If you're a seasoned cacher, these will all sound pretty obvious. But, if you're just starting out, these tips will (hopefully) keep you out of trouble, and help prevent your first few caches from being your last.
Always check a hole before putting your hands in it
Yep, this one is pretty obvious, but pretty important too. It’s not just creepy crawlies that you have to look out for - people can be horrible, sometimes leaving not-so-desirable things in the same holes we like to hide our caches.
So far, we’ve found two snake skins and one live snake guarding caches. Not to mention the spiders (real and fake) that we’ve come across.
Watch where you’re walking, not your phone
Yeah, we get it. You're keeping track of where your headed, or maybe you're double checking the clue for the coordinates. But life doesn't stop moving around you, so make sure you maintain a good situational awareness - no cache is worth getting hurt for.
Follow the rules and warnings of the area, even if it means a DNF
This isn't just for your own safety. To ensure that geocachers are allowed to keep exploring exciting areas, we have to make sure we're both respectful and careful.
Choose night caches with safety in mind
While sometimes this one is obvious, like a terrain 5 on the side of a cliff; other times it might not be. Dark alley? Walk in the woods? Always assess the level of danger. Who wants to be hunting for a micro with a torch, anyway?
Always take more than enough water
We learnt this the hard way, and I’m embarrassed to admit that it was long after we’d become seasoned hikers. We went on what we thought would be a nice morning hike, and ended up rationing the last sips of water as we tried to remain calm, walking 4.5 kilometres under the glaring Australian sun. We were extremely lucky, others are not.
Tell someone where you’re going
Geocaching is a mostly outdoors hobby. So, naturally we should be follow the same safety precautions as other outdoor sports. Heading out for a day in an unfamiliar town? Or perhaps you're just going for a day hike in your favourite forest. It doesn't matter, tell somebody.
If it doesn’t feel safe, don’t do it
Not all caches are meant to be found by everybody. Sometimes, you have to come back another time. Other times, you need to gain some more experience before attempting to tackle it. No cache is worth your life.
Consider bringing a first aid kit
Caches aren't the only things that require a little patching up sometimes. While you should always have a first aid kit in your car, if you’re going far you should consider throwing one in your backpack. Heck, we’ve even used ours to do some minor patch ups on some caches.
Always bring the right gear
Hunting for micros in the city? You probably won’t need much more than a pen. But going for a walk in the forest? Or planning a two hour trek that will require a tree climb at the end? You’re going to need to think about what you’ll be taking.
At the end of the day, geocaching should be fun. And while this isn't an exhaustive list, hopefully it's enough to keep your next geocaching adventure both safe and enjoyable. Thanks for reading, and happy caching!