Outdoor hobbies are often associated with potential risks and dangers, I totally understand that as it is a legitimate concern! And Geocaching is no exception …
… Indeed, in this short article, you will learn exactly how safe this hobby is, the exact risks that you should be aware of as well as how you can avoid those risks effectively!
Sounds good?! If so, let’s dive in.
Is geocaching safe?
Geocaching overall is on the safe side of the spectrum comparing with other outdoor hobbies (like hunting, kayaking, dirtbiking …).
Is it as safe as stamp collecting? Not at all. As long as you use common sense you’ll be fine. The majority of dangers you’ll encounter during geocaching are avoidable. Don’t let your guard down though.
It is easy to get into the groove of feeling safe, or forgetting the rest of the world exists while you are geocaching. You’ll get wrapped in finding a cache that danger might sneak up on you.
Caches will not be in a place where danger is present. A good example would be a cache hidden on the side of a cliff. No one is going to risk their safety in order to hide the cache in a dangerous area.
If they won’t risk their safety to hide a cache in a dangerous area, they wouldn’t expect someone to look for a cache in a dangerous area – such as the side of a cliff.
You have to consider the lengths a person would go to hide a cache. It would be reasonable to assume a person is not going to risk their safety to hide a cache. When out hunting, you can keep this in mind and feel a little bit safer.
Geocaching presents many other dangers outside where one may be hidden. The hobby itself is definitely safe, but there are a few dangers worth covering below …
Geocaching dangers/risks to watch out for!
What should you be on the lookout for while geocaching? Here are some examples.
Muggles are the everyday people not a part of the game. Most people will ignore, as long you appear as you fit in, but there are some that are going to give you trouble.
They may call the police, or approach you. Either way, both are situations you’ll want to avoid. Police will be more forgiving if you explain the game to them. Ordinary people feeling threatened by you snooping around looking for a cache are a little more unpredictable.
Your interaction with muggles could end in any type of possibility. Avoiding them at all costs should be your highest priority!
The elements will take their toll on you. Extreme heat or cold will harm you. Dress for the weather you’ll be searching in. Hot days require extra water on hand and cold days requires extra layers of clothing.
Always check the weather before you go out hunting. Yes, you could go hunting for a cache during rain, but would you want to?
Keep this in mind when you are planning to head out. Getting caught in bad weather could be easily avoided.
If not, you definitely put yourself in danger.
I’m not talking about a couple of birds chirping or a few squirrels searching for nuts. Dogs pose a serious threat.
Wild dogs are especially dangerous.
While hunting in the park, you’ll come across plenty of dogs on a leash. It’s the loose dogs you need to be worried about. Not to say a dog on a leash won’t attack, it’s possible, it’s more likely that a wild dog will want to take a bite out of you.
Most geocaches are hidden within city limits. You won’t have to worry about any other animals besides dogs – which is a definite good thing. You’ll want to keep an eye out for stray dogs that cross your path.
However, there are two other animals you should be aware of that will cause injury – snakes and spiders.
Dogs are a lot easier to spot coming. They are big and tend to make a ton of noise, such as growling or barking, before attacking. Spiders and snakes don’t make any noise. A rattlesnake is an exception.
Unfortunately, you’ll encounter plenty of spiders out on your hunts. They are tiny and end up in dark places – you know, the same kinds of places most caches are hidden. Black widows are the main ones you should be aware of.
These poisonous spiders are more common than people expect. The red marking on their body is a dead away to help determine what kind of spider they are. Brown recluse spiders are another type of dangerous spider. They are less common, but you should do some research on them also to help identify them in the wild.
Snakes come in all kinds of varieties, some more dangerous than others. Most spider bites will hurt immediately then eventually heal. Snake bites are much different. Depending on the snake, it could be life threatening!
There are too many snakes to name, which is why it’s important to do some research about potential snakes in the area you may be visiting. Most public parks indicate if poisonous snakes are around. Do your own homework and play it safe without having to rely on a sign that may or may not still be standing when you arrive.
Mosquitoes and ants are annoying. These two are the most common insects you’ll come across. Spray on mosquito repellent and avoid stepping in ant piles. Common sense will help you avoid these insects.
The insects you should be looking out for are bees and wasps. Bees especially if you are allergic. Avoid either insect at all costs. Where there is one, there is many. Both are notorious for not letting up once they are on the attack.
Tips for safe geocaching …
What can you do to keep yourself safe? Here are a few tips to help you be a little more safer on your next hunt.
1. Plan ahead
Sounds obvious?! That’s because it is, yet it is often overlooked!
Plan your route and prepare for the type of weather you are going to be in. This simple tip of planning your adventure can be the difference between a good time and a disaster. Seems a bit extreme, but you never know what’s going to happen when you are out on a hunt.
It’s always best to be prepared. And no, you cannot prepare for everything. No one can. You can only be more prepared than the person who didn’t plan.
All different scenarios could occur. A flat tire. You forgot to charge your phone. Lost in the woods. You get the idea.
2. Pack supplies
Make a list of what you need for however long you plan on hunting. Personally, a backpack stocked with supplies is your best option. You could choose a lightweight, drawstring backpack, but there are better options, such as classic school backpack or hiking backpack.
A school backpack will easily store water bottles, snacks, a small first aid kit, flashlight, and extra pens for signing logs. Plus, you can keep trinkets to leave behind for trading with other geocachers.
Hiking backpacks are more durable and can store tons more supplies. Realistically, they are overkill. Most hunts will last a few hours, so unless you plan on camping or making long treks try to pack light.
A fanny pack or shoulder sling bag is a great option for small hunts around town.
Regardless, choose a bag to hold your supplies. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
3. Tell people where you are going
Most hikers know this tip by heart. That’s because it can save a life. Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. This tip does not only pertain to the great outdoors. Anything could happen, even within city limits.
Try to give someone a rough idea of where you will be, and when you plan on returning. Considering you need the app on your phone to track caches, it won’t be difficult to update someone if you plan to hunt a new place or for longer than expected.
4. Know your limits
Geocaching is fun. That’s why it has exploded in popularity. If you have ever found a cache, then you know the thrill that comes with it – just like you know the desire to find another immediately after.
It’s easy to get caught in the hunt. You lose track of time and end up walking for miles.
If you have never been on a hunt, well then you should be expecting a ton of walking, bending, and reaching at various heights. Know your physical limits and plan for them.
It’s important to know what your physical limit is. You know yourself better than anyone else. Which means you know when it is time for a break. Take one or stop all together.
Don’t risk your health or get an injury because you pushed on in order to find a cache.
Geocaching is a fun way to get in daily exercise. However, don’t let the fun fool you into forgetting you are exercising. Stretch, warm up, and drink plenty of water to prevent injuries. Build your endurance over time.
Final Thoughts …
The main purpose of this short post is not, by any means, to scare you on what you might be encountering while looking for targets geocaching …
… My goal is simply to grow your awareness about the worst case scenarios (generally unlikely to happen) so you will be able to keep yourself (and also your geocaching partners if doing it in groups) safe at all times!
So, with that being said, please take notes of those elements above and consider implementing them as much as you possibly can!