Geocaching is an extremely fun activity. It gets you outside, leads to a rewarding conclusion, and provides you with the feeling of a modern-day treasure hunt. That being said, finding a geocache is no easy task. That is why you need a good GPS.
When picking out a geocaching GPS there are several key aspects you need to keep in mind. That includes battery life, durability, sensitivity, and display. We have analyzed the following models on such attributes in order to explain what makes them so great.
- The Oregon 650t from Garmin is an excellent geocaching GPS for people who like to search all year long. The anti-glare technology helps you read the screen during sunny days, while the glove-compatible touchscreen enables you to navigate during the winter.
- Geocachers on a budget should look no further than the Garmin eTrex 10. This device comes in at one of the lowest price points on the market, making it a great way to get into geocaching without spending an arm and a leg.
- The Magellan eXplorist GC is a GPS device for serious geocachers. This waterproof model is not only tough, but it is also extremely sensitive.
Who Should Get This?
Anyone interested in geocaching, or anyone already deeply involved in the hobby, can make use of the items in this guide. Geocaching cannot be done without GPS tracking, and while you can use the GPS on your phone, it won’t work nearly as well as a dedicated handheld device.
That being said, the models in this guide aren’t for everyone. The following devices, while great, do come with a lot of fancy features and premium upgrades. While those may help more experienced cachers, they may not be needed for those on a budget, or those who are just starting out. There are the most basic options out there.
Best GPS for Geocaching: What to Consider?
You want your battery to last a long time. There’s nothing worse than getting close to a cache only to have your GPS die. Many modern GPS’s come packed with great features, but they often do so at the expense of battery life. Get a device that can hold a charge, and always be sure that the charge will last long enough to get you where you’re going. Models you can charge on the go are nice to have as well.
Weight not might seem like a big deal during the first few steps of your journey, but as you get further along, every ounce matters. A heavy bag can quickly turn a fun day of geocaching into a heavy slog that ends with sore shoulders and hurt knees. If you’re someone who doesn’t like taking around extra luggage, get a light GPS that’s easy to hold or carry for extended periods of time.
While not as important as battery life or weight, it always helps when you have a good-sized screen. A bright, colorful display is not only more pleasant to look at than a crowded black-and-white one, it is also much easier to use and operate. Your day out geocaching should be spent searching and exploring new areas, not constantly squinting at your GPS. Look for extra screen attributes, like backlights and anti-glare technology, as well.
Best GPS for Geocaching: Our Picks for 2020
The Oregon 650t is a great geocache GPS that works in all different conditions. This small device comes with a 16-hour battery life, reduces glare in bright sunlight, and can be used with gloves. In addition, it also allows you to share your routes, tracks, and waypoints.
If you’re someone who truly ventures into the unknown, the device also comes with US topographic data and you can add more maps as needed. That makes it a good choice for geocachers who travel across a lot of different areas. It’s also handy for brand new areas as well.
What We Like:
- Share routes and waypoints
- Built-in US topographic data
- Easy to add more maps
- Works great under bright sun
- Built-in camera
- Great battery life
- Glove-compatible touchscreen
What We Don’t Like:
- Can lose accuracy at higher elevations
- Crashes from time to time
The Garmin eTrex 10 is the best budget option on the market. However, don’t let the low price fool you. This waterproof device is rugged, sturdy, and packed full of useful features. That makes it a good choice for those who venture into tough terrain. The device is incredibly durable, thanks to its premium construction and waterproof shell. It can handle being dropped as well.
It also comes with a long-lasting battery life (20 hours) and a monochrome display. As an added bonus, it gives you the ability to track both high and low elevation points so you can easily tell just how long it will take you to get from one area to another.
What We Like:
- Intuitive design
- Tough construction
- Long-lasting battery life
- Incredibly accurate
- Tracks high and low elevation points
What We Don’t Like:
- Unable to install extra maps
- No SD card
Serious users who want a GPS solely dedicated to geocaching should look no further than the Magellan eXplorist GC. This device is rugged, tough, and completely waterproof. That enables you to take it anywhere in the world. In addition, it has a vibrant, easy-to-read display that’s then backed up by a highly-sensitive GPS. The interface, which enables you to quickly upload field notes, comes packed with information on the most popular geocaches in the world.
This allows you to navigate through new terrain. With a simple click, you can start your journey and record every single movement or step you make. In addition, it also calculates your speed and compares elevation against altitude to help you figure out how long a trip may take.
What We Like:
- Vibrant screen
- Upload your own maps
- Enables you to upload field notes
- Pre-loaded with popular geocaches
- Solid battery live
- Highly sensitive
- Bright display
What We Don’t Like:
- Can be tricky to navigate
Useful Tips and Information
Geocaching is a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot to get into. While this guide explains great GPS models for the hobby, it doesn’t go into deep detail about the hobby itself. If you want a more comprehensive guide on getting into geocaching, or if you want a rundown of the basics, check out this article.
A good GPS is important, but it’s far from the only geocaching equipment you’ll need. There are several important items you should take with you on your journey. This video gives a great rundown of those accessories and explains why they’re important.
As exciting as geocaching is, the right equipment makes it better. Finding a good GPS is easy, but finding a good GPS with all of the necessary accessories needed for geocaching is not. The above models provide you with the essentials, and ensure you’ll always end your trips with a hard-earned reward.
Do you like to geocache? Where do you go and what equipment do you use? Let us know in the comments below!
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.