Geocaching on a budget

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So, you've discovered Geocaching and checked out the website. It looks really interesting and you want to participate, but you think it might be an expensive hobby. Not true!

What does it COST to go geocaching?

Well, what do you NEED to geocaching?

In the simplest terms, all you NEED to geocache is a GPS receiver (GPSr) and they can be purchased new for less than $70.00 and used models can be found for much less. You'll need this to locate the position of the cache listed on the cache description page on A good GPSr can be found at a Super Wal-mart or your local sporting goods store. You don't need one with all the bells and whistles. Often, the least expensive one will suffice.

Aside from batteries for your GPSr, anything else you need for geocaching is pretty much determined by what you want to DO with geocaching.

If you just want to hunt micro-caches in neighborhood communities and cities, that may be all you would really need. If you are planning on doing a level 5/5 8-hour ETA multi-cache which ends in a different state than the one in which you started, you may need a bit more preparation and materials.

Aside from your GPSr, a good, basic list of items to have with you for an average cache hunt would be:

Comfortable clothes appropriate for the environment (shorts, pants for briars and snake-infested areas, rain coat, hat for shade, etc.)

Durable shoes appropriate for the environment (hiking boots, sandals, sneakers)

Sunscreen - a dollar or two at the dollar store.

Bugspray - a dollar or two at the dollar store.

A folded trash bag or two for impromptu CITO events (cleaning up the area around the cache)

A cellular phone if you have one (in case of emergencies)

Pens or Pencils, pad of paper - a dollar or two at Wal-mart or Target

A small knapsack or fanny pack to hold your gear - I found one at Target for $9.95 that holds all my standard gear and even has a special pocket for my clip-on sunglasses.

Bottled water or a small canteen - a plastic water bottle with a belt clip can be found at Wal-mart or Target for a few bucks.

Trail mix or suitable snack food - a dollar or two per bag - Wal-mart or Target

Another tool I like to have with me when going geocaching is a walking stick. A good walking stick doesn't have to cost a thing. They can be found in the woods and modified as needed. Some cachers grab a small, suitable tree limb from the ground on the way down a trail and leave it at the trail head when they return for some other hiker if they want it.

A step up from this would be a collapsable aluminum hiking stick found in the sporting goods section of Wal-mart or Target for $15.00 or $20.00

See the article on walking sticks for more information about them.

Aside from special caches (such as hydrocaches or caches that specifically designate a requirement for special training or equipment) that is really all that is needed.

Geocaching is definitely unique, fun and exciting, but it certainly doeesn't have to be expensive.

If you intend to place caches of your own for others to find, a wide variety of tried and true containers can be used. Peanut butter jars are perfect and commonly used.

A step up from that would be an ammo can. These can cost about $5.00 to $10.00 and can be found on Ebay and your local military surplus store.


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