Geocaching on a budget

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So, you've discovered Geocaching and checked out the website. It looks very 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?

Although you don't technically need one, a GPS receiver (GPSr) is the most useful piece of equipment that most geocachers will want. A basic GPSr can be purchased new for less than $70 and used models can be found for much less. You'll use your GPSr to find the general location 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, and you definitely don't need street-navigation features for geocaching. Often, the least expensive GPSr 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.

On you can pay for a membership, but you can do fine with a free membership.

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 and/or bugspray (a dollar or two each 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/pencils, pad of paper (a dollar or two at Wal-mart or Target)
  • A small knapsack or fanny pack to hold your gear (inexpensive ones cost as little as $10, will hold your standard gear, and may have special pockets for things like clip-on sunglasses)
  • Bottled water or a small canteen (a few dollars at Wal-mart or Target)
  • Trail mix or suitable snack food (a dollar or two per bag)
  • Walking stick - Good, free walking sticks can sometimes be found in the woods and modified as needed. Many geocachers find a suitable branch on the ground along the way, and leave it at the trailhead for another hiker when they return. Inexpensive collapsible aluminum hiking sticks are available for $10-20 in the sporting goods section of Wal-mart or Target.

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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