There is a running joke I share with a friend. It has to do with her purse. Well, actually, it doesn’t really end there. It goes on to her car. The thing is if you ever need anything, this woman has it. Chances are it will be in her purse, but if for some strange reason it’s not, it will be in her car. And I do mean anything
A group of us would gather occasionally and it became a bit of a joke amongst us about what we might stump this friend on. Could we imagine something so preposterous that there is no way that she could have the item in her purse? Never. No matter what outlandish thing we would come up with, she had it. Being the jokester that she is, she would then one-up us and say not only did she have item A but she also had item B (inevitably something even more outrageous that I will leave to your imagination).
Which brings me to my topic du jour—geocaching…and specifically, what’s in your pack?
Now, you may be thinking: “Backpack? Fanny Pack?” “For geocaching????” “Are you kidding me?!”
Ok, I get it. You’re a minimalist. You want nothing between you and the great outdoors except for your GPS. That’s great—until you start bushwhacking and your buddy cuts himself on some rusted barbed wire hidden in the undergrowth while you were busy swatting and swallowing the herd of mosquitoes that you unwittingly disturbed.
I’m not suggesting carry-on luggage, but I do recommend a few bare essentials that can be kept in something small enough to sling, strap or carry while leaving your hands free. Here’s what I keep in my geocaching backpack:
Small Pens—sometimes the geocache log has a pen/pencil that is no longer usable…these are also good to use as “cache stash” in an emergency.
Spare batteries—always check your GPS battery power BEFORE leaving the car! (…learned that one the hard way!)
Antibacterial gel—good for wound care in a pinch, or just cleaning up.
Band-Aids—for obvious reasons. You don’t need the entire box. Two or three will suffice.
A small Ziploc bag with our “cache stash.” These are items we have collected to put into caches we find.
Mosquito wipes. The wipes are smaller and lighter than spray bottles!
Cell phone—While not essential, it’s good for getting a picture of the cache as well as using in an emergency.
I.D.—Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!
This list may sound like the entire contents of my friend’s purse and mini-van, but it really is a rather modest list of essentials. Plus, if you go with the mini-sizes, all these items can easily fit in a small bag the size of a fanny pack.
Now you tell me…what’s in your pack? If you have ideas or suggestions or know of something I’ve missed, use the “contact us” button at the bottom of the page to let us know what’s in your pack.
Originally Published, January 2010.