Every kid needs their own geocaching kit to make them feel like a real ‘cacher!
We have been geocaching as a family since before we were even technically a family. Aaron and I started in August 2008, and we didn’t get married until May 2009. We have a team name, and all finds are made under that name, even if we aren’t all together.
Several years ago, the kid and I made Aaron his own geocaching kit as a present and we have shared it happily. However, as the kid has gotten older, he has been a bit reluctant to go geocaching with us. In an effort to remind him of how much fun he had, we decided to try making him his own geocaching kit. Spoiler: it worked!
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The great thing about making a geocaching kit is that you can spend as much, or as little, as you want on the kit. The one we made for Aaron was made mostly from stuff we had in the house along with a few simple tools which weren’t expensive. Since the one we made the kid was a present, we opted to make his kit a bit more elaborate.
Let us walk you through everything we put into his geocaching kit as well as optional extras you might want to include depending on the age of the child and how much time, effort, and money you want to spend geocaching.
The Geocaching Bag
We used a bag that he can sling over his shoulder for ease in carrying. Funny story about this bag – Aaron tried to use it as a diaper bag when the kid was a baby. It was too small and put away in practically pristine condition. We found it recently and it was perfect for this project. Other practical bags include messenger bags and backpacks.
The kid thought it would be fun to decorate the bag with some geocaching patches to create curiosity among those who don’t know about the activity, as well as encourage conversation with other geocachers while we are out and about. We bought a geocaching logo patch and added it. We are still on the lookout for other fun patches. (Pro Tip: we learned about Badge Magic in Cub Scouts and use it extensively!)
Our kid also loves to add trade items to his bag such as badges, pins, and dangly key chains. After all, much of the fun in geocaching for kids is the option to trade! And showing them off on his dedicated bag helps keep him inspired.
SWAG (Stuff We All Get) bag
Speaking of trades, it is customary to bring along “swag” to swap for when finding the larger containers. These are typically toys or trinkets, magnets, or key chains, in other words low value items. We usually stock up once or twice a year at a party store and have fun keeping it to a theme. Currently we have been on an alien kick. These are stored in a simple drawstring bag inside the kit.
CITO (Cache In, Trash Out) bag
It is a sad but true fact that we find a lot of rubbish while geocaching. We like to leave a place better than we found it, so we keep a few bags suitable for carrying out trash, along with some gloves, inside our kits. We can also use this to help clear wet gunk out of any geocache that has been left to the elements.
Silica gel and Dry rag
Speaking of geocaches that have been left to the elements, we try to rescue some of the damp ones by giving them a quick wipe with a dry rag and leaving a silica gel packet inside. I don’t know about you, but we are constantly getting these and were just throwing them away. This seemed like a good use for reusing them. And it costs us nothing.
Empty Pill Bottles
We keep a few empty containers in our kits in case we come across a geocache that has seen better days but will still perform well with just a swap of the container. Sometimes the lid has cracked, and it is wet inside. Other times we are performing maintenance on our own geocaches and see that the container has been destroyed. It is a matter of only moments to swap one container for another.
Replacement Logs and Pill Pouches
Sometimes you get to the cache and the log is full. We keep replacement logs we have printed off ready to add if necessary. You know those little zip top bags you can find near the pharmacy to keep pills organized? They are great for keeping paper logs dry inside geocaches. I feel like we have a theme going on here: all sorts of ways to help keep the insides of a geocache dry!
This may seem like a silly thing to keep in a geocaching kit but sometimes a pair of tweezers are the only way to get a tightly rolled log out of a bison tube in order to sign it and get credit for the find. We highly recommend including a pair in your kit.
Sure, you can sign a log with your username and date if you want (make sure to include a pen in your kit if you do as some geocaches are too small to hold one) but we find it much more fun to stamp ours. We have a custom stamp with our team name on it and use that to make our mark on the log. A bonus by using the stamp is that it works well even on damp paper that might tear if we try to write on it.
We love our travel bugs and have set more than one out into the world however they are a bit expensive. So far, we don’t keep any in the kid’s kit but we did get him one to send off on an adventure.
The kid learned how to use a compass in cub scouts and since we have come across a few geocaches that provide clues via compass headings, we thought it would be to keep one in his geocaching kit. I really need to get better at using them myself. Our phones don’t have service everywhere we go!
Some geocaches are kept in dark places and I’m not sticking my hand somewhere I can’t see out in nature. The last thing we need to deal with is a spider bite, or worse. We did start with using the flashlight on our phone. But we had some extra flashlights, and this keeps our phone battery charged for more geocaching!
Not only are some geocaches in dark places, sometimes they are at incredibly awkward angles for viewing. Our trick before getting a mirror for our kits was to use the “selfie” camera angle on our phones. But again, we wanted to keep those phone batteries available to stay on the hunt longer so simple mirrors became our go-to for looking into drains and other random locations. We bought a mechanics set which also had a magnetic grabber along with other useful tools.
How old do you have to be to geocache?
While any age can geocache, kids under the age of 16 will have to have their accounts owned and managed by their parent or guardian. Additionally, you must be 18 or older to post in the geocaching forums.
How much does geocaching cost?
The app is currently free, and we pay $30 a year for our premium membership. Since we already own our phones, we find this a relatively small price to pay for the hours and hours of fun we have with the game. Why do I say currently free for the app? When we first got the app on our phones, there was a small price associated with it. I don’t know if this will change again. If it does though, I’m sure the creators will keep it affordable.
Having said that, for those who seriously get into the game, there are other costs associated with it. We do spend a little bit of money each year on SWAG for trading and containers for placing our own caches. We keep it simple. Others can be a lot more elaborate. In other words, you can make it expensive, or you can keep it affordable.
What’s a trackable?
Trackables are physical items that have been placed in a cache with a mission to achieve. The owner of the trackable will assign it a goal such as “visit every state” or “have my picture taken with yellow cars.” Community members will then help the trackable achieve their mission by moving them from cache to cache. You do not need to own the geocache to place a trackable in it.
They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they do have one thing in common. They all have a tracking code stamped on it which allows geocachers to log and follow the items’ travels online. If you find one, you do not need to trade for it, but only take it if you are willing to keep it moving. There is nothing more depressing than having your trackable go missing before they complete their journey.
Have you built your own geocaching kit for a kid or for an adult?
Is there anything in yours that we don’t carry in ours? If so, please let us know! Leave a comment below or tag us on Instagram @campinganswer or send us an email at campinganswer at gmail dot com. We hope your geocaching kit will take you on lots of adventures!