How many Geocache enthusiasts does it take to change a lightbulb? I don’t know but it’s probably a co-ordinated effort. Non-Geocachers might not get that … but they can always look it up. Anyway, enough reference humour! Geocaching, if you are unaware, is one of the nerdist outdoor pursuits that I’ve encountered and makes for a great day of family fun for nerds who have defied all odds and managed to breed.
In basic terms, geocaching is a high tech game of hide and seek, organised through the website www.geocaching.com where you find a bunch of “caches” or hidden log books across the planet. Decipher the clues, find the notebook, write your name in and move on to the next. Like most pursuits the fun is all in the chase.
So where does technology come into all this? Well, obviously you can have a lot of fun geocaching with a regular map, or even an app, hardcore enthusiast play with dedicated GPS devices – including the brand new Magellan Explorist GC – a dedicated Geocaching GPS decive.
A fist-sized green pebble of a device, the eXplorist GC enables out of the box paperless geocaching, preloaded with some popular geocaches. You can connect to a computer via USB and load geocaches using the dedicated PC software – or as the MD assured me, simply drag and drop into the file system if you are a Mac user.
So what’s it like to use? The screen is excellent in bright sunlight and reasonably responsive to play with. The interface about as straight forward as you can imagine with simply icons and limited choices – the sort of thing I’d happily hand over to a young child as part of a family treasure hunt. All the features you’d expect in a dedicated Geocaching device are there – waypoint creation, a worldwide basemap (with an interface that resembles Shadows of the Colossus), active tracking and a trip odometer. Having all your cache info on one device is handy and lets you focus on the thrill of the hunt. If you’re like me you’re probably thinking “can’t my iPhone do all this?” And yes you are right there are apps. But the SiRRstar III GPS chipset makes GPS tracking pretty accurate and most importantly free overseas, where some amazingly free geocaches can be found. And the rugged casing and simple design of the eXplorist GC make for a fun and child-friendly experience.
Out now for a RRP of £179.99