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Forget Flash Lights! Caching With Night Vision?


stahlpower
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I've tried hiking to caches in the woods at night without a flashlight. I usually end up turning on the light for a few seconds here and there when I get really unsure about which way to go. One time I made it to the cache area without using the light much at all, but I had to turn on the light when I actually started looking for the container.

 

Another time, in the early morning, I realized it might be really dangerous to go without a light. It was still dark, and I saw a light coming toward me on the trail. The cache was placed only the day before, so I figured it was another cacher returning from an early find. It turned out to be a couple of hunters. I decided to keep my light on from then until dawn. I had an orange vest, but that doesn't do much good in the dark.

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Actually I have been "caching" in the Army for 16 years and the depth perception is horrible. I don’t know how many times I have fallen down or tripped over a limb or branch. Unless there is enough ambient light from the moon/stars it is hard to see small details.

 

Now one cool option would be to put infrared (IR) reflective tape on the cache container and use the IR light that is on the surplus military night vision. This would be like the reflective trail markers used for some of the night caches I’ve seen or done.

 

I can tell you if I saw someone around my neighborhood with night vision on I would most likely call the police.

 

But the IR idea would work great but it but expensive considering the cost of night vision devices.

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I love night caching. I tried night vision, but it is really expensive. I had to trade in the first goggles, because they were generation 1. Generation 1 is more of a novelty than real night vision. The generation 2 made a big difference. It allows you to see twice to 2.5 times the distance, and you can actually see what is in most shadows. Generation 3 would be the best, but far out of a reasonable price range. If you are looking to buy a set, get at least generation 2 and with a built in infrared light. The built-in infrared lights are much stronger than any infrared light on the market; trust me…I have experimented.

 

There was only one cache I came across that was set up for night vision. It had a series of film canisters that were wrapped in red reflective tape and hung on trees which led you to the cache point. The goggles had an infrared light built in that would reflect off of the tape. A few decoys were placed around the perimeter to make it a little more difficult. I thought it was a great set up and wish there were more in my area. I guess when I can find someone nearby with a large piece of land I will see if I can put a large night caching trail on it.

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Hi stahlpower!

We did a couple of your caches recently. We hope to meet you at a LVGC event someday.

Anyway, we have tried flashlightless night caching once, for a micro, and it didn't work well for us. However, while in Search and Rescue, we found it was possible to navigate and search in the woods at night without a flashlight if the moon was in the right phase. Of course, we always caution anyone going into the woods at night (or close to dusk) to carry a flashlight, spare batteries and a loud, weatherproof whistle, just in case.

Good caching!

Team SAR-Dogs (Mike and Inez Casey and Koati)

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Just over a year ago at a caching event the host provided 6 pair of nightvision goggles and took us in groups for a short demonstration hike. It was pitch-black in a wooded area and the guide said we would be walking a trail with a slight downslope to it. Through the goggles it looked like flat terrain and rocks or large stones looked even bigger so I found myself walking very slowly and high-stepping so I wouldn't trip. It would have been hilarious for anyone if they could see us.

We ended up at a riverside with a big full moon reflecting off the water. It was actually too bright.

 

I think I'll stick to good old flashlites for night caching.

 

Olar

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