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Monday, March 2, 2009

What's Your Geocaching Must Have Thing-A-Ma-Bob?

I love talking "shop" with fellow geocachers especially when it comes to tips and tricks they have aquired along their adventures. In every one of these discussions it was not the big expensive gizmos that grabbed my attention most but the home-made ingenuity to solve common problems or situations geocachers face.

I'll never forget going to my first event and while mingling around I ran into just one of the nicest geocaching couples you ever want to meet. The were elderly though you couldn't tell it by the sparkle in their eyes or the pep in their conversation. We talked about everything geocaching and for me at the time I had less than one hundred finds and you could just tell they were in the tens of thousands. He must have known how fascinated I was and without missing a beat he pulled out a plastic for from the virtual toolchest in his breast pocket.

"Know what this is for?", he asked with a big grin. "This little gizmo is the best for getting those sharp burs out of your clothes without getting poked."

"What a great idea", said I. I know in Maryland there is a very sharp bur that grows all over the place, planting into your shoes, socks and pants. If you even try to gently pull them out you immediately get pierced with sharp needles. What a simple yet effective answer to a problem I had delt quite painfully with for a while. How many other home made what-cha-ma-callits were out there that could be shared?

To find out I asked two of my favorite geocaching forums that very question.
"What tip, trick or homemade gizmo do you use that is an absolute must while geocaching?"
The response has been quite informative if not extremely inventive. Below is a compilation of those responses I hope you find value from it and share with others.

fishingdude720 - I usually carry a pocket knife to use as a prod stick for places I don't want to stick my hand into, and to cut down branches to use as a geo-pile.

Kit Fox - I've got a whole backpack of special "thingies." One item I carry for Joshua tree, Cholla, and Beavertail, spines is a set of sliver tweezers. http://www.rei.com/product/407072

sbell111 - a pen.

DarkZen and Beautiful - Two ideas:-I keep my batteries in a http://batterychargerz.com/shop/article_MHS-BH4AA/AA-AAA-Battery-Carry-Case.html. It protects them and it helps keep up with whether they are good or not - positive ends matching=bad, positive ends opposite=good.


Y2KOTA - I carry a red LED flashlight to help with nightcaching.


Star*Hopper - I've already posted a couple pix of my 'one indispensible & ever-present' cross-lock tweezers. A mini-Leatherman's always in my pocket, even when not caching; as is my 2" 'Bullet' Fisher Space Pen in the watch-pocket.....& while not indispensible, another couple of very handy items include the break-down 20' "reaching pole" I fashioned from 1.25" conduit (3x 7' sections velcro-banded together in the back of the Blazer) & these 2, which get considerable usage:~30" telescoping magnet.........& 2" 'snake' mirror (so-named for more'n 1 reason!!)

Too Tall John - a Pickle/Olive Grabber.

StarBrand - A Red Uniball Powertank pressurized pen - for signing logs.
Ball of string and a few paperclips.
Swiss Army kife with tweezers and toothpick.
Backup GPS unit.
Duck Tape.

Vater_Araignee - Because it would take a screwdriver and a 20 some odd dollar battery to change my battery if it dies, I made a 12v (8 AA) battery pack that I can plug my car charger into. It is inefficient but simple.

AZcachemeister - A turbo-torch with a tank of MAPP gas.

HH242 - Sample subpoenas. They give me a reason for skulking around places that are not ordinarily skulked around. I can explain that I am looking for so-and-so. After that, people generally leave me alone ... and when they don't I ask their name as I look through my stack of subpoenas.

aka Momster - 2 -$1 Bandanas. One for use as a cover-up to hide the GPSr or cache container from muggle eyes, makeshift water bottle carrier, cache location/trail marker, container and swag dryer, dirt remover, and many, many other uses one doesn't know until you need it. The second, hopefully clean, to stem the flow of blood. Stuff happens.

Snoogans - You know those extension pole grabbers you use to hang Christmas lights??? You're gonna need one to get some of my newest cache creations. I just love 5-Star difficulty. (Idea shamelessly stolen from GPSaxophone.)


power69 - 6 foot length of string with neodymium magnet on end for those rare occasions where a magnetic cache has fallen to earth and isnt retrievable bare handed.

WatchDog2020 - CellSensor EMF Detection Meter - made to detect cell phone radiation and electromagnetic fields but can be used to locate those tiny little magnetic nanos. Shhhhh don't tell.

Suburban Hillbillies - I have a small battery powered blacklight. I still haven't used it to actucally find a cache, but who knows.

geos of the jungle - During peak tick season I always have a roll of cellophane tape (e.g. Scotch). The tape works great for grabbing the ticks off my clothes, and I can count how many I nabbed at the end of the hike.

fox-and-the-hound - A pair of buckskin gloves. I always carry gloves (usually fleece) in winter, but these I carry all year long for when you have to climb that tree or reach into some sketchy-lookin' hole, etc. Very, very soft, feel like a second skin actually and have saved my hands again and again from bites, scrapes, tree sap, etc.


Isn't the internet wonderful!?
Woodstramp - When I first started folks mentioned carrying a clipboard to "look official" so as to ward off muggle attention. That sounded good but I use something a little smaller and more convenient. It's a small spiral bound pocket notebook. You can flip it open and lay the GPS over or under it if need be. It cammos the GPS hand well.
Team O-Zone - I have in my bag a telescoping mirror & telescoping magnet, among other things but I also carry a package of diaper wipes. It's great when you get plant sap on your hands, as well as when you're on a hike and you kid "needs to go now!" if you know what I mean!

DiamondDaveG - QUOTE(Woodstramp)
When I first started folks mentioned carrying a clipboard to "look official" so as to ward off muggle attention. That sounded good but I use something a little smaller and more convenient. It's a small spiral bound pocket notebook. You can flip it open and lay the GPS over or under it if need be. It cammos the GPS hand well.I have used this one many times. I always have a mini-composition book in the van for notes while driving too. Now that I came across one really cheap, I have started to carry an orange vest and a hard hat just in case I need to look even more 'official' than just the clipboard.

rastus76 - I have a bag that always goes with me. it has: a small led flash light, cammo duck tape, extra blank logs, my travel log book, empty cache containers, spool of green flower arrangement wire, band-aids, leather man tool camera, batteries, and i took an old solar light and stripped it down to just the battery housing and the solar panels. (i can leave it on the dash or take it with me. i used it during a week long hike thru yosimite and only took 6 rechargeable batteries. it keep my cam and gps going the whole time i was there.) there is also some baby wipes for cleaning muddy sappy or what ever hands and cleaning wounds.

Additions:

JustJohn - I like to wear the Mechanix brand gloves when reaching into nooks and crannies, and when climbing (coral outcroppings are sharp).

Nobody mentioned it, and it may be a no-brainer, but I carry plenty of ziplock bags, and used plastic grocery bags for trash and such.

If you have any to add to our ever growing list, please email headhardhat@gmail.com and they will be included. -HHH

3 comments:

Just John said...

I like to wear the Mechanix brand gloves when reaching into nooks and crannies, and when climbing (coral outcroppings are sharp).

Nobody mentioned it, and it may be a no-brainer, but I carry plenty of ziplock bags, and used plastic grocery bags for trash and such.

seeinstars89 said...

Wow! The printable subpoenas idea is great! And hilarious.

Heather said...

Dang... none of you live where I live, obviously. The one necessity? Bug spray!