This month's geochallenge has been issued! Will you accept the challenge?
To help you with this #geochallenge, we thought we would give you a Trackable 101 to help you accept the challenge:
What are trackables you ask? They are items that are uniquely identified (special unique code on each one) that are meant to travel from place to place, person to person.
Maybe you’ve heard of those traveling gnomes that people take with them on trips and then take their picture at scenic spots? Or how about Where’s George Dollars that you can track by the serial number to see where this dollar has been spent before?
Trackables are usually found in geocaches -but not always! They move from place to place, picking up stories along the way. You can add your own story, or live vicariously through each trackable’s adventures.
It's no secret that Liz and I love spending our days outside exploring the world. From big cities, to National parks, museums loaded with history, to hiking on back trails. In fact, one of the reasons we love Geocaching is that it goes along perfectly with our travels. So it's important to be prepared for your Geocaching adventures at all times, and that includes having the right equipment in your Geocaching bag.
A Good "Geocaching Bag" is Essential
Since we enjoy combining all of these things into our trips, it's essential to have a good geocaching bag that meets our variety of needs. It's important that the bag not be too small, or too big. And for us, it needs to fit everything we need to be prepared for a day hike, or traveling and exploring a new city. Luckily for us, we've found the perfect bag for our geocaching adventures. In fact, we enjoy it so much that we refer to it as our "adventure bag!"
Our "adventure bag" is always stocked and ready to go at a moments notice.
Must Have's In Your Geocaching Bag
SmartPhone or a GPS & Spare Batteries
One of the first essential items for your Geocaching Bag is, of course, some kind of GPS unit. You may opt for a handheld unit, or you might be happy with the good ol' smartphone and Geocaching App. We started out using the Smartphone, but realized that it limited us when we wanted to get out into the wilderness. It also because a problem when we traveled abroad, those data roaming fees will get you!
No matter which item you prefer to use, you should always make sure it is fully charged - or that you have spare batteries on hand too!
Sun & Bug Sprays
Being an outdoor activity, you should always carry some kind of protective sprays. Whether it is for the sun or for bugs, you never know when you might need it. And it could make for a miserable experience (maybe more miserable AFTERWARDS) if you don't have it on hand. But it's not just the wilderness, you will also need these even if you are in the city! I can't tell you how many times we've gotten caught up while wandering around town, sightseeing and Geocaching. Only later did we realize that our faces were super sunburned!
Luckily, most stores sell small travel versions of bug spray and sunscreen. So it's easy to pop a couple of them into your Geocaching bag, that way you will always have them.
Don't Forget the Water!
It is critical to stay good and hydrated anytime you are outdoors, but it's especially important when you are out geocaching. As travelers, we make it a habit to bring a bottle of water wherever we go -- from sightseeing around town, to boat rides, beach trips, or a hike. It's a good habit to have.
And when you are geocaching in the wilderness, it's even more important to have water with you. So be sure to look for a Geocaching Bag that has space for you to carry a water bottle. Don't forget it!
Bring a Notebook and ALWAYS Have Extra Pens!
All cachers can relate to the "pen problem" at some point or another. So we make it a point to put many pens in our Geocaching bag, you don't want to be caught without...or without one that works! Also, you should consider bringing a small notebook too. Sometimes you need to take notes for multi-caches, or have another situation where you need to write something down or make calculations. So the notebook will definitely come in handy.
Nice-to-Haves in Your Geocaching Bag
For us, there are some other "nice-to-haves" that we include in our Geocaching Bag too. These aren't critical items, and some people might not are to bring them along. But for us, these items seem to be quite useful or enhance the experience. For example, we like to bring a small flashlight in case it gets dark or if we are looking inside a dark place. We also prefer to bring a small first aid kit as well as some snacks to munch on. We also like to bring an iPod and mini-boombox, which we turn on at a low volume when we are hiking. The sound helps to warn off wildlife, and makes for a peaceful walk in the woods for the two of us.
Lastly, we have a bag of trackables that always stays in the Geocaching Bag as well as some swag items - just in case we stumble across something we want to trade for inside a cache. If you take something out, you have to put something in. Always be good to your fellow Cachers.
Oh, and we also like to bring the camera along. You never know when you will come across an amazing site!
Tell Us What's in Your Geocaching Bag!
While this is our list of "must haves," we know that everyone has their own unique list from their experiences. So please, tell us what is in your Geocaching bag in the comments below. Cheers and happy caching!
We're Josh & Liz, expert travelers who love a good Geocaching adventure. Visit our website Peanuts or Pretzels to find out how we can help make your trip planning easier and more fun...as well as incorporating Geocaching into your next vacation!
This month Cache Advance has joined up with the Geocaching Vlogger for the April #GeoChallenge! This month's challenge is all about Geocaching Maintenance. (Watch the video below for more details if you haven't already) We thought we would offer you some helpful maintenance tips to help you with the #GeoChallenge of the Month.
No one likes to DNF a cache, or find only moldy mush in a broken cache container! Things can happen to any cache out in the wild: damaged container, moisture problems, full logs or they just go missing, aka getting “muggled”! Here are some maintenance tips to keep those caches looking great!
For Geocache Cache Seekers – Be a Geocaching Hero with our Maintenance Tips:
The Geocacher’s Creed states “Make minor repairs if you can, it will save the owner a trip”. While you are our caching we recommend keeping a few supplies on hand to make repairs and do maintenance on the caches that you find, along with your own caches! The very basics are replacement logs, baggies to keep the contents dry, and perhaps a spare pencil.
Our Dr. B’s Cache Repair Kits are perfect for making many field repairs while you are on the go. You can add more items to it, such as swag, as well. When you do any maintenance on a cache that doesn’t belong to you, be sure to let the owner know so you do save them a trip, and that they can also remove the “Needs Maintenance” icon from their cache listing.
If the entire cache is ‘missing’, we do not recommend that you replace it without the owner’s permission. Perhaps you really DNFed a perfectly good cache that is just hidden well. Or perhaps the owner intends to archive the cache instead, and now they’ll have to go and retrieve the throwdown that you left.
You are a geocaching hero when you do maintenance on any cache – the next cacher finder will thank you, and we all win!
Maintenance Tips For Geocache Owners:
The cache owner will assume all responsibility of their cache listings. Yes that is right; once you have placed a geocache it is your responsibility to maintain it, both physically and online too!
You should make occasional visits to your cache to ensure it is in proper working order, especially when someone reports a problem with the cache (missing, damaged, wet, etc.), or posts a Needs Maintenance log. Temporarily disable your cache to let others know not to search for it until you have addressed the problem. You are permitted a reasonable amount of time – generally up to 4 weeks – in which to check on your cache. If a cache is not being maintained, or has been temporarily disabled for an unreasonable length of time, it may be archived a reviewer.
These are your options if you receive a notification that your cache needs some attention:
Maintenance: Visit your geocache, make any needed repairs, and post an “Owner Maintenance” log so the community knows it’s available to find. If your cache was fine, please indicate so with the "Owner Maintenance" as well. The "Owner Maintenance" log cancels out any existing "Needs Maintenance" attributes on the cache page.
Disable: If you cannot check on your geocache within a reasonable amount of time, please disable your geocache listing. Once you perform maintenance, you can enable it and post an “Owner Maintenance” log.
Archive: If you decide it is time for your geocache to be permanently retired, please archive the listing and retrieve all physical stages. It is sad to see a cache go, but sometimes either a hide just becomes too ‘high maintenance’ or it has outlived its time since most cachers in the community have already found it. Perhaps opening up the territory will help another cacher to hide a new cache nearby.
To log any of these actions, visit your geocache page listing and select "Log your visit." The options to post Owner Maintenance, Temporarily Disable or Archive are all options from the next page.
The "Needs Maintenance" icon will show on your geocache listing if it has been reported by the community as needing maintenance. Geocachers see this icon as a sign that your geocache may not be in good condition and they may skip trying to find it.
Once you have made repairs, post an "Owner Maintenance" log on your geocache page. This log removes the Needs Maintenance icon.
Additional reminders for geocache owners:
Replace the container if the current one is in bad condition
Make sure that that your container is watertight
If any of the contents are wet, dry them off or replace them
Check that there is enough space left in your logbook
If your geocache is not accessible due to weather or another issue, note this on the geocache page
Mark Trackables as "missing" if they are listed in the inventory but no longer are in the cache
The responsibility of your listing includes quality control of posts to the cache page too. We recommend that you delete any logs that appear to be bogus, counterfeit, off topic, or otherwise inappropriate.
Have fun out there while you are caching, and if we all pitch in a little on everyone’s caches, we all win!
Do you have any additional cache maintenance tips that you could share with us? Please do so in the comments!
Did you make a New Year’s resolution for better health and fitness this year? Even if you didn’t make a resolution, we’d like to challenge you to get out geocaching more! Geocaching is a great way to mix up your day and get outside. Not every cache run has to be a trek out to the woods. Chances are you pass fun and quick Urban caches every day on your way to and from work, school or running errands.
Whether the new year inspired you to be more active, healthier, or you just want to break up your daily routine, caching can help you meet your goals in a new way.
If you’re looking for a way to get outside more or increase your activity level consider plotting a short caching route during your daily activities or before or after work/school. Park further away than you usually do or walk the whole way. Be sure to set the Trip Odometer on your GPS at the beginning of your jaunt and see how much extra distance you rack up just grabbing a few caches -you might be surprised. Just assess the difficulty level of your targets before you head out so you stay within your schedule, and watch the clock. You’ll find it’s a great way to get some exercise in without having to hit the gym. You also may find yourself more relaxed and able to focus better getting a little more activity throughout the day.
Of course the weekends are still open for bringing along the family, friends or your best four-legged pal and heading out for that trek into the woods! Or maybe you’ll want to show everybody your new favorite Urban caching route. Either way it’s a great time to go caching.
Do you have any suggestions or tips to share for working geocaching into your fitness plans?
Often the Holiday Season brings with it an influx of family members from out of town. They arrive in your city expecting you to show them the sights and take them to some of your favorite places ... And how better to do that than to take them on a fun (and Holiday treat calorie burning) Cache Run!
But before you go, keep some of these fun-enhancing tips in mind:
Make sure you have a GPS unit you know well and plenty of extra batteries.
You don’t want your GPS to die in the middle of the search. And bring along one for the kids! The youngsters love to be in on the hunt!
Consider the activity/energy level of your caching buddies.
Although you may be an experienced cacher those with you may be new to the game or have never cached before. If this is the case plan a cache route that will be appropriate for them. Also keep in mind that if you have an older family member along they may not have the mobility or stamina that you’re used to.
When caching with Newbies we recommend avoiding Micro and Small caches.
Caches with larger containers are easier to find and usually have fun trade items for the kiddos. Also try to steer clear of caches with high terrain and difficulty levels.
Have a clear idea of the route you want to take and it’s great if it includes cool landmarks or points of interest.
Don’t plan a full-day, not everyone has the caching stamina you do! And don’t forget to pack snacks!
Remember, this is your opportunity to show your family some of your favorite local spots and also share your love of the game. With a well-planned, thoughtful route, a fully charged familiar GPS, and the right supplies, you and your family will be headed for a fun-filled caching adventure.
What tips can you add? Please share your comments below!
Night geocaching opens a whole new world of discovery! Here are a few tips to make your twilight geocaching experience a good one!
While caching for the traditional night cache with reflectors, etc, you may come across traditional caches too that while designed for day finding have the added bonus of difficulty and terrain. Keep watchful for dangers like low branches, trip hazards and watch for those along with you, especially children. Glow sticks around children's arms helps keep everyone together.
Weather and the environment
Know what to expect from the weather, it's not so easy to see clouds rolling in as while day caching. Plan your routes carefully and know what might lay over that hill, it could be a lake or cliff!
Follow the cache owners instructions
Tacks are usually spaced evenly and usually in the same manner, height, etc. If you lose the next waypoint, go back to the last waypoint and look again. It might mean coming back another night if the waypoints are missing or covered by plant growth. Taking shortcuts or pushing beyond just to make a find may have serious results. Sensible geocachers plan their routes thoroughly before leaving the house, especially during darkness. Make sure to mark where you parked your vehicle and marking waypoints at trail junctions is also helpful.
Take waterproof and windproof clothing such as a Gore Tex clothing if it looks like there may be rain, and remember to bring extra clothing. Wear loose and comfortable clothing if hiking on particularly hot and humid evenings, don't underestimate the dehydrating effects of hiking in warm temperatures. Have the proper footwear, a daypack to carry extra items should be sufficient. Reflective clothing will make you look more like you’re supposed to be there and less like some prowler while caching in urban areas.
Hiking around looking for a geocache is often more strenuous than many geocachers may imagine. Have ample amounts of water, electrolyte drinks are a bonus to keep you hydrated through the night.
Keep Charged up
Many geocachers use smartphones to find their way to caches, and a dead battery halfway there can put an end to your night hunt.As well as ensuring that phones and GPS devices have full charges before leaving, remember you should take extra smart phone batteries along.
Nightcaching means bringing extra batteries, consider taking spare flashlights too, because bulbs can die. LED lights use less power, are tougher and provide a great beam of light. Head mounted flashlights are another great addition, they allow hands free movement to hold your GPS device and better balance when navigating in the dark. Some flashlights have a "Red light" feature that keeps light to a minimum and your eyes will be used to the darkness.
When night caching in neighborhoods keep your light beams from piercing homes and windows, bringing attention to yourself may also bring the police with questions about your activities.
Make sure it's ok to go after dark
Some locations like parks, have access rules between sunset and sunrise. Read all posted signs and check rules via park internet sites. Most cemeteries are off limts after dark. Keep your voices lower too, sound travels easily in quiet night surroundings and you could be waking unhappy muggles.
Know the caches you are seeking while night caching
Read the cache descriptions. Be familiar with the difficulty and terrain ratings, size, and what you will be looking for; actual night caches usually involve reflective tacks, etc. sometimes different colors, shapes or placement means you should turn right or left or are about to find the final cache. Check the logs too, has the cache been found lately and what did previous finders encounter. Check the attributes page, is there thorny or poisonous plants, animals? You could encounter animals you might rarely see during the day but are plentiful at night, a surprised porcupine or skunk might shorten your evening adventure.
Let someone know where you are going and when to expect your return
If your GPS fails or you get lost or in case of a trail injury, having someone waiting for you to get home safely is a very valuable resource. Night caching in a group can be safer and more fun as you find your way to nightcaching.
How many times have you been geocaching at night? If you have some tips to share, please do in the comments! Have fun and discover the world around in a new light!!