There’s something magical about geocaching in winter. Whether it’s the frosty footsteps, the clear crisp air, or the breathtaking views, it’s a wonderful time to go geocaching.
We’ve gathered together some top tips to help you get outside and enjoy being closer to nature this winter.
It can seem strange to think about over-heating in winter, but sweating is one of the easiest ways to get cold when out geocaching. So breathable layers are crucial in helping you cope with this. Merino wool base layers are the best as they naturally wick sweat away from your skin. And a breathable jacket is the icing on your layer cake, too.
Beat the wind at its own game
A strong wind can often make it feel colder than it actually is. The best way to beat windchill is with a wind-stopper. A lightweight wind-shell, or soft-shell jacket can be the perfect solution.
Stay warm when you stop
The moment you stop, be it to check your map or GPS, take a swig from the flask, or to soak up a spectacular view, you start cooling down. Staying warm is always better than cooling down, then trying to warm up again. So take a tip from the pros and cover-up before you get cold. Carry a lightweight down (or synthetic) insulated jacket with you in your bag, great for whipping out when you stop. They pack up really small and weigh next to nothing – perfect additional winter warmth.
The big switch – to mitts
A top tip from the professionals is to wear mitts. The heat from all your fingers will work together, like a little pack of penguins, sharing the warmth between them. If you need to use your hands a lot, it can be a good idea to wear a liner glove beneath the mitt to keep the elements away when your mitts are off.
Turn the heating up
What better way to stay warm than to start off toasty? Heat your base layers, gloves and hats on the radiator before you put them on and you’ll be cosy all day. And when you stop for that hot chocolate, simply stash them inside your jacket to keep them warm. That way, when you’re heading back out there, you’ll be warm and toasty.
Correct use of the clothing layering system will help to keep you in a comfortable heat throughout your walk. Add layers when you’re cold, remove them when you’re too hot. If you’re already familiar with the layering system, be sure to add gloves and a hat to your kit for winter, if you aren’t familiar with the layering system.
Know the limitations of your gear
If you want to do some serious geocaching through winter, it’s worth doing some research on the gear you purchase. We’ve all seen and read stories of people taking on Snowdon in trainers, Ben Nevis in a basic waterproof suit etc. All outdoor gear is not made for every task, most gear is great for certain things, but you really don’t want to take a gamble through winter.
Wear something brightly coloured
We all naturally lean towards darker colours when buying clothing, it’s sleeker, it’s cooler etc – but if the worst does happen and you need to be rescued, earthy colours are incredibly difficult to see from a distance. A brightly coloured jacket, rucksack cover, or even survival bag could save your life. A piece of kit that takes up hardly any space in your pack, that could save your life in a variety of ways?Under £5? You’d be crazy not to.
Tell somebody where you are going
Getting a good idea of where you are is the key to a rescue team being able to get to you within a good time. Make sure somebody at home knows your planned route and timings, if they’re able to contact Rescue, it can narrow down the search area.
Pack a pick-me-up to keep you going
A flask of tea/coffee can really perk you up when you’re tired and cold, high carb foods like fudge, mint cake and flapjack can give you a much-needed energy boost so you can keep up the pace.
Light up the way
As well as bright clothing, it’s also useful to carry a torch or head torch in your pack with working batteries. Not only is a light useful for drawing attention, but it can also help you with finding your landmarks to help you navigate.
Take somebody with you
Often the best way to keep safe is to not go alone, it’s always more motivation to walk with somebody else, if there are any accidents, there’s another person to call for rescue, if you both carry different bits of kit, one GPS running out of battery isn’t as bad. geocaching is very much a social activity and is always best enjoyed in pairs or groups, well we think so anyway.
As the weather warms up, it’s time to start planning how you will spend the summer. For geocaching lovers, this is sure to involve a few great locations with spectacular views along the way. Here’s some handy tips for geocaching in hot weather.
Drink lots of Water
If you’re heading out on a trail geocaching walk away from shops or bars, pack plenty of water for the journey.
Yes, it will add to the weight that you’re carrying, but it is absolutely vital to stay hydrated, especially on a long geocaching walk when you will sweat more. Take regular sips throughout your geocaching walk.
For those going on a longer hike, you may also want to pack a sports drink containing glucose. This will help with your energy levels and avoid fatigue.
Ice Ice Baby
If it’s possible, plan ahead with those water bottles, filling them half way and putting them in the freezer over-night. Then fill it to the top with water before you leave. This will keep your water cooler for longer, which you’ll really appreciate when you’re out in the sun.
Protect your Skin
Most of us know the importance of wearing sunscreen. Pick a high factor and reapply it regularly. If you are wearing geocaching sandals, remember to apply the sun cream to your feet too!
In addition to sun cream, wear a hat. It may get a little hot and sweaty, but it’s so important to protect your head – especially considering it’s the first part of you that the sun will hit, and not as easy to apply sun cream too if you have hair!
Sunglasses to protect your eyes is also a good idea and will allow you to enjoy the views at their best without all the squinting.
Avoid the Midday Sun
Avoid geocaching between 10am and 2pm when the sun is at its strongest. If it’s absolutely necessary, seek out shade wherever you can.
Don’t be fooled by a Sea Breeze
If you are geocaching at a high elevation or along the coastline, you may feel a nice breeze on your geocaching walk. This is great to help keep you cool, but don’t let it fool you. The sun could still be burning your skin, so make sure you’re still covering up and applying that sun cream regularly.
Be prepared to STOP
If you begin to feel dizzy, confused, fatigued, have difficulty breathing, notice your breathing or heart rate increase noticeably or feel any discomfort, STOP! Find some shade, sit down, drink some water and rest. Make sure you have someone with you to keep an eye on you until you feel better. You may be suffering from heat stress or heat stroke. This is extremely serious. Do not underestimate these symptoms!
Select a Route That Includes Shade
Avoid direct sun and geocaching on asphalt or concrete. Natural surface paths under the trees are the cooler places to walk. These are also favoured by insects, so choose an insect repellent if they bug you too much, and check for ticks afterward. You can use the online app to find a geocaching route and use the “Satellite View” or “Hybrid View” to see where the trees and shade may be.
Make Your Own Shade
Your hot-weather geocaching gear should include light-colored clothing that is rated for shielding you from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. While you may think less clothing will be cooler, note that people who walk in the desert keep their skin covered with loose, lightweight clothing.
Wear a hat with a visor or a desert cap with flaps to shade your neck. Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn, skin cancer, and wrinkles. Wear sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB to protect your eyes.
Use Cooling Tactics
Look for magic cooling bandannas that have crystals that swell with water and keep your neck cool for a long time. You can also dampen and freeze a bandanna or washcloth and keep it in a ziplock bag with ice cubes, even carrying it in an insulated carrier in a backpack. Place it around your neck for a quick cooldown.
Choose the Right summer footwear
Waterproof geocaching boots are great for most of the year, especially with the unpredictable British weather. But when hot weather is guaranteed, something more breathable is needed and let’s face it, sandals just feel so much more summery than geocaching shoes!
Whether you’re heading abroad, taking a staycation, or just planning a few geocaching walks on the sunny summer weekends, a good pair of geocaching sandals are a worthy investment for geocaching in hot weather.
Summer footwear recommendations
For those who will just be strolling through town and sticking to more paved pathways (with the off walk along the beach of course!), a good pair of geocaching sandals with adjustable straps will be fine. If you’re planning on doing a lot of geocaching along rocky coastal paths, cobbled streets or taking a country trail this summer, we’d highly recommend investing in a pair of closed toe sandals.
A good pair of geocaching sandals have a number of benefits over standard fashion sandals they have a more rugged outsole for better grip on varied terrain, and will offer underfoot cushioning comfort from the insole and midsole. Many styles also have adjustable straps, ideal for getting the perfect fit, especially when feet can swell in the heat.
Closed Toe Sandals
For those who enjoy coastal walks on loose, pebbly terrain, closed toe sandals are a fantastic choice. Closed toe sandals (also known as shandals) offer the durability, protection and traction you’d expect from geocaching shoes, with the breathability of a sandals, combined to make the perfect summer footwear.It always feels harder to walk in the heat, so the last thing you need is to be carrying more weight on your feet!
Follow these tips to make sure the whole family is prepared for geocaching in all weathers.