Geocachers are a combination of Indiana Jones, Amelia Earhart, and John Glenn, all rolled into one. Adventure, discovery and exploration are the heart of geocaching, with science and nature thrown in for good measure. Geocaching is an interesting and exciting recreational adventure! If you have a geocacher in your family, these suggestions for great holiday gifts will be a great place to start for your holiday shopping.
Most geocachers get into the sport to use techie tools, namely a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver. GPS devices range in price from about $80 for a very basic, practical, model, the iFinder Go from Target, http://www.target.com, to professional quality GPS models into the $4000 range. I prefer my mid-range GPS from Garmin, http://garmin.com. My Garmin eTrex Vista GPS has a larger screen (great for my old eyes), a very detailed basemap that really helps in my orientation to new locations, a terrific compass, and even an altimeter to tell me how far up I have climbed. It was very reasonably priced at around $275, and the sturdy case makes it a really great GPS!
Ok, so my GPS receiver already has a compass built in, so why would I want a mechanical compass? Well, GPS receiver compasses can be inaccurate or even not read signals at all when you are under a heavy forest canopy, as I was in the middle of Olympic National Park in Washington State. They can malfunction in a deep river canyon, as it did when I was exploring the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. And handheld, mechanical compasses do not need batteries, which I forgot to pack on one trip! My trusty Boy Scout compass (so I wasn’t a Boy Scout, but I have a large family) was adequate, but I bought a Silva Polaris compass for under $10 at Walmart, http://www.walmart.com. My Silva Polaris has a great clear heavy plastic base with incremental markings, so I can easily plot my course with a topographical map.
These terrifically detailed maps show the geocacher everything they need to know to locate the geocache cache! Most sporting goods stores that carry camping and hiking supplies have a library of topographical maps for the recreational user; you could buy a set for your geocacher of the areas they enjoy the most. Another great source for topo maps is Trails.com at http://www.trails.com. Trails.com has a great subscription service, allowing unlimited downloads and printing. They also happily admit that they have every single USGS (United States Geological Survey) topographical map and that they even have aerial photos and street maps for the entire United States.
For most geocachers, a small to medium sized daypack is sufficient. Lunch, snacks, sunscreen, water, raingear and a camera are usually enough to get the average geocachers through their day. My Isabella, made by The North Face, is a great fit and super comfortable, due to the great design concept of comfort specifically for women. The Isabella has smaller construction for a woman’s hips and torso, without sacrificing room or convenience! The Isabella was a bit more difficult to find in local brick and mortar stores, but Rocky Mountain Trail, http://www.rockymountaintrail.com has it for under $60!
Many geocachers like to leave a personal photo along with their cache, after they discover the original cache. A small instant camera is a great gift. Polaroid (of course) has a great instant camera, the Polaroid One600 Classic ($35) and 600 Polaroid Film for about $10 per pack (10 exposures). Polaroid, http://www.polaroid.com. The One600 Classic fold down into a convenient packable size, and weighs just over a pound.
Geocacher Tshirt or Sweatshirt
These bilious green tshirts from Enbit T-Shirt Store at one of my favorite places, Café Press, http://www.cafepress.com, are a fun way to let your geocache fans strut their stuff! The bright green tshirt that I bought for a friend’s birthday was only $19, and she told me the other day that the color is great for letting the world know where she is, when deep in the woods.
For gifts to tuck into a stocking or tie on top of a package, try things like snack foods, bottled waters, an insulated water bottle wrap to keep their water cool in summer, or even things like a gas card to help them out with gas prices. Have fun letting your geocache fanatic open their very useful and very fun holiday gifts!