Remember the days spent treasure hunting as a child? In the year 2000, a small group of GPS users decided to combine a recent upgrade in GPS technology with an inbuilt love of searching and finding things, and soon, geocaching was born. Thirteen years later and this activity, blending gadgetry with traditional exploration has become a huge hit with people of all walks of life. Why not try geocaching with the whole family and spend a day on a treasure hunt which you can all enjoy?
What is geocaching?
Geocaching is an inexpensive way to have an outdoors adventure with family or friends, without having to go far from home, making it a fantastic staycation activity. Geocaching involves using a GPS device to search for the locations of “geocaches”, the coordinates of which can be viewed on the official website. These caches contain a logbook which you can use to register your find, and usually piece of “treasure”. You are allowed to keep the treasure, but leave something behind of equal or greater value! You can then log your find on your online account on geocaching.com and continue your hunt.
What do I need to get started?
All you need to try geocaching is a GPS device (many phones carry these, or go for a more reliable Garmin device) and suitable clothing and footwear for all kinds of terrain that you may end up covering. You may find all kinds of treasure while out geocaching, so bring along some potential gifts to leave for the next geocacher if you decide to take anything. A smartphone is often worthwhile bringing along for checking extra details of the cache location and logging your finds. Remember to bring enough food and water to keep you fueled all day, as well as spare batteries to keep your GPS running, and a pen for filling out any log books you find.
Benefits of geocaching
Geocaching can provide a fun-filled day for your family, or even be turned into a week-long adventure. It can provide an interesting twist to an ordinary walk, making it much more exciting for kids and adults alike, and is great for getting everyone outside in the fresh air. It helps to build teamwork skills and is a great opportunity for bonding, making it a good activity for families and colleagues alike. You may find yourself walking up hills, exploring areas by bike or even climbing trees to find certain geocaches, meaning the potential for getting active and giving your fitness levels a boost is huge, not to mention the confidence you build when you finally track one down.
Geocaching is great as a family activity or to try out with friends, but it’s also brilliantly social and a great way of getting to know new people. Geocaching.com has its own forums, Groundspeak, which allows geocachers around the world to engage over caches and all kinds of other interests, bringing a sense of community to the activity.
What makes geocaching a green activity?
Geocaching makes a great staycation activity and is well worth trying out if you decide to spend your holiday in the UK. Caches are dotted all over the world and a quick postcode search on the geocaching website will show that there are caches much closer than you think, even in built up, urban areas. By exploring closer to home, you can save a long car journey, saving you money and reducing your carbon emissions. Instead, geocaching promotes travelling by foot or bike, exploring areas where cars can’t access, and allowing you to see new places that may only be on your doorstep.
Within the geocaching community, the appreciation of the environment is strong, with most members wanting to do their best to preserve areas of natural beauty. This means that, while geocaching may take you to some of the more remote areas of the countryside, geocaches are rarely found far from paths or trails. This prevents wildlife from being disturbed or plants being trampled on by exploring away from more well-trodden ground, and means that the environmental impact of geocachers upon an area is minimal.
What else should I know when starting?
The first step to getting started geocaching is to create an account on the geocaching website. This will allow you to set up a profile on which you can start logging your caches. The website is also where you will find the co ordinates for finding geocaches, as well as finding information about them ie the size of the cache. Difficulty ratings are assigned to each cache based on how easy they are to find. It is worth choosing an easy and moderate to large sized cache on your first attempt before moving onto more obscure hidden items. Remember also to check and see if the cache has been logged recently- a lack of activity may indicate that the cache has been moved or damaged.
The geocaching website has a wide range of resources and FAQs to help you get started in finding your first cache.tagsgeocachingoutdoorsstaycationuk adventures