Geocaching for Novices: a Mini-Guide for Off-Road Exploring

Small geocache

Going on off-road adventures around the world can be exciting, exploring new landscapes and having a good time with friends. Many people, however, have added a little twist to their off-road expeditions and started to explore the world of geocaching. In short, geocaching is when people head off into the middle of nowhere, in their 4×4’s, using GPS to find little clues hidden in contraptions, called pills. These little pill-like containers are called caches, and they’re hidden in some of the most remote locations, off the beaten path.

People have been hiding caches in remote locations for over decade now. Hidden caches can be located using GPS, however, some are extremely challenging to find, even with the right tools. There is a tremendous amount of critical thinking and problem solving involved with geocaching. Before heading out on a geocaching adventure, however, it is important to consider the right tools and gear to make the most out of the day.

geocacheGeocaching vehicle

The most important apparatus geocachers need to consider is heading out to the wilderness in the right vehicle. It is a bonus if the vehicle contains its own GPS, however, it is not mandatory, considering many smartphones and handheld GPS devices will do the trick. It is, however, vital that adventurers load their gear into a high-clearance vehicle equipped with four-wheel drive. One great example of an ideal vehicle is the Ram 3500. When on a geocaching expedition, a large vehicle to hold water, food, and extra layers of clothing or blankets is vital, in case the weather changes or the sun starts to set. In an ideal situation, the geocaching vehicle will have good ground clearance, protection for vulnerable parts underneath, short overhangs, low gear for crawling, and limited slip or locking differential.

Geocaching with a smartphone

If the vehicle used does not have a GPS system, geocaching can be enjoyed using a smartphone. Originally, geocaching was done using a GPS as support, but predominately through the use of maps, compasses, and real-time downloads of nearby geocaches. More recently, the game has changed with the introduction of smartphone technology, ridding adventurers of paper maps and other basic tools. There are many apps for smartphones that support geocaching, allowing adventurers to search, locate, map, and log geocaches anywhere they go. Both the Apple and Android platforms support geocaching for those choosing to use their smartphones to enhance their experiences.

gpsGeocaching with a handheld GPS

If a smartphone is not an option, or for those looking for a more intense challenge, geocaching can be done with a handheld GPS. The difference is that much of the thinking and problem solving will have to be done ahead of time. With a handheld GPS, adventurers are not able to locate and log geocaches on the fly. The caches will have to be located and downloaded onto the GPS device ahead of time, and the logs will have to be created after the adventure is over.

No matter what gear is used to enhance the geocaching adventure, it is sure to be an unforgettable expedition. The next time off-roading is a consideration for a day out in the wilderness, perhaps adding the twist of geocaching can make the adventure even more challenging and fun. With technology today, there is no knowing what we can do while in the great outdoors.


Leslie Hoffman likes nothing more than getting out there on the open road. An avid fan of off roading, she was overjoyed when she discovered geocaching. In her free time at home she hopes to share these amazing hobbies and offer tips and advice to an online audience.

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