Campsite Geocaching Activity

Activity Resource

It is easy to combine Geocaching with Camping, and adds another fun dimension, it a great activity to make available for the young people who are stating at your campsite.

What Makes a Good Geocache Hide?

Have seen a few campsites that offer geocaching, some offer a great experience and one or two are not so great. Why are some geocaching site activities disappointing? a good trial needs a good understanding of geocaching, needs not only some different types of cache but needs to be exciting to find.

Make a plan for caches on site, make a number locked box with an elastic band target range, a Large ammo box that has lots of swag (trade items, maybe make it part of a puzzle cache to finish) keep it well stocked. Magnetic Sign cache, Travel Bug Hotel, so groups can send their trackable would be a good public by your site entrance.
So take some time to look at great caches, could you make that one? Let’s look at what you need to know…

Can we list our geocaches on

Geocache hiding guidelines require the permission of the landowner when placing a geocache, the tough one is that to be on they will need to be accessible to the public most of our campsites will not be openly accessible so they cant be listed. You can find the full listing guide Here So for that reason most camps will be making a private unlisted trail of their own.

How will our young people find the geocaches?

So let’s look at how we offer the onsite geocaching as an activity that will be self-led. Does not require a listing.

Programed GPS for onsite Geocaching

One of the most common questions is what GPS shall we get for this, there are a number of units and some have a high cost because of Mapping or Bluetooth, Compass, is great but unnecessary. Programmable units are ideal, a good option is the Garmin eTrex 10, good price and USB programable, and has Geocaching on its Desktop.

In programming a GPS my preference is GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) this is not the only way there are a number of options that will make GPX files to send to a GPS to program, but this is the one I shall tell you more about. GSAK 101 Guide

Coordinates Only Option

With a number of GPS devises such as mobile phones there is the option to just provide the Geocaches and the infomation, the cordnates are long and dose slow things up a bit but can work, is very usful if there is little or no budget avable.


Simpley make a set of instuctions to follow with the name of each geocache:

Fine “The Warden Cashe” 52.0504° N, 0.6121° E

Description: Lange ammo can, contains swag and log book, swag is a number of swops, the rule is take somthing leave somthing (CAN’T BE MONEY OR FOOD)

Clue: Where troles live


Using an Ordnance Survey map or a campsite map is another way, not as much fun as using GPS but can be used as a fun way to teach mapping skills, coordinates, and bearings, is getting very near orienteering but can still involve finding Geocaches. You might want to provide this as a second option for leaders who are after running the navigator’s badge for instance. You might find our OS 4K Page useful.

Programming a GPS using GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife)

Let’s look at GSAK and how it can be used to program your GPS ready for site activity in steps:

1. Download and install GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) GSAK is free and contains no ads, a lot of the features for listed geocaching can only be used if you have a premium account.

2. Open GSAK and the first thing you will need is to make a database, this will hold all the information for your trail. Goto Databases/make new.

3. Listing you Site Cashes in you data base is done by using add a wapoint, you can input location, name, descriptions and of course a clue to help find the cache.

4. Go to your GPS as Set your GPS Model, then send waypoints to you GPS ( make sure USB is pluged in and you computer has detected the GPS) and the GPS is reddy with your Programed Geocachs!


Move your GPS System Icons to See Geocaching first if your units have this feature.

When explaining for the eTrex 10 we made instruction cards to help, a sample download to help.

Sometimes you will find that the geocache in your GPS has been marked as found an will not show in the list, clearing the unit and reloading will reset this quickly for the next user.


How will our young people use the GPS?

Lets look at how with basic information and preprogramming our young people can leed the way

GPS Card

This was a Card that was laminated and given out at Essex Jamboree when we run the Geocaching at that event. Feel free to right-click save and print (A3 is the recommended size)

A good instuction to give is “Back to the Desktop” Keep pressing the Back key get you the the menu.

Seting up the GPS, is posable to change the Icons in the Menu to have Geocaching, Compass, and Map at the top.



Returned GPS

When a GPS is returned after use, it can often have the Geocaches marked as found and will no longer show in the Geocache List.

You could go to Geocaching and use Show Found to see them and remove Found. If you’re running a site or event that could take some time, so before they get used, connect to a PC and open the files stored, save a copy so when they are returned you can just delete the files and copy the saved files back to the GPS, it will then have all the changes or and setting change removed and reddy to use again!  



Belchamps Geocaching Trail

This is a GSAK in action, click on the screenshot for a better view.

You can make as many databases as you like for the campsite, you can even make and off-site trails using listed geocache by importing into a database (only available to premium account users) 


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