Geocaching: everything you need to know about the world’s largest treasure hunt!

Blending technology with exploration, geocaching is an exciting outdoor activity that’s become extremely popular in recent years. If you’re yet to try it, here’s a brief explanation of what it is, followed by some final tips before you set off on your big adventure...

What exactly is geocaching?

Geocaching is essentially a modern version of an age-old recreational activity known as ‘letterboxing’ – with the addition of tech. People hide boxes, called ‘caches,’ in different locations and others hunt for them using GPS.

Each cache is recorded on the official free geocaching app and contains a log book to sign and date once you’ve located it. Many of the boxes contain small knick-knacks for trading, too. Once you’ve placed the box back in its original position, you can later record your find on the app and share your adventures on social media – fellow geocachers will be keen to read about your experience!

Geocaching in numbers

There are around three million geocaches hidden all over the world – chances are, you’re very close to one right now! Here are some other fun, geocaching facts:

  • A geocache is hidden every minute of every day.
  • If all geocaches were stacked on top of one another, they’d reach the International Space Station!
  • If you hunted for ten caches every day, it would take you 822 years to find every single geocache.
  • There are more than 400 geocaching volunteers from more than 40 countries.
  • Nearly 600 million ‘attended’ and ‘found it’ logs have been recorded since the game launched in 2000.

GP’s top geocaching tips

Before you start searching for geocache coordinates, here are some pointers:

  • The difficulty and terrain of each cache is rated 1-5 (1 being easy). It’s a good idea to start simple, especially if you’re hunting with kids.
  • You must return the geocache to exactly where you found it, ready for the next explorer to take on the challenge.
  • Caches don’t always take the form of boxes – some, for instance, are disguised as rocks or attached to metal bars and fences with hidden magnets!
  • Geocaches are hidden and not buried, so leave your spade behind!
  • Don’t forget a pen for completing that all-important mini log book inside each cache.
  • If you’re heading somewhere new, do your research beforehand so you know what type of terrain you’ll be dealing with and can pack accordingly.
  • If you’ve brought along an item to trade, it should be at least equal to the value of the item you take from the box. Geocaching relies on people playing fair.
  • Using your phone for GPS and the geocache app inevitably saps its battery life. So, make sure you stay in charge with one of GP’s portable PowerBanks, which will prevent you from having to cut your adventure short due to a dead phone! These devices are compact and lightweight, so slot neatly into your rucksack.
Sounds fun, right? If you’re keen to give geocaching a try now you’ve read this, but are unsure where to hunt for treasure first, try this helpful National Trust list for starters. Or, if you’ve already given geocaching a shot, share your favourite spots with us!


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