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Beginner's Geocaching Kit

Hoop Prof

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This is not a "for sale" listing, but rather an "advice wanted" listing. Please feel free to move this to a more appropriate venue if necessary.


I'm trying to assemble a basic geocaching kit for sale to the new geocacher. The kit will be comprised of used, but in excellent condition, items. What I would like to know is what you think should go in such a kit and how much you would pay for it.


So far, this is what I'm considering including:


1 - older, very basic GPS, used, but in good working condition (Right now, I'm looking at some of the pre-eTrex Garmins, older Lowrances, and earlier Magellans -- 12 channels, 100-500 waypoints)


1 - Camelbak (Rogue, Classic, Pakteen, or other basic models--used packs refurbished with new reservoirs and drinking tubes)


1 - PDA for paperless caching (Again, these would be older models such as the Palm III/V series)


1 - Camera (Either instant or mini digital -- these I can probably buy new rather than used)


1 - Walking/hiking stick


1 - headlamp or flashlight on retractable cable


1 - rain poncho


1 - safety flasher


The idea behind these kits is that the entry-level cacher will have everything they need at hand, and they won't have to wander around shopping for them, paying separate shipping charges for everything. All electronic items will have been field tested by a geocacher to determine their soundness. Cachers can upgrade to new GPSrs once they determine that they are ready to commit to the sport without having already have made a huge initial investment, and the PDAs are very usable for geocaching purposes just as they are and have a great many accessories still available for them. Camelbaks, of course, just keep on going. . .


I'm supposing at this point that my total investment in each kit will range around $120-$150, depending on a variety of factors. I will probably toss in a few extras when I sell the kits: a geocaching sticker, a month's paid subscription to geocaching.com, a geocaching tip sheet. . .things of this nature that don't cost much but add value.


So what do you think? What sort of price would you put on a package like that?



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Sounds like a good idea. I would add:

A basic compass, note pad, pencil, CITO bag and spare batteries.


Of course there are other things I would want like a Swiss Army Knife, first aid kit,gloves, poncho,etc. Since these are personal choices you could include a list of other items recommended by others like the 10 essentials list. There are some really good posts if you search 'what is in your backpack. '.

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While the PDA is a "nice to have" I question its need in a beginner's geocaching kit. I am a die-hard Palm user, but I never bring mine in the woods because I dont' want to risk damage. I think it's a cool add-on, but definitely not a beginner's kit necessity.


I think the camera should be digital, but I'm not sure it needs to be in a beginner's kit either. With all of the non-geocaching uses of a digicam, it might be best to make some recommendations on geo features they should look for and let them decide if they want ultra cheap for geocaching only, or a really nice camera because they'll use it for other things. Cameras are so personal it's tough to pick the right one for someone else.


Walking/hiking stick - also not needed at all for geocaching. I respect that some people love hiking with a stick, but it's not needed for beginners to get into the sport. It would be great to offer as an add-on if you wanted to, but I think this is another major area of presonalization that would be tough to make one decision on.


Camelback classic doesn't really have much room for caching items - you'd need something more like a MULE or HAWG, but that will kill your entry price point. I'd suggest for a beginner going with somethin like a fanny-pack with a water bottle holder in it. Gotta keep the price point down.


I think you should stick to caching specific items like:


GPS (good as suggested)

Some kind of protective case for it

Compass for taking bearings

Astronaut pen (writes in all weather)

Waterproof cache log book for taking notes on finds


Possible add-ons available as upgrades:


Headlamp: don't waste time on a normal flashlight as those are available anywhere

Walking stick

Camelback (but I question whether you could hit a good price point)

PDA pre-configured with Geo-utils and instructions

2-way radios


I'm not sure things like first aid kits are justified in this case - they're important to have on a long hike, but how many beginners who wouldn't put together their own kit would be doing long or dangerous hikes? Also, what value could you add in a 1st aid kit that they couldn't get anywhere else? Your best bet would be to focus on caching specific stuff, or versions of common things that are tailored to caching. Maybe a special 1st aid kit that includes rubber gloves for picking up nasty trash or something.


Regarding price, I think you need to keep it at or less than $100to appeal to a total newcomer. That means a less functional GPS in some cases, but if you have waypoints a bearing and a compass you're set.


Hope this helps!

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I too am just getting started, however Since most of my hobbies cost me

alot of doe, I figured I would go first class in GeoCaching also. Its a long story

but I got my GPS's in a way for free. So I bought a CamelBak MULE, Aluminum

hicking stick from trackpoles, Pig hide gloves, Stinger flashlight, A set of Carthart

Brairproof coveralls, Buck knife, Waterproof GPS notebook, All weather wrighting pen, first aid kit, extra rechargeable batteries. I am waiting for Christmas for my

high dollar hiking boots and small digital camera (I already own a large digital camera, but its to heavy). I will have about $1000.00 in all if you include the price of a good GPS, Of course I traded and got mine and can take $300 off the total.

I have found in camping and hiking never buy used or cheap equipment.

I usually wind up tearing up the cheap stuff and wishing I had bought better,

or geting used stuff only to learn why the previous owner sold it. Good shoes are the most important thing in my book, then a GPS that is easy to use and has lots of features ( They resale easier when next years models come out). If you go too cheap it makes the sport less fun to me, when you suffer in the woods or on the trail.

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being the parent cachers of a younger cacher we always have a good quality whistle for each of us, a space blanket is useful in case of the unexpected also. We always use a geo Journal log book (see our website @ www.hometown.aol.com/geojournal). No need to go fancy.....and always carry spare batteries!

Trail mix 3, Bend, Oregon

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Do you really carry or use all that stuff? I leave home with my gps, the printout from geocache.com or navicache.com, and a fannypack with a few trading items in it and thats all. I personally think the beginner would be better off to spend his money on a newer gps and start with it and add anything else he may need as he see's fit, rather than spend money on an old gps and a bunch of things that he won't use....


at least that's one man's opinion....

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Honestly, what you'll find in the pack I carry into the field with me right now:


-GPS (plain ole eTrex yellow for the moment)

-Palm IIIc w/Cachemate loaded up


-safety flasher

-flashlight on a retractable cord

-extra batteries

-first aid kit

-some change (Don't ask me why. Hard to spend in the woods.)

-driver's license (In case they need to identify the body. I love to plant caches in -urban "no-man's-land.")

-cell phone (Never know when i'll fall down and break a leg--I often cache alone in lonely places)

-Rand McNally book of maps for San Antonio area (I don't have a GPS that does street-level mapping and I tend not to print out the mapping--the annuals often are more accurate, I've found)

-Can of OFF (even in winter in South Texas, you'll need it)

-Polaroid iZone camera (fun to leave these mini instant photos in cache logs)

-Cache swag

-Geocache calling cards to stick in my found and hidden caches

-hiking stick IF I'm traversing elevated ground (unusual for this part of the world)

-poncho if it's threatening rain


That doesn't even touch what I keep in my truck at all times. I'm more a cache hider than I am a finder. You should see the rough totes full of swag, camo tape, altoid tins, tupperware containers, ziploc baggies, mini composition books. . .the list goes on and on. . .


In short, I don't travel very lightly




Edited by stellalunag
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My Kit:


Lowrance GM100 GPS

Energizer LED Headlamp

Medium Olive Green ALICE pack (no frame)

Military Stocker & Yale tritium compass

Small 10x25 Bushnell camo hunter's binoculars

Trade Items (Stuff that costs from pennies up to $50)

Personal Log Book & Pen

Leather work gloves

Canteen (1 Qt standard military)

Backup light or two

Light Stick (for emergency use)


Stuff I wear (Geared towards protection):


Columbia Hat with neck covering (Protects back of neck from sun etc)

Flannel long sleeve jacket/shirt from Walmart (Plaid)

Black Jeans

10" Leather boots with Vibram soles



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All I need is a GPS. And some days, I don't even need that, there's always letterboxes. In fact, the vast majority of these lists I either don't bring, or I bring because I already happened to own.


I look at it this way, if someone doesn't already own raingear, they probably don't need raingear to geocache either, they'll just wait till it's nice out because they're the kind of people that just don't go out in the rain.


And a walking/hiking stick is such a personal item. Foldable hi-tech or old wooden carved? I think when someone decides they need one, they'll pick the one that's right for them. And until they decide they need one, why have one?


And a GPS and a PDA? If they've never known how to use either, that just feels like overkill. A new PDA by itself is a toy that'll keep you busy for weeks. Putting it in the starter kit is more of a distraction than an asset.


My fear is that this beginner's kit of used stuff would cost more than a new Legend and I really have to wonder why. Do they really need all of it or are these things they grow into?

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Do you really carry or use all that stuff?  I leave home with my gps, the printout from geocache.com or navicache.com, and a fannypack with a few trading items in it and thats all. I personally think the beginner would be better off to spend his money on a newer gps and start with it and add anything else he may need as he see's fit, rather than spend money on an old gps and a bunch of things that he won't use....


at least that's one man's opinion....

There are several types of cacher's those who hike into the woods, those who hike into the wilderness, and those who hike into trouble. I would rather carry an extra pound or two on my back and be covered for an emergency than say latter, " Dog gone, I wish I had carried that CamelBak and Cell phone with me". What if you break a leg? What if you get lost (This is usually wilderness cachers,whose gps breaks)? If a snake bites you where's your knife to cut the bite and try to suck some of the poison out (I watch to many movies)? :lol: I always pack extra,

although it has never happened to me I have heard of hikers finding lost campers,hunters, or victims of rape or robbery or some type of trail injury. That spare candybars or canteen of water sure could make someone happy. But then again these are rare circumstances, and are more likely to happen to deep wilderness cachers or hikers.

Edited by RockyRiver
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I'm mostly an urban cacher, actually, so sometimes I look silly trekking around parks and sidewalks carrying all my junk, but, hey, some of it is good defensive equipment (hiking stick w/whistle, phone to dial 911), especially since I don't carry a firearm. Plus, there's the added benefit of wandering around in little circles muttering and cursing to one's self in public places that makes a person look a bit crazy. That often keeps people at a safe distance. :lol:


Incidentally, I just lightened my load a bit. Having recently sold my eTrex yellow, I was given a Navman p Series for my birthday to go with my Palm IIIc, so now I don't have to carry a Palm AND a GPS into the field. I just loaded up the Palm with Cachemate, Cetus, and Mapopolis, and off I go in full color!


I'm taking all that folks say here into consideration. I think that both sides of the fence have a point here. On one hand, to the beginner, maybe all this stuff might feel like overkill, and yes, perhaps they would want to personalize their kit. Or maybe they would prefer to invest in a fancier GPS up front rather than all the other gear, too.


On the other hand, the other gear is useful for many other things besides geocaching, and aren't most of us who cache also campers/hikers/outdoorsmen of one sort or another or have we always wanted to be that kind of person but haven't found the proper excuse before we found geocaching? Also, aren't many of us gadget heads or wannabe gadget heads? So how far a leap would it be for someone who had always wanted to play around with this stuff just to invest in a package like this to satisfy some of those urges?


I may just have to put together a kit and see what the market will bear. Consumers will let me know what they will and will not purchase. It will probably take some "tweaking" to find a kit that will sell at any profit margin at all.


Please, continue the input. I appreciate it all!

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i would recommend a mirror in there to. there are some cashes that i have wished that i had a flexable mirror so i just went to the dollar store and got one not to long ago.

as a new cacher.. i was interested in this kinda pack. then decided against the idea. as i am a camper and hiker and out doors kinda bloke ( out back tour guide for a living i do 20 day camping trips for work) i realised it was much easier to buiy the items more suited to my own personal needs!


though i will check out for lists of " whats in your pack" and get some further ideas!

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