As a child, you likely participated in a great many treasure hunts. While this was a captivating activity for children, it fell by the wayside as we matured and grew into adults. For some, however, the excitement of a treasure hunt was too much to put down. They simply could not go through their adult life without the joy of stumbling upon a hidden treasure. As a result, geocaching was born.
Photo: Friends of CCSP
Geocaching is described as a 'real-world outdoor treasure hunt.' Worldwide the estimated number of geocachers is at more than 6 million. The number of active geocaches is above 2.5 million. While there are no age restrictions to participate, it is essentially an adapted version of the hunts you may have gone on as a kid. Using GPS-enabled devices, those engaged in a search go to a specific set of coordinates to find a hidden trinket. These trinkets are stashed in places that the geocacher will have to find. The rule is that once you take a trinket, you replace it with one of your own of equal or greater value. There is no financial gain to be had from the trinkets you may discover; the reward is the simple joy of finding them.
Being that geocaching is a pastime for fun and enjoyment, it may not seem to have much to do with survival, and in truth, the game element of it probably does not. However, the basic concept behind geocaching is something that preppers can use to hide and in turn easily locate items of their own. In past articles, we talked about stashing items along possible bugout routes. Hiding things where you will be able to find them is essential to the usefulness of those items down the road, but what if you are forced to hide something in unfamiliar territory or are seeking something another prepper left for you?
It is easy enough to stash things by the biggest tree in area, but in doing so you leave yourself open to the possibility that a like-minded individual might stumble across your stuff in trying to hide their own. Instead, think back to the behavior of Walter White when he was Breaking Bad; he hid his money in the middle of the desert, marking its location with GPS coordinates. This is what we can all stand to learn from by adapting the behavior of geocachers and applying it to the positioning of survival stashes in the wilderness.
By using GPS coordinates to identify the locations where you placed a supply of survival items, you eliminate the need to use landmarks as a guide. Landmarks have their benefits and that is exactly why you should avoid using them to mark a hiding place; everyone can see, and will gravitate to, a landmark. Instead, take your supplies off the beaten path into a less obvious location and mark that more protected place with GPS coordinates. Using this method also makes deeply burying items more realistic.
Photo: The Prepper Journal
In addition to enabling yourself to easily track back to a supply point, having GPS coordinates that mark a location makes it possible to share where your items are. If at any point for any reason you cannot make it back to collect supplies, it is possible to send someone you trust to do so instead. Alternately, you might be the one doing the searching, in which case you will appreciate the locating abilities provided to you by having GPS coordinates. By using coordinates, you eliminate the guesswork that might exist if all you had to offer was a vague location or popular landmark. If you'd like to take a look at a specific location and find it's GPS coordinates, you may find this website useful.
Have you stashed any survival items by the way of a geocacher through the use of GPS coordinates? Have you found utilizing the same methods to be useful? Let us know in the comments.