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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Geocaching Wishes and Holiday GPSs To You


Dear Santa,

I have been extra good this year. Like every time I find a new geocache I re-hid it just as good or better than I found it. I tell my loved ones where I am before going deep into an isolated terrain by myself. There is something special that touches my heart when I trade items by replacing the item taken with something just as good or better. Finally I will help travel bugs and geocoins with their goals even if I don't have one to trade. I have been oh so very good this year Santa, will you fulfill my geocaching wishes?
Santa wanted to be sure that he was getting exactly what geocachers want for this year so he went to two geocaching forums and asked flat out. What geocaching thing-a-ma-bob do you want from Santa? Below is the top ten from dozens of responses. Now sure, jet packs, helicopters and tree climbing monkeys are all well and good, but, c'mon, let's get real here.
Counting down from 10 to number 1:
#10 - Palm PDA
Many geocachers want to go green when it comes to geocaching. Not just because it saves trees by not printing out all our geocache information and maps but the ease of having all the information you need right in the palm of your hand makes this a nice gift. Figure about $300.00 for a Palm TX.
#9 - Travel Bug Tags
These specially marked travel bug tags holds a unique ID number which makes every travel bug special. Every travel bug that is registered on geocaching.com receives it's own web page not only giving a full description and goal of the TB but maps showing where it has been as it goes from one cache to the next. Every request used words like loads, bunches and tons to describe how many would be great to be found under the tree or stocking. Average price for a travel bug is about $5.00 each.
#8 - Cache Mobiles
Be it Jeeps, Humvee or Hummers many geocachers would love a vehicle that will get them from here to the most remote caches on the planet. This pricey request would set back Santa some serious reindeer feed but it is on the minds of many geocachers this year. A 2008 Wrangler could set you back around 20K for starts. Better be extra good for one of these.
P.S. most cachers also requested an gas pump with endless fuel as well.
#7 - Digital Camera
I wrote an article just a few weeks ago about deciding on what kind of camera to buy for geocaching. You can find it here and it looks like a great article to read with all the requests for digital cameras this year. We geocachers love to take all sorts of photos of all the interesting places we have been, cool things we have seen and all the other geocaching things we do. Nothing tells a better story than a good digital picture. Digital cameras have come down in price quite a bit and you can get a great low to mid grade digital camera for about $150.00.
#6 - Hiking Boots
Okay you have me here. I too want a good, comfortable, well rounded hiking boot. When geocachers go out into the wild there is every kind of terrain imaginable. We are talking trails, woods, swamps, streams, deserts, mountains, the list goes on and on. That kind of terrain also entails potential dangers like snakes and other critters not to mention the wear and tear of all the hiking. So a good pair of hiking boots is just the ticket for the outdoor enthusiast in all of us.
Good boots can range from $150 and up. This is an item you may want to take your gift recipient with you when buying.
#5 - Buckets of Geocoins
This was stated over and over even when something else was also requested. Many geocachers just love geocoins. Like travel bugs, geocoins have a unique id number that can be registered on geocaching.com and you also receive a special web page to promote each coin. I don't know what it is that draws geocachers to geocoins, maybe it's because of the pirate booty feel of it when you hold them. Sometimes it is the special memory or place it represents. All I know is there are a whole lot of personal geocoin collections where they never see the wild except when taken in quantity to a nearby geocaching event. The average geocoin will cost around $10.00 each. Like any collectible it is up to the holder how much it is worth to them. These make great stocking stuffers or that special accent on any geocachers present.
#4 - Global Positioning Systems or GPS
The following three countdown items on every geocachers list all pertain to basically the same thing but there were such drastic demand for certain types of GPS units I broke them down by popularity. This countdown item is for all geocachers out there that want a GPS unit but do not know which GPS unit they want. To help you out I wrote an article a few weeks ago about which brand of GPS unit was found to be best this year. Coincidentally, the request for GPSs matched these results as well. You can read my article by clicking here. GPS units by far are the backbone to geocaching as we know it and whether we say it or not this is the gizmo we want most!
#3 - Delorme PN-XX GPS
If you go to the article stated in #4 you can read all about the Delorme series of GPS units. They have only really been making handheld units for little over the year but they have the potential of becoming the king of GPSs. This may not quite be their year but that does not stop the mainstream of geocachers out there wanting them big time. The price of a Delorme PN series can fetch you anywhere around $500.00. Be sure to read that article I put out before investing that kind of dough. You will be glad you did. Read it here.
#2 - Garmin GPS (any series)
No sense of denying it. Garmin is the king of handheld GPS units. Be it the high end flash of the Colorado, the complete and reliable workhorse 60CSx or the low end but highly used Etrex series you really can't go wrong with a Garmin. Of all the GPS units requested this year Garmin beat all the other brands combined. You can get a low end Etrex for under $100.00 and up through the high end Colorado and Oregons around $550.00.
#1 - Time
Funny how these surveys and polls turn out some times. It wasn't the flashiest gizmo or the most expensive thing-a-ma-bob that almost all geocachers asked for. Nope it was to have more time doing geocaching. We live in this always connected, hyper fast, must do more with less society and what we all crave is that blissful few moments of quiet. Sitting next to an ammo box or Lock and Lock box for a quick moment of bliss. Signing a log and rummaging through trade items, travel bugs and the rare geocoin. Noticing the wind as it gently raises the leaves or parts the clouds to expose that valley below. No it's not all the cool toys we love to play with, but the extra time to go out and do what we enjoy the most. Thank you Santa we would just love to have some of that wrapped with a bow as well.
Thanks to everyone from the forums of the NCGO and Geocaching.com. As usual you are the best for finding out what geocachers really know and think.