Posts Tagged ‘geocaching’

Find Your Geocache

Product Review: iPhone Geocaching App

While I was at Dead Horse Ranch State Park this past weekend, I got the opportunity to try out the geocaching iPhone app. Now, I am not an owner of an iPhone personally (the only reliable cell phone carrier in my area is Verizon) so I had to rely on CodeWolf’s phone.

iPhone Images

Image copyright Groundspeak, Inc.

Now, when it comes to cell phones, I’ll admit I’m technologically challenged. I’ve had my new phone for over a week and STILL haven’t activated it yet! So, getting to play with an iPhone was a total treat.

CodeWolf had already purchased and installed the app before our trip. He has an iPhone 3GS (apparently the model of the phone matters!) He tells me that the app is $9.99 through the Apple Store. The name of the app that he bought is Geocaching by Groundspeak Inc. (Be careful, there are several apps available for the iPhone!)

We tested it out head-to-head against my Garmin GPS on the cache GCN473: Which Comes First?

I was really disappointed to say that the phone allowed him to find the hill top but was no where near the cache. It might work better in a very urban setting but on a hill top in a state park, well, not so much. The analogy I used was that we could find the parking lot but not the car.

However, the app had a redeeming quality after we found the cache and signed the log. CodeWolf was able to post his “Find” log FROM THE FIELD. I think that is totally cool! As somebody who often forgets to post finds for a few days, the ability to give on-the-ground updates about finds, needs maintainace, and DNF is super cool!

Here’s another feature that I really like:

When I’m planning a caching outing, I load the caches to my GPS ahead of time and print out the cache sheets. But, if I end up in a different area than where I expected, I have no way of looking up caches on the fly. But having the geocaching app on an iPhone solves the problem!

We were taking a look at kayaking a stretch of the Verde River and CodeWolf was able to pull up the caches near the put-in parking lot. Very cool! (We didn’t have time to GO after any, but it was neat.) Then, I would just take it from his cell phone and input it into my GPS and off we’d go.

looking for caches

In the truck, looking for nearby caches.

It was also nice to be able to look up cache details from the field and not have to rely on memory or print outs.

However, the app REALLY sucked battery life. And it relies on cell phone towers so we weren’t able to look for any caches near Beasley Flat along the Verde River. (There are two caches at the parking area!)

beasley flat

Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you have the iPhone geocaching app? Do you like it? What are the pros and cons of using it?
  • Would you ever cache with JUST your iPhone? Why or why not?

Find Your Geocache

10 Mistakes New Cachers Make & How To Avoid Them

1. Thinking GPS units are 100% accurate

They’re not! A GPS will get you close, but you’ll never stand right on top of a cache. And different units will be off by different amounts.

Tip: Expand your search area

Magnetic Cache Container

This was the first magnetic cache container we'd ever found. For people used to finding ammo cans in the woods, it took some time to readjust our thinking.

2. Hides are always on the ground.

Nope! People use string or wire to put caches on a branch and magnets to hide it under benches.

Tip: Look high AND low.

3. The cache will stand out in some way.

A lot of caches do. Especially larger caches in the forest. But not all caches do stand out. Some are so well hidden they’re used as a TOOL by cachers to flip over rocks and sticks.

Tip: Expand your thoughts about what a cache can and cannot look like.

4. Not reading the cache page carefully.

The cache page is there to help you with hints. Even the most careful (and evil) cache owner leaves digital hints in the cache description.

Tip: Read the entire cache page, including the hint, carefully.

5. Digging.

It’s against the rules to require digging to find a cache. You’re not mining for gold so leave the shovel at home!

Tip: But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t underground! I’ve found two that required me lifting something (a lid, a rock, and a cleverly disguised root) to find the cache below ground level.

6. Not double checking the coordinates of the cache.

Especially when you are manually entering the coordinates into your GPS! I’ve made the mistake of entering the coordinates of the PARKING area as the cache and then having to return to the truck to look up the real coordinates.

Tip: Enter the coordinates into the GPS and then check it for accuracy.

7. Not noticing the NAME of the cache.

Sometimes the name of the cache is more helpful than the hint.

Little Job cache

The name of the cache was "Little Job" but I kept looking under rocks in the stream!

Tip: A lot of times, you can see evidence that the name is important by reading the logs of the cache.

8. Paying too much attention to what other cachers have said in their logs!

Go off what the cache owner says FIRST since various cachers will approach a cache from different directions.

Tip: Look for clues, but don’t take logs as gospel. Some cachers will be misleading in their logs on purpose!

9. Making the terrain harder than it should be.

A terrain of 1.5 and you’re fighting your way through a bush? Climbing a rock? Climbing down a cliff?

Tip: If the terrain seems a lot more difficult than listed, try approaching from a different direction. A lot of times, you’ll find a clearly marked path!

10. Not having the right tools.

As we gain more experience as geocachers, we all develop our go-to geocaching tool kit.

Tip: Read the article Geocaching Supplies Checklist for hints.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What are some mistakes you made when you were new to geocaching?
  • What advice can you offer newbies about the game?

Find Your Geocache

Ghost Love: Finding A Virtual Geocache

Way back in June, I wrote an article about non-traditional geocaches. The type of cache where it isn’t just a box of swag hidden in the woods.

Virtual cache icon

And I had mentioned, under virtual caches:

I’ve run into a few virtual caches but I never participated — I wasn’t sure what the ghostie meant and it made me nervous!

Then, blog reader Don_J left the comment: “Don’t be afraid of the Ghost.”

Well, Don_J, I took your advice and went after my first ever virtual geocache.

There’s only one geocache (virtual or otherwise) along the Black Canyon stretch of the Colorado River. Before I left, I used’s map feature to locate the cache: GC69E0 ‘Tale of Two Signs’. Since I’d never gone after a virtual before, I was careful to not only PRINT the cache description, but also to put it in an accessible spot in my kayak.

Map of 'Tale of Two Signs'

I think the hardest part of this particular “find” wasn’t so much the kayak OR having the GPS in the kayak (I’ve found caches with my kayak before) but that there was a current. It made it really difficult to figure out just how quickly I was moving and to plan when I should get my camera ready to snap the “proof” photo.

Geocache sign

I emailed a better pic of the sign to the cache owner for proof I had found the cache. But I'm posting THIS photo to keep everything spoiler free!

But that’s why I take ESP Boss with me! I was paddling and watching the GPS and he was about 30 feet down river from me watching for the clue. It was a good thing too! If I had gone strictly from the coordinates, I would have missed snapping photos of the signs.

Sign from river

The current made it tough to get a good photo for "proof" for this cache. That little white dot? Yeah, that's the sign!

As it stands, ESP Boss and I both got our first ever virtual geocache. Don_J, you were right! And I’m not afraid of the Ghost any longer.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What do you like best about virtual caches?
  • What’s your best caching story involving a virtual? (Or waymark!)

Find Your Geocache

How To Log A Cache Visit

I know this might seem like an overly simple topic, but trust me, there are plenty of newbie geocachers out there who ask me questions like this. And, once you actually go to to LOG a cache, you realize that it might not be that simple of a question after all!

The first time I logged into my account on to log a cache, I was really surprised that I had a ton of options for recording a cache hunt. I figured that it would be the straight forward:

Found or Did Not Find

And that was the end of the story.

Boy! Was I ever wrong!

Here are the steps to logging a cache.

  1. Log into
  2. Go to the upper right hand side, below the GC code. Click on “log your visit”. (Depending on if you’re a premium or basic member, you’ll have slightly different options, but “log your visit” will be there as long as you’re logged in.)Log Your Visit
  3. From the first drop down menu, you’ll select the “Type of log” See the types of logs belowType Of Log
  4. Then, select the date that you visited the cache site. Most cache owners prefer if you log your visit within a day or two of going for the cache. But, they understand if it is weeks later as well!Enter The Date You Visited The Cache
  5. Leave comments about your adventure. As the owner of multiple caches, I LOVE it when I get descriptions of the adventure to find my cache. But, even if you just want to type in a quick acronym, that’s okay too. To find a list of the most common log acronyms, please see the post: ‘Log Abbreviations: Decoded!
  6. Below the box for comments, you see additional options for your log. You can encrypt your entry (usually when the entry contains spoilers) or add additional coordinates. I never encrypt my entries and I haven’t had any pressing needs for coordinates either.Additional options for your log.
  7. Below that, you can indicate if you placed any trackable items that you might currently be holding on to. placing trackables in the cache
  8. And finally, at the bottom, you find the “Submit Log Entry” button.submit button

Once you’ve submitted a log, you DO have the ability to go back and edit it and upload photos. But, that will be the topic of another article since this is more than enough to get you started.

Types of Logstypes of logs; drop down menu

  • Found It – ONLY use this when you have successfully found the cache AND signed the log in the cache.
  • Didn’t Find It – ONLY use this when you have actually made it to the cache site, have looked for it and then couldn’t find it. Don’t log a DNF if you just thought about going after it.
  • Write Note – I use a note for a variety of reasons: returning to a cache with a newbie; logging maintenance or a travel item drop; when I thought about going for the cache but didn’t; leaving a message for the cache owner
  • Needs Archived – I would recommend against using this designation. Unless you are a cache reviewer or the cache owner, you can’t really decide if the cache needs to be archived.
  • Needs Maintenance – this is used when the cache itself is damaged: wet log, broken container, full log sheet, etc. Don’t think that it s a “black mark” against the cache or cache owner; it isn’t. I don’t post a “Needs Maintenance” when I feel the cache has been muggled; I always give the cache owner the benefit of being cleverer in the hide than I am in the find.

Readers Weigh In:

  • How often do you log your cache visits? Right away? When you get around to it?
  • Do you ever use the “Needs Archived” or “Needs Maintenance” posts?

Find Your Geocache

Deleting a DNF Log: Yes or No?

Any geocacher worth their salt has a bunch of DNF (did not find) caches under their belt. (And those that don’t are either brand new or lying!) Often times, those DNF will just nag and nag at a cacher until they go back and find the cache.

Like my most famous ‘did not find’: ‘Summer Lovin” Not only did I not find the geocache, I lost a $40 piece of equipment, the whole adventure is on YouTube! That cache will bother me and keep me awake at night until I go back and get it.

But once I go find it, what is the etiquette around changing the DNF into a found?

A Piece of Caching History

When a cacher logs a DNF on a cache, that log becomes part of the cache’s history. It can signal to the cache owner and future cachers that the cache might have been muggled. In some cases, the ‘did not find’ log entry shows that the cache owner is one-cool-dude for placing such a hard to find cache.


This is the cammo for a regular sized geocache.

For example, Crooks Grand TB Hotel is an example of a cache that had logged 7 DFN by the time I found it in December 2009. It had nothing to do with a cache being missing or muggled, just a well-hid cache.

did not find list

Take a look at that! 4 DNF in a row. It was a tough cache to find, but well worth it.

A Piece of YOUR Caching History

Don’t look at a DNF as a failure, but look at it as a badge of honor. Every time you can’t find a cache and log it, you’re joining the ranks of distinguished cachers who aren’t afraid to say that the cache got the best of them. This time!

If you don’t log the DNF you’re doing yourself and other cachers a disservice by not being honest that either the cache is really hard to find OR that it just isn’t there!

Did Not Find Tells A Lot About The Cache

If I’m heading after a cache and I see 100 finds and 30 DNF entries, it’s a clue to me that this is a tough hide. It might take a few tries, a lot of time, and I may need to read the logs for clues.

Taking a look at the DNF to find “ratio” is especially important because difficulty ratings are often inaccurate. Plus, the number of ‘did not find’ entries on a cache can let the cache owner know that they need to change the difficulty rating of their cache OR go out and look to make sure it’s still there!

Now I’ve Found It!

Once you go back and find the geocache, for heaven’s sake don’t edit the DNF listing! (See caching history, above)

Besides skewing the data for finds to DNF logs, when you edit an entry, the cache owner doesn’t get a message that says the cache has now been found. This is especially important when it is back-to-back DNF, I found it logs because the cache owner might be planning a trip to check on the cache and wouldn’t know that it’s now been found without checking the cache page.

If you convert a DNF into a found then post a new log on the cache.

DNF on Extreme Caches

As somebody who occasionally DOES go after extreme caches, I really hate the type of logs that say:

Well I thought about it but decided not to.

That log really doesn’t tell me anything and it is really frustrating having to sort through 5 or six of those logs before I get to one that actually lets me know more about the cache. If you are thinking of going after an extreme cache but decide against it, post a Note on the cache rather than logging a DNF.

After all, you didn’t look for it and not find it; you THOUGHT about looking and decided not to! (Can you tell I’m a bit passionate about this?)

How Can I Keep Track Of Caches I Want To Look For Again?

A lot of caches will keep looking for a DNF until they are successful in locating it. Of course, when you start to rack up the DNF logs it can be a trick to sort through them and decide if they are STILL a ‘did not find’ or if you have found them now.


Once you're logged in to you can add any cache to your watch list. The link is on the upper right side.

The easiest thing to do is to add each DNF to your watch list. Once you’ve found the cache, remove it from your watch list. That way you have a running total of the ‘did not find’ caches that you want to go after again.

Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you edit or delete your DNF entries once you’ve found the cache?
  • How do you keep track of the DNF caches that you’d like to try again?
  • Do you keep trying a cache until you find it? Or is it a “one-time-shot” philosophy?

Find Your Geocache

In a couple of weeks, ESP Boss & I will be taking an overnight kayaking trip on the Colorado River. We’ll start at Hoover Dam and head down to Willow Beach.

Like any business trip, we’ve got out fair share of agenda items. One of which was to hide a geocache along the way.

But then I got to thinking:

Isn’t that section of the River in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area?

A quick glance at Google Maps and yep, the whole route is inside a National Recreation Area. (The green area on the map!)

That means that I won’t be able to place my geocache on the trip after all because geocaching is not allowed with in ANY area governed by the National Park Service (NPS).

Unfortunately, that’s kind of a blanket statement that isn’t exactly accurate. So I’m here to clear up any confusion about if geocaching is or isn’t allowed inside America’s National Parks.

What areas are governed by the National Park Service?

Just because an area doesn’t say “national park” in the title doesn’t mean that it might not be managed by NPS.

Wupatki National Monument Sign

Yep, the national monument is run by NPS too!

  • National Battlefields
  • National Cemeteries
  • National Heritage Areas
  • National Heritage Corridors
  • National Historic Sites
  • National Historic Trails
  • National Historic Trails
  • National Lakeshore
  • National Memorial
  • National Monuments
  • National Parks
  • National Parkway
  • National Preserves
  • National Recreation Areas
  • National Recreation Trails
  • National Rivers
  • National Scenic Trails
  • National Seashore

Can you see why just saying “No geocaching in National Parks” doesn’t really begin to cover it?

Why doesn’t the NPS allow geocaching?

Though rugged, unspoiled natural areas may seem to be desirable spots for geocaching, cachers can cause unintentional damage to the areas. Cachers can inadvertently develop social trails when they leave established trails to look for a cache. This can result in serious impacts on a park’s natural, historical, and cultural resources.

Because federal National Park regulations prohibit abandonment of property, disturbance or damage of natural features, and, in some areas, off-trail hiking, that means that most units of National Parks can’t allow geocaching.

In our post-9/11 world, the fear of terrorists and “mystery” objects is high. By prohibiting caches, it cuts down on the potential for bomb scares.

But I did a Google search and a whole bunch of National Parks say they offer geocaching. What does THAT mean?

When the NPS says that they don’t permit geocaching on National Park Land, what they really mean is that they don’t allow TRADITIONAL caches in the parks. That means NO cache with a container, including nanos and micros.

When you see that NPS offers “geocaching” it isn’t really a traditional type of caching. Most parks have Virtual caches or EarthCaches. Sometimes, the park itself even sets it up!

But the confusion sets in when cachers don’t realize that NPS isn’t really using our terminology correctly. When I did the search, I saw headlines like:

‘Petrified Forest National Park – Geocaching’

Yeah, they mean EarthCaching or Virtual Caching. These are both a type of geocache, but unless you have some familiarity with exactly what those terms mean, then I can understand the confusion.

If you’re just getting started in geocaching then you hear ‘geocaching’ and assume ammo cans and film canisters. I know I did!

*** UPDATE 9/30/10 ***

Oh, and I forgot to mention: Virtual geocaches are a grandfathered type of cache. You can still place them, but they’re not available on Virtual caches are now considered a waymark.

How would they know if I placed a traditional cache anyway?

Come on, now! YOU would know you were placing a cache where you shouldn’t. Be responsible! is a whole game built on the honor system. However, there are those critics of the game out there that claim that geocachers are disrespectful and the game should be shut down. And if the geocaching community is placing caches in National Parks, after we’ve been asked not to, then that lends a lot of credibility to the critics claim.

Do I need to ask for permission before I “place” an EarthCache or Waymark?

Technically, you probably should clear it with the Park’s superintendent before you “place” an EarthCache or Waymark cache. It defeats the purpose of having a container-less cache if seekers would still have to travel off-trail to log the find.

If you were requesting that a waymark cacher send you a photo of a sign or landmark that is accessible (visible) from an established trail or parking area, you’re probably okay. But if it were me, I’d get the okay a head of time anyway. I’m thinking of “placing” a waymark cache while I’m out and you can bet I’ll give Lake Mead National Recreation staffers a heads up first!

Readers Weigh In:

  • If you were going to “place” a waymark or EarthCache inside an area governed by the National Park Service, would you ask for permission first? Why or why not?
  • Do you think we should be allow to place traditional caches in national parks?

Find Your Geocache

Loading Caches Directly Into A GPS

I recently got a great comment from Andy on the article “Using 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. 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 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!)

Product Review: Find Your Geocache

Product Review: Insect Shield Repellent Apparel

As The Outdoor Princess, I realize that bugs are just a part of being outside. But, I will admit, I was surprised at how many geocachers said that they absolutely never go caching without some type of bug spray. Here in Arizona, we have our share of biting bugs, but thankfully, we’re pretty much safe from ticks, chiggers, and no-see-ums.

For all the long-term blog and newsletter readers, you’ll know that I’m allergic to pretty much everything that grows here in Northern Arizona. So, a few weeks ago, I was in my allergist’s office and I mentioned that I wanted to do a product testing article and review on various insect repellants.

Well! Dr. Zeschke got very animated about that subject. (He’s opinionated about EVERYTHING so it wasn’t surprising.) Dr. Z told me that I absolutely had to test insect repellent clothing. He’s an avid hunter and when he told me that a shirt and hat were enough to keep the car-sized mosquitoes at bay in the Arctic Circle in the middle of summer, he had my attention.

The shirt I tested.

I contacted the great people over at Insect Shield to see if I could test their products and see if Dr. Z was right or if his success was an isolated incident. Not only are the Insect Shield shirts insect repellent, many are also rated at 30 SPF. Very cool!

The Test

My Insect Shield long-sleeved shirt arrived via UPS (happy). Of course, it arrived on the Tuesday before Labor Day weekend so there was no way I could test it until the holiday weekend.

Test 1:

Sunset picnic at Fain Park

Fain Park has a small trout pond so I thought it would be PERFECT for an evening test. I sat at a picnic table for a few minutes (munching KFC chicken) and looking for mosquitoes. The light breeze would have been great on a normal night but not when I was LOOKING for bugs! I finally found one buzzing around and then ran to my truck to put on the Insect Shield shirt. I never saw that mosquito again, or any others, all evening, even when I walked by the water.

Test 2:

Morning kayak at Lynx Lake

It was interesting to kayak in long sleeves, but I got used to it quickly.

Lynx is a beautiful lake here in Prescott. I really wanted to try out the SPF 30 rating on the shirt so I made sure NOT to put any sunscreen on my arms under the shirt. It took a while to get used to wearing long sleeves in the heat, but after ten minutes or so, I really didn’t notice if I was hot at all. I didn’t see a single bug all trip so I don’t know if it was the Insect Shield technology or if it was just a bug-free day. I can say that the SPF 30 worked like a charm though. I didn’t get any color on my arms but I DID get pink on my hands. I’ll remember next time to put sunscreen on my hands!

Test 3:

Morning kayak at Goldwater Lake

I was determined to find mosquitoes at the lake so I could really test the insect repelling properties of my new shirt. I saw several swarms buzzing around various trash cans and signs, but they were all too far away from my kayak. Then I hit the jackpot! I large swarm of mosquitoes buzzing along the shore, about a foot over the water, near a tree. I kayaked over and held out an arm. Poof! All the mosquitoes got near the shirt and then promptly took off. Gone! Outta there! Adios!

Test 4:

Afternoon geocaching in Prescott National Forest

It was a lovely day for geocaching: hot and buggy. But not a bug to be seen near me!

In my area of Arizona, it seems the nastiest mosquitoes are the really hungry ones that lurk on the sides of the trails. So I went geocaching along trails, in bushes, and over boulders. No bugs. Even when I could see them up head on the trail, by the time I got close: gone! The closest I came was when I brushed a bug off a bush I was pushing through and onto me. The clothing not only repelled bugs, it also held up well to sweat (breathable and not too hot) and didn’t snag or catch when I was pushing through scrub oak. I was still careful with it as I bushwhacked, but I didn’t feel like I needed to find a path AROUND the bushes!

The Results

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit, I figured the clothing would work (truth in marketing) but I wasn’t prepared for how WELL it worked. When I saw all those mosquitoes head for the hills on the lake, I was sold on the Insect Shield Repellant Clothing right then.

I hate getting bit by mosquitoes. Like when I went camping with Nicole — mosquitoes turned our trip from “Great!” into “Okay”. But with this shirt… I’m 100% sold. This is a must-have for any adventure weather it is geocaching, camping, kayaking, hiking, hunting, biking, fishing, bird watching… (you get the picture!)


  • The clothing repels all types of bugs: mosquitoes, chiggers, black flies, ticks, ants, etc.
  • SPF 30 (not all clothing, but a lot of styles)
  • Very stylish (pockets, breathable, variety of colors)
  • No mosquitoes! It even kept the flies away.
  • Excellent construction (I didn’t worry when I was pushing through the brush going after geocaches)
  • Comes in a variety of styles: shirts, pants, socks, bandannas and more
  • Lasts through 70 washes. Which, when I sat down and did the math, comes out to be 3 years or so. I wore it as a shell (over my tee shirt) so even though I wore it 4 times, I don’t feel it needs to be laundered.
  • Not a bug bite all weekend (while I was wearing the shirt. Without…well, that’s another story!)
  • Wash at home like any other piece of clothing. In fact, if you dry clean an Insect Shield product, it removes the bug repellent!
  • Not putting chemicals onto your skin. (That’s a big thing that Dr. Z really liked about the clothing!)
  • Kid and pet safe. Tie a bandanna around your dog’s neck, or over your kid’s head and you’re good to go!


  • Price. Clothing ranges from $20 to $80. My shirt was $80, so it can be kind of spendy. BUT, when you figure that on a per-wearing basis (maybe wear twice before washing?) then it comes out to be about $0.57 per use. Not bad!
  • You have to wear long sleeves in the heat. Of course, if you’re in an area with ticks, you probably wear long pants and long sleeves ANYWAY so it probably doesn’t make much difference.
  • You have to remember to bring it with you AND to wear it. Trust me, insect repellents (of any type) don’t do much good sitting at home!

About Insect Shield Technology

Insect Shield uses a man-made version of a natural insect repellent found in certain types of chrysanthemum flowers, like an African Daisy. There is a patent-pending process and proprietary formulation that secures the active ingredient to the fabric fibers. It lasts through 70 washings which would be more than the life of the garment.

Please check out Insect Shield on Facebook or directly on their website.

Where To Get The Clothing

If you follow any of these links and purchase your Insect Shield clothing, then I get credit as an affiliate. And that’s a GOOD thing!

Future Testing

ESP Boss & I will be kayaking the Colorado River next month. We each have our Insect Shield shirt, socks, and bandannas so we can see how they perform over extended conditions.

Plus, a friend of ours, Dee, will be wearing the bandanna on her nightly walks and will report back. She says that she gets eaten alive each night and is really excited to try something different.

Find Your Geocache

Geocaching Events: What and Why

Those brilliant people over at realized that not only do geocachers like to find and hide geocaches, they also like to get together with OTHER cachers and share stories of the hunt.

BBQ at an Event Cache.

In order to make it easier for you to meet other geocachers in your area (short of lurking at the most popular caches and popping out of the bushes for a chat) is to attend a geocaching event. calls these (drum roll please!)

Event Caches

An event cache is when an individual or a geocaching organization designate a time and location to meet and discuss geocaching. They are gatherings that are open to all geocachers and which are organized by geocachers.

There are three recognized types of event caches:

Event Cache

Anywhere from a handful to a few hundred people. They can be an evening meet-and-greet at a local cafe or an all-weekend camping extravaganza.

My very first event cache was a campout. About 200 cachers from Arizona (and farther) gathered in the deserts south of Phoenix for a weekend of caching. New caches were hidden just for the event, there was a skills contest, a poker run, and a flash mob.

Flash Mob

This was a second “event cache” where all the participants took a huge group photo. In order to get credit for the “find” for the Flash Mob event, you had to sign in. It was a fun way to meet other cachers before we all headed out to search for the elusive First To Find.

I'm in the yellow scarf and white tee, lower center of the pic. The Queen Mother is next to me; ESP Boss behind.

Mega Event Caches

Basically these are like an event cache EXCEPT for scale. Mega events have 500+ people attending and are usually HUGE annual events.

Cache In Trash Out Event

While out there on a cache hunt, we collect litter along the trails and properly dispose of it. Cache In Trash Out Events are much larger clean-up events that involve and benefit the larger community. What is Cache In Trash Out? (CITO)

One way to find these gatherings is by browsing through the event calendar:

If you’ve attended an event in the past, contact that event organizer. Often times, they keep a mailing list to let people know of upcoming events in your area.

Thankfully this even included a BBQ. I was STARVING after a day of caching.

Tips To Getting The Most Out Of Events

  • Like with any cache, be sure to read the event description carefully. You might need to bring swag or geocoins to trade, trash bags to collect garbage (CITO), and food to share.
  • If you’re heading to an event that requires travel and lodging (including camping!), make sure you plan in advance. Larger events may lead to a shortage of nearby accommodations if you wait until the last minute.
  • If it’s an outdoor event, come dressed for the weather. Don’t forget sunscreen, insect repellent and a water bottle.
  • Make sure you have plenty of caching supplies AND gas in the car. When we attended this event, in the desert, we didn’t fill the gas tank up on our way INTO the event. We had to stop caching early the next day to go into town for more gas.

Readers Weigh In:

  • How many events have you attended?
  • What are your favorite types of events? Event, CITO, or Mega?
  • Have you ever hosted an event?

Mystery Mondays: The Great Muggle Conversion

Happy Labor Day!

I hope you’re having a fun-filled holiday weekend.

This weekend, I got the honor of converting a geocaching “muggle” into a brand-new cacher. If you’re not familiar with the term muggle (outside of the Harry Potter books) it means a non-geocacher and someone who knows nothing about the game of geocaching.

Here are some links to help you out:

A couple of weeks ago, I “introduced” Greg, the former-muggle to kayaking. Since he’s hooked, I thought I would also try my hand at making a true cacher out of him.

He's hooked on kayaking. I'll get him hooked on geocaching too!

For our first outing, I was sure to pull out all the stops in my geocaching bag of tricks. Since we were going kayaking at Goldwater Lake, I figured that it would be easier to just put the kayaks back in the truck and head out directly to go geocaching.

Here are a few tips when you’re heading out caching, ESPECIALLY with a newbie:

  • Load MORE caches to your GPS than you know you can find. That way, you can pick and choose depending on if the newbie needs easy or hard to find, wants to hike or is more of a park-n-grab.
  • PRINT the logs sheets. Even if you usually cache without them, having a print out that a newbie can hang on to really can make a difference. I let Greg read up on the caches as we were heading out so he knew what size container he was looking for and could refer back to the tip often.
  • Bring SWAG to trade. Geocaching was new and exciting. Part of the thrill when you’re fist getting into caching is the swag. How cool is it when you find a container you might have passed every day and not only do you find it, you can trade for trinkets.
  • Let them really LOOK for the cache. Yes, your geosense will just light up and tell you: “It’s got to be right behind that rock” but let the other person have the thrill of discovery.
  • Set them up on ACCOUNT on That way, as soon as you get home, you can show them the other side of caching: the digital component. As a new cacher, I would too often forget to log the cache online. Greg’s login on is CodeWolf.

The first find.

When Greg and I went out, I broke my cardinal rule of caching (find bigger caches with new people) and when after a micro. But, I know the hiders’ style pretty well so I wasn’t too worried. I think it was a good choice because not only did Greg find it right away, he was also introduced to a travel bug on his very first cache. Very cool!

All in all, we found 3 caches and 1 did not find. I thought it was a very successful first-outing.

Oh, and later that day, Greg turned to me and said “Next time I come visit, can we go kayaking AND geocaching?”

Experiencing the thrill of the find.

I think he’s hooked! Welcome to geocaching!

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