Find Your Geocache

Loading Caches Directly Into A GPS

I recently got a great comment from Andy on the article “Using Geocaching.com To Find A Spot For A Cache”

I would normally load all the caches in that area to my GPS. When I find a good site I just simply check the GPS for any nearby waypoints in my GPS and it will show up it the new cache is close to an existing one. If this is the case I would try to seek out a new spot using the same method.

But that got me thinking:

How many cachers know how to load caches into their GPS?

I didn’t discover this until MONTHS after I started caching. Loading the coordinates of a cache directly into the GPS solved all the problems of “missing” caches due to a transposed or incorrect number or imputing the parking coordinates by mistake.

Geocaching.com currently supports Garmin, DeLorme and Magellin GPS units for direct loading.

USB cable for connecting the GPS to the computer.

To start with, you’ll need to find the USB port on the back of your GPS. Then, you’ll need a USB cable that interfaces with that port. It’s very likely that this cable was provided with your GPS.

This is on the back of my GPS, protected by a rubber flap.

My GPS, a Garmin eTrex, takes a USB 2 connection. I don’t even use a special cable, I just use the same cable from my camera card reader!

This is the end that goes into the GPS: a mini USB connection.

You’ll need to plug your GPS into your computer and turn it on. At that point, your computer SHOULD automatically find your GPS through Plug-and-Play software. But if it doesn’t, go to the website of your GPS and you should be able to get instructions.

Here are the steps to load the cache directly into the GPS:

1. Navigate to the cache page. I’m showing my cache ‘No Cows Here’ as an illustration. Then click on the button that says ‘Send to my GPS’


1a. If it’s the first time you’ve done this, you’ll need to load the software that allows geocaching.com to “talk” directly to your GPS.

Follow the instructions to load the software. They will vary depending on the brand of your GPS.

1b. Then, you’ll either need to click on ‘Find Devices’ OR turn on your GPS. In my case, all I needed to do was power up the GPS.

All I needed to do was turn my GPS on and the computer could "Find" the device automatically.

2. Click on the ‘Write’ button.


3. Look for the confirmation screen.

That’s it! Just 3 easy steps and you’ll be able to load the caches to your GPS. I still print the cache sheet, with 5 logs, so I can get the hint and cache size, etc.

Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you have a different way you load the coordinates to your GPS?
  • What are some of the disadvantages to loading coordinates directly into the GPS?
  • Any other tips, hints, or tricks to share with newbies? (Or the technologically challenged!)
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