Geocaching is one of the most interesting hobbies that I’ve come across. Since discovering it, I have found so many awesome caches. Some of you may be wondering, is geocaching safe?
Geocaching is safe if you follow the rules and use your best judgment. If you can, you should use the buddy system. Avoid any areas that have poisonous plants and do not touch anything that you find that is dangerous, such as razor blades or other sharp objects.
This is the ultimate treasure-seeking game. You get to explore new and familiar places, discover caches, and leave your mark. When you first start geocaching there are some things that you may not know. We’re going to give you some tips that should help keep this a safe and fun hobby for years to come!
What You Should Know Geocaching
When you start, you need to download the geocaching app. The app shows you the GPS location for all of the geocaches near you. Most of them are free but some are for premium users only. Either way, there are plenty of geocaches to be found. In fact, there are over 1,000,000 unique and active geocaches in the world.
You can use google maps from your phone in tandem with the geocaching app, or you can use a GPS device that is geocache ready. Many GPS devices on the market have a geocaching system built into the device! This is for the more advanced geocacher.
Are you supposed to take geocaches? No! You do not take the geocache, there are rules on what you are supposed to do with the geocache, this includes signing the log and returning the geocache to its original position. You can find out more in our article for beginners here.
There is a thing called SWAG, which is “Stuff We All Get.” These are small trinkets that people leave in the caches, the rules say, you can take a piece of swag as long as you replace it with something of equal or greater value.
Is Geocaching Dangerous?
When I tell my friends about my geocaching adventures, the first thing they want to know is, if it is dangerous. Oftentimes the geocache is located in the woods, or on the side of the road, where there is traffic. The best way to answer this question is that you must use common sense.
If the geocache is located at a guard rail on a busy road, wait for the traffic to die down before you go to retrieve it. Never take a risk when geocaching. If you see shady individuals, or muggles, around the geocache location, again, wait until they leave to start your hunt.
Some people worry about abductions or kidnappings. This why we suggest using the buddy system. It’s more fun with a friend anyway! Nothing is quite as exciting as sharing your discovery with someone else. Children should be accompanied by an adult, at all times when geocaching.
Now that you know a few of the dangers, let’s talk about geocaching safety. There are some things that you can do to make sure that you are safe. When it comes down to it, geocaching is no more dangerous than visiting a park, or hiking. We all take small risks, every day, however, the point is not to take any dangerous risks.
Geocaching safety tips:
- Use the buddy system
- Avoid areas with lots of vehicle traffic
- Stay away from poisonous plants
- Avoid touching dangerous objects
- Stay off of private property
- Avoid property damage
- Follow the law
- Avoid shady people
Like we mentioned before, use the buddy system, avoid any heavy vehicle traffic, and stay away from poisonous plants and sharp objects. This includes dangerous electrical items and shady containers that may not be the cache (use your discernment.)
If there is a lot of vehicle traffic, wait for it to die down. If there are shady people around, wait until another time to search for the geocache.
Always stay off of private property, almost all geocaches are located on public property. Do not do any property damage, you shouldn’t have to dig or damage anything to find a geocache. Follow the laws, do not speed on your way to the geocache, and watch for pedestrians.
Only use the official geocaching apps, do not go looking for a cache that someone has posted on social media, or that is not an official cache. Also, do not go live when geocaching, this can alert strangers where you are, which is never a good idea when geocaching.
Is the Geocaching App Safe
The geocaching app has a lot of features. There is a feature in the app where you locate the cache’s GPS position. There are sometimes clues left by the person who created the geocache, and there is a feature for you to leave a message about your discovery.
Some people wonder if all of these features are safe. For the most part, yes they are safe. The app does not alert anyone else that you are at the geocache’s position. When you leave a message about your discovery, wait until you have left the area, to be safe.
As long as you follow best practices, like the buddy system, and waiting until you leave, to message about your discovery, there should be no issues with the app.
Even with knowing how the game works, the rules, and best practices, you still may have some concerns or problems with the game. Here is a list of some geocaching problems that people worry about.
- Geocaching kidnapping
- Hazards like sharp objects
- People thinking you’re up to no good
- Finding illegal or unwanted items
- Dangerous weather conditions
As far as I know, no one has ever been kidnapped using the geocaching app or while hunting for caches. That does not mean that it couldn’t happen.Use best practices to stay safe. In my opinion, you are no more at risk geocaching than you are being anywhere in public.
People could think you’re up to no good. If you see people acting weird or suspicious of you, consider letting them know what you are doing, or letting local law enforcement know you are geocaching in the area. You could even wear a bright-colored safety vest.
There are all kinds of hazards when treasure hunting. You risk coming into contact with sharp objects, like razor blades, sharp edges, and more. Consider wearing gloves when looking through wooded areas or areas with sharp infrastructure. If you find anything illegal, do not touch it, call the authorities.
Do not geocache if there are dangerous weather conditions. Never chance something like driving into an area where there is a flash flood, or in a blizzard. Leave those caches for another day. You can always return later.
Tips for Beginners
When I first started geocaching, there are some things I wish I would have known before I started. Here are a few quick tips for beginners.
Read the rules first. Before you go off on your treasure hunt, read the rules of geocaching, you can find them here. They are basic and easy to follow.
Bring multiple kinds of swag. Because you are allowed to take swag, as long as you replace it with something of equal or greater value, bring multiple sizes and values of trinkets, so you can replace the swag you take.
Don’t feel pressured. If you cannot find the geocache, don’t sweat it, you can always return later to look for it again with fresh eyes. Chances are you will not find every cache.
Have fun with it. This game is designed to have fun, to get outside, and to explore new places. This is what I like best about geocaching, you get to have fun and get exercise. Being outdoors is one of my favorite things to do.
Nature and Wildlife
I would say that the most dangerous part of geocaching, is dealing with nature and wildlife. With that in mind, it is no more dangerous than hiking or exploring. If the weather is bad, considering coming back another time. Many geocaches are found in national and state parks, make sure to follow the rules of the parks. Source.
If you think there are wild animals nearby that could be dangerous, then wait for them to go, or leave and come back. There is no need to put yourself at risk to find a geocache. You should also avoid touching any dangerous plants.
List of dangerous plants:
- Poison oak
- Poison ivy
- Stinging nettle
- Pain Bush
Another thing to avoid in nature is dangerous insects. If there is a hornet’s nest, or you see signs of something dangerous, leave the area. Nature can be a dangerous place if you do not know what to avoid.
Is Geocaching Safe for Kids?
As long as you follow best practices, geocaching can be safe for kids. Kids should always be supervised by an adult when geocaching. Children do not know what dangers are lurking, so you need to protect them, the same as you would at a park, or on a camping trip.
Geocaching can be a fun activity for children. You get to be in the outdoors, you get exercise, and you learn skills that can be used in the future. Who doesn’t want to learn treasure hunting skills?
“Just like a GPS, the universe sends you signs to show you the best course. If you follow the flow, you get where you want with ease and happiness. If you miss a turn, the road becomes longer and harder.”Charbel Tadros
There are always things to consider, with any activity. With geocaching, you are as safe as you want to make it. There is no reason to take risks if you do not want to. You may find that the terrain where the geocache is located is too dangerous, or that you do not want to deal with wildlife.
Some caches are rated for difficulty, such as a 5/5, where there are special skills or equipment needed. If you do not feel safe doing these, then don’t do them. If you do not feel you have dressed appropriately, then leave and come back when you are better suited. Use your best judgment, and you will have an awesome adventure!