By now, most people have heard the term “geocaching,” which is a hobby that many outdoor enthusiasts have taken up.
According to geocaching.com, “Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.”
That pretty much sums it.
The hobby is growing in leaps and bounds, too. As the price of GPS units has fallen over the years, the more hikers, bikers, walkers and, yes, even hunters have been snatching them up and finding themselves participating in geocaching.
It’s become such a hobby, in fact, that one GPS company has taken a step to offer a GPS unit specifically designed for use in the geocaching world. That company is Magellan, which is easily one of the premier companies in the field. The “eXplorist GC” is designed 100 percent for geocaching adventures. It’s the treasure map that fits right in your pocket.
The little device fits snuggly in the palm of your hand and can easily be attached to a lanyard for ease of transportation. Don’t let the palm-size description fool you though. The screen is big and bright and in color.
The device comes with pre-loaded geocaching destinations. Because I’ve never been on one of these 21st-century treasure hunts, I decided to do the one that was preloaded instead of connecting to the Internet and getting more. To that end, I picked the closest one and took my family out on their very first adventure.
It was fun, there’s no doubt about it. I felt a tinge of excitement when we first got to the general vicinity. We pulled out the unit and selected the geocache we wanted. Within minutes we were on our way into the woods, walking through the silence and the beautiful forest around us. The cache was on state land, so there were no worries about trespassing, and within a few minutes we were well on our way.
The “treasure” wasn’t difficult to find, though once you’re on the coordinates you have to look around a bit. We signed the journal, traded out a fossil we had found for a four-leaf clover, and we checked it off as being found on our device and headed back to the car.
The eXplorist GC was extremely easy to use, walking you through each screen and getting you started. After that, it was as simple as selecting a geocaching hunt we wanted (which can be found by location or just by distance from where you currently stand) and following the map. Exploring at its finest.
Magellan’s unit comes with a high-sensitivity GPS, a worldwide basemap, two AA batteries, it is waterproof and can connect to geocaching.com via a high-speed USB port and your computer in order to get new maps. It also comes with a 30-day free trial of the website, which is nice for those who want to get some local maps.
For a guy who had never used a device like this before, I was impressed with the ease of use and getting started. Since that first geocache, we’ve gone on several others and have had no problems on any of them. We’re planning on several this summer as well.
The other positive to the eXplorist GC is that it still offers detailed maps and the ability to set waypoints like a traditional GPS unit. I’ve used it to mark several spots for my turkey hunting and trout fishing so far. It’s very versatile.
Do you need one to start geocaching? Nope. But it’s going to make your experience much easier and potentially more enjoyable. If you’re looking for your first GPS unit, especially if it’s specifically for geocaching, then the eXplorist GC is the unit you should get. Hands down.
Information about the eXplorist GC can be found on Magellan’s website here. For those interested in getting one, they can check out REI or Amazon, which both sell the unit for $199. Both of them offer free shipping to U.S. consumers.