GPS Devices for Geocaching

Garmin Etrex 20 GPS Screen SizeSince Geocaching started a little over 10 years ago, it has become an immensely popular family camping activity. There are some people who are seasoned veterans when it comes to geocaching, but, for those new to the activity and are interested in getting help and learning more about it, this will serve as a basic guide about global positioning system (GPS) devices used for geocaching.

You don’t necessarily need a GPS device to find caches, but they certainly make it more efficient and easier to locate. There are certain features that are important to look for, when shopping for geocaching GPS devices.

Geocaching Features to Look For

First and foremost, if you are planning on geocaching becoming a longtime hobby of yours, you will want to buy a GPS device with a hard drive capable of storing more caches. Generally, the newer GPS devices for geocaching have a larger storage capacity.

Another valuable feature in a GPS device for geocaching is an interface jack. This will allow you to quickly load maps and waypoints onto your device. Newer GPS units often have USB ports, while older ones have serial attachments.

Garmin GPSMAP 62st GPS ScreenScreen size is another thing to consider, when purchasing a geocaching GPS device. Some maps can be difficult to read and follow on small screens. You want to look for a screen in the Goldilocks zone; not too big to carry and not too small to read. Just right. Generally a screen with at least a 2” diagonal display would be in this zone. It is also essential to have a GPS device with several channels used to help acquire GPS satellite signals. Many of the newer models have at least 12 channels, but some of the older devices use only a single channel which makes it slower to download satellite data.

Having a waterproof GPS device for geocaching also might be something to look for, when deciding to make a purchase. At some point, your device could be under water. Even though it would probably be an accidental soaking, you wouldn’t want this to be the demise of your device.

Another valuable feature in a GPS device is having a power source that you can plug into a car AC jack. Since you’ll be on the go, on your Geocaching adventures, you don’t want your portable devices to run out of juice, which would certainly spoil your fun.Garmin Etrex 20 GPS

Another important consideration is device storage capacity. A model like the Garmin Etrex 20 will allow you to download and store about 4,000 paperless caches, while an older Garmin model like the Venture only holds about 500. The Garmin Etrex 20 also allows you to use a memory slot for more caches. The price difference between these two is very small.

Garmin also has a few other great options with different specifications, like the GPSMAP 60CSx Handheld GPS Navigator. This device is known for its high sensitivity GPS reader. It is also very easy to read in the sunlight with its color handheld mapping display.

If you found something that works for you on your GPS device, let us know in the comments below!
  • Ron

    I have several gps’ and my favorite so far is the Garmin Montana. A ton of great features; large touch screen, rechargeable battery, paperless, ample data storage, built in waterproof camera, and much more. If you are going to cache just once in a while you can get by with a phone, if you plan on doing it on a regular basis, get a good hand held gps.

  • Terry

    The Garmin etrex 20 is shown above, it’s a fine unit but within that product line, I’d highly recommend upgrading to the etrex 30 as it’s got a 3-axis compass, which is very useful in finding geocaches. Also, the blog mentions the GPSMAP 60CSx, how long ago was this written? That unit used to be the standard of geocaching but was replaced a few years ago with the GPSMAP 62s and since then, there are even more advanced models available.

    • Old Cacher

      Another way you can tell the article is old, is that it says geocaching has only been around 10 years. I have been geocaching since the mid-late 90s, and had known about it longer than that but couldn’t yet afford a GPS unit to try it.

  • Sam

    I recently purchased a Garmin Montana 650t for Caching and have found it very difficult to use. It seems to have too many variables. I have had difficulty getting new caches to download, cannot figure how to delete caches that I no longer want, and cannot figure how to enter a specific set of co-ordinates. I previously used a Garmin E-Map and have had so much trouble with this one, I am ready to dump it and go with another Garmin – one that is easier to use without so many variables. Maybe I am just too old to understand. Would anyone recommend an easier to use, paperless Garmin GPS for Caching? Thanks,