Geocaching: Our Tips For Your Adventure
In case you haven't heard of it before, geocaching is a craze that was first founded by Matt Stum in May 2000. Since then it has increasingly gained in popularity worldwide.
So, what is Geocaching? In a nutshell, it is a more sophisticated version of treasure hunting tailored for today’s technology savvy world. It is a virtual community of treasure hunters that share particular details of caches (the treasure) on various websites across the world. All a geocacher needs to do is choose a cache, navigate there, find it and then log it.
Caches come in all shapes and sizes, however, the most common is in the form of a small plastic box.
You can also get them in varying levels of difficulty, they span right from just a simple find on the GPS system, through to a multi-cache where you get a series of clues leading to the final destination, and then finally all the way to puzzle caches, where you will need to solve a puzzle to find out the coordinates.
You can search online to reveal all different kinds of geocaching websites, including regional, national and international kinds. The one that the professionals recommend is GeoCaching.com as it is the most comprehensive. All you have to do to be a part is sign up, log on and enter a place name or postcode to start a search.
Geocaching is a brilliant way of falling in love with the countryside you know so well again. It encourages you to look strongly into the wildlife, and has the added bonus of being relatively cheap, with no outlay if you use your smartphone.
This appeals to all ages, and is perfect for children as it will teach them about navigation and maps as well as getting them into the great outdoors.
You can easily combine geocaching with camping, as a fun dimension for a typically daytime activity. Why not take our Stamford 20L backpack with some snacks in, and our kids Dinosaur Wellingtons, for an authentic geocaching experience?
Here is a quick guide to getting started with geocaching:
Log on to a geocaching website and either download a geocache to your GPS or write down the co-ordinates and clues
Set up your GPS and off you go
Find the location and use the clues to find the exact spot where the geocache is hidden
Open the geocache and see what is inside. Fill in the logbook if there is one
Put it back exactly where you find it, but do not let anyone who is not with you see what you are doing
Log the details of your find online when you get home if you want to, and then do it all again!
Some Geocaching rules:
If you take a ‘treasure’, replace it with something of equal value
Always put the cache back exactly where you found it
Report a missing or damaged cache as soon as you can
Do not spoil the cache for others, and do not give away too many clues to other geocachers to ruin the hunt
Always observe the countryside code and respect your surroundings, and do not cause any damage or alarm the general public.
And finally, some top tips:
Have a practice run close to home so you can get a feel for it somewhere you know well
Carry a pen to sign the log book – some caches are not big enough to store one, or they may not work
Do not forget to log your find (or not) online when you get back
If you are struggling to find a cache (even with the clues), step back and try to look at the area objectively. Where are good places to hide a cache? Where would you hide it?
Make a day of it- take a picnic! We have a huge range of picnic attire including a range made out of rice husk!
The Key Rules to Wild Camping
Wild camping is sleeping outdoors pretty much anywhere other than a campsite. This can be done in a tent and is ideally done quite far away from any roads or buildings.
It's the perfect way to escape from the stresses of everyday life whilst also exploring the wonderful scenery of this world.
However, there are some rules that you have to follow if you are to have a successful and safe trip. Here are the ones that we feel you should be aware of:
- Firstly, you have to follow the Outdoor Access Code. You have to make sure that you leave no trace of where you have camped and also make sure that you don’t disturb other people or wildlife whilst you’re there. Also make sure that you don’t dig ditches, trample on plants or move rocks.
- Secondly, know where you’re going. It’s not as simple to just pick up your tent and head off- wild camping is allowed in most of Scotland (some restrictions apply near Loch Lomond) and on Dartmoor in Devon, but currently it is technically illegal elsewhere in England and Wales without the landowner’s consent. Consequently, if you want to travel to areas like the Lake District, responsible wild camping in certain places on higher ground is tolerated.
- Another tip to know about is that you should pitch your tent up as late at night as possible and then pack up again as early as you can the next day.
- You shouldn’t stay in the same place for any longer than a night or two.
- You should also pay attention to ‘no camping’ signs, you should keep it to a small group and also look for a site that is flat and sheltered from the wind.
- You should always stay well clear of pitching up in fields that have crops or grazing livestock inside.
- When people pack to go camping they often pack a lot of luxury items, however, you really only need a tent, a sleeping bag, a sleeping mat, some kind of cooking gear, food, a water bottle, a torch, your smartphone and a rucksack. Anything else is just a luxury.
- It’s always a bonus if you can choose a tent with a colour that blends well with the scenery. If you check out our shop you will be able to find lots of different tents that do this perfectly- maybe try having a look at our Pioneer tent in particular.
- You should also try to avoid lighting a fire, even if you can tell that other people have done so. The landowner may find this extremely disrespectful so it’s best to just stick to your camping stove and put more layers on if you're cold.
- It is important to leave the site as you found it. As well as packing up your own litter, try taking away any you came across whilst you were there too.
- Finally, before heading off, you should always let someone know roughly where you will be and when you’re expected to be back.
Happy camping everyone!
Best Advice for Cooking on the Campsite
How to pitch your tent in high winds
As the saying goes, ‘failure to plan is planning to fail’. So, adhere to the old adage and make sure you’re paying attention to weather forecasts. High winds will often herald some incoming big and ugly meteorological event.
It seems almost ridiculously obvious, but pitching near trees is remarkably dangerous in high winds – largely for reasons that don’t need to be explained.
However, even experienced outdoors folk will make poor decisions in times of stress – such as trying to make camp in bad weather.
The trap many fall into is the shelter provided by trees from the wind. You can still use that shelter by following a basic rule – judge the height of the nearest trees, add 20ft and pitch at least that distance away.
The danger isn’t always falling branches, it can also be toppling trees. Certain species – pine for example – tend to grow in soft ground that becomes unstable in very wet conditions.
Low bushes and hedgerows are always a safer option.
Avoid the ridge
You’ll see plenty of adverts in glossy outdoors magazines featuring tents pitched on mountain ridges. And, while this may provide some pleasant views during a period of calm, it’s best to avoid it altogether.
Wind currents behave in curious ways and, often, the geographical layout of mountains and valleys will cause gusts to whip over ridges with alarming and random velocity.
Much like a treeline, you can use a ridge to your advantage by locating a near-by dip in the lay of the land downwind.
While being out in the wilderness alone is a pleasure many adventurers actively seek, going ‘lone wolf’ in bad weather isn’t always the best idea. Two heads and four hands are better when it comes to pitching in the wind.
Weigh it up
Make use of what weight you can find to help pin down the interior corners of your tent. Your backpack is one, but use what’s available to you – rocks etc. Make use of sturdy rocks for your guy ropes too. Pegs alone may not be sufficient at keeping the rainfly, tarp or basha from being ripped off in a gust.
Adverse conditions aren’t the time for an eight-man family tent with headroom and a kitchen, so make sure that whatever you’re camping in is as low and shallow pitched as possible.
You want to create something for the wind to pass over – not catch.
Ensure your tent door or any opening in whatever you’re sheltering in is as 180 degrees to the wind direction as you can possibly make it. Even when you’re trying to pitch quickly in poor conditions, take a moment to plan properly – a mistake could prove more costly than a few saved minutes of being cold and wet.
If it looks like the wind is going to keep you camped in the one spot for a lengthy period, be prepared to zip-up and be confined. Not just with food and water supplies, but also the things to keep your mind busy and stave off boredom – even it’s just a good book.
Boredom itself is enough to drain your morale, so make sure you’ve got plenty of ways of keeping your adventurous mind entertained, and your spirits up.
While the confined space of a tent or basha is hardly akin to a dance studio, there are plenty of ways of making sure you’re moving your body and keeping things flowing. Press-ups, sit-ups, yoga-style crouches and horizontal stretches etc will not only help pass the time, they’ll keep you active enough to prevent you succumbing to lethargy and boredom.
Check and check again
High winds are rarely sustained at one constant speed – it’s the gusts that do the damage. Whenever there’s a lull in storm activity, crawl out and check your outer structure – guy ropes, material integrity etc – then check again.
Written by Darren Parkin at the Wild Parkin website.