Tips for Printing
It’s nothing for me to plan to do a whole series of caches in a day. I always plan for more caches than I know I can possible get to in a day. That way, if one turns out to be muggled, or the quest for lunch takes me a different direction, I have plenty of back up caches ready to go. A lot of pre-planning goes into a caching adventure; especially with MY caching buddies!
Caching with ESP Boss means that we simply MUST take the geocache printout with us.
Gee, one time of writing down the PARKING coordinates instead of the cache coordinates! Just one time of saying “Oh, it’s a terrain 1.5!” when it was ACTUALLY a 3 and the man just won’t let me write it down!
I know there’s a lot of discussion in the geocaching world about caching paperless or printing out the geocache’s information before heading out. For those of you that just need to hang on to something, here are all my tips and tricks to taking printouts with you when planning a caching adventure.
The advantages I like to printing out the cache information are:
You can see the size and terrain. This is especially important if you have kids, limited mobility, or are really into swag. When my family & I first got started geocaching, it was really important to us to be able to trade swag. That meant that not knowing it was a micro was always a disappointment when we got to the cache and there were no trade items to be found.
You have the hint! I know a lot of experienced cachers don’t decode the hint until they absolutely have to, but as a novice cacher, that’s just making the game harder than it has to be.
You can see the inventory. Doesn’t always mean the travel bugs will be IN the cache, but at least you can get an idea.
Prior logs. Wow! This has helped a LOT. I like to know that the cache was found so I’m pretty sure its still there. It’s also helped when the logs give subtle clues, like mud, muggles, or which side of the fence to park on.
Overview map. As the navigator on most caching adventures, this is a big help for me. It’s not very large, but usually enough for me to warn my father (ESP Boss and designated geocaching chauffer) when to start slowing down.
You have plenty of room to write your notes. I can say found, if it was in good shape, what I took, what I left, etc. That way, when I’m back at the computer and typing up my logs, I can say something intelligent.
And the biggie: You don’t have to rely on your memory for the details!
Now, if you live in an area where you can drag a wireless laptop around and see the screen, that’s really cool. A friend of mine, kmazy, actually opens all the cache pages on her laptop screen and then leaves them open while she’s driving. When they find a cache, she closes the page. That’s GREAT if you have a good battery on your laptop!
And, if you’re lucky enough to have a web-capable cell phone then you can always look caches up on the fly. That’s especially nice if you find you have a spare minute or two. I’d LOVE to have this ability since I always look at a spot and think, “Gee, I wonder if there’s a geocache there. It’d be perfect!” There’s this one spot in Jerome, Arizona, that I always look at and think would be PERFECT for a micro.
So, here’s my system if you simply MUST take the print outs with you. But be warned, this might not work on all printers!
Click on the printable version: ‘5 logs’
On the printable version, be sure to click on the ‘Decrypt’ link for any hints! (If you’re into decoding the hints before time, that is!)
Then, click on Print from the ‘File – Print’ menu. You want to do it this way so you get your printer dialog box.
Somewhere in this print dialog box, there SHOULD be the option of how many pages to print per page. You want the print 2 pages per page. On my HP printer, it’s under the ‘Finishing’ tab. But, I’ve found this option on EVERY printer I’ve looked at!
Click ‘Okay’ until you get back to the main print screen and then print away!
In my family, we then punch the pages into a 3-ring binder and take it on the trail. If you wanted to get REALLY fancy, you could tape a string to a pen and then fasten the other end of the string to the binder so the pen is handy for making notes on the sheet.
Me? I’m not that “with it” so I just lose the pen after EVERY CACHE in the truck!
Here are my questions for all you cachers out there:
January 15, 2010 @ 9:46 am
When I started geocaching I printed out the cache pages. I did not print out any logs unless there was useful information in any of the first 5. After going thru lots of paper and lots of ink I heard about the iPhone. Checked it out and though it was going to add the price of the monthly internet access to my bill I felt it was worth it. It saved the use of all that paper and the ink. I figured in the long run it would even out financially as now I didn’t have to purchase ink (expensive) and paper (not very expensive, but wasteful). Since I like to practice Cache In, Trash Out I felt like I was also doing my part enfironmentally by using the iPhone. Only downfall to the iPhone is that the geocaching app uses lots of battery life. I keep the phone charging when in the car and also carry an external battery, but have had, at times, had to call it a day because the battery quit before I was ready to. So the solution to this problem might be to plan your route and print out the last and download to your GPSr the last few locations. Then if your iPhone (or other web-capable cellphone) gives up the ghost before you are ready to you will be able to continue on your way. Happy caching!
January 15, 2010 @ 10:00 am
I usually copy and paste into a word document. Then I can eliminate what I don’t want, and just keep what I need or want. I also decypher any clues before hand, and sometimes put some logs on, if they will be helpful. Sometimes I can fit 3 or more on one piece of paper, but I like your idea of 2 pages/sheet, and may try that too:) I don’t usually print the maps, so make some notes about what exit to get off, which way to turn, etc., in case there is any question.
Charlie1Horse (Russell Sullivan)
January 15, 2010 @ 10:02 am
I cut & paste the NAME, COORDINATES, DESCRIPTION, AND HINT into my word processor. That takes up a lot less paper. I can place about a dozen on a page, depending on the size of the description. I cut out all the info that doesn’t help locate the cache, such as owner’s personal story, how they decided to place a cache her, etc. That’s of no use to me for the hunt. I look at the map and type in any pertinent info I think may help me find it, like which side of the interstate hwy it is on, street name, landmarks, etc. I keep a Jacksonville Street Guide in my truck for reference. This way I can conserve paper and I usually have no problem doing it this way.
OR, I program the coords into my TOM-TOM and it gets me, by street directions to the address, but not to the actual cash coords. and then I can use my handheld Garmin to find the exact location from there.
OR, I use my Palm Pilot. I have the $30.00 per year membership and receive ‘pocket querries’ that give me the ability to go paperless. That is my favorite way to go, besides helping to fund the GEOCACHING website.
Thanks and God Bless,
Fb znal pnpurf, fb yvggyr gvzr.
Mike Belanger ("Mike_B")
January 15, 2010 @ 10:11 am
Personally, I use and external application called “GSAK” (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) and just download from the cache page. I’m a Premium Member, so I download the .gpx files, but even if you’re not Premium, you can still download the .loc files to it. The main difference is that .loc files have only the basic information (everything on the cache page except the logs); the .gpx files have both the logs and decrypted hints.
Once these files have been downloaded to my GSAK, I just print it out from there; ALL of my caches in one printing.
Mike Belanger ("Mike_B")
January 15, 2010 @ 10:15 am
GSAK can be found at http://gsak.net/ . It’s a free download. Stays free for about 20 days, and then if you don’t register it (one-time only, about $20), then you start getting “nag” screens when you go to open it or load in a new cache to the database.
January 15, 2010 @ 8:53 pm
I just went paperless and used to print out the sheets (wish I knew about the 2 pages on one sheet since I killed A LOT of trees). Anyway, a friend told me about texting a code to a number to get the details or the hint. You text: Geoc ?GC#### (you use the actual GC number) to 41411 and you get the Cache name, difficulty/terrain, coords and size. If you text: Geoc !GC#### (and the actual GC number) you’ll get the hint. It doesn’t cost anything extra. I absolutely love being paperless. I only load the active caches in my GPS. That’s why it’s important to notify the Cache Owner of maintenance if the cache is missing, so paperless folks don’t accidently upload it and spend time looking for something that others have already noticed was missing.
January 16, 2010 @ 9:03 am
Peggy, that is amazing! How did you hear about this one? I’ll totally have to try that. I assume normal texting charges from the cell phone carrier apply…
January 16, 2010 @ 8:28 pm
We print too…I have Blackstar on my Blackberry, and could and have done some geocaches paperless, but with two of us caching together it’s not easy to work off of one phone. Becky’s the hint/log/desc analyzer as we beat the bushes, and I’m the arrow man with the GPS…and Becky wants something she can read and work with. I like the notebook idea though, and the 2-page per page idea. Will try that next time. Can’t wait to try Peggy’s idea above.
Blackstar is cool..it’s free. It finds nearest caches (if you have internet service where you are looking) and also imports loc files….
January 21, 2010 @ 6:35 am
We also use the GSAK, but I have also found a way to download ALL of that info onto my Garmin Nuvi. EVERYTHING from the cache page (except pictures) is there on my Garmin, including the logs. It even has a “bell” to let me know when there is a cache nearby. We have been caching this way for about a month, and we love it! Now if we happen to have a few extra minutes, we can grab a cache or two.
To find this, I did a google search on how to go paperless and found a great link with step by step instructions. http://geocaching.totaltechworld.com/ One thing I do miss though is keeping notes on each cache, so we keep a notebook in the car and jot things down in there as we go.
February 16, 2010 @ 11:07 am
Kim – I can so relate to you and your dad…lol! My boyfriend did not trust me either – after just one time of writing the wrong instructions on a mystery cache! (We ended up behind an urban garbage dump!) Now, he just got his new GPS – an Oregon 550 that stores all the cache info including the logs, hints, cache page text, terrain/difficulty, GC number, owner,…well you get the idea! If I knew how nice it would be to have my own GPS – I got the Garmin 60CSx – and to have all that info in the field without printing or scribbling notes, I would have begged, borrowed and stole to get the $$ for that second unit! LOL
March 17, 2010 @ 1:04 pm
When we took the family to Yellowstone we knew we’d be finding a lot of Earth and Virtual caches. Since those tend to have larger amounts of information needed to qualify for the cache I printed them out and put them in a 3 ring binder. I really like the 2 pages per paper though, that will definately be done next time we go with paper.
Usually I use EasyGPS and edit the cache description in my GPSr (M=Micro, S=Small, etc) and abbreviate the hints.
Of course my wife is usually the one that, when it starts to look like a DNF says, did you check all the previous logs? Is this one gone? Only a few times, but I’ll never live it down.
Anyway, thanks for the great idea!
Product Review: iPhone Geocaching App
November 17, 2010 @ 8:15 pm
[…] It was also nice to be able to look up cache details from the field and not have to rely on memory or print outs. […]
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