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.
Bring the correct gear
Gloves, pencil/pen GPS, and your geosenses. Not only are night caches out but probably mosquitos, so bring some repellant along in case. A whistle is also something you should carry while caching...especially at dark. Click here to see more of our Night Caching Gear in the store!
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.