Sep 262013
 
Laser Loci Geocache

Ron and I are always on the looking for new and interesting products that we think the geocaching community might benefit from.  When we find those items (like CMIYC) we add it to the store.  Sometimes we can’t find something so we have to make it.  That’s what we’ve done with the Laser Loci.

For last year’s BFL Boot Camp I partnered with Denis (Brain21) to create a cache that used lasers to trigger a beacon that flashed a number sequence.  The cache was a hit and a new product idea was created.   Denis is the electronics whiz so he created the prototype that we used in the cache.   Once we decided to make this a product we had to find a way to allow anyone that has a device to program it.   That’s when Denis came up with Light Talk, a way to send the coordinate sequence from your computer or phone to the Laser Loci.   It took some doing but Denis figured it out.   It works best in a dark room or out in the field on your smart phone at night.

To use the Laser Loci you create a multi-stage geocache the way you normally would.  When you find the location for one of your stages, maybe the final, you can program that sequence of coordinates into the Laser Loci either back at home or in the field on your smart phone, that’s how I do it.

As befits our store theme this is a night caching device.   You can’t actually trigger it during the day or rather when it is in a bright location.  We recommend placing the Laser Loci up high so as to minimize tampering. Finders of your Laser Loci enabled cache will be amazed at the approach.   Now you can use your laser for something other than a cat toy.

 Posted by at 12:44
Sep 152013
 
Cache Me If You Can Board Game

Normally we attend events to sell things not buy them.   We did something a bit different at yesterday’s GHAGAFAP event.   We actually became the Canadian dealer for the Cache Me If You Can board game.   The inventor of the game Dan Hundycz was here with his business partner Jim Cendoma.    I saw the game on the Friday night and immediately thought it was a winner for our geocaching community.   I worked out a deal with Jim and Dan and Cache At Night became the Canadian dealer for the game.   We had to buy some games to secure our status as a dealer so we did that.   We are already looking at placing our second order.

The game plays just like a geocaching adventure.  There are hides, geocoins and hurdles that you most over come, including dealing with the consequences of coming in contact with poison ivy.  The game play is varied with may options that make for an always unique gaming experience, sort of like geocaching. Not only is game fun to play for geocachers it’s also a great board game for people who like games. It makes a great introduction to geocaching for your muggle friends.

Something I found most interesting about the game is that the creator is a geocacher. Dan experience as a geocacher comes through in the game play. Forget your pen? No find for you.

 

 Posted by at 14:08
Feb 282013
 

We are very pleased to announce that we have purchased cachingtreasures.com. This follows our purchase last year of www.niagaracachingsupply.ca. We know all too well how hard it is to keep a geocaching store viable. Thank you to everyone that supports us, we appreciate your business.

 Posted by at 01:01
Feb 042013
 
SnapLit, Ideal for runners.

SnapLit, Ideal for runners.

We made it!  We are half way through winter.   The days are certainly getting longer but there is still plenty of darkness out there.   Whether you are caching, walking the dog or doing some other type of activity you should be visible to those around you.   The easiest thing you can do is where lighter clothes.   Black jackets over blue jeans with dark boots is that the best way to make yourself visible to motorists and those around you.   To help you be seen at night there are two types of products you can use:  passive and active.  If you think of a car the active protection are the headlights and tail lights.  The passive protection are the reflectors on all four sides and in some doors.

Reflectors and reflective products do a good job of making you more visible for vehicles come at you.   They are not as effect when the vehicle is approaching you from an angle.  That’s because most reflectors are retro reflective and will only shine back at the light source when it is close to straight on.   This reduces the the amount of time that a driver can see you.   In order to increase the time you need to use something that is more active, you need some the emits it’s own light.

We carry a wide selection of active safety gear that can make your night caching experience safer.    We have products that clip on, products that snap on and even some that attach to the equipment loop on your gear.  We even have an illuminated collar that will help make your dog visible on the trails and on the streets.   Many of our active safety lights include passive reflective markings as well.

Be safe, be seen.

 Posted by at 18:45
Dec 212012
 

Tick Key - Tick RemoverOnce again Cache At Night is pleased to announce that we are adding an innovative product to our catalogue.   Now available in our store is The Tick Key, the easiest way to safely remove ticks from people and pets.  There are a variety of ticks that pose a risk to humans and pets but the black legged tick is the most common culprit.   The body fluids of the tick can carry pathogens such as Lyme disease which is harmful to humans and pets.  While the black legged tick has a far reaching range there are certain hotspots  of activity where cachers should pay special attention to the steps necessary to prevent bites.  Long sleeves and long pants are recommended in tick hot zones as is Deet.

The Tick Key offers a simple way to remove ticks before they can do any lasting damage.  Ticks need to feed for about 24-36 hours for the Lyme disease bacterium to be transferred to a new host.  Removing ticks as soon as possible is recommend but using your fingers is discouraged.  Narrow tweezers are a better Black Legged Tick Mapoption but they can be problematic.  The Tick Key is simple and effective for humans and pets, especially geo-dogs.   Keep on on your key chain for easy access.   Be sure and disinfect your hands and The Tick Key after use.

All cachers should perform  tick checks when returning from any potentially tick active area.  Light clothing makes it easier to spot ticks before they can attach to you, your family or your pets.

 

 

Nov 282012
 

The best way to free up your hands when caching at night is to use a head lamp.  I can’t imagine night caching without one.   Over the years I’ve tried a variety of head lamps.   I don’t know that there is one perfect head lamp for all tasks so at some point you will most likely make some kind of a compromise when selecting a head lamp.

Here are what I consider the most important criteria for a head lamp:

  1. Output
  2. Beam type
  3. Battery type
  4. Comfort
  5. Price

Head Lamp BeamMost flashlights you buy today will give you the lumen output on the package.  When it comes to head lamps they range anywhere from about 12lumen on the low end to over 100lumen on the high end.   For geocaching I prefer something more in the middle.  Output is just one criterion to evaluate when you are picking a head lamp for your needs.  For instance the Irix has a maximum of 35 lumen output compared to the 50 lumen output of the Irix II but the Irix is my preferred head lamp.  The beam type is the deciding factor for me.

What is beam type?  The head unit of a flash light, head lamps include, contain three basic elements that affect the beam type.  These are: light source, reflector and lens.  The characteristics of those elements determine the type and quality of the light emitted by the head lamp.  A spot beam tends to be narrower but will throw the light to objects further away.   A wide spread beam has a smaller or non-existent hot spot in the centre.   The lights are ideal for working up close like reading or working around a campsite.  The broader the spread the higher lumen output you will need in order to achieve the same apparent brightness on distant objects like fire tacks or when searching for a cache.

Just about all head lamps you can buy today use LED as the light source.  Fire tacks are much easier to spot when using and LED light.  The colour quality is also much better from and LED.

As I mentioned in my post about choosing flashlights I prefer a light that uses AA batteries.  These batteries are easier to come buy than CR123 batteries which are the kind used in higher end flashlights.   Low end flashlights tend to use AAA batteries. This is primarily done to conserve weight.   I also like AA batteries because that is what my GPSr uses.  I have standardized on one battery type for my main geocaching tools.  Higher output head lamps consume power faster then low output types.   This can be mitigated by having a head lamp that has variable output.   The Irix head lamp I use has variable output.  It will last for 3 hours at high on one fully charged AA battery.    I usually get about 6 hours of caching on one battery.   My 100 lumen head lamp uses batteries about twice as fast.   In that case I need 2 AA batteries for 6 hours of geocaching.  I use rechargeable batteries and I always carry a Powerpax Slimline with extra batteries.

If you are like me you’ll be walking around with your head lamp on for a few hours at a time.  It’s important the light is comfortable on your head.  This includes if you are wearing a hat (baseball hats tend to cause a shadow at your feet which is not ideal). If you’ll be wearing a bicycle helping or other kind of hard hat you will want a head lamp that has some kind of slip resistance.   The larger the headlamp the less comfortable it will be on your head.  The lighter your head lamp is the happier you will be.

teamvoyagr night caching

By Gregory Pleau

The first thing most cachers do when thinking about a head lamp is to consider price.   I think price is important but it should come lower in the priority list.   When I started night caching I bought a small head lamp that was within my “budget”.   After about six months of night caching I bought a larger, AA, head lamp that was in my “budget”.    This was a budget based head lamp and it just didn’t have the performance or quality I wanted so I went in search of a head lamp that met my needs first and my budget second.  The price of my poor choices was more than had I just bought a quality head lamp in the first place.  Learn from my mistakes and buy the best head lamp you can afford based on your needs.

Nov 202012
 
Geocaching Logbooks

Geocaching Logbooks

Part of the fun of geocaching is sharing our experiences with other geocachers.   We traditionally have two ways to do that: hand written logs in the log book we find in the cache or with an online log.   You can help geocachers provide hand written logs for your cache by providing an easy to use geocaching logbook.

When it comes to nanos you have almost no choice but to use a log sheet.  For most other caches there are pre-made logbooks available.   Even preform cache containers have a special logbook just for them.

I personally prefer logbooks that are spiral bound.   I find these the easiest to use.  I can flip to a page and then write my log without trying to keep the book open.   At a certain size the spiral bound books are too big and the stapled variety are the only way to go.

If you want to really make an impression with your geocache you can use Rite in the Rain logbooks.   These logbooks use a special paper the doesn’t get soggy.   This can be very helpful even if it’s not raining.  If your hands are wet from rain or snow and you handle a regular paper logbook  you might get it wet.   If you are using less than idea container you can at least use a RitR logbook to make it so future cachers can log their find.

Using quality materials not only shows your fellow cachers that you care about their experience it also means fewer maintenance runs for you.  The cost of better materials can many times be made up for in the reduced amount of gas consumed performing maintenance runs.

Sep 222012
 

I’ve finally got around to posting a “what’s in my geocaching bag” article.   I’ve wanted to do this for a while.  Maybe you’ll see something in my bag and think of adding it to yours.   If you comment on the article I might find something I should add to my bag. Below is a list of the gear in my bag followed with details of why I pack those items.  You can click on the picture for a larger version.

Geocaching Bag Contents

  1. The bag itself
  2. Bendable grapple
  3. Extendable magnet and mirror
  4. Spare FireTacks
  5. S-Biners
  6. Spare carabiners for swag
  7. Trackables for trade
  8. Baling wire
  9. Small Bungee
  10. Pencils
  11. Reflective cord
  12. Gloves
  13. Cooling Cloth
  14. Water shoes
  15. Stuffable rain jacket
  16. Smartphone with geocaching app
  17. Spare camo tape
  18. Spare containers
  19. Spare Logs
  20. Reflective lanyard
  21. Mini tripod
  22. Tweezers
  23. Pens
  24. Swiss army knife
  25. Notebook
  26. ID Stickers
  27. Batteries in Powerpax battery caddy
  28. Green Laser
  29. UV light
  30. Small flashlight
  31. Large Flashlight
  32. Waterproof camera
  33. Mosquito repellant
  34. GPS
  35. Irix II headlamp
  36. Water

I use a Vaude cycling bag.  I purchased before I started caching and it’s served me well.  It has a curved metal frame that allows my back to breathe.   This helps keep me a little cooler in the summer.   It has all the necessary features for a drinking bladder but I’ve never used that.  I’m heading to Phoenix in a few weeks so I’m thinking of taking a water bladder with me.

The bendable grapple helps extend my reach either for caches placed a little higher or for a little lower.   It won’t support a lot of weight so it’s only really good for micros and the like. The extendable magnet is really and extendable mirror the magnet is just a bonus.   I use the mirror to look up dead trees to see what’s hiding in there.

I carry spare FireTacks either to repair a cache that’s missing a few or in case the urge strikes to place one while I’m out. I used to keep a number of standard carabiners attached to my pack.  They come in handy for hanging hats or watershoes or other items I don’t want inside my pack   I’ve since switched to the s-biner.   With the s-biner I can more easily remove things that are attached to my pack or elsewhere without dropping the item. I don’t do a lot of swag trading these days but I like to keep some items in my bag for that purpose.   In this way if I have my kids with me or I see something I’d like to trade for I’ve always got something I can swap out.

I carry baling wire in-case there is a micro that needs to be re-hung or attached more securely to it’s hiding place.   A little baling wire and camo tape makes a great way to fix up a micro cache.   The baling wire can also be used to extract a cache from a tight hidy-hole.

A small bungee can be used to secure a cache, maybe just the lid.  I can also combine the bungee with some s-biners to attach and secure something a little larger to my pack.  For instance a sweater or jacket.

The reflective cord can be used either for an impromptu night cache repair or to help secure a load.  It even works as an emergency shoe lace.  I’ve even thought of using it full time as shoelaces.  Not sure about that yet.

Gloves work to keep your hands clean and dry when retrieving a soggy cache.   They also come in hand to keep your hands warm on those chilly morning cache runs.

The cooling cloth is a new addition to my pack.  These cloths are great in the summer to help cool down on a long hike or a steep climb.   I also use mine as a backup drying towel.

One October I did a river crossing in Northern Ontario.  The water was freezing and the twigs and stones were painful.  That’s when I decided to always carry water shoes in my pack.   These have come in very hand a few times.  Once they are wet I attach them to the outside of my pack with my s-biners until they are dry.  I prefer water shoes to waders which is why I wear convertible pants with zip off legs.

I was out caching last fall and we had an unexpected rainfall.   I already had on my rain gear but one of the people I was caching with didn’t.  My handy-dandy stuffable rain coat came in, you guessed it, handy.   The small size allows me to leave it in my pack.  In this way I’m always prepared for a little rain or even a little wind and cold.

Well a smartphone is a bit of a no brainer.   How else can you make a desparate phone-a-friend to avoid a DNF?

I carry cloth camo tape and it’s full of uses.   There is the use it is designed for, obviously.  It can also be used to repair things like rips or broken containers.  Heaven forbid you’d need to but it can also be used with two sticks to make an impromptu splint depending on how far you are from help.

I carry a variety of geocache containers with me either in case I want to place a cache or in the event a cache container is damaged.   These are also handy in case I need to do maintenance on one my my own caches.  By having various sizes I can replace stages as well as finals if the need arises.   I have even used a container as a temporary waterproof container for my phone.

Everyone carries spare logbooks, right?  I keep a variety of sizes in my pack included nano logs.   Sometimes I just take some sheets out of a logbook or other times I’ll actually replace the whole book.  As with some of the other items in my pack spare log books are also helpful when I have to do maintenance on my own caches or if I want to place a cache. It’s nice having everything I need to create a cache.

I either carry a small tripod or a c-clamp with camera mount in my pack.   The tripod draws less attention at airport security.     From time to time I’ll pack my DSLR but for most caching trips i’m satisfied with my waterproof camera.

For more than 20 years I’ve been carrying a pocket knife.   You don’t want to carry it if you are getting on a plane though.   I know my pocket knife all the time.  It’s a bit misleading to say I carry this in my geocaching bag as most of the time I have it in my pants pocket.

Considering the amount of night caching I do it’s not surprising that I’d carry a number of flashlights.   Something more important that the flashlights are batteries.   That’s because without batteries the flashlights or my GPSr are useless.    I carry three different Powerpax in order to manage my spare batteries.   There is the 12 pack that’s either in my geocaching bag or my camera bag.   That holds the bulk of my AA batteries.   I also have a Slimeline AA Powerpax that I carry in the event I need that I’m doing a grab and go.   My third Powerpax is for my AAA batteries that I need for my UV light and my laser.

My favourite flashlight is my single AA Link.  I was out caching today during daylight and I used my Link several times.   The carabiner clip makes it very easy to carry and keeps it within easy reach.   My Rogue II is my larger light that I use when searching for a hard to find cache at night.    If I’m doing a FireTack cache I use my headlamp.   FireTacks are so much easier to see with a headlamp.

Of course I wouldn’t be caching without my GPSr.  I typically clip my GPSr to my back pack.  This makes it convenient to access but it has one downside over a lanyard.   It’s much easier to misplace the GPSr if it’s not connected to my body in some way.    At night I turn on my ziplit so that if I do put the unit down I can always find it again.

What am I missing?  Do you carry something in your geocaching bag that you can’t live without?