Jump to content

Tools Of The Trade?

Followers 1

Recommended Posts

PDA for not having to print out caches.

Mapping software for the computer.

A laptop to take all that with you.

A 4x4 becaue a corolla is too low for trails.

A credit card to pay for gas when I'm out of cache.

A flashlight, you never know when doing just one more cache will have you caching in the dark.

A first aid kit because you will get cut and sliced. Especially if you wear shorts.

Link to comment

Lots and lots of water.... Maybe I say this just because I'm caching in Arizona right now, but I can tell you that it's utterly miserable being without when something goes wrong.


Last year on a club cache find, our drivers Jeep got stuck about 20 miles from any civilization. I didn't anticipate this happening, and we had been out caching for about 5 hours under the brutal sun. Nobody in our group really brought enough water either. By the time we got back to the Jeep, mine and everyone elses mouths were practically wafer bread dry. On top of this, we had no cell phone service to call for help. So using our last amount of energy, we had to push the Jeep out of the rut we got it into and finally, 20 minutes later, got it going.


I can't tell you how much of a nightmare it is being without something that so easy to bring in the first place. I now bring about 1.5 liters everytime I go.




Link to comment

Sorry to hear your Jeeper friend wasn't prepped with the basics. I'm actually set on those things. My Jeep always has these basics: duct tape, bailing wire, 10 gallons of extra gas, 10 gallons extra drinking water, 1 1/2 gallons extra Jeep water, and a heat exchanger/pump/shower head setup...nothing like a warm shower after a long day on the trail.


Looks like I'll have to work on the high tech end...hmmmm...laptop...WiFi...

Link to comment

Hmmmm, my list o' stuff:


Garmin 60cs GPSr

Palm Tungsten E

Cell Phone


And a small backpack , with the following stowed inside:


Extra Batteries


Blank log book in case a find a cache that needs one

Trade stuff

Digital Camera

A small first aid kit




This is what I carry on a normal cache hunt. Obviously I would carry more for deep woods hiking but most of my cache finds so far are a 2 mile walk or less.

Edited by Imajika
Link to comment

I'm still pretty new to this, but I keep a toolbox in my truck with:


GPS (Garmin Vista)

Extra Batteries

A little book for logging my finds

Stuff to put in caches (toy cars, etc.)


plastic bags (ziploc)

Benadryl and some anti-itch cream (I'm REALLY alergic to fire ants)


I grab what I think I'll need before I go. In the truck I've also got a first-aid kit, flashlights, duct-tape, tools.


I've taken to printing five or six potential cache-visits that I put in one of those clipboards with the paper-compartment when you open it. Then when I go to one, I put it on the clipboard. Probably not the best way to do things (my PDA got stolen), but it does work very nicely. I hate wasting that paper, but I make sure to use both sides.


I haven't gone on any caches that are more than a mile walk, so I've certainly still got some learning to do as well.

Link to comment

I take what I would if I were planning on hiking the distance.

If I was doing a near-by cache, I take my gps, pda (with cachemate), extra batteries, compass, hiking stick, cell phone, and extra swag.

If you were going to find a cache that required mountain climbing or a week in the desert, you obviously would want to take more! :blink:

Link to comment

Compass. A compass. Water is very good too. Oh yeah, and compass.


Especially if your GPS doesn't have an electronic compass built in, as opposed to a direction finder.


Did I mention compass? Last Friday I went off trail to find the cache (as required) but forgot to mark a waypoint on my GPS where I left the trail. Since the bushwhacking segment was a good distance I lost sight of the trail, and needed to use a compass to find it again. Good thing I had my compass!


When you get close to a cache (30' or so) a compass is invaluable. Swipe teh bearing numbers off teh GPS and start a-hunting!


Good luck.

Link to comment

Hmmm ... let's see


The strength and endurance of an Olympic athlete

The visual acuity of an eagle

Nerves of steel

The puzzle solving ability of Sherlock Holmes


None of which I have. :blink:


Lots of folks like using PDAs but I find I work better with paper. I click the "printer friendly" mode on the cache page and use the "save with images" in my browser to save all the cache info. I also click on the larger map displayed on the cache page to display the map using MapQuest. I usually zoom that into the 900 ft scale and save the displayed map. From there I print the cache page on a regular 8 1/2 X 11 sheet and the map on a 4 X 6 photo paper card. The cache printout gets folded in quarters and the map card slips right into the folded info page. Now I've got all the cache info plus the clues in a nice little packet that fits easy in my kit. It sounds like a lot of work but is actually pretty quick once you've done it a time or two.


You might want to look at the Camelbak water carriers. They're a small backpack that have a plastic bladder to hold the water and ice. I have the small HydroBak that holds 1.5 liters. Keeps your hands free and the water handy.


Good Luck!

Link to comment

The only item I have not seen mentioned, that we carry, is a small mirror.


Yes a mirror.


Two caches made us resort to this. There was a bison capsule tucked under a metal rail covering where my fingers kept getting scrapped up trying to find it. And another cache where a mini-bison capsule was placed in a small hole in a tree that was too tall to look into and you could not really feel it.


So am I cheating by using a mirror?

Link to comment

I tend to keep it light.


Magelan Merididan running Map Send Direct route to get the that area of the cache.


Magellan sport track map find the cache on foot


Magellan sport track color for back up


Pocket PC for going paperless


Lap top computer when out of town for and over nighter in order to log onto Geocahing web sight from hotel room


Printed map of the area


Base plate compass


Cell phone


Two hand held ham radios






Walking sticks


Signiture items to trade


Digital camera


Large brimm hat

Link to comment

Wow, I really like that mirror idea! Where can I get one like that? I usually take my gps, digital camera, extra batteries, printout of the caches (maps too), my cell phone & plug-in auto charger, trade stuff, anti-itch stuff, extra pens/pencils, emergency log books (to repair caches if needed), ziplocks, a garbage bag of two, and if a hike is involved, yes...........water, water, water!


One time I was heading to a cache in my husband's pickup, and the hydraulic line to the assist pump on the clutch burst, right on I-95, on a holiday weekend! There were no houses around, but thankfully I had my cell phone and it's charger. I was stuck there for almost 3 hours waiting for the tow truck. At least I could still keep in touch.


Oops! I see the link to where I can get one. Thanks! :-)

Edited by WolfWalker
Link to comment

As a primarily urban cacher , I find one of the best things for me to bring along is my mountain bike. Parking can sometimes (more then sometimes :rolleyes: be a problem in the urban environment. With the bike in the back of my van I only need to get close, and then ride in to the cache.

Link to comment

This is what I brought when I went out this weekend:

  • GPS Unit
  • Water (16 ounce nalgene bottle and 96 ounce nalgene canteen)
  • First-aid kit
  • duct tape
  • cell phone
  • wallet with cash and cards and license
  • lighter
  • backwoods cigars
  • printouts of all caches to be visited
  • spare batteries for GPS and camera
  • Leatherman Multi-tool
  • whistle
  • compass
  • digital camera
  • cache repair kit
  • Pen, pencil, paper
  • goodies for trade
  • tp and tiny shovel
  • gloves
  • baseball cap
  • lightweight long underwear
  • jerky and hard candy
  • emergency blanket
  • 2 garbage bags, kitchen or price chopper size
  • pre-made cache for spur-of-the-moment hiding

All of this fits in a pretty small Mountainsmith Backpack, with room for TBs or other stuff as needed (yeah, it's a lot, but I got snowed on on Saturday while canoeing for a cache, and on Sunday humped about 15 miles to find another cache with the temps into the 70s, so I need to be ready for life in the Adirondacks). :rolleyes:



Edited by NFA
Link to comment

I can't believe that no one has mentioned this yet (or I missed it):


Topo map! I bought a topo/backroads map of Colorado which has proved EXTREMELY useful when I need to figure out which county road I need to take out in the middle of nowhere. I've learned not to try and take a shortcut without the map - whenever I do, I end up finding a field right in my way.



Link to comment

I'm still a newbie myself, but my folks and I did 20 caches in 10 days, and learned a few lessons:


*one can of DEET in the car, one on you - so you NEVER run out.

*batteries, batteries, and more batteries

*cell phone (hey, I work for the agency that sends out the search and rescue crews - I've heard the ugly stories of people being out of touch with civilization)

*printouts of the cache pages (that get passed around as you wander in circles around the cache site - all notes get cribbed on the printouts and transferred to our log books when we get out and aren't fighting the skeeters and ticks)

*a lunch cooler stocked with fruit in the car (cold grapes are so good when you're hot and tired - water and sugar in a convenient package)

*digital camera for uploads to the web, SLR camera for the permanent stuff

*a selection of priceless cache treasures to leave behind

*spare pen and ziploc bags

*napkins (just because) :lol:

*DeLorme gazeteer and topo printout

*hat with a bill or brim

*flashlight and pocket knife (I carry these every day anyway - you'd be amazed how often you find yourself using them in ordinary life, never mind caching)

*a bigger camera and gear bag than the one I own and use


I see that a lot of folks use PDAs for mapping in the field, but I like the backward compatability of the pressed wood technology, as most readily available input devices (graphite, ink, blood, etc.) work hunky dory with it, with a fairly short learning curve. Plus it can double as a skeeter swatter. And no batteries! <_<

Link to comment


I was doing a 2* Terrain in-city cache yesterday and slipped

and fractured my lower left Fibula.


No ones fault but my own. I was wearing low cut walking shoes, and

should probably always be wearing high tops.


You don't have to be hiking in the country to encounter slippery



Doctor sez no caching for ME for awhile...

Link to comment

In addition to what they said, I bring gaiters (for snow or deep puddles/shallow rivers), extra socks (came in brilliantly in one cache located in a swamp), head-mounted light for night caching/hiking, and a space blanket. (Hope I never need the last one, but it doesn't weigh much, and if it ever did come in handy, it could be a matter of life or death - mine or someone else's).

Link to comment

Am I the only one who gets dirty doing this? :bad: Among the usual stuff, I also take some of those individually wrapped wet-nap things you normally get in rib or fried chicken restaurants. I always ask the server for a few extra. You can also get travel sized baby wipe packs, some of them anti-bacterial. For anyone who letterboxes, the wet-naps are also good for cleaning up your stamps as well as the dirt off your hands after an icky cache container. God help me, I also keep a spare set of clothes in the truck in case I get way too muddy or my shirt gets torn or whatever. My DH may be a graceful bit of poetry as he hikes through the woods, but I catch every exposed root and low tree branch...

Link to comment

One of the most important things is not what you take with you, but rather what you leave behind.


Pilots file a "Flight Plan."


Boaters (should) file a "Float Plan."


Geocachers (really should) file a "Cache Plan." (401k not withstanding.)


You should leave a map / plan of "what and where" you expect to "do and be" on your hunt with someone back at home: the geocaching widow/er, a neighbor, etc., (i.e. "Waypoint Zero.")


1. "Waypoint Zero" should have instructions on when you are most likely to return. And, a drop dead point of when they should call the authorities.


2. ANY changes to your plan should be reported back to "Waypoint Zero."


Cell phones and other two-way radios are great, but they can give you a false sense of confidence. A 15-foot slide down an embankment may take you from "4-bars" and happy feet to "NO SIGNAL" and a broken leg.


Also, a "quick" run over to a local park after midnight might buy you a bit more than you planned to bite off.


IOW (In Other Words): Let someone know where you plan to be. At least that way it's easier for them to find the body.


:rolleyes: Later waves....

Link to comment

In addition to most everything mentioned, I just discovered something that I will add to my "Kit" Safety glasses.

I wear contact Lenses most of the time. On the way to a cache today, I ended up getting poked in the eye twice by twigs. (nothing serious) But as luck would have it, inside the cache was a pair of safety glasses. I traded for them, and now I wear them whenever I go off trail. They saved me several times today.


Another thing I will include the next time I go out is a change of shoes. I got my boots pretty wet slogging through a swamp. I had a change of socks, but no shoes. I ended up with a nice quarter sized blister. <_< So extra shoes/boots.


I also love having my Palm pilot along with me. It sure beats shuffling papers. I use cachemate and gsak.

Link to comment

While agreeing with most of what's been said (it took long enough for someone to mention a compass), one thing I alway take are my convertible pants - the legs zip off to make shorts. They are wonderful in warm weather to protect legs while going those few feet thru brush. Cossing streams, off come the legs, walk across, back on legs - no wet pants. They are nylon so are 'windproof' & dry rapidly if wet.

Link to comment
All of this fits in a pretty small Mountainsmith Backpack

Hehe, noone to blame if your TB doesn't get logged for a while. <_<



My backpack gets logged into and out of every cache I visit...it allows me to keep a unified log of my travels...someday I'll post some pics of the various places the backpack has visited.



Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Followers 1
  • Create New...