Planning a trip – Part 4

In Tips, Tricks & Recommendations
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This is fourth part of our blog post series about planning caching trips. See also part 1, part 2 and part 3.

In this part we will focus on the various tools we use to find the caches we want to find. We’ll use several of our upcoming trips in the example.

The Cachetur Assistant

We use The Cachetur Assistant actively when adding caches to our trip. And I will highly recommend that you do the same! Make sure to install it before you start. You can read a short user guide and download The Cachetur Assistant on cachetur.no.

If you add at least two waypoints to your trip (eg. hotels, meeting point etc), you will get the route drawn in on the map on geocaching.com (as long as you’re using the Leaflet map option) and the maps on Project-GC. The route will update after you’ve added caches, and you can refresh it by clicking the refresh button (the one with to arrows in a circle).

Project-GC

Project-GC is mentioned a lot below. And many of the tools require a paid membership. It’s well worth the money in our opinion. If you decide to become a paying member, feel free to use our invitation link. By using our link, you will get two months extra – and I’ll get one month extra (thanks!).

What type of caches do we prioritize?

Not all below is relevant for every trip, and some may not be relevant for you at all. You will have to decide yourself what you want to prioritize.

The order varies a bit from trip to trip, but we mainly prioritize in this order:

  1. Countries, states, regions etc.
  2. Webcams
  3. Jasmer candidates
  4. Virtual caches
  5. Geocache of the Week caches
  6. Caches we’ve heard people talk about or otherwise look interesting
  7. Earthcaches
  8. Municipalities (mainly in Scandinavian countries)
  9. Large caches
  10. Caches with lots of favorite points
  11. Cacher with a D/T etc. that we’re missing, solved mystery caches, letterbox hybrid caches etc.
  12. Other caches that look appealing, or caches that are close to our route

Countries, states, regions and counties

Country borders are easy to see on the map on geocaching.com. For any other borders, we use the tools on Project-GC. The tools Map Regions and Map Counties is perfect for this.

With help from The Cachetur Assistant and Project-GC, you will get a great overview of the regions you’re driving through, and which ones you haven’t found caches in yet.

Click the text “0 finds in Colfax County (NM)” to see the caches in this region. These two tools function in the same way, the difference is which administrative level they filter at.

The screenshot above shows blue and green polygons, and not the default red and green you might see. That’s because I have activated the color blind mode, simply because I like these colors better.

Jasmer candidates

We have completed the first loop of the Jasmer grid, so we’re currently working on the second one. But whichever loop you’re om, Map – Hidden Month on Project-GC is a great tool.

We often select both the month we want, the loop and the location. In this way, we can see exactly how many candidates we have close to our route. Or at least how long detours we need to take. The Cachetur Assistant will display the route here as well.

 

Webcams, virtuels, earthcaches, letterbox hybrid, large caches etc.

For everything like cache type, size etc., we use mainly two tools. Map Compare on Project-GC and the map on geocaching.com.

By using the filter for Cache type /size and selecting the correct region(s), we get a nice overview on Map Compare. And like every other place, we get the route on the map from The Cachetur Assistant.

You can also open Map Compare for the area around a waypoint/cache in a trip from the waypoint menu. When the page is opened, you can add the filters you want on cache type, size etc.

You can also open the map on geocaching.com from the same menu.

Use the filters to see for example only virtual caches. You will of course also see the route on this map. And if you need more custom filtering, you can use a Pocket Query.

There’s a lot of great tools for this purpose, so these caches are usually easy to find. But remember to filter out traditional caches… We have walked straight past a virtual cache ourselves, just because it was hidden underneath a traditional cache hidden on the exact same coordinates.

Geocache of the Week

In addition to dig around on the official blog, you can use some of the few bookmark lists that exists. But the tool we mainly use here, is the country info and tips tool on cachetur.no. We can’t guarantee that the list will be 100% updated at all times, but we try to keep this one up to date.

Caches with lots of favorite points

We often use the map on geocaching.com for this, and just see what’s close to where we’re going. But we also use Top Favorite Caches on Project-GC, and the two other related tools there (% based and Wilson score).

Just as on the other tools, we select the relevant region. I also think it’s a good idea to hide archived caches.

Click on Create map, and select the number of caches you want  to display to show the x first caches on a map. You will of course see the route here as well 😉

Caches we’ve heard people talk about etc.

We often hear about, read about, or in some other way see caches we think look cool, that appear to have an epic location or something else interesting. When that happen, we add them to a list on cachetur.no – with a comment telling what makes it special. When we’re going somewhere, we can simply check the list to see if some of them are near where we’re going.

D/T and other stuff

The D/T matrix is not something we give much priority. But when we figure out that we want to work on it, we use the Map D/T Matrix tool on Project-GC. The other tools in the Tools menu can help you find other things you might want to prioritize.

Read more about how we add the rest of the caches, and how we find valuable information that we add to the trip, in the next part.

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