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Easiest/Best preparation for going out?


Tzinny

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I am curious on how some of you prepare for a caching outing. I am sure there are some shortcuts I am mssing. This is usually what I do:

 

1. Find the area where I am going to go that day

2. Download all the caching I intend to try to the GPS (Garmin Legend).

3. On a seperate piece of paper, I wrtie down the caches' name and coords and any notable info from the website.

4. I head out and go looking.

 

This is an easy process if I am just going for a few but it is a bit time consuming if I am going on a longer outing.

 

Anyone have some tips etc. to coordinate an outing?

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I am curious on how some of you prepare for a caching outing. I am sure there are some shortcuts I am mssing. This is usually what I do:

 

1. Find the area where I am going to go that day

2. Download all the caching I intend to try to the GPS (Garmin Legend).

3. On a seperate piece of paper, I wrtie down the caches' name and coords and any notable info from the website.

4. I head out and go looking.

 

This is an easy process if I am just going for a few but it is a bit time consuming if I am going on a longer outing.

 

Anyone have some tips etc. to coordinate an outing?

 

1. pick the area

2. If you have a laptop, use Gsak and download pocket queries for the are you are heading to.

3. download those queries on you GPS

4. go hunting

 

#2 saves the time of writing everything out. It also gives you the last 4 logs, sometimes this may help you

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I am curious on how some of you prepare for a caching outing. I am sure there are some shortcuts I am mssing. This is usually what I do:

 

1. Find the area where I am going to go that day

2. Download all the caching I intend to try to the GPS (Garmin Legend).

3. On a seperate piece of paper, I wrtie down the caches' name and coords and any notable info from the website.

4. I head out and go looking.

 

This is an easy process if I am just going for a few but it is a bit time consuming if I am going on a longer outing.

 

Anyone have some tips etc. to coordinate an outing?

 

1. pick the area

2. If you have a laptop, use Gsak and download pocket queries for the area you are heading to.

3. download those queries on you GPS

4. go hunting

 

#2 saves the time of writing everything out. It also gives you the last 4 logs, sometimes this may help you

 

This person owns a legend so #2 will be almost impossible to do.

 

A better way for #2 is to get a PDA and download all your cache info onto it for paperless caching. Another way is to use your phone, like an iphone with the GC.com APP, to access the information for paperless caching. Until you do either of these, you will need to continue writing down all the clues and info or print the pages to bring with you.

 

Good luck.

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If I have time, I solve a few puzzles in the area. I add the solved puzzles to my "Solved, Unfound Puzzles" bookmark list, and then send a PQ of that bookmark list to Geocaching Basecamp. I add the corrected (solved) coordinates for the puzzles to Geocaching Basecamp, and then I can download a GPX file with the corrected coordinates to GeoBeagle (a free geocaching app on my Android phone).

 

I also run a PQ of non-puzzle caches in the area, and download the zipped GPX file to GeoBeagle.

 

If the terrain for a particular cache is rugged enough that I don't feel comfortable holding my phone in my hand, then I enter the coordinates by hand into an old yellow eTrex.

 

After I search for a cache, I use the SMS logging function to record a Find or a DNF, as appropriate. This creates a field note that I can later use as the basis for my log, when I log my Finds and DNFs afterwards.

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I have 5 PQs that I run weekly, usually on Friday. With some overlap, that creates about 2000 caches. Those get tossed into GSAK. With GSAK, I create one large combined set of all 5 PQs that get tossed into the TomTom 740 as a POI file called geocaches.ov2, so they are always there and ready to go. As I find more than are being placed, I'll change the centerpoint spacing on the PQs to spread them out and avoid excess overlap, but only do that every three to six months.

 

Next, I take a look at the gc.com maps to see where I'd like to go. If it's not a crazy long run, I'll just write down the GC codes in the order that I think makes the most sense from a time/mileage standpoint. If it's a really long run, I'll create a route of the POIs (points of interest = caches, in this case) on the TomTom of the sequence and let it do the 'steering' for the day. If it's a short run, I just use the 'Navigate to' function to get me from cache to cache.

 

Last, I'll use GSAK to toss whichever of the 5 PQs makes sense for the day's run into the Garmin SummitHC.

 

I'm good to go.

 

I can either use the cell phone to check cache pages at gc.com (nice to have unlimited data) or if it's a long day, I'll take the little netbook that holds the GSAK database.

Edited by ecanderson
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I am curious on how some of you prepare for a caching outing. I am sure there are some shortcuts I am mssing. This is usually what I do:

 

1. Find the area where I am going to go that day

2. Download all the caching I intend to try to the GPS (Garmin Legend).

3. On a seperate piece of paper, I wrtie down the caches' name and coords and any notable info from the website.

4. I head out and go looking.

 

This is an easy process if I am just going for a few but it is a bit time consuming if I am going on a longer outing.

 

Anyone have some tips etc. to coordinate an outing?

I'll prepare and cache a couple different ways.

  1. Find the area where I want to cache and run PQ for the caches in that area and solve any puzzles if I can.
  2. Pick which caches we want to do.

    1. If we're doing a numbers run, I'll look at each cache individually and decide if it's something we want to do, and then I'll mark them in GSAK.
    2. If we're just caching "wherever" and not worrying about what we'll find, I will load everything to the GPS.

[*]Send them to the GPSs/Phone.

  1. I'll take the caches from GSAK. If we're doing a numbers run, I'll send only the marked caches to the GPS as caches. The rest I'll send as POIs. This way, I only have to look at the caches we want to find, but I still have them all there just in case someone sees something else we want to add on.
  2. If we're just winging it in an area, I'll send everything to the GPS as caches.
  3. Download a PQ to my iPhone just in case I lose cell service I can still have cache info on hand.
  4. We'll load the Nuvi the same way we load our GPS, all caches or POIs, depending on how we're caching that day.

[*]If we're doing a numbers run, I'll export the planned caches from GSAK to Microsoft Streets & Trips and let it put the caches in order by the "quickest" way between stops.

[*]I'll take the route list that it generates and print it out, along with an overview map of all the caches we have planned.

[*]If we're doing a numbers run, I'll export the list of caches from GSAK along with the hint, size of the cache, type of cache, who hid it and difficulty/terrain. I'll alphabetize it and print out a couple copies. That way we can quickly have all the info about a cache and not have to look it up on the iPhone or another paperless device.

[*]Print out any Earthcaches we plan to do. I find it easier to read from a paper than my phone for something like those.

[*]Print out any caches where I've made special notes because user GSAK notes don't currently show up in the iPhone.

[*]Get a good nights sleep. Head out early and have fun.

This sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not. Once the caches have been picked, it probably takes 30 minutes to get the rest of it done, and having a list in order of which cache to do next is a huge time saver while out caching. There's no need trying to figure out where to go next or decide if a cache is worth doing. Simply follow the list in order.

 

People have gone caching with me and will have all the nearby caches loaded into their GPS and want to stop at a cache that's nearby that I didn't include on the "to do" list. If it's not on the list, there's a reason, perhaps it's missing but is still active or something like that.

Edited by Skippermark
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I have 11 PQs that I run over a three day period that cover a 30 mile radius from home. These are set up by date placed so there is zero overlap - no duplicates. And, there are no "holes" between multiple radius center points.

 

These 11 PQs are dumped into GSAK into one database. I then use a GSAK macro to load all of them (about 4100 right now) into my Garmin Nuvi660 as POIs - that gives me all the descriptions, hints, past logs available at each cache site. This takes about 5 minutes.

 

Then on the day I want to cache, I select my center point of the target area (basically I choose the first cache I want to go to). Then I select the nearest 500 caches to that point in GSAK.

 

Those 500 are then exported to my Garmin Vista and to Cachemate on my Palm Tungsten. The Palm is carried to the cache for taking notes and marking them found, details about which TB I dropped there, etc. It also has all the descriptions in case my memory fails from car to cache! Also helpful if I'm on a trail of caches so I have all the info for multiple caches.

 

Total update from PQ receipt to out the door is less than 10 minutes. And NO PAPER.

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Prepare? I really don't specifically prepare for a trip.

 

I do run a series of PQs based on the published date in a 100 mile radius from my house. These get sent into GSAK. I then use PilotSnipe's macro to send these into my Nuvi205W as custom POIs . It is currently about 15,000 caches in 2 countries in that radius. These are all in there completely paperless with hints, logs, and descriptions. I also have the Nuvi setup to alert me when I am within a certain distance of a custom POI. Then if I feel like it I can stop. If I am out I can also scroll through the nearest 50 or so and pick one I want to go see.

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I have an Etrex Legend too, and no PDA, no iPhone... I do the same as you, downloading and writing everything on paper (not the coordinates though - just GCcode and relevant info). I mark all caches in a map of the area and decide on a route.

At the same time, my husband prepares our backpacks, TBs, check for pen/pencils, gets us some water, snacks, etc... We usually go around the city using our bikes or public transit, so that might be a little different from having everything ready on your trunk :blink:

Between deciding "let's do some geocaching today" and leaving home, it usually takes us one hour... a little work- but totally worthy :blink:

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I also have the Nuvi setup to alert me when I am within a certain distance of a custom POI. Then if I feel like it I can stop.
Sounds like a lot of us employ the same "2 GPS" solution. I got a chuckle out of your 'alert' as I thought back to what I did to the TomTom. It allows the user to set up any custom sound or text-to-speech for a particular POI category. I told my 740 that I wanted it to alert me when I was within 300 yards of a cache, but didn't like the way it pronounced "geocache alert". I wound up entering it a bit more phonetically -- "jeeyo cash alert". Sound perfect now! My caching buddies all get a chuckle out of it.
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First of all, I have 13 PQs run weekly that cover my entire state by date placed. Each week, I update my offline GSAK database which contains over 5000 caches.

 

Next, I get rid of all archived, unavailable, and last 2 DNF caches. If any of the latter get found at a later date, they will come back into the database next import.

 

Then I filter out all my finds and hides. This leaves about 4200 caches. I export a GPX (270MB) to my phone's SD card and tell Geobeagle to synch with that GPX file. That takes ~15-20 minutes.

 

When I'm out in the field, I start Geobeagle and it shows me the nearest x caches to my current position, both in a map and a list. Choose a cache, navigate to it, find it, sign log, log online if I have data signal and if I choose to. Otherwise I log everything when I get home.

 

I also at any given time can load my 60Csx by filtering down to however many miles from a center point will give me 500-1000 caches. Then shoot them into the GPS.

 

However, the Geobeagle gives me the cache page and logs, so that is far more useful than the Garmin.

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After reading these suggestions (half of which I don't understand), I guess I will stick to my procedure in getting ready to go out for the hunt. Happy Caching all.
If you don't understand our use of "PQ", it's short for "Pocket Query" - something that you, as a premium member, should use whenever possible. REALLY a handy way of pulling up files of caches for your GPS. Go to your "MY PROFILE" page, and look over in the right column. There are also tutorials around here for using this feature at gc.com.

 

If you don't understand "GSAK", it's short for "GSAK" :rolleyes: - really, Geocaching Swiss Army Knife. It's a great PC utility for managing the information you get from "PQs", sorting them, filtering them, loading them into your GPS and a host of other things. Find it here at www.gsak.net.

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After reading these suggestions (half of which I don't understand), I guess I will stick to my procedure in getting ready to go out for the hunt. Happy Caching all.
If you don't understand our use of "PQ", it's short for "Pocket Query" - something that you, as a premium member, should use whenever possible. REALLY a handy way of pulling up files of caches for your GPS. Go to your "MY PROFILE" page, and look over in the right column. There are also tutorials around here for using this feature at gc.com.

 

If you don't understand "GSAK", it's short for "GSAK" :rolleyes: - really, Geocaching Swiss Army Knife. It's a great PC utility for managing the information you get from "PQs", sorting them, filtering them, loading them into your GPS and a host of other things. Find it here at www.gsak.net.

 

Thanks for the info. I will check it out.

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I have an Etrex Legend too, and no PDA, no iPhone... I do the same as you, downloading and writing everything on paper (not the coordinates though - just GCcode and relevant info). I mark all caches in a map of the area and decide on a route.

At the same time, my husband prepares our backpacks, TBs, check for pen/pencils, gets us some water, snacks, etc... We usually go around the city using our bikes or public transit, so that might be a little different from having everything ready on your trunk :rolleyes:

Between deciding "let's do some geocaching today" and leaving home, it usually takes us one hour... a little work- but totally worthy :D

 

Sounds about the same way the wife and I do it.

Our old blue legend isnt all that high tech.

 

I am looking to buy something a little new though (but keep the legend also)

 

Bruce.

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Pocket Queries allow you to go paperless where you can look up cache info on a Palm or other type device. Plus, rather than having to download caches one at a time or enter them manually, you can download a bunch all at once and then send them to your GPS electronically.

 

Here's another example of why Pocket Queries are helpful. Let's say you normally cache in Illinois, but you have to go to Atlanta for work. You know that while in Atlanta, you want to find some caches, but you won't have time for a multi and don't want to solve any puzzles.

 

Well, you can make a PQ and generate exactly the types of caches you want to find. You can set it to show traditionals, virtuals, webcams (whatever you want) within X miles of your hotel, and only those caches will be returned. No need to worry about caches far away or ones that you don't want to find.

 

Then, you can download that PQ and send it directly to your GPS and not have to worry about typing them in manually.

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Sounds about the same way the wife and I do it.

Our old blue legend isnt all that high tech.

 

I am looking to buy something a little new though (but keep the legend also)

A lot of people really like a Garmin 60CSx. It's very accurate and durable. The newer Garmins have the added ability of downloading and keeping all the cache info stored right in the device itself. That's a neat addition, but they cost more and have less battery life (I think).

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I am curious on how some of you prepare for a caching outing. I am sure there are some shortcuts I am mssing. This is usually what I do:

 

1. Find the area where I am going to go that day

2. Download all the caching I intend to try to the GPS (Garmin Legend).

3. On a seperate piece of paper, I wrtie down the caches' name and coords and any notable info from the website.

4. I head out and go looking.

 

This is an easy process if I am just going for a few but it is a bit time consuming if I am going on a longer outing.

 

Anyone have some tips etc. to coordinate an outing?

 

We usually grab up our "kit":

 

Compass

Extra baggies

Extra notebooks

Extra batteries

Extra writing implements

Space blankets

First-aid kit

Ponchos

BIG and little knife

tweezers

insect repellent (seasonal)

light sources

fire starter

FOOD

WATER

SWAG/TBs/GCs

Occasionally we take a GPSr

And we even sometimes remember the geomobile keys!

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee
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1) Pick an area I will be caching

2) Download a PQ for the area

3) Import PQ file into GSAK

4) Export file from GSAK

5) Grab flashlight, keys, GPS, and caching box

6) Double check caching box to make sure it has extra batteries and pen

7) Check for cell phone, money in pockets

8) Go caching

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