“Using Multi-million dollar satellites to find
tupperware containers in the woods.”--nucci6

Tools of the Trade

A GPS Reciever

At the very least, you're going to need some sort of GPS Reciever (GPSr). The type of reciever you use can vary, although most use an outdoor designed handheld GPSr, some people also use a GPSr card with PocketPC's, or the GPS functionality in certain cell phones with the Trimble Outdoors Geocache Navigator. When I was looking for an initial GPSr, not knowing if I'd like the sport, I looked for the following characteristics in a GPSr.

14 Channel Reciever with WAAS
3-5 meter accuracy
USB Connection

I purchased a Magellan Explorist 210, it had all of these features, plus a special Geocaching function that would allow me to keep caches separate from other types of Points Of Interest (POI). For $150, it was a great starter, after a few months of caching, I soon learned how to work with the GPSr and adjust my approach to a cache to almost ensure a find each and every time. A key issue with this GPS was the processor speed which led to my adjusted behavior as I got close to each cache. When I was within 100 feet of the cache's location, I would purposely slow my walk, this gave the GPSr time to "catch up" with my current position. I had found through experience that I would exceed the GPSr's capability to keep up with me and would "pass" the cache location by the time it would show approximately 0 feet and then start to increase again since I had passed the cache's location resulting in the "drunken bee dance" while trying to find the cache.

During the fall of 2008, my trusty Explorist 210 died and was no longer usable for Geocaching. After some research, I decided to go with a GPSr that a lot of serious cachers use in the Central Pennsylvania area and bought a Garmin GPSMAP60CSx. Some of the key differences between the two are color display, faster processor, electronics compass (not as useful as I thought and big battery drain), and mini SD card slot.

I was also able to enable the aGPSr in my Verizon XV6800 Windows Mobile phone and have been trying the BasicGPS Geocaching software. Although not rugged and exceptional reception for caching in the woods, I have used it with some urban caching and it's worked very well.

GPS Cache Manager

You may want to create your own database to store cache information in, I find tools like this reduce my dependancy upon Geocaching.com and facilitate my caching day.

Initially I started to use GeoBuddy as my cache manager. I really liked this software with it's integration with online servers to provide satellite images, street and topo maps. GeoBuddy provided a nice view that would physically place the caches in their respective locations on the maps. However, as I started to get involved with paperless caching, I discovered that the key identifier normally associated with Geocaches was not used in GeoBuddy. This made exporting GPX files from GeoBuddy for other cache managers difficult. Additionally, the lack of filtering caches became an obstacle as well. I now use the software as a tool to "map" caches I'm interested in finding to form a plan of attack (parking locations, trails, etc).

I am now using GSAK which works very well, supports macros, filters, and the ability to export to other cache managers. I do miss the integration of online map and satellite servers, perhaps in a new version down the road.

Take a look at some of the things I use GSAK for to make our caching days a whole lot easier.

Paperless Caching?

Paperless caching is simply the use of a cache manager on a mobile electronic device to eliminate the need of printing out cache information to take with you.

I started using Cachemate by smittyware.com, this cache manager was very flexible and I particularly liked the categorization of caches and the ability to store multiple "home" locations for distance calculations. I used to use BeeLineGPS because it also has many of these features as well as views to use with a PocketPC/Windows Mobile GPSr, however, I have trouble loading more then 1000 caches into it's database before exceeding memory in my device.


I also take along a pocket compass, this really comes into play when I am close to the cache coordinates, but trying to get to the exact coordinates for those really tough caches. It's nice to have to get the general direction of North etc.

Walking Stick

Perhaps the most underestimated, but tool I use a lot is an aluminum collapsable walking stick. Great for poking buried caches to ensure other wildlife isn't hiding alongside.

Our First Find

Read about our first find, the event that changed our lives as a family forever.

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Make Your Own Custom Garmin Maps

Find out how easy it is to create your own maps for your Garmin GPSr using freely available data and tools.

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Preparing for a Great Day Caching

Here's how we prepare for a great day of caching using TomTom, GSAK, and some macros.

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