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Introduction to Geocaching

What the heck is Geocaching?

Basically, Geocaching is using billion dollar technology (GPS) to find $3 trinkets hidden in the woods. On the surface, you may not think this is something that you would find to be fun, however there is a lot of valuable experience that you can gain from Geocaching, and it’s fun.

If you follow the Triangle Tactical Facebook page, this picture may look familiar. On Saturday I asked what these items had in common. The ammo can is a Geocache, and the GPS will be used to find it.

The idea is that someone hides a cache somewhere. It does not necessarily have to be in the woods, but those are the kind I prefer. The cache can be anything from a small pill container, to a .50cal ammo can (The holy grail of caches) to something much larger. The hider then posts the coordinates of the cache to Geocaching.com, and when it gets published, others go and try to locate the cache using GPS technology.

The only thing that is required to have inside a cache is a log sheet, for people to sign when they find the cache, however lots of caches have other small items in them, anything from old McDonald’s toys to coins, etc. The rule is, if you take something, you must leave something.

When I first moved to Eastern NC, I did a lot of Geocaching, and it helped me to learn the lay of the land around the area, discovered several parks that I didn’t know existed, and gave me the opportunity to spend some time in the woods using different gear that I have accumulated over the years.

With the advent of smart phones that will catch a GPS signal, just about anyone can get involved in Geocaching with nothing more than their smartphone, and the Geocaching.com app.

Ok, what do I need?

With the advent of smart phones that will catch a GPS signal, just about anyone can get involved in Geocaching with nothing more than their smartphone, and the Geocaching.com app.

The Geocaching app works great, but if you have a real handheld GPS unit (not the kind you use for road navigation) you may find it to be a little more precise than your phone.

You will also need a computer and an internet connection, and a free account at Geocaching.com. Once you have an account you will be able to search for caches in your area, and download the coordinates right to your GPS (Or if using the mobile app, you can get all of the info you need right on your phone).

Once you have the coordinates, you can start looking for the cache. I like to look at a map and figure out where the closest place is that I can drive to, then turn on my GPS when I arrive, and start looking for the cache from there. Remember, many hiders take a lot of pride in hiding their caches, so don’t get frustrated when your GPS says you are right on top of it and you cannot find it, keep looking!

So, what can I learn from Geocaching?

You can learn several things. First and foremost, you can get a feel for the lay of the land in your area. I learned that NC is full of ticks and chiggers, and that pemethrin is an awesome product for keeping them away.

You will also learn how different weather patterns effect GPS signals. Some days your GPS will take you right to a cache, until you are nearly standing on top of it, and other days it will have you walking around in circles getting frustrated when you cannot find what you are looking for.

If you decide that hiding caches is your thing, you will learn about camoflage, and how to hide things in plain sight.

Lastly, getting out in the woods, more often than a couple times a year to hunt, will give you time to test your gear. A lot of us buy gear to have around for disaster preparedness or other reasons, but I think the vast majority of people who buy stuff, never bother to use it.

So, head on over to Geocaching.com and register for a free account. Tomorrow I’ll discuss some different types of containers you may be looking for while caching.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.

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