How to Find Your First Geocache

An expert provides six tips on how to get the most out of your GPS-inspired adventure.

Michael Klein illustration of geocache, image

Geocache expert Elin Carlson suggests if you take something, leave something behind. Small toys and coins are popular.

Since 2000, 4 million people have joined the hunt for geocaches—hidden treasures that anyone with a GPS unit can find. To get started, take some tips from expert Elin Carlson of Northridge, Calif.

  • Buy a GPS device Carlson likes the slim Garmin Geko. “I found my first 10,000 caches with it,” she says.
  • Pick your target Search a geocaching website for a cache, then enter the coordinates into your GPS device.
  • Go on the hunt Sticks and rocks are often used to conceal containers.
  • Log your find Every cache contains a book. Write your name and the date in it, then record your discovery online.
  • Give and take If you take something, leave something behind. Small toys, pins, and coins are all popular.
  • Join a team “It’s a nice way to find people who like to have fun,” Carlson says.

Illustration by Michael Klein

This article was first published in January 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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