Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mum's geocaching starters kit

Hello world,

It's about time I shared something other than a trading card! But in keeping with the geocaching theme, today I'm going to show you the starters kit I put together for my Mum's birthday present.

Mum has come along on a few of our geocaching adventures and quite enjoys it. So when it was coming up to her birthday, I started thinking about getting her her own GPS so she could do some geocaching on her own. When I spoke to Dad, it turned out he had the same idea. Of course, he doesn't know anything about GPSes, so he asked me to check them out and get one for him to give to her.

Which sent me on the tangential idea of putting together my ideal geocaching starters kit. They do sell them at some of the US geocaching stores, but I wanted something elaborate. And Mum can be a difficult person to buy for, so I spoke to my siblings, and they were happy to go in together on all the bits and pieces that made up the starters kit.

We started with some tricky items first - she wasn't sure why we gave her gardening gloves, bandaids, batteries, a torch (with batteries already inside), insect repellent and sunscreen. She also didn't know what the 'G' symbol meant.

Then Dad gave her her GPS. I chose a Garmin Dakota 10 which we bought from Johnny Appleseed GPS. It's small and pretty simple to use, plus it supports paperless geocaching, which makes life even easier. (My mum isn't great with technology. At all.)

After that, the cat was out of the bag and so we could carry on with the rest of the prezzies. I made her a personalised logbook to note down her finds, swaps, etc. I used a lovely watercolour called Silent Planet by twiggyabi from deviantArt for the decal and added their username.

Inside the cover I created a hint decoder. This is really useful for us as our GPS doesn't support paperless and so when I want to read a clue I need to decode the one I've noted down in our book. Since Mum's GPS automatically decodes it when she chooses to read it, I guess she won't get as much use out of it as I do, but it'll be handy if there are any hardcopy encoded clues along her adventures. Plus it's pretty!

There are pockets on the inside covers, too. I popped in one of Groundspeak's Geocaching guides - I figure it's always handy to have one of these with you in case your stealthy movements are misinterpreted as suspicious by security guards, law enforcement officers, or anyone else!

I recovered some snap-lock bags from Aldi and re-branded them as geocaching swag bags, just for fun.

We ordered a travel bug and another trackable in the form of a puppy from Geostuff, because Mum loves dogs. She's always impressed to see how far a trackable has gone, so I think she'll really enjoy seeing where he own ones go!

As part of my Zine per diem efforts, I also made up a zine of clever geocaching containers. On the front you can see a photo we took when we found Phytology at the Wollongong Botanic Gardens. I gave it to her inside a standard traditional geocache container - a small hinge-lock waterproof container.

Next came a simple sneaky hide, a key rock I picked up at a cheap shop near my work. These are good to hide just about anywhere that people won't be moving the rocks around regularly.

The next part is the really fun part - I found an Australian lab supplies site, Lab Direct, which sells these little 2mL micro centrifuge tubes - the perfect nanocache containers!

The only hitch was that they came in packs of 1000. While it's great value for money, we didn't really need quite that many. Fortunately, an appeal in the Geocaching Australia forum found a number of fellow enthusiasts who relieved us of the excess.

These tubes are just fantastic. Look as the size of the cache:

Easy to hide in any number of sneaky places. Inside, a scroll-type log:

Aren't they just perfect?

The best part is turning them into the kind of sneaky hides I put in my zine.

These ones are some smoothed river stones which I also marked with the 'G' symbol to make life slightly easier for the searchers. These can easily be pushed into a hole in the ground you make with a stick or an existing hole in a structure or tree, if the situation suits.

A wood chip is similarly a sneaky disguise:

This one I just think is so funny! My sister is terrified of spiders, so I made sure she was the one to give it to Mum - and I am happy to report it elicited the desired shiver from her. :) Doesn't it look especially effective in the snap-lock box?

This next one is sweet. I named the cache for her - 'Snugglepot'. I also made a matching one for myself, called 'Cuddlepie'. If you don't understand, read about May Gibbs. We haven't placed them yet, but aren't they perfect?

These bottle caps will be sneaky driven into the ground, so I've added the 'G' to ease the stress of searchers also. A note to others who may be planning to make these - scrape off the waxy coating on the inside of the caps, otherwise your adhesive won't stay.

And this 10c piece has gone to good use. We'll have to put it somewhere that general traffic won't find it, because otherwise it'll be picked up by goodness knows how many non-geocachers.

Another one for fun is the trophy - I figure it always feels like a a real achievement when you find a cache, so why not let the full imagery for that shine on through?

Finally, a whole lot more nanocaches so she can create her own ones. And, of course, a pile of replacement logs for when they get filled out by the many enthusiastic treasure hunters!

I also bought her a membership to so that the paperless geocaching function would work correctly on her GPS. I printed out a membership card I designed, too:

And really finally, I planned to make up some geocache labels using the Groundspeak cache note template, and I even got through making them up in InDesign, but the waterproof inkjet label paper I ordered didn't arrive in time. It got here the next Monday though, so I will be printing them off and giving them to her soon!

And that is the geocaching starters kit Mum got for her birthday. What do you think?



  1. These days, this circumstance is out of date and crazy for GPS frameworks have definitely changed the way we used to manage course finding amid an excursion. Without a doubt by simply introducing a GPS gadget in your auto, you can precisely and securely get the right heading.