How Geocaching Works

Additional Geocaching Equipment

If your GPS receiver doesn't have a compass feature, it's a good idea to bring one with you. They can be handy when you need to find your way back once you've found your cache -- or once you've given up. One handy tip for retracing your steps is to program your starting location as a waypoint in your receiver. Sometimes, though, you may have to find an alternative route back if the path you took is too difficult to retrace.

Because players can hide caches in clever -- and challenging -- locations, you'll want to make sure you have the appropriate gear with you. You might need a snorkel mask or even SCUBA gear if the cache is underwater, or you may need rock climbing equipment if it's placed on the side of a cliff. In general, most geocachers recommend the following standard gear for any cache located in the wilderness:

Of course, some caches might be in city environments. In that case, all you might need is some water, a map ­and your GPS receiver. Most players will tell you that it's better to over-prepare for a hunt. You don't want to be stuck miles from anywhere and find out you need something you left behind.

Finally, you'll probably want to bring a trinket or two to exchange for anything you might take from the cache once you find it. Most prizes in caches tend to be unique but inexpensive, so it's not necessary to spend a lot of money.

In the next section, we'll look at how to find a typical geocache.