Geocaching is an outdoor sporting game similar to treasure hunting. But instead of using a compass, a participant or geocacher uses a GPS coordinates to find the hidden container. Geocaching is being played around the world by more than 5 million participants.
Containers may vary in shape and size. They can be as small as a film container or bison tube and as big as ammunition cans or Tupperware plastic containers. They contain a logbook, pencil and other non-valuable items such as coins, trinkets, chips or any non-value items that can be exchanged.
The game is made more interesting because of the different ways or variations that can be put into play. Let’s take a look at some of the most common variations.
- Traditional or Basic Cache
This variation usually involves only one stage. It also consists of a container that has a logbook at the very least. It can have other items that can be traded should the person who hid the container wish to include some. The participant will use the GPS coordinates given to him/her to find the geocache.
This variation consists of different variations. One of which is a participant finds the first container but it only has the coordinates leading to the next location and so on. The final or last stage will include a container that has the logbook and trade items.
Another variation involves a series of waypoints that will provide partial coordinates of the final geocache location.
- Offset Cache
This is a take-off from Multi-Cache wherein the coordinates are published and will lead to a physical landmark such as historical sites or monument. The participant must then look for the information that will lead him/her to the next geocache location
- Mystery Puzzle Cache
This variation involves complicated puzzle pieces that the participants need to solve in order to get the coordinates to the final cache location. Additional information may also be needed to complete the find.
- Letterbox Hybrid
This variation includes a geocache and a letterbox in the same container. The letterbox has a stamp that is meant to be used by the participants to record their visit. It also contains the logbook but it may or may not include items for trading.
- Locationless / Reverse
Similar to a scavenger hunt game, this variation involves a description for something to find like a specific place. When the participants find a sample of the place being described, he/she will record the location by using his/her handheld GPS device or receiver. A picture of the location with the named object should also be taken. Usually, a participant cannot log the same location as a find.
- Moving / Traveling
This is similar to Traditional or Basic Cache. The participant will find the geocache by using the set coordinates given at the beginning. He/She will use the logbook; trade whatever is found in the container and will then hide the cache in a different location. Since the participant will need to update the location of the geocache, he/she typically becomes the hider.
This variation includes coordinates for a location that does not have the traditional container, logbook or items for trade. It will only contain other described objects. The participant must send or email the cache hider the information such as name of the object or date or a picture on the site with the GPS receiver in hand.
- Wherigo Cache
This variation uses a Wherigo cartridge that will guide the player. The participant plays the cartridge and finds a physical cache, usually towards the end of the play.
- Event Cache
This is a gathering of local geocachers or anyone in the Geocaching community to discuss about the game. Physical caches are placed in the event area. Participants are provided with coordinates in order to find the caches. After the event the caches are archived.
This is a type of virtual cache wherein a participant must perform a task that will teach him/her a lesson about Earth and the location. The Geological Society of America maintains this particular variation.
There are indeed many ways to play Geocaching. For the newbie, the Traditional or Basic Cache is the most appropriate starting point.