Geocaching is a fun activity enjoyed by people of all ages around the world. Although many hike their way through trails, hills, and valleys, there’s a growing number of geocachers enjoying it with their Jeeps and off-road trucks equipped with steel truck bumpers. What’s especially interesting about geocaching on the trails is that it can help off-roaders develop important skills to improve trail riding experiences in more remote areas.
What Is Off-Road Geocaching?
Geocaching is like treasure hunting, only using GPS units to navigate instead of actual maps. Someone hides a cache containing small items for trading and a log book, then others head out using their GPS to find the cache. When you add the fun of searching in an off-road truck or Jeep, the experience can be even better as you negotiate different obstacles out in the field to find the cache and the little prize that awaits inside. Of course, the prize isn’t the goal of the adventure; it's the journey to find it!
Improves Navigational Skills
The main thing that geocaching and remote off-roading have in common is navigation. In both cases, you need a certain skillset to get anywhere, whether looking for treasure or trying to find the best obstacles in the field. Considering this, geocaching can improve navigational skills in a number of ways:
****Marking Waypoints - This is important for marking base camps and specific areas on the trail to use as guide points when making your way around large off-road sites. Mark where you came from and where you’re going as well as any other important points like help stations and any sights to check out.
****Map Reading and Route Plotting- You must be skilled at GPS map reading to get anywhere, whether geocaching or off-roading, to reach your destination. Getting from Point A to Point B is the fun challenge; its success depends on plotting a route your offroad-equipped truck can actually travel. Planning a route involves locating any obstacles, deciding if they can be crossed or must be gone around, and then eventually finding the cache and getting back to the designated starting waypoint.
****Topography - Geocaching also teaches how to interpret elevation marks and other topographical symbols on maps. This is important for plotting routes that will allow your off-road truck or Jeep to safely ascend and descend different steep-looking hills.
****Trail and Local Surroundings Research - Besides improving navigating skills with GPS maps, off-road geocaching also helps you learn about local trails and surroundings. This could include points of interest to check out, historical information about these locations, knowledge of the native flora and fauna, and gaining a greater appreciation and enjoyment of the back country.
While geocaching on its own can be a lot of fun and a great way to spend a day, it’s even more so when off-roading in that truck you've equipped with big tires and steel bumpers. Best of all, off-road geocaching adds an element of challenge while helping you gain important navigational skills. Hopefully, you’ll never end up lost in the remote back country while trail riding - but if you do, geocaching experience will come in handy to help find your way back to civilization!