The title says mistakes but that’s just because it’s easy to write. The 5 mistakes I’m talking about are the five things I wish I started caching with instead learning as I went. The other night I was out caching with Bakers Dozen and we were discussing head lamps. During our conversation it dawned on me that I’ve spent more in cheap head lamp than the cost of my current, and hopefully last, head lamp. Where do you go to learn about the right kind of gear for geocaching? I”m going to start by creating this little list.
- Hiking boots! In the spring of 2010 I fractured my ankle while reaching for a cache. I spent the next six weeks in a cast. I’m not sure that hiking boots would have prevented me from fracturing my ankle but I’m not taking any chances. Today I don’t go caching unless I’m wearing my hiking boots.
- Water Shoes. These are a simple and reasonably small weight penalty to carry in my large geocaching bag. I used them to traverse creeks and rivers and sometimes just a flooded trail. A quick change of footwear ensures you’ll spend the rest of your geocaching day with your feet dry. (I keep a small cloth in my bag to dry my feet. )
- A small and a large geocaching bag. The small bag is for quick caching trips, grab and goes and the like. The larger pack includes additional clothing and other supplies that I might night on a longer trip. I tried for a long time to use just one pack but I’d leave it in the car for quick trips. By having a large and a small pack I can take the one that is most appropriate.
- Yak Trax. You will not need these if you geocache in a warm climate but for where I live these are essential. Yak Trax are a traction aid that you put on over your footwear. I might only use them once or twice a year but on those days I use them I keep my feet under me. That is worth it to me.
- Buy the best lighting equipment you can afford and maybe even spend a bit more than you can afford. Since I started caching I’ve owned four head lamps. I spent over $100 dollars on my first four head lamps and only $65 on my current head lamp. The same applies to flashlights. I currently have three flashlights that I use on a regular basis. When I started caching I used whatever flashlight I had handy. After doing a few night caches I spent $18 on what I thought at the time was an “expensive” light. I’ve come to realize that $18 is an inexpensive light. The lights I use now cost between $30-50. Still not the most expensive lights. I think these lights strike the right balance of price and performance. I know one cacher that has a $1600 flashlight or “portable sun” as we like to call it.
These are the five things I wish I started with. You might have a different list. What would you change about this list?