Since 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.
Screen 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.
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.