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Getting started, looking for experienced advice


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I'm working on surprising my husband with a Geocaching "starter kit" for Christmas. I had minimal interest in Geocaching but some friends have me interested. My husband on the other hand has been talking about getting started for a few years and knowing him, once he has his GPS we're going to be out exporing the great outdoors with our 6 year old allllllllll the time :)

 

I've talked to friends, read pages of the forums here and googled my fingers sore trying to figure out what I'm looking for as far as a GPS. In a few other threads I read that Cabela's will have the Garmin Oregon 450 on sale for $249 on Black Friday. Does anyone know if this is in-store only or if I might be able to order it online for the same price? I know we'll be using it a lot so I don't want to start with a super cheap unit that he'll want to upgrade immediately. I'd rather go for something a little better in the $250-$300 range that will last a while. I've had issues with used electronics in the past so I'm not comfortable buying a previously owned unit.

 

I bought a comfy backpack and will put in a few pencils, bottles of water, trail mix/granola bars, flashlight & extra batteries, sunscreen, gloves (plastic and gardening), a hand towel, bug spray. Christmas eve I'll upgrade from free to paid premium membership here on the site.

 

... what else am I missing? I'm getting excited for this, can't wait to join you all!

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Can't help you with advice on buying the Garmin, not from this side of the Atlantic, someone else will have to do that :)

 

How about getting together a few small items to use as swag? Many cachers don't bother with it, especially when they've been caching for a while, but swag is part of the original concept of the geocaching game and I think it's nice to leave a small item in caches that are large enough.

 

What about getting some sort of trackable? A simple travel bug would be fun to start off travelling in the New Year.

 

MrsB

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Good idea!

I haven't actually been on any quests... what kinds of "swag" are good to leave behind?

My mom is buying him a few creative containers so that when he's ready he can hide his own fun caches, I'll tell her to add in a travel bug, too :)

 

Most swag tends to be aimed at children - small fancy erasers, super bouncy balls, any mini games or toys. Or you might consider nice tumble-polished pebbles, small fossils, nuggets of fool's gold. In some areas individual sachets containing a mosquito/insect repellent wipe or cheap, poncho-type rain covers might be appreciated... I think it's more difficult to think up small swag items that adults might like. You only need a few small items to start you off.

 

Just don't leave anything edible, or scented, or dangerous to youngsters.

 

MrsB :)

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I'm just getting started as well, and the one thing I always wish I had in my bag (and just added, although I haven't been caching since!) is baby wipes/moist towelettes!

 

Trade items I usually buy from the dollar section (or clearance toy section) at Target or the Dollar Tree:) My favorite right now - the Dollar Tree has mini barrels-of-monkeys games - so cute! And reasonable quality, unlike some of their other little toys.

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I'm working on surprising my husband with a Geocaching "starter kit" for Christmas. I had minimal interest in Geocaching but some friends have me interested. My husband on the other hand has been talking about getting started for a few years and knowing him, once he has his GPS we're going to be out exporing the great outdoors with our 6 year old allllllllll the time :)

 

I've talked to friends, read pages of the forums here and googled my fingers sore trying to figure out what I'm looking for as far as a GPS. In a few other threads I read that Cabela's will have the Garmin Oregon 450 on sale for $249 on Black Friday. Does anyone know if this is in-store only or if I might be able to order it online for the same price? I know we'll be using it a lot so I don't want to start with a super cheap unit that he'll want to upgrade immediately. I'd rather go for something a little better in the $250-$300 range that will last a while. I've had issues with used electronics in the past so I'm not comfortable buying a previously owned unit.

 

I bought a comfy backpack and will put in a few pencils, bottles of water, trail mix/granola bars, flashlight & extra batteries, sunscreen, gloves (plastic and gardening), a hand towel, bug spray. Christmas eve I'll upgrade from free to paid premium membership here on the site.

 

... what else am I missing? I'm getting excited for this, can't wait to join you all!

 

Parts of your post just made me laugh. I love your enthusiasm and how thoughtful you are being about surprising your husband with a geocaching "starter" kit. Hee hee!

 

"Googled my fingers sore" -- LOL!! That was cute!

 

My son and I just take our GPSr and ourselves, pretty much. Oh, and swag for trade, and something to sign the logbook with. We don't have a geocaching "kit" per se, although I must admit, there have been times when I wish I'd brought one. Everyone experiences this game differently, I guess.

 

Welcome to the obsession! I hope you have great fun as a family out there!!

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I'm working on surprising my husband with a Geocaching "starter kit" for Christmas. I had minimal interest in Geocaching but some friends have me interested. My husband on the other hand has been talking about getting started for a few years and knowing him, once he has his GPS we're going to be out exporing the great outdoors with our 6 year old allllllllll the time :)

 

I've talked to friends, read pages of the forums here and googled my fingers sore trying to figure out what I'm looking for as far as a GPS. In a few other threads I read that Cabela's will have the Garmin Oregon 450 on sale for $249 on Black Friday. Does anyone know if this is in-store only or if I might be able to order it online for the same price? I know we'll be using it a lot so I don't want to start with a super cheap unit that he'll want to upgrade immediately. I'd rather go for something a little better in the $250-$300 range that will last a while. I've had issues with used electronics in the past so I'm not comfortable buying a previously owned unit.

 

I bought a comfy backpack and will put in a few pencils, bottles of water, trail mix/granola bars, flashlight & extra batteries, sunscreen, gloves (plastic and gardening), a hand towel, bug spray. Christmas eve I'll upgrade from free to paid premium membership here on the site.

 

... what else am I missing? I'm getting excited for this, can't wait to join you all!

 

Parts of your post just made me laugh. I love your enthusiasm and how thoughtful you are being about surprising your husband with a geocaching "starter" kit. Hee hee!

 

"Googled my fingers sore" -- LOL!! That was cute!

 

My son and I just take our GPSr and ourselves, pretty much. Oh, and swag for trade, and something to sign the logbook with. We don't have a geocaching "kit" per se, although I must admit, there have been times when I wish I'd brought one. Everyone experiences this game differently, I guess.

 

Welcome to the obsession! I hope you have great fun as a family out there!!

 

Matchbox cars

silly bandz

disposable camera for his future cache

A walking stick would be handy to poke and prod and move sticks/leaves out of the way and move stickers out of the way as well

A real compass for the 6 year old to learn to use, he can print topo maps off of Goggle maps after marking the general "buried treasure" location, and then teach the 6 year old some real map reading orienting skills, X marks the spot!

 

Great present on your part!

Edited by NEwhere
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A good source for small trinkets are the quarter machines at the supermarket. Tiny ninjas, fake rings, plastic aliens and lizards are fun.

I prefer a pen over a pencil as some logs are wet or damp.

Mini flashlight is useful

 

GPS: Stick with Garmin or Magellan. Etrex or Explorist seem to be in the price range you are looking for.

Make sure you can plug in via USB for easy downloading of caches (paperless caching)

A good background map on the unit is also a plus. One with good road map while driving.

 

Extra accessory such as a dash or windshield mount for the car would also be nice.

Hope this helps!

-Bunny Gunner

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I think someone said a multitool - that would be very useful. Theres caches you need a screwdriver to undo the lid and theres some that are nanos, but the nanos hidden inside something and a large set of tweezers come in handy.

 

I also have a travel bug decal for my car.... so I can log my travels, and others can recognise me as a geocacher..... but they can also log as having seen my car! Have had that at a few events!

 

For your GPS unit, consider the amount of time you intend to be out in the field caching. I went on a caching run with a guy who had a touch screen Garmin, and I have a 62s. I didn't have to change my batteries at all, but he had to do it at least once. All good with rechargeables, but its a nuisance when you're away from the car on a trek to a cache and the GPS goes flat!

 

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I bought a comfy backpack and will put in a few pencils, bottles of water, trail mix/granola bars, flashlight & extra batteries, sunscreen, gloves (plastic and gardening), a hand towel, bug spray. Christmas eve I'll upgrade from free to paid premium membership here on the site.

 

I'd recommend adding tweezers or even better a whole Swiss Army Knife. I also have a hiking pole. Some wet wipes or hand sanitizer is probably also a good idea.

Edited by Joshism
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We have a Magellan Explorist GC, designed specifically for Geocaching and nothing else. It works well for us, gets us down to ground zero 90% of the time (though it doesn't seem to like big city buildings), and is easy for everyone in the family to use - even our 8 year old. And we bought it for $150. Takes 2 AA batteries and doesn't eat them like after dinner mints.

 

But, it's just for geocaching so if your hubby is an outdoorsman who also likes to hunt/fish/hike, you would be better off with a different model with more bells and whistles. Sorry I can't recommend anything specific in that class.

 

If he is into it more than you are and he knows that, perhaps some hand-made coupons good for "one cache on the way home from shopping" or "an afternoon of hiking", etc would be a nice stocking stuffer :santa:

 

Edited because I forgot how old my youngest child is :blink:

Edited by 6NoisyHikers
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We really enjoy our Oregon 450 and use it as our main GPSr.

 

But, start exploring your map options now. You'll outgrow the basemap in about 10 minutes. OK, maybe less.

 

The options range from 1) easy & not cheap: - pop in non-upgradeable preloaded routable maps on SD card from Garmin (if you lose the card, too bad) to 2) not as easy but more flexibility & not cheap: CDs or recently introduced update for life of the unit licenses (if you lose the card, buy a new card & reload it via Garmin map loading software) 2) to cheap but not entirely easy - downloading and installing free maps from internet-based map sites via mapping software to a SD card you buy separately. (Hmmm, why did I turn into a relatively new development and my GPSr has no idea it is here.

 

We actually use a combination of 2 (routable streetmaps)& 3 (free topos).

 

Remember, map update & refresh policy & pricing is an issue you should understand. Preferably, before you open any of Garmin's map products.

 

If you are a PC user, to get the most out of your GPSr & leveraging Pocket Queries (when you upgrade to premium), consider downloading and learning the basics of the Geocaching Swiss Army Knife (GSAK) software. It sure beats loading caches one at a time to the GPSr.

 

Finally, once you fire up the GPSr, practice & learn the nuances of its functionality when in geocaching mode, automotive mode, recreation mode, and fitness mode. And, buy a rechargeable battery pack & extra sets of batteries.

 

Good luck and enjoy.

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I use the Oregon 450...Love it. I would recomend the Topo map for your area. I bought the chip for the GPS. The maps have enough detail for automotive routing.

 

As far as gear: I use a verse-pack with the following:

 

  • Mini multi tool
  • leather gloves
  • mini-mag light flash light
  • Head lamb (optional, I do a lot of night caching)
  • Spare batteries
  • I keep a small first aid kit in the car
  • Handy wipes in the car
  • Home made extendable mirror
  • magnet tool
  • Name stamp

 

I also carry a very sharp Spyderco Tasman knife, just in case.

 

Welcome to the fun.....

Edited by Russ!
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I also have a travel bug decal for my car.... so I can log my travels, and others can recognise me as a geocacher..... but they can also log as having seen my car! Have had that at a few events!

 

I had someone discover my truck at a Publix last Friday. Had to stop in and get some stuff for our Company banquet that day on the way to work. I got an email form GC.COM a couple of hours later saying that it had been discovered. Finder said it was the "Laziest find I ever made". LOL :)

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Ditto on everything. I use the Garmin etrex Vista HCX and love it. It is very versatile, rugged, and weather proof. I have even thrown it off of the front of the car at 45 mph and it still works fine. Don't suggest doing that though. I'm sure you love your new GPSr.

 

As for SWAG I always carry a lot of dollar store items. Sometimes you can find good deals of 2 for a dollar or whatever. I like little sculptures, polished rocks, marbles, and little things like that. I also pick up nice items at local garage sales. But I insist on them looking nice. I also buy the small hand towels from the dollar store. They are really nice for some moms to find. I also pick up the little wash cloths that are packaged in a small round shape or square. They are the ones you just have to add water to. The kids love them. I also usually carry a few dog and cat toys to leave for folks who have pets. I also carry the quart size zip lock baggies to put stuff in that I leave behind. They are also good for putting new log books in if I feel the need to replace one that is too wet. Just drop a new log book in there and write that it is a replacement log. I usually use the small 3x5 notebooks for this. Then I post a note that I replaced the wet one. I also put my Travel bugs and Geocoins in a baggie too along with their own page of where they are going. I have also made my own signature item which I leave in caches that are really unique to me. My sig item is my picture here on the forums. I am glad to hear you are putting together this "kit" for your husband. It is really neat. I hope you both really enjoy your new adventures. Safe caching. Hope this helps.

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