Why you should take up Geocaching, and how to get started!
If you haven't come across the worldwide treasure hunt called "Geocaching" yet then I urge you to look it up!
In simple terms, there are "treasures" (known as caches) hidden all over the world, they could be teeny tiny or really quite big, very simple to find, hidden in plain sight or so tricky it takes a few attempts to locate it! The Geocaching app will guide you to the cache using a map and the exact co-ordinates of the cache, once found you can log it on the app and carry on to the next one.
The basic rules to stick to are:
- If you take some treasure from a cache, you must leave some treasure in it's place.
- Caching must be done in secret, any members of public are known as "muggles" so you need to be discreet when looking for the treasure (which can be very tricky especially in busy areas, but also adds to the fun!)
- And the last rule - you MUST sign the log book to prove you have found the cache. Stick to these simple rules and you'll have a great time!
Here's our top reasons to give it a go this summer:
- It's free! Download the app onto your smartphone and you're good to go! (There is a paid premium version available, but you don't need it, there are plenty of caches on the free app and you can always upgrade if you get addicted!)
- It takes you to places you may not have known about. Caches are often hidden in areas of beauty, along nice walks, places with a good view or hidden beauty spots etc - it's a great way to see new places.
- The kids will love it! Known as Geo-kids in the geocaching world, it's a great activity which helps with navigation, exploration and just plain old good fun! If they're anything like my son it's also a great way to get them outside and away from the Xbox. Caches big enough to hold treasure are a definite bonus when the kids are involved.
- It's a great excuse to have a walk. I've always fancied getting a dog so that I have to go out walking every day for the exercise and fresh air, Geocaching does the same thing but is cheaper, less responsibility and doesn't get hair everywhere!
- If you're a bit of a geek (and you probably are if your reading the Stationery Geek blog!) then this is a great hobby for you - the app very satisfyingly logs how many cache's you've found, keeping a running total so you can aim to improve your number. There are "virtual badges" to collect along the way which gives you something to aim for, and you can write a little review of each cache you find to report on your experience. Award "favourite points" to caches if you've particularly enjoyed them!
So you may wonder why a stationery blog is writing about an app based hobby, well thank you for asking! There are a few crucial bits of kit to have in your geocaching equipment, and a notebook is right up there at the top of the list!
When out and about looking for caches you never know what equipment you might need, here's what we keep in our geo-kit:
- Pen - essential, your "find" won't count if you don't sign the log!
- Pair of tweezers - for tiny caches
- Some treasure swaps
- A battery pack for phone charging on the go
- A multi tool
The notebook is useful for all sorts of situations - maybe you have lost GPS signal so your app isn't being as helpful as it could be, so make a note in the notebook of any hints and previous finders clues. Some caches involve solving a puzzle to get the correct co-ordinates, another occasion to use your pen and notebook. Or, if you're like me, a true stationery geek, you'll like to make notes and logs along your way and keep them as a record, and of course it's always handy to make notes, work out calculations and jot down any thoughts that might assist in your search!
"Not all those who wander are lost. Some are Geocaching"So there you have it, our quick guide to getting started in Geocaching, and with the summer holidays fast approaching it's a great time to take up this fab and fun hobby. If you have any top tips to add to ours, comment below, we'd love to hear them!Our geocaching notebooks make a great gift for a cache loving pal, find them on our website here: Geocaching Notebooks(Thank you to geocaching.com for the photographs)