Smartphones are great for beginners – they win over GPS units because of low cost (about $9.99 for a geocaching app), and ease of use. However, serious geocachers eventually look for a dedicated GPS device which has greater accuracy, battery life, durability, and functionality specifically created for geocaching. Most smartphone and tablet apps will not function as well where there is no mobile signal, so if you are planning to geocache in a remote location, you will need to prepare differently as you would in a city.
Geocaching with Your Smartphone: If you decide to get started with your smartphone, either find a free GPS navigation app which gives you latitude and longitude, or purchase a paid app (here are some good options for iPhone and Android). A paid app will let you find geocaches near you, log what you find and use an existing online geocaching account.
Geocaching with a Dedicated GPS Device: If you decide to go with a dedicated GPS device, there are some great options below. Important features to look for and compare include the accuracy of results, will you just get a latitude/longitude reading or also OS grid reference, how well the screen performs under challenging light conditions (bright sunlight or a night), battery life and durability (is the device waterproof). Also look for sufficient memory to load all the maps, USB connectivity, software for route planning, route recording and a built in camera. You may also like accessories such as car chargers, heart rate monitors, belt clips or bike mounting kits. Prices range from $92 for a Garmin eTrex 10 to $265 for a Garmin Oregon 450. Photo: Petair/Fotolia
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