Geocaching is an activity that involves hiding and finding items placed somewhere in the great outdoors. It’s a game that adds some fun to enjoying the outdoors, getting some exercise, and having a little friendly competition.
It’s been played in the Boy Scouts for years and has exploded in popularity in recent years as more apps have become available to play on smartphones and not just dedicated GPS devices.
Advertised as ‘The World’s Largest Treasure Hunt’, if you’ve never played before you’re in for some fun. There are several different apps and it’s worthwhile trying a couple out and seeing which you prefer.
How Can I Get Started Geocaching?
If you’re new to Geocaching there are a few simple steps to get started:
- Sign up for a free account at Geocaching.com.
- Use this page to find Geocaching coordinates.
- Enter your details and perform a search.
- Look through the results of Geocaches in the area you want to explore.
- Enter the coordinates of your chosen location into your app.
- Find the Geocache, there will be a logbook to sign.
What Do I Do When I Find a Geocache?
Your app will give you an idea of what size Geocache you’re looking for. They vary in size from small boxes and containers no bigger than a couple of cm, up to large buckets holding several items.
Part of the fun is not knowing exactly what you’re going to find. Not just what kind of container, but what items may be inside.
There should always be a log book so you can write down your name to leave your mark. There will also be items in the container sometimes too.
You’re welcome to take the ‘treasure’, but as a rule of thumb you should replace the item with one of equal or greater value – after all, it’s only fair isn’t it?
If you’re bringing items with you to leave behind don’t take anything that will perish if it’s not found for a while. Also, wrap the item in a clear and waterproof ziplock bag to protect it from the elements.
Each cache has an owner. You can find them on the Geocache website if you have a question or a concern. Never move a cache, even if you think it’s in the wrong location. Caches are placed there by their owners and remain their property.
Best Geocaching Apps for Android Devices
The name says it all with this app from Groundspeak. This is one of the more expensive apps, although it’s only around $10, and is one of the highest rated and most popular geocaching apps.
When you load up the app you are presented with all the information you need, like hints, logs, and any other information you need. An important feature is that the app saves some data offline so you don’t lose all your progress if you lose your phone signal.
One of the pros of Cachemaid is the 30-day free trial. This gives you a chance to test the app before buying it, perfect if you’re new to geocaching and not sure what to expect.
It has large and easy to understand menus and images. There is a feature to import and export data, and although it doesn’t look highly polished this app is more than capable of doing everything you need.
Another geocaching app with a 30-day free trial so you can test it out. You find caches by clicking the ‘cache listing’ and browsing the list. You can then navigate your way to the cache.
With a lot of information to digest when geocaching a lot of apps look cluttered, but Neongeo have done a great job of keeping their interface clean and easy to navigate. There are some cool social features helping you to connect with others around you too.
CacheSense was one of the first apps to be licensed with the Geocaching API. It’s frequently updated however and the interface looks modern. It has large icons to navigate around the menus and is very easy for beginners to use.
The large compass and coordinates screen is easy to use when you’re looking for the cache, and the app keeps all your information logged. There is a 30-day free trial too, so there are no excuses not check out one of the original Geocaching apps on the market.
It’s generally agreed that c:geo is one of, if not the best free Geocaching apps on the market. It’s missing a few little touches that someone who has used a premium app will be used to, but as a free app, it does what you want from a Geocaching app.
It has a social feature that allows you to see and link up with other c:geo app users which is a nice feature. Geocaching is a social activity and you’ll get the most out of the experience by hooking up with others so I recommend downloading this app just to see how much activity there is near you.
Best Geocaching Apps for iOS Devices
This is the iOS version of the Groundspeak official Geocaching app. You can find your friends and contacts and link up with them easily, as well as download pocket queries.
It saves caches offline so you can access your information if your signal drops, and the interface is really smooth and easy to use. It’s one of the most expensive Geocaching apps at $10 but worth every dollar if you enjoy Geocaching.
Looking 4 Cache Pro has a free and paid version, so you can try it and see for yourself before unlocking all the features, but I can tell you it’s a great app. You can use it your iPad too if you want a larger map, not all apps are compatible with larger devices so always check this before downloading.
You can log into multiple accounts at the same time with Looking 4 Cache Pro too, another cool little feature. It does everything you want from a Geocaching app, has easy to use menus, one to watch out for.
The main selling point of Geocaching Buddy is it’s one of the few Geocaching apps to support multi-caches. Something worth mentioning is that it even has a feature to mark where you’ve parked your car so you don’t forget!
It’s one of the higher-end apps at around $8, but still more than reasonable as a one-time payment to make your Geocaching easier. The app logs and lists all your clues, waypoints, calculates your cache formula and will lead you where you need to go.
This Geocaching app from iGeoKnife has been around for a few years now and has stayed up-to-date. It’s not ideal for beginners, the app uses the GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) management tool which the pros will know very well.
It’s capable of doing more than most apps without a network signal which is always an advantage when trekking outdoors.
Most of the Geocaching apps are starting to look and feel a little dated, but not Cachly. It has a really sleek and modern looking interface, and the recent user logs can include pictures of what you’ve seen.
The maps are really clear and includes all the footpaths, which is important to Geocachers but often not available to a high level of detail. It’s one of the lesser known Geocaching apps but is a great find, check it out and see what you think.
I’ve given you the run down on 10 of the best Geocaching apps. 5 of the best for iOS devices, and 5 of the best for Andriod devices. Most apps use the Geocache API from the main Geocache website so there is some consistency to the information.
It’s the small developer touches that make all the difference. Geocaching is fun for friends and families of all ages, and a great way to spend time outdoors. Good luck!