We were all new to Geocaching at one time, so we thought it best to help out all those new folk who are hearing about Geocaching from friends, relatives or other internet folk. Here is our quick top 10 tips for geocaching newbies
#1 Register on geocaching.com
Geocaching.com is the hub for all geocache events. You can register a free account or if you think geocaching is right up your street you can buy a premium membership. The free account will give you access to all you need to know about geocaching and allow you to take part, the premium membership gives you updates and additional information hot of the press to enable you to get the best chances to find geocaches first!
#2 Find local geocaches
Use the geocaching.com website to find caches local to your area. If you prefer the Google map integration can help find caches that little bit more easily when starting out so have a peak at the general area and you’ll see your local caches easily.
#3 Start off with regular or large caches, not micro caches
All geocaches are rated by size, they can range from Nanos or more commonly known as micros which are tiny, up to large ammo boxes. Every cache has it’s size listed on geocaching.com along with other information, tips,logs and hints. The bigger the cache the chances are the more likely it is to find, especially if you are starting out geocaching. Aim for caches that are medium to large and you stand a good chance of finding it.
#4 Pick the terrain that suits you
Along with the geocache size is the difficulty of it’s location. Some geocaches can be located in very accessible places where you have to be careful not to be seen by muggles (people who are likely not to know about geocaching!) other caches can be hidden up cliffs or in dense woods that require agility or no fear!
#5 Geocache with friends or family
When you head off for your first find you are much more likely to succeed with more eyes on the task. Invite friends or family or even try and find a local cacher to assist you with your first find. The satisfaction of finding your first cache is a great experience and one you’ll be pleased to share with others.
#6 Be prepared! Wear old or appropriate clothes for getting muddy / wet and keeping warm
Wherever you are geocaching the weather is one thing that can make it a good or bad day geocaching depending on how prepared you are. Ensure that you aren’t wearing your Sunday best because there is always the potential for getting wet, muddy or worse when geocaching outdoors. Also it’s always a good idea to carry fluids and snacks, we have often gone off for a cache and been away a lot longer than expected and been thankful for a chocolate snack or bottle of water. Sometimes you’ll strike it lucky and stumble across a nice little cafe, pub or corner shop but you can’t count on it in unknown areas!
#7 Don’t be put off by hearing of others finding x many a day
There is always an element of my dad’s bigger than yours with most things and geocaching is sadly not an exception. As you delve into the world of geocaching you will hear and read about how many finds geocachers found in a day and see stats in profiles, tweets and blogs. Stats are sadly addictive once you get into the swing of things for most but to start off with don’t worry about them. With practice and experience without trying your stats will improve and it will be your choice if you want to publish and improve on them.
#8 Read all the info on the cache page you want to find
To give yourself the best possible chance always read all the information provided by the cache owner and other geocachers who have found the cache you’ve chosen to find. Logs can hold vital additional clues and sometimes even photos that can help identify were the secret spot is. With nearly every cache (but not all) there is likely to be an encrypted hint. The encryption is ROT13 which stands for rotation 13 and is used to make reading the hint that little bit more difficult but not to hard. Decrypt the hint if you need additional help in finding the cache
Simply swap the alternative letters to decrypt words.
#9 Use a smart phone, hand held GPS or portable car sat nav
Either starting off or once your fully engaged with geocaching I’m sure you will want to use a bit of tech to help. Thankfully there are many ways and many price points that can get you on your way to finding your cache. Smart phones like the iPhone can take advantage of Google Maps and the geocaching.com official app which can be purchased or the free lite version can be used. If you have a car sat nav that is portable this can often be used providing it allows you to enter longitude and latitude co-ordinates and finally there are many entry level and high end personal GPS devices dedicated to help find specific locations on foot, we use the Garmin eTrex H which works just fine.
#10 Have fun
Geocaching is all about being outdoors and having fun enjoying the fresh air so make sure it’s light hearted and a good adventure using a bit of technology. You’ll never know what you are going to find, or whether you’ll even find the cache you are looking for but it doesn’t matter, it’s the taking part and potential discovery that counts. If hunting around for caches doesn’t appeal there is also the fun element of hiding a cache and waiting for others to discover it, equally satisfying!