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Thread: New to Geocaching

  1. #1
    millie80r Guest


    Hi - I'm very new to Geocaching - just signed up today - but I've heard all about it from a friend.
    I need some advice on what GPS unit to buy.
    Buying the actual unit seems straightforward enough (depending on budget) but I'm also considering buying a satnav system at the moment for driving directions in the car.
    Is it possible to get a system that will do both jobs, or is it better to get a separate handheld unit for Geocaching outdoors and a different one for use in the car?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    molfrew-mosstoad Guest


    Hi & welcome.

    Firstly there are many GPS units around so decide what your budget is.

    Many (ourselves included) start with a Garmin E-Trex its a reasonable reciever although the "H" model is better. You can pick them up for around 80 but probably find them cheaper on E-bay etc.
    It doesnt display maps and uses an arrow to direct you "as the crow flies"

    We then moved onto a PDA which we use a program called "Memory Map" to cache with which is OS maps very usefull when your trying to find a footpath. It is more expensive but more versatile. Memory map is a free program, however the maps aren't cheap, but then again nor are OS maps. We also have Tom Tom 6 installed on the PDA which is great when you want to get to a "suggested parking place" as it will take you too it, although we dont use TT to cache with, its not accurate enough.

    PDAs can vary in price, again E-bay may be worth a look or there is a UK Car Boot Sale on the main UK Geocache forum.

    there is also a What GPS again on the main forum which might be worth a read.

    Anyway thats my opinion Im sure others will be along with thier views, its mostly down to preference & budget.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    Hi Millie80r
    welcome to gagb and to caching
    I personally use a handhaeld GPS for caching, I find it robust, can handle being dropped (though not tested on concrete from a height lol) copes with rain batteries last well and easy to hold with 1 hand. I also have a PDA which I have TomTom loaded onto and have memory map on, This is not nearly as robust, rain would wreck it and so would dropping it though you can get a special cover for them like an aqua pac (waterproof sealing bag) or an otterbox, but I find it makes it very combersome and you have to keep changing it over to get it back in the cradle for the car. I would personally recommend getting a handheld for caching - my first was a second hand etrex from ebay though you could try posting on the UK geocching car boot sale, there is lots of advice and links here.
    I do know one cacher that uses just his PDA (a miop550) for tom tom in his car and with memory map for geocaching and has had no probs.

  4. #4
    nobbynobbs Guest


    It really depends on your budget and how technically minded you are.

    If you want a really simple start up then buy a simple etrex for the caching and just have print outs of the cache pages. ( paper maps work perfectly well) and a cheap Tom Tom type set up for the car.

    From there it costs more money and gets a bit more technical but you get better sysems.

    Spend as much as you can afford as the better systems are really worth it.

    If there are any event caches coming up near to where you are then go along as they tend to be great places to meet people and see what systems they use. What works for one person would be useless to the next.

  5. #5
    millie80r Guest


    Thanks guys for all your help and friendly advice.

    I think it will be the hand held solution for geocaching and a Tom Tom or similar for the car.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    RogerStenning Guest


    Hiya, new bloke here

    I'm also new to Geocaching, Millie, and whie I note you've made your decision, for what it's worth, about 18 months back I bought a sim-free PPC/GPS phone to replace two items: A mobile phone, and a GPS unit. It's the iPAQ HW 6915. Granted, it was expensive, primarily as it was SIM-free, but never the less, it's been a constant companion, loaded with TomTom v6 for in-car navigation, and MemoryMap v5 for more pedestrian (sic) activities.

    Since discovering Geocaching in the last couple of weeks (it'll be a positive aid to my getting fit again post-heart attack&#33, I can recommend Pocket PCs (so-called PDA phones) with built-in GPS units, since I've got positive experience using the thing 'in anger', as it were

    The main drawback, however, is that you have to buy the software, such as MemoryMap, in addition to the phone, which may well be a very limiting factor for you.

    Tiger-Eyes also pointed out the other problem - damage the phone and you're out not only your phone but potentially your PDA as well - the screen is the most exposed and open to damage part of the unit, after all; I highly recommend some for of lanyard, and a screen protector of some form.

    Hope this helps other newbies


  7. #7
    shane10x Guest


    hi milli

    i also use a pda its actually my phone and my tomtom to and im new to geocahing.
    i use the memory maps they are realy good. if you are technically minded i imagine they are not so good if your not. i will now probably look for a gps that supports memory maps but not sure what one to get.

  8. #8
    changevulture Guest


    Hello! This is my first foray into the forum having joined today. I too am looking for a GPS and am confused as to whether or not it is important to have mapping capability? especially when buying a first unit, I have been looking at the Garmin eTrex Venture, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Helen.

  9. #9
    RogerStenning Guest


    Hiya changevulture

    I've been map reading for a fair few years; at first with map and compass, latterly with a rather high-tech GPS, as mentioned in my post below.

    Bearing in mind that there is no, repeat no, substitute for a map and compass in the final analysis (and it's always good practice when out backpacking to have a back-up not effected by batteries, etc), a GPS is a damned handy thing to have when out and about; it is likely to be many orders of magnitude more accurate in assessing your position (I speak from embarrassingly personal experience&#33, it can be, in more expensive versions, programmed with your preferred routing, and so on. It can also, if suitably equipped, provide your position to ten digit OSGB accuracy in some cases, and that's VERY useful in GeoCaching.

    There are no hard and fast rules as to what to use, GPS-wise. For a first GPS, though, if you only use it occasionally, I'd opt for a simple self-contained unit, such as a eTrex Legend GPS or similar - there's good advice on this aspect here.

    You can normally get good deals on GPS Receivers on the internet, and sometimes at major outdoors equipment retailers as well. Even Amazon have got in on the act of late, and their prices shouldn't be sniffed at

    Hope the above helps


  10. #10
    changevulture Guest


    Thanks for that Roger, I havent looked at the Legend yet but will make a point of doing so now. I believe Amazon has a 'compare' feature so that's my next stop. Thanks again, kind regards.

  11. #11
    octopusann Guest



    I have a Garmin 60cps map (may have got the letters in the wrong order but its something like that&#33 handheld which also does turn-by-turn directions without the annoying voice bullying you when you decide not to follow its advice. I had to by Garmin topo maps extra (Handtec do a very good deal). I started caching last summer and am hooked - and very pleased with the GPS.

    I'd love one that displays OS maps but the budget won't run to it.


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