What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is the widely popular, high-tech game of treasure hunting, and Garmin is at the forefront with a host of products to ensure you find that big cache. With a Garmin in hand and an appetite for adventure, you're sure to find hidden treasure and see the world.


Basically, geocaching is a high-tech version of treasure hunting. Geocachers seek out hidden treasures utilizing GPS coordinates posted on the Internet by those hiding the cache. Using a Garmin? GPS unit, they then trek out into the backwoods or urban jungles to find the hiding spot of the cache. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. If the visitor takes something out of the cache, they are asked to leave something in return. For some, the biggest reward is the thrill of the search and the discovery of a place that they have never been.

The Rules

This growing outdoor sport has a simple set of rules, making it easy for anyone to play. The challenging part is finding the cache. Some caches have even been planted on mountainsides and underwater!

Once geocachers find a cache, they follow these basic rules:

  1. fill out the logbook
  2. take something out of the cache
  3. put something in the cache
  4. return the cache to the exact position and condition in which it was found

Caches typically consist of a waterproof container discreetly placed within the local terrain. The container will include a logbook and any number of more or less valuable items such as toys, books, money, jewelry, trinkets, etc. You never know what the founder or other visitors of the cache may have left for you to enjoy. Be sure to fill out the logbook with the date and time you visit the cache and leave something in return.

Choosing a GPS Unit

You will need a Garmin GPS unit to help you find or mark cache locations and Internet access for finding or sharing the coordinates. Garmin offers an impressive array of products for geocachers. GARMIN 12-channel units have an accuracy of less than 15 meters (49ft), and less than 3 meters (10 ft.) on WAAS-capable models (US only). 

In general, features to look for when purchasing a GPS unit to geocache include:

  • Lightweight and compact ? makes it easier to carry (look for a wrist strap too!)
  • Waterproof ? caches can be hidden under or near water
  • Long battery life ? a must for those hard-to-find, remote caches
  • Waypoint storage ? will hold more cache locations
  • Screen readability ? should be easy to read in daylight and at night

Advanced features which make it even easier for you to find that big cache include:

  • WAAS-enabled ? means your GPS unit will give you better position accuracy - within 3 meters (10 feet) 95% of the time (US only)
  • Built-in Compass ? convenient and comes in handy when you get within 100 feet of your cache
  • Altimeter ? shows how high up you are for those vertically hidden caches
  • Mapping Capabilities ? makes it easier to navigate when you can download maps to your unit and see the terrain
  • External antenna ? for use under heavy tree cover or difficult terrains

Finding a Cache

Once you have a GPS unit, you will need to go online to start finding cache locations or report a cache that you have created. Several geocaching web sites and clubs have sprouted on the Internet. To find a hidden cache near you or to plant a cache, you should start with www.geocaching.com ? the first to bring geocaching to the masses and the most comprehensive site for this adventure-game. After you get the coordinates online and enter them into your GPS, you're ready to get started on your adventure!

Geocaching Responsibly

Please seek permission before geocaching on private or public lands. Geocaching can have an unintended impact on the earth's natural resources and result in trampled vegetation, damaged habitats and destruction of parks' historical and cultural resources.

Placing a cache on lands administered by the National Park Service (NPS) is illegal without first obtaining permission. Please contact your local park to obtain a special use permit or inquire about sites designated for geocaching on park property. Help make geocaching an educational and entertaining experience while preserving our environment for future generations of geocachers to come!


Information Courtesy of Garmin