Beware the Tall Grasses! Or, Death of a Battery

This geocacher reached GZ happy, healthy, and totally tick-free.


MailerImage_06022014_SafetyTips_vFINAL_BLOG“Hey there Southern Hemisphere! This is the Northern Hemisphere calling. How’re things? It’s about the third week of May, and…well, we’d like our summer back.”  Depending on what part of the world you’re in, the latitudinal phone call that happens around the fifth month of the year signals the start to another summer of geocaching. The longer days, the warmer air, the leafier hiding spots…It’s a season so ideal for geocaching it’s hard to imagine spending your time doing anything else.

Though not to the degree of winter, even summer can have the pesky habit of preventing you from getting to GZ and finding a cache safely, effectively, and enjoyably. We’ve got some tips that will get you from working at cross-purposes with summer to working in tandem with it. (Assuming that is a thing.)

1) Make peace with your battery

Remember how we mentioned those longer summer days? They’re very good for longer sojourns into the wild, increasing your per-day find count…and draining your phone battery. Consider borrowing or purchasing a portable charger similar to this one available in Geocaching Shop, or this one on Amazon, to keep your phone from puttering to a halt at exactly the wrong moment. Compatibility with several types of devices is an especially useful trait when you’re geocaching with a group.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” -John Steinbeck
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” -John Steinbeck

2) Ticks are not your friends

Bees, mosquitoes, thistles, and poison ivy are common culprits of summertime discomfort, but ticks should equally be on your radar. Although only a few of the many species of ticks found around the world can bite and transmit diseases to humans, those that do can really ruin your day. Here are some tips to avoid them:

    • Check out a tick distribution map for your area, like this one for Europe and this one for the United States.
    • To be extra vigilant, invest in a bottle of tick repellent.
    • Since it’s not always possible to avoid the high grass or bushes when you’re searching for that cache, dress with ticks in mind. Geocaching HQ’er Heather suggests, “Tuck your pants into your socks to keep the ticks from crawling up your legs. You’ll look really cool, and you’ll be tick-safe.”
    • Conduct a tick-check of yourself, your gear, and your pets after coming back inside.
    • Tick-removal is an art. Know the correct technique.

3) Sunscreen is king

The sun’s rays may have a pleasing effect on the hue of your skin or the shade of your hair, but don’t make that a reason to forget the sunscreen on your geocaching adventure. Even if in the end you DNF, always protect yourself with SPF, preferably 15 or higher.

What tips do you have for ensuring an excellent summer geocaching experience?



Alex is a Community Volunteer Support Coordinator at Geocaching HQ. When things get crazy, she sends in the big puns.
  • ysladymn

    Great reminder about ticks… but the battery part… not so much. Hello, extra batteries for your phone would be much less than the $80 device they are advocating here. The one from Amazon is worth consideration, but Anker battery repacements from Amazon have the same or better life performance than the Samsung OEM batteries… for any of you thinking of adding some battery life to your caching day.

  • Gyzy

    WATER!! Take some, pack more, keep even extra in your car (hot water is better than none), and for goodness’ sake DRINK IT. 🙂 (Besides, your backpack is lighter if your bottles are emptier).

  • viper231

    Coming from Australia and having the most deadly snakes in the world along with the most deadly spiders then add ticks and bees and all the other little nasties to the list. I feel the most important thing to remember in any season is first aid. This also includes animal identification and preventative measures against snake bites and similar. It’s important to know what venomous animals are in the area you intend to go caching in and remember that you may be hours from a hospital. Most venom acts within 10 minutes of entering the body so as cachers I think it’s important to be prepared for the worse case scenario just in case. I know I wouldn’t want to be bitten by the death adder or the Brown snake or the taipan but if it happens I would want to be prepared. Hospitals are usually a fair distance and don’t always have the facilities to treat snake bites so it pays to prevent or failing prevention then basic treatment to aid survival.

  • zargfinders

    BTW, often tick removal with tweezers just makes the tick inject all its poison while exiting your body. The much better thing to do (IMHO) is to kill the tick with lyclear, bicarb soda or similar, put a bandaid on to stop the cream/substance from spreading everywhere, and wait overnight or 24 hours later to check it out. By this time the tick should be dead, easy to remove with tweezers, and will not inject its entire savings of poison. This is the technique I use for removing the many ticks we collect in Australia. And also aeroguard etc is good for spraying at the bottom of your pant legs, arms, neck etc. to stop the ticks from latching on.

  • Corey Edward Scysen

    Beware of plastic water bottles in hot cars….some bottles can off gas some real nasty stuff

  • Camille Savoie

    Ticks seems to be everywhere around here in Sask at least this time of the year 🙁

  • dragon flyer

    I didn’t think ticks are poisonous as such…? This technique just leaves more time for any disease pathogens it may be carrying to be transmitted.

  • Midie

    Hmm zargfinders, the way the removal of ticks was explained was correct. It does need to be removed as soon as seen and by just grasping the head close to the skin with forceps, will prevent the chance of infection being passed from tick to human. Squeezing the body will cause infections to be passed on as can putting any and various substances on, that way will also allow more chance of the infectious contents to be passed on.
    However I do know that any head contents left in do need to be removed, as they in themselves can cause a local infection.
    Kind regards

  • LJS

    CDC Says to just pluck it out. http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html

  • JJ Marks

    For those of us in the Southwest (where it was 106° today) or where the combo or heat and humidity are equally devastating, beware of heat-related illness: http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html

  • Snoogans

    This has been a long time coming. Thank you for addressing safety in your media. I think from the response here and on the FB page that a Safety Forum would be a good idea.