sun if you don’t want to cache in the dark. Of course you should have a flashlight or headlamp with you just in case and if you want to carry on after dark. And of course, it is all about having fun, right?
Do you have any additional power run tips or stories to add?