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Getting Started Geocaching
All you really need to start geocaching is a GPS receiver and a sense of adventure. Consult the GPS Buyer's Guide for more information on selecting a GPS receiver.
The first thing you should do is to set up an account by visiting the Membership page on geocaching.com. Basic membership is free and probably the best place to start. You can always upgrade to premium membership at a later date. Premium membership provides some added benefits, such as the ability to run pocket queries, but you can still hide and seek geocaches without being a premium member.
Once you have established your User-ID on geocaching.com, you may wish to register the same ID on the Manitoba Geocaching Association (MBGA) website. The MBGA is a local group that strives to promote geocaching in the province. It’s a great place to connect with other local geocachers and keep informed about things going on in Manitoba. Find out more about the MBGA.
Finding a Cache
Once you have your user-id set up, you are ready to go out and find your first cache. You can find out which caches are closest to your location by visiting the geocaching.com hide and seek page. Try entering your Postal Code or town to see a list of the closest caches.
The Icon column will tell you what type of cache it is. D/T stands for Difficulty/Terrain. Each cache is rated from 1 to 5 with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the most difficult. Below the rating you will see an image indicating the size of the cache. The sizes are micro (film canister or smaller); small (small lock ‘n lock container); regular (large lock ‘n lock container or ammo can); large (large pail) or unknown (cache owner prefers not to list the size of the cache).
Your best bet is to start with a Traditional cache (box with a green lid) with a lower difficulty rating and size small or regular. Remember your GPS unit will only get you within about 10 meters of the cache – then you have to start searching. Once you have mastered the GPS, then you can try for some of the more challenging caches.
A few things to remember when you find a cache:
- Be sure to sign the log book.
- If the cache is large enough to hold trade items, then you can take an item and leave an item. Try to leave items of equal or greater value than the item you take.
- Trackable items such as travelbugs or geocoins do not need to be traded for. They just need to be moved on to another cache. If you do pick up a trackable item, be sure to log it on the geocaching website so that it’s movements can be tracked.
- Place the cache back where you found it and camouflage it as good or better than when you found it. If the coordinates seem off (greater than 10 meters), you can mark the coordinates where you found it and post that with your online log. If you think the cache is in the wrong spot, you can email the cache owner and let them know where you found it and they can check on it.
- Visit the geocaching.com website and log your visit online. You will find a link to “log your visit” on each cache page. This will send a notification to the cache owner letting them know that you found their cache. Even if you didn’t find it, you can enter a “did not find” log. This will alert the cache owner that they may need to check on their cache.
Hiding a Cache
It's a good idea to get some experience by finding several caches before hiding one of your own. Not only can you get a good idea of what works and is enjoyable, but also learn about containers, contents, locations and get well orientated with the use of your GPS receiver. Refer to the How To Hide a Geocache document for more information on hiding a geocache.
MBGA Tutorials are also available that cover some advanced topics such as paperless caching from past MBGA seminars.