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?

FireTack Alternative

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Aug 112012

I was out doing some cache maintenance the other night and discovered that one of the reflectors was missing. I had used FireTape as the reflector. I wasn’t able to find the reflector but I wanted to maintain the cache. Luckily I keep a few feet of reflective cord wrapped around my flashlight for just such an event. I recorded some video of what I did that you might find helpful.

Reflective cord has many uses, including:

  • Alternative to FireTacks (good for younger trees)
  • Zipper pull tabs, add reflectivity to anything with a zipper
  • Tent ropes
  • Around camp
  • Make reflective outlines on equipment or in the field

Aug 052012

Geocaching BagWe are pleased to announce that we have acquired     We strive to make it easier for cachers to find the geocaching supplies they need.   Cache At Night has the the geocaching you need including: containters, log books and trackables.

 Posted by at 09:34

More Payment Options

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May 012012

Accept Credit CardsOne of our favourite aspects of running Cache At Night is attending events.  It gives us an opportunity to meet many of our existing customers and to make some new friends.   Not everyone enjoys the online buying experience and events are a great opportunity for those folks to make a purchase in person.  In the past there was a trade off in that we couldn’t accept credit cards at events.   That will not be the case this year.

We have just signed up for a new service that will allow us to process credit card transactions anywhere that we have cell coverage.   If you see us at upcoming event you’ll be able to make purchases using your credit card.   We hope this will make it easier for you to get the supplies you need.

Supporting GHAGAFAP

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Apr 292012

Once again we will be supporting the longest running family picnic in Canada – GHAGAFP.   In addition to being and exhibitor this year we are also sponsoring the website hosting for the event.

The event takes place on September 15th, 2012.   You can find the official listing here: GHAGAFAP XI – The Tradition Continues  (GC34EV6).

 Posted by at 08:34

Customer Feedback

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Jan 162012

It is always encouraging when you received positive customer feedback.  We received this email last week and with permission we’d like to share it now.

Hi Ron & John,

I’m not a terribly active cacher so I don’t often need much stuff, but your site is definitely on my Go-To list. Just this morning I forwarded the link to a new cacher,  so I was browsing around again… such a thoughtful inventory of useful products, with good prices and fast shipping too. Love the new mini-log books! Great job… thanks for being there for my (infrequent) orders. I’ve just started working on a complex 8-stage 5/5 Multi and already making my wish list…

best regards,

Annie L

We are happy you like our selection Annie.   Thank you for your encouragement!

Winter Solstice Event Log

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Dec 232011
Winter Solstice Group Caching Event

Thanks to northern penguin for the photo

The following is a log entry posted by Draelynx from our Winter Solstice – Battery Challenge event cache.  We had a lot of fun in the warmer, wetter and by wetter I mean muddier, weather.

/ Twas a warm and muddy night
/ And all through Hyde Tract
/ Not a creature was stirring
/ But then, wait …. what’s that?

/ There arose on the trails
/ Such loud cheerful chatter
/ From an assembly of cachers
/ Who craved a night gather

/ They splashed in deep puddles
/ Then tripped over logs
/ Accompanied by geokids
/ And damp geodogs

/ By Magellan and Garmin and UV we were bidden
/ To seek in the forest that which is hidden
/ In tree stump! In leaf pile! In spruce tree and ruin!
/ There isn’t much else we would rather be do-in’

/ After spotting each one
/ No “Found It!” was piped
/ For group caching etiquette
/ Simply shut off your light

/ Through wet falling snow
/ Cachers drove out of sight
/ Happy Solstice to all
/ And to all a good night!

Thank you Draelynx for letting us repost your log.

Here is a short video from the evening. I can never seem to fully capture what it’s like to see headlamps bobbing around the woods at night.

 Posted by at 08:45

December Promotion

 Geocaching  Comments Off on December Promotion
Dec 012011

Rogue 2 Icon FlashlightThe Rogue 2 is an exceptional handheld flashlight delivering 100 lumen for 3 hours or 72 hours on low with just two AA batteries. Get all the light you need for your night time geocaching adventures at our best price ever.

25% off

Get a Rogue 2 in your choice of color for only $37.49 (Regular price $49.99). This promotion available until December 24th, 2011 or while supplies last.

Dec 012011

When caching at night the color in most things tends to go away. The blue light of the Moon doesn’t reveal a lot of color. There are two parts of the light spectrum that make for interesting cache experiences. Those are infra-red light and ultra violet light (it’s actually near ultra violet but we’ll let the science slip for a moment).

8 Segment Numbers in ultra violet light

8 Segment Numbers in UV Light

A little over a year ago Groundspeak added the UV attribute that can be assigned to geocaches. Since that time we’ve seen UV enabled caches grow. In a typical UV scenario a hint or coordinates are written in an ink that is UV reactive. The UV clue is sometimes written on the back side of a clue that is written such that it’s visible in white light. A cacher that is unaware of the UV attribute might be tricked by this approach.

In order to protect the UV inks from the elements we recommend placing them in non-UV blocking laminate. We carry non-reactive paper and self-sealing laminate pouches for this very reason. There is another way to provide clues using UV light and that is with UV reactive monofilament line.

8 Segment Numbers in White LIght

8 Segment Numbers in White LIght

We recommend creating eight segment digits like you see on a digital clock where some segments are not UV reactive and others are. Under white like the two lines are very hard to differentiate. Turn on a UV light and the correct coordinates pop out. In the pictures for this article the UV line is protected inside a sealable container. This is mostly for protection from the Sun’s rays. UV reactive features will degrade over time when exposed to sunlight. The UV line does not need to be protected from the elements, water won’t hurt it. You’ll also want to make sure that the cacher can’t see the backside of the coordinate segments. If they can see the backside they can see which segments use which kind of line and deduce the coordinates from that information.
The only special equipment you need to find a night cache with UV clues is a UV flashlight. There are a variety of UV lights available from small button lights to larger 3-in-1 lights. If UV caches are growing in your area then you’ll want to add one of these lights to your pack.

Coordinates Visible with IR Light

Coordinates Visible with IR Light

Coordinates Not Visible with White Light

Coordinates Not Visible with White Light

Caches that use infra-red (IR) light are harder to create and require special equipment to find them. An IR cache needs two components, an infra-red light source and an infra-red capable camera. Any remote control where you have to point it at the TV uses an infra-red LED. You can either take apart an old remote control or you can buy IR LEDs for about 50 cents each. We opted to buy them for our Lunar Lander BFL Boot Camp cache.

Now that we had an IR light source we needed to figure out what to do about a camera. I learned a while ago that webcams will pick up IR light but those aren’t too convenient to take into the field. I suppose if you had a little netbook that might work. I discovered that my BlackBerry makes for a decent enough IR camera for what we had planned. The facetime camera on an iPhone might work if you are patient. Many cameras have a built in IR filter. You can test your camera by viewing the front of a remote control through your camera as you push the buttons. If you see a light then your

Coordinates Visible with Infra-Red Light (close up)

Coordinates Visible with IR Light (close up)

camera will work to view IR light. You can also use cameras that have a “night vision” mode. As you can tell it’s not easy finding a way to view infra-red light. If you choose to build and IR cache it will be important to provide sufficient details in the description relative to your difficulty rating to allow people to find the cache. If you set your difficulty rating at 5 then you might not need to provide too many clues on how to solve the cache.

The trick to making and IR cache is finding plastic that is opaque to white light but easily transmits IR light.   Black or smoked plastics work best.  I used multiple layers of a red plastic.  It is very hard to pass white light through multiple layers but the IR easily passes.

We’ve just described a few ways that we have used ultra violet and infra-red to create caches. Hopefully these will be your starting point when you build your own creative night cache.

Remember to Grab a Light (white, UV or otherwise) and Cache at Night.