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GeocachingThe more planning you do before your geo-caching expedition, the better. I recommend doing it the night before so you are not rushed with last minute interruptions in the morning. If you want to read a good “how to” guide on geocaching, I recommend visiting Hobby Help. They are a small team of enthusiasts, looking to share their knowledge and experience with anyone looking to start a new hobby. If you want to see my checklist for enjoying safe and fun geocaching, see my post here.

  • Always take a cell phone with you for emergency purposes.
  • Take plenty of water. You really need to keep yourself hydrated, especially in the summer. A hike in the woods may sound easy, but a few miles up a mountain can really drain you.
  • Take dry towels. I attach one to a clip from my hiking pack to have it in ready reach.
  • Invest in high quality hiking boots. Your ankles, knees, and the rest of you will appreciate it.
  • Get in the habit of putting certain high-value things in certain places. It is easy to lose sunglasses, cell phone, camera, or GPS. Check regularly to be sure they are where they’re supposed to be.
  • Some people like to use a backpack, but if your shoulders are more than 50, then I recommend a fanny pack. There are some which are specifically designed for hiking that include pouches for two water bottles, a camera, GPS or sunglasses, and a large area inside. The pack rests comfortably on your lower back and adds no stress to your skeletal muscular system.
  • Always be sure to have a trail map if one is available.
  • Have a print-out of the details of the cache you are seeking. You can also “print” those same details for a mobipocket reader and have them with you on your Palm Pilot or other handheld device. See the premium member section at geocaching.com
  • I have learned a number of things over the years that have made geocaching more productive and more fun. I’ll share as many as I can remember.
  • Have something in which to carry your necessary supplies including bug spray, paper towelettes, camera, a pen, something to write on, etc.
  • The “cache-in trash-out” is a really good idea. If all of us take a trash bag along and remove some trash each time, we can collectively make the world’s trails more valuable. It is amazing that some people throw cigarette packs, candy wrappers, and soda cans on nature’s floor – but they do.
  • I have found that it is a good idea to reset your trip odometer and clear your track information at the beginning of each hike. If you feel you might need the track at some point in the future it is easy to save it. It is also a good idea to set a weight point for the location of your car (or motorcycle) to be sure you can find your way back. The “back track” feature works very nicely but in some cases I have found that I may want to go directly to the car and not follow the same path that I had taken to the geocache.
  • Geocaches can be found in any imaginable location. Most are probably on state or local parks, some are on the property of school systems, and increasingly I am seeing more of them on state game lands, especially in Pennsylvania. If you seek a cache on game lands during hunting seasons, be sure to wear a bright orange fluorescent jacket. My recommendation is don’t go geo-caching on hunting lands during hunting season.