Geocaching is a fun outdoor sport where you use a GPS to find a hidden container near you. There are over 2million around the word and they are cleverly hidden so non geocachers cannot find them. Please vote for me in the outdoor contest because I worked hard on this instructable.
Step 1: Creating an Account
Before you can even consider going out and finding some caches, you must register for a free account at www.geocaching.com You can get an account for free or pay a small fee($4) every month for Premium member only caches and more. You will have to create a username, password, and email. Then you are done setting up your account.
Step 2: GPS/iPhone
Now that you have set up your account, you will need to either buy a GPS(about $200 for a decent one) or download the ten dollar(USD) app for Apple or android devices.
**this is for a GPS.** You then will go to find a cache on the geocaching website and then find one you want to find. Then upload it to your GPS consulting your GPS manual.
** this is for a phone** You then need to log in to the app and it will give you a warning.(See disclaimer above) Select ok and then you will come to the menu screen. You will then select Find Nearby Geocaches then select a geocache off the list.
Step 3: Finding a Geocache!(GPS)
Now comes the fun part! Go to your GPS main menu and consulting your manual select the geocaching category. Then select the geocache you want to find. If you have a good GPS it will give you the details including but limited to the name, terrain, difficulty, description, hint, attributes, photos, and recent logs. Once you select navigate to cache, you will have two options. Map or compass. I suggest using map until you get within 20ft. of the cache. Then switch to compass mode and start looking!
Step 4: Finding a Geocache(phone)
After you have selected find nearby caches, you'll see a list of them. Select the one you want and then you'll see another menu. It has the cache name, difficulty, terrain, description, attributes, photos, hint, and recent logs. You should select the description before setting off so you won't get list!;) Select navigate to cache and a compass will pop up. If you are farther than 30ft* then go to map( it's easier.) once your within 30ft* of the cache, go back to compass. The direction of the cache is pointed out by the red arrow. Now start looking!!!
*= The phones GPS is good and getting better but on the phone it will show you accuracy. The most accurate it can get is 16ft so you'll have to look around a bit more than if you had a GPS.
Step 5: You Found It!
Congrats! You found your first geocache!!! If it is large, it probaly have a logbook, a pen or pencil and maybe some prizes! Sign the logbook by your username and be considerate of the space. You can take a prize but ONLY if you leave one of equal or greater value behind. Also you may see a dog tag with a beetle on it or something similar. I'll explain those later. If you found a smaller cache, you'll most likely have to bring an pen or pencil to sight the logbook. Then place the cache EXACTLY the way you found it so no one accidentally finds it.
****NEVER leave any drugs, alcohol, fireworks, or cigarettes in a cache. It is a game played by kids and adults and may be a bad influence. If you see any in a cache, say you saw whatever in the comments online and properly dispose if it.****
Step 6: What Are Those Dog Tags?????
If you have a larger cache, you may see a dog tag or a coin or a figurine with a code on it. These are called Travel Bugs or Geo Coins. They go from cache to cache around the world with a certain goal. On the geocaching website, type in the special code and log it saying you picked it up from whatever cache you found it from. But please only take it if you can ensure you won't lose it and drop it in another cache in a period of three weeks. There are also path tags. Those are like geo coins but are run by a different company. You'll see the difference in the geocoins and path tags.
Step 7: Logging the Cache(GPS)
Once you find the geocache go home unless you have something else to do. Go on the geocaching website and digitally log the cache using photos and emojis. Some common short cut words;
tftc= Thanks For The Cache
muggle=A non geocacher who may harm the cache on purpose or by accident.
dnf=Did Not Find
geo-_______= A group of people with the same account working together.
Step 8: Logging the Cache(phone)
Once you found the cache, exit the navigation menu and select Found It. Write some comments and maybe upload a photo or two... Some common terms;
tftc=Thanks for the cache
dnf= Did not find
muggle= a non geocacher who may harm the cache on purpose or by accident
ftf=First to find
geo-______=A group of people under one account working to find the cache.
Step 9: Hiding a Cache
One you want to hide a cache you will need to select a container. If you want a small one it should fit a piece if paper. If you want it to be larger it should fit a small notebook and some prizes. On the cache you should have a sticker with the cache name, it's geocode(assigned later), your username, and your contact info. Then find a location for your cache and copy the coordinates from your phone using an app or your GPS. Then fill out the form to get it published. It should take one to two weeks before it is published online.
Do NOT hide near a airport, government building. Or any other place where it can be mistaken for a bomb.
Step 10: Websites