View Full Version : Quick introduction



mattmill
01-04-2007, 07:56 AM
Hi there, My name is Matt and a co-worker of my wife was telling us about geocaching. My kids, 11 and 7, thought that it would be fun to go on treasure hunts, especially the 11 year old. My wife works a lot of weekends so I am always looking for something to do with the kids and dog.

So, I am looking into all this. It seems a little overwhelming but I do not have a GPS unit yet. I think that once I have one in hand and learn how to use it a lot of this will make more sense to me. We live in Brunswick and it looks like there are many caches in the area so we could almost walk from home to a few to "get our feet wet."

Is it worth waiting and buying a used better unit when they come up or just getting the basic yellow etrex? You guys know the way these work and the 60 series seems nice with the antenna but over twice the price. I want the kids to be successful, if they are not they will want to stay home.

Thanks everyone and looking forward to the first find,
matt

dí76
01-04-2007, 08:06 AM
You can find them with the Etrex and many of us started at that level them bought up when we thought that we where ready. I started with an etrex and shortly after bought a 60 c and have loved it ever since. It is more money but the trade of is that it is much easier to use. ANd with getting the kids involved this way they can see where they are going. I just helped a woman get an etrex legend cx up and running and with the 50 $ rebate it was about 219 $ and that sounds a little easier to pallett then the 450.

Good luck and happy trails

Trezurs*-R-*Fun
01-04-2007, 08:18 AM
Hi there, My name is Matt and a co-worker of my wife was telling us about geocaching. My kids, 11 and 7, thought that it would be fun to go on treasure hunts, especially the 11 year old. My wife works a lot of weekends so I am always looking for something to do with the kids and dog.

So, I am looking into all this. It seems a little overwhelming but I do not have a GPS unit yet. I think that once I have one in hand and learn how to use it a lot of this will make more sense to me. We live in Brunswick and it looks like there are many caches in the area so we could almost walk from home to a few to "get our feet wet."

Is it worth waiting and buying a used better unit when they come up or just getting the basic yellow etrex? You guys know the way these work and the 60 series seems nice with the antenna but over twice the price. I want the kids to be successful, if they are not they will want to stay home.

Thanks everyone and looking forward to the first find,
matt


Firstly let me welcome you to these forums and to geocaching in general. Your on your way toward total enlightenment, grasshopper. LOL:)
I think you and your family will really enjoy this sport and get to spend some great times together. I know my family really enjoys it.

As to the GPS unit you purchase, well they all basically work the same, they pick up signals from satellites that tell you your location on the face of the planet. I think everyone has their preference in brand and type, as do I but I think I will recommend to you to purchase the GPS that you can afford. The "higher end" GPS can be harder to learn but obviously have more extensive features, whereas "lower end" units may lack features that you'll want later on as you get more proficient with GPSing.

When recommending computers to new buyers I always say, "Buy the most you can afford as it won't become obsolete so quickly." I think this may hold true for GPS units as well.

Once Again welcome to this great sport and these great forums.

Steve

Cache Maine
01-04-2007, 08:53 AM
Welcome to the sport!

Another thought I just had was that if you did start with an etrex yellow or maybe even a legend, when you do upgrade, the kids can inherit the old one and use that. What a skill to have as a youngster!

I actually started with the legend and still have it, but have added a bluetooth gps and a pda so I can have guided mapping in the truck. When I get to the location, out comes the legend and that's what I hunt with.

Also, this thread might remind someone here that they have one to sell, and that might be an option.

Good luck and hopefully we will meet on the trail or an event someday!

Haffy
01-04-2007, 09:31 AM
Or even better the next best thing would be to hook up with someone down around that area to go caching with and let them lead you to the cache :) .Seriously though there are any number of options you could choose and I would say go with what you can afford now and upgrade when you can later. Don't wait any longer though as you will be just depriving your kids of some great fun. Welcome to the addiction.........:D And welcome to our site where as you can see we have a lot to offer. Oh and one other thing too, there are loads of people out there who cache without a GPS and they use Google earth and close in on the cache that way and then go out to look for it. Happy Caching

LaughingTerry
01-04-2007, 09:42 AM
The Legend is OK but it tends to give you problems under tree cover. I found my first several hundred with a Legend though. I love my new GPS60CSx though. The idea of going with a local geocacher a couple times is a great one. That way if you don't think you will keep doing it you don't have money invested in it. Once you get hooked you can spend money on a good GPSr, then comes the PDA, the signature items, the......well you get the idea. LOL

I took my Mother-out-law a couple times. After the second she decided she wanted a GPSr and a Jeep. Two weeks later she had a GPSr (Legend). At the end of the Summer she had a Jeep. LOL

However you do it have a great time and we hope to meet you at some of the events.

dí76
01-04-2007, 09:57 AM
Garmin did make it truely difficult to match the user friendlyiness and the dependabilty of the 60 series. The buttons on the front and the mark and find button so that you dont have to go chasing through the menu screens everytime that you want to check something out.:)

mattmill
01-04-2007, 10:29 AM
Garmin did make it truely difficult to match the user friendlyiness and the dependabilty of the 60 series. The buttons on the front and the mark and find button so that you dont have to go chasing through the menu screens everytime that you want to check something out.:)

I just heard about a GPS60 w/o maps for $101 so I might go that way since that is the same price as the yellow etrex.

Thanks everyone for making me feel welcome!

matt

firefighterjake
01-04-2007, 11:07 AM
Hi there, My name is Matt and a co-worker of my wife was telling us about geocaching. My kids, 11 and 7, thought that it would be fun to go on treasure hunts, especially the 11 year old. My wife works a lot of weekends so I am always looking for something to do with the kids and dog.

So, I am looking into all this. It seems a little overwhelming but I do not have a GPS unit yet. I think that once I have one in hand and learn how to use it a lot of this will make more sense to me. We live in Brunswick and it looks like there are many caches in the area so we could almost walk from home to a few to "get our feet wet."

Is it worth waiting and buying a used better unit when they come up or just getting the basic yellow etrex? You guys know the way these work and the 60 series seems nice with the antenna but over twice the price. I want the kids to be successful, if they are not they will want to stay home.

Thanks everyone and looking forward to the first find,
matt

Well it looks like I'm coming into this discussion a bit late, but figured I would add my two cents anyways.

First, as TRF mentioned, welcome to geocaching and to geocachingmaine.org . . . hopefully you and your family will find geocaching as fun and rewarding as I have . . . and hopefully you will find that geocachingmaine.org is a great site to get questions answered and to "meet" some great folks.

As for your specific question . . . my own opinion is to buy what you can afford. For $150 or so (or even less as you have discovered) you can purchase a new map-capable (something I personally like since I am very visually oriented) GPSr. In general the more expensive the GPSr is = the more features . . . but I have found that very often I use very few of these extra features (it really depends on what you're looking to use your GPSr for.)

My first GPSr was a Magellan Meridian color unit . . . I bought this since it had a color screen and the bundled package made it very attractive to me since it came with software, cords, vehicle mount, etc. I still use this GPSr today . . . primarily in my vehicle to get me to the parking area of the cache since it offers turn-by-turn directions . . . although I also use it when sledding and ATVing as I have a topographical map loaded on it as well.

My latest (and favored) GPSr however is a Magellan Explorist 210 which I purchased for $150. This unit is wicked small and light-weight and seems to be a bit more accurate than my older Meridian. This unit does not offer a color screen, but I find it more useful when hiking and geocaching.

Regardless of what GPSr you purchase you should find that just about any GPSr on the market will serve your needs for geocaching . . . and be aware that even though the latest and greatest GPSrs may be better the accuracy and success of the hunt depends on both how accurate the hider was in establishing the coordinates (and consequently how accurate their GPSr was/is) and your own ability in determining where and how a cache may be hidden (and this is something you will learn with experience.)

Final thought . . . we've all started out brand new to geocaching and we've all made plenty of mistakes or had questions . . . so if you start out and have questions, ask away!

mattmill
01-04-2007, 11:35 AM
Thanks everyone. Here is a first question. At the store they told me to always take a traditional compass and topo map with me for navigation, do you guys do that? I guess I thought that this would take the place of all that even without the mapping GPS unit. Is it back to boy socut orienteering for me to start?

matt

becket
01-04-2007, 11:37 AM
Thanks everyone. Here is a first question. At the store they told me to always take a traditional compass and topo map with me for navigation, do you guys do that? I guess I thought that this would take the place of all that even without the mapping GPS unit. Is it back to boy socut orienteering for me to start?

matti always take a compass! of course, i don't know how to use it (just ask hollora, ffjake or cachemaine!) but i always have it with me! welcome!

Cache Maine
01-04-2007, 11:45 AM
I do not take a compass for geocaching or a topo map.

Make sure to waypoint (mark) your vehicle though so that if you do get turned around, you know where your ride is!

firefighterjake
01-04-2007, 11:49 AM
I probably should take a compass with me or a topo map, but I've gone into the woods many a time and have always found my way out without using either one . . . and I live dangerously . . . I rarely waymark my vehicle even (but I do keep track of where I have been with a bread crumb track!):D

brdad
01-04-2007, 12:39 PM
4 years of caching and 900+ caches and I still use my Old yeller! I do have a Legend I use as well lately. Anyway, get what you can get reasably.

I take a compass because I have run into a few caches that require them. A lot of what you should take depends on your abilities in the woods, and just what types of caches you are going for. Fresh batteries and waypointing your car will usually do more good for most cachers - until they drop the GPS off that cliff at sundown!

Haffy
01-04-2007, 02:23 PM
I suppose you could take a map and compass with you on the outside chance that your batteries run out but for myself I don't even own a compass and the GPS has made that possible.Just carry extra batteries and don't forget to waypoint your car and you should be all set to go. With your kids caching with you I doubt that you will be going on any 10 mile hikes through dense forests to find your caches. Doesn't hurt I'm sure to have some experience with reading maps and compasses though. JMHO

mattmill
01-04-2007, 02:45 PM
Thanks for the compass info guys. I think I am picking up the Garmin GPS60 tonight and hopefully this weekend get the kids outside.

matt

Beach Comber
01-04-2007, 04:31 PM
oh! You're supposed to take something with you when you go caching? Hmmmmmmm - no wonder I can't find the blasted things - hehehe

brdad
01-04-2007, 05:09 PM
oh! You're supposed to take something with you when you go caching? Hmmmmmmm - no wonder I can't find the blasted things - hehehe

See, if you'd only had a compass and map at Old 470, things may have been different? :D

Then again, now that you've been so many times, you can probably draw your own map!

WhereRWe?
01-04-2007, 07:30 PM
oh! You're supposed to take something with you when you go caching? Hmmmmmmm - no wonder I can't find the blasted things - hehehe

No, no. Sheesh! You're supposed to take SOMEONE with you when you go caching - not something! LOL!

(That way they can look for the cache while you wander around with the GPSr!)

Beach Comber
01-04-2007, 08:07 PM
That's a great idea - lol!!!

hollora
01-04-2007, 09:04 PM
One thing I learned a tad to late was - start with caches a bit away from where you live. That leaves the close ones open when the weather is bad or other reasons you may not want to travel.

My circle must go out for finds and I now think it would be better to be working in. Just something I had not thought about or been guided on when I started.

Enjoy the experience. There is a lot to see and learn. Can be loads of fun.

LaughingTerry
01-04-2007, 09:20 PM
At the store they told me to always take a traditional compass and topo map with me for navigation, do you guys do that?

matt

Compass??? Topo???? Ummm 967 finds later and I have never had either. LOL Got lost once when my batteries died and I forgot to have extras with me. I learned to always carry spares. LOL

mattmill
01-04-2007, 11:37 PM
Well, I picked up the Garmin GPS60 tonight at LL Bean for $101 and after 2 hours looking at it and the manual, my head hurts!:( I think it will be easier this weekend when it's light outside instead of at the kitchen table. I loaded the mapsource software that came with it and managed to transfer a couple of waypoints to the GPSr but until I go outside and can see things I feel pretty lost :confused:.

matt

Beach Comber
01-04-2007, 11:45 PM
That is how many of us have felt at the beginning - and sometimes with many caches behind us as well!! I got a new GPS a few months ago and I am still working out the details in how to use it most effectively. Don't give up!! Once you get going you will have lots of fun. If you can make it to an event, that will help greatly as you can talk with people and get some guidance in person. Feel free to keep using this site as a resource - there is lots of knowledge to be shared :)

Hiram357
01-04-2007, 11:54 PM
Well, I picked up the Garmin GPS60 tonight at LL Bean for $101 and after 2 hours looking at it and the manual, my head hurts!:( I think it will be easier this weekend when it's light outside instead of at the kitchen table. I loaded the mapsource software that came with it and managed to transfer a couple of waypoints to the GPSr but until I go outside and can see things I feel pretty lost :confused:.

matt


it all comes in good time, the more caches you do, and the more you use your GPS the faster youll become an expert like everyone else :D :D :D

firefighterjake
01-05-2007, 09:15 AM
it all comes in good time, the more caches you do, and the more you use your GPS the faster youll become an expert like everyone else :D :D :D

Unless you have a Magellan GPSr, right? ;) :D

firefighterjake
01-05-2007, 09:19 AM
Well, I picked up the Garmin GPS60 tonight at LL Bean for $101 and after 2 hours looking at it and the manual, my head hurts!:( I think it will be easier this weekend when it's light outside instead of at the kitchen table. I loaded the mapsource software that came with it and managed to transfer a couple of waypoints to the GPSr but until I go outside and can see things I feel pretty lost :confused:.

matt

Sounds like you picked up a half-decent one at a great price . . . regardless of what type you have trying to learn how to use one at first can be challenging for many of us (especially electronic idiots like myself -- for example when I first started out I didn't set the geocache as a waymark and instead would try to "line" up the N and W coords and would go back and forth as I tried to get the numbers to match up on my GPSr -- in looking back the folks at the Pittsfield nursing home probably thought I was a deranged line dancer as I went forwards, backwards and side to side before finding the danged geocache), but I've found that just getting out helps to start learning how to use the GPSr . . . that and I've picked up tips from other geocachers along the way (i.e. for a long time I used the map to get me to the cache, before I realized it was usually easier to use the compass.)

mattmill
01-05-2007, 10:00 AM
Are there decent tutorials online somewhere that are GPSr specific? The manual is pretty slim for someone that is new to this. I am starting to understand the basics of cache finding from reading (reality WILL be different). For example, map page zoom, what is a good level and is over zoom bad? Also, the accuracy circle and 2D and 3D navigation.

matt

dí76
01-05-2007, 10:52 AM
I would suggest using it zoomed out a ways at first and then zooming in as you get closer. THe detail is better is when you get closer

I would strongly consider hooking up with someone that has experiance with the gps or one like it and spend some time with them. Folks in this web site are more then helpful when it comes to meeting and working out some of the bugs. I would suggest posting another thread asking for any one in the Brunswick area that will be caching this weekend mind having a tag along. THere is no better way to learn then to have hands on experiance.

firefighterjake
01-05-2007, 12:35 PM
I would suggest using it zoomed out a ways at first and then zooming in as you get closer. THe detail is better is when you get closer

I would strongly consider hooking up with someone that has experiance with the gps or one like it and spend some time with them. Folks in this web site are more then helpful when it comes to meeting and working out some of the bugs. I would suggest posting another thread asking for any one in the Brunswick area that will be caching this weekend mind having a tag along. THere is no better way to learn then to have hands on experiance.

Robt lives in the Brunswick area doesn't he . . . or am I thinking of someone else? And I concur with Dave . . . hooking up with another more experienced cacher might help a lot . . . especially if they happen to have experience with that type of GPSr.

Haffy
01-05-2007, 02:27 PM
I think Team Teebow and Team Trout are also down in that area aren't they?

mattmill
01-05-2007, 03:09 PM
I'll try to hook up with someone but I did find one at lunch and have a much better understanding of how this thing works. Hopefully I can get the kids out this weekend and we can experiment some more :D

matt

dí76
01-05-2007, 04:15 PM
Heres a streatch but I swung by the mapstore in Old Town today and asked Peggy if she new of any online tutorials that may be of assistence and she showed me these DVDs that are for the beginner. She didnt have alot to say about them but here is the link that was on the back of the case.

http://www.gpsoutfitters.com/index.htm

robt
01-05-2007, 08:25 PM
Yes, I am in Brunswick.

Matt, if you need some help let me know, I like to get out as often as I can. Depending on how long I have my grandson tommorrow will probaly go out tommorrow or sunday afternoon if I can. Let me now.

RobT