Geocaching containers

You no doubt know what GPS is; that invisible grid of latitude and longitude brought to handheld devices using a global space-based network of satellites. It’s really handy for hikers and adventurers, and used as a modern navigation device by both sea and land based vehicles.

With the popular advent of the GPS network, Geocaching was born in May 2000, in Beavercreek, Oregon.

So what is Geocaching? Often called a ‘High tech game of hide and seek’ or a ‘Global treasure hunt’, Geocaching is a mixture of orienteering and good old fashioned treasure hunting, using a handheld GPS receiver.

One saying used is ‘A game where you use equipment which costs hundreds of dollars, to find useless plastic containers in the bush’. That’s actually quite a good summary, however it sure doesn’t tend to endear people to the game.

In a nutshell, players (often referred to as ‘cachers’) either hide a container or go out to seek other hidden containers, using the GPS coordinates provided on websites such as or the Australian based non-commercial version,

Cache containers (such as the ones in the image above) can be anything from a tiny ‘nano’ cache only a centimeter or two in size, through to a large 44 gallon drum, etc. They are hidden in places such as under structures, in leaves at the base of a tree, or camouflaged to blend with the environment, such as pretend bolts, magnetic signs, fake rocks, etc.

Some caches involve simply finding the container, where others may have puzzles to solve, or multiple waypoints to find first. When you find a cache, you can swap items (normally cheap junk food meal toys), move trackable items (geocoins and trackables) and most importantly, sign the log with the date, your caching name and possibly a few comments.

Anyone can hide or find a geocache, provided they have the right equipment, such as a GPS receiver (known as a GPSr) or GPS capable mobile phone, and an account on a geocaching site as mentioned.

So, why would you geocache? That’s the hard one to explain to someone who hasn’t tried. For me, I find that it’s a great mix of geeky hobby, mixed with exercise, with bush walking and orienteering style tracking. I find that my kids really enjoy it, and gives us a purpose to go for a hours walk in the great outdoors.

Some people try it once and decide it’s not for them, which is obviously fine, however I found the more I tried it in the beginning, the more I started to enjoy it. We’ve found over 350 caches in the last 18 months, and have hidden more than 40 of our own – you could say it’s become quite an addiction.

Over the next few blog posts, I plan to try and demystify the game, and give you an insight into how to start geocaching, explain the terms that are used, explain some of the popular geocaching containers, and help you find your first cache.

I hope that you give it a go, and I welcome comments on what you thought, below. Good luck!

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