10 Must-Have Geocaching Essentials
Still doing the same old boring walk, hike, or getting a little tired of playing Pokémon GO? Maybe it's time to put a little more fun into your outdoor activities. You'll get to use your head, be part of a global community, and maybe find some hidden treasures right in your own backyard. We're talking about geocaching, and it's a fun way to get out there and use your everyday carry. Here's what you need to know and what you need to pack to get started.
Geocaching: Modern-Day Treasure Hunting
Geocaching is an outdoor activity that’s kind of like treasure hunting (or Pokémon GO, even). But instead of a treasure map, you use GPS to find and seek containers (“caches”) hidden all over the world in spots listed on various geocaching websites. Caches are filled with trinkets and a log of other geocachers who’ve found it before you. You can give and take what’s in the cache to make trades or keep as a souvenir, but at its heart, it’s all about going off the beaten path in search of adventure.
To begin geocaching you just need a GPS device, something to write with, and a sense of wanderlust. But this is also the perfect opportunity to build an outdoor and navigation-oriented carry. You'll be traveling outside braving the elements, so being prepared should be a priority! We've made a list below on essential items you should pack before your next geocaching expedition.
Be sure to check it out and submit your adventure kit with the tag #NDOA for a chance to win prizes, like a getaway travel package to Switzerland!
Geocaching Packing List
1. Waterproof Backpack
Keeping your geocaching carry dry should be a priority, so a waterproof bag is a no-brainer. This Chaos Ready backpack has 3 main compartments protected by heavy-duty 500D PVC tarpaulin for your everyday carry and more. It also comes with adjustable, padded straps to ensure a comfortable carry during longer caching sessions.
2. Packable Jacket
An extra layer of protection is always a good idea for when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Columbia's Watertight II is easy to pack—it can fold in on itself into one of its pockets for compact carry—and weatherproof thanks to its nylon and polyester construction. Zippered pockets also ensure their contents stay out of harm's way.
3. Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is essential when walking around for long periods, so a quality water bottle has to make it into your kit. We liked the Takeya ThermoFlask for its long-lasting insulation, functional cap, and its convenient ways to carry.
4. First Aid Kit and Skin Protection
The farther out you go looking for caches, the more crucial first aid can be in an emergency. This first aid kit comes in a lightweight, waterproof package so its contents stay dry until needed.
Skin and lip protection shouldn't be overlooked either, especially when the sun and wind tend to beat down in your area. Be sure to bring a lip balm and sunscreen when heading out. And if you need a little help organizing all of this in your bag, check out our guide to pouch organizers for some ideas.
Nothing like a multitool to deal with any issue your bare hands can't. Leatherman's latest, the Signal, features 19 essential tools, including outdoor-focused functions like a safety whistle and ferrocerium rod for starting a fire in a pinch.
A headlamp keeps your hands free when opening up caches. Nitecore's HC30 is one of their most rugged and powerful headlamps, offering up to 1000 lumens and 162 meters of power. You can use it with either a rechargeable 18650 battery or 2 CR123As, and it's rugged enough for outdoor trips thanks to its IPX-8 waterproof rating.
7. Battery Pack
You can't find those caches when your GPS device is out of power! Check out some high-capacity battery packs to keep the hunt going. Pro tip: Download offline maps of the areas you'll be visiting to save on battery life!
8. GPS Navigator
There are plenty of mobile apps you can use to download and look for geocaches, but going old school with an actual GPS navigator is still an option (especially in places where your phone has no signal!). Garmin's eTrex 10 is light on the price but has the features you need to get you started, such as being able to download geocaching-related files and information.
9. Sunglasses, Hat, and Gloves
While lip balm and sunscreen can protect exposed areas of your body, the rest of it could use some help with cooling and protection. Pack high-visibility sunglasses, a moisture wicking cap, and rugged gloves to cover your bases when handling caches.
10. Rugged Pen and Notebook
Most geocaches will contain a pencil and logbook so you can record your find, but you should also be ready to take down your own notes about the journey. Or, even leave a note behind for the next adventurer coming your way. Pilot's Down Force pen is lightweight and inexpensive, and will give you a good grip even while gloved. Pair that with an all-weather Rite in the Rain notebook so a little wet won't wash your notes away.
Optional: Last but not least, think about what small items to leave in the caches you discover.
Have you ever tried geocaching? What do you pack in your kit when you go hunting for caches? Tell us about your adventures in the comments below!