Geocaching is a fun outdoor activity. Besides drawing me outside and to places I never been before or even thought to go, this hobby helps me to discover amazing spots I didn’t know exist. Geocaching is kind of a scavenger hunt where you use multi-billion government satellites to find Tupperware in the bushes. I do all the Geocaching with my Android phone. Some people swear by using a dedicated GPS unit just for Geocaching and claim it’s more accurate. This might be true. There are even industrial GPS devices out there which cost beyond $10,000 and have an unbelievable accuracy. But did you ever thought about one fact? What did the guy use when he hid the geocache? I doubt that many of the over 6 million hidden geocaches have been placed with such a high accuracy device. And another point: Where is the fun in it, if you don’t have to look for the cache container anymore and step directly on it.
I love my Android phone for Geocaching and besides the built-in GPS, it offers many other useful tools. Like internet access, to google some answers for puzzle caches or even to get to the next stage of a cache. Yes, there are caches out there, which requires you to be able to access the web on the go. I download offline maps to my phone and this helps me to be able to find caches in remote areas without cell phone coverage and even navigate to and from the cache site. Another helpful feature of the phone is, that it doubles as flashlight and camera.
Here my favorite Geocaching Apps for Android. Some of the apps are exclusively available on Android (unfortunately). That’s why I can’t tell you too much about iPhone apps because I don’t have the phone and experience to provide you with this list.
This app is my main go-to app if it comes to the sport of geocaching itself. It has the most features and almost everything you need to find caches. Unfortunately, this app is not officially supported by Geocaching.com and that’s why there are sometimes issue with getting caches. Stay calm, so far I never have encountered an issue which would stop me from geocaching and the team behind the app is quick in fixing such issues. Featurewise it outruns the official geocaching app by lightyears. See more details about the official app below. c:geo supports different map overlays like Google Street or Satellite view, Open Street Maps and many more. You can download offline maps and store the cache information offline as well to be able to geocache completely off the grid. They have a handy browser plugin in, which works with Google Chrome and Firefox. This plugin in lets you send caches from the website straight to the app. The setup process takes maybe 2 minutes. Once you have all your caches send to the app from your browser. Go to your app and start the download process before you head out. Another advantage of this app is, that it works not only with geocaching.com, it works also with numerous OpenCaching sites.
This is probably the most feature-rich geocaching app out there. This app combines the features of other apps listed below like GPS Status and has an integrated Wherigo player. Besides that, it has access to your profile and makes the official app almost useless. Geooh Live has two major downsides: You need a Geocaching.com Premium account and to unlock the full potential of Geooh Live you have to purchase the Pro version of the app. However, most of the features can be used without buying the Pro-Version of the app. Even the free version of Geooh Live is better than the current version of the Geocaching.com official app. Geooh Live should be on your smartphone! Find a list of all features on the official website.
Locus Map Free – Hiking GPS navigation and maps
There is a free version of this map and a pro (paid) version. The free version is very good and offers many of the features you need for geocaching. Yes, this app actually supports the download of caches from geocaching.com as well. I use this app mainly to navigate to caches. The actual navigation feature is only available in the pro version. However, you can still use it to get an idea of how to get to your location or back to the civilization. Locus Map was very helpful when I did the Visit Utah GeoTour. I was out in the middle of nowhere and was able to easily navigate from and to caches. Another big advantage is, that you can use offline maps as well and you can share the same maps between c:geo and Locus Map, which will save you a ton of storage space on your device.
GCC – GeoCache Calculator
This app is not actively maintained anymore but you still can download it and it is still a great help if it comes to solving puzzles either in the field or at home to get coordinates for mystery caches. It offers all kind of encryption and decryption tools, code-tables and lots of other helpful stuff to solve riddles and puzzles. Trekkies will love it as well because you can find the Klingon alphabet in the app.
Official Geocaching App
Geocaching completely redeveloped their own app. The old app has a feature I am still missing. You were able to see all your souvenirs. Right now I have this app only installed as a backup, in the case of any server-side changes on Geocaching.com c:geo wouldn’t work anymore. Some useful features of the official app are access to your messages on geocaching.com and you can access all your lists and download them. Besides that, they added GeoTour support and you will be able to search and view GeoTours as well. GeoTours make Geocaching even more fun. Check out my Geocaching Tours Index, with official and unofficial tours.
There is not much to tell about this app. It is needed to use the WhereIGo caches. To solve these caches you have to download a so-called “cartridge” with the guidance and tools for the cache included. It is kinda a VR-Geocaching. Pretty cool but not my favorite kind of caches.
GPS Status & Toolbox
This app comes as well in a free and pro version. I use only the free version, which has all the features I need. It can help you with downloading A-GPS data to support your built-in GPS to get a quicker fix. You can also calibrate the phone’s compass and it shows useful data about your GPS state. I mainly use it for diagnostics.
With this app, it’s easier to log official Geocaching.com trackables. Perfect for events to discover lots of trackables. It also can export the list to a GSAK compatible format. The free version of the app has quite a few limitations but it lets you evaluate the app and if you like it and it works for you, it’s worth to invest the few bucks.
If you know any other apps you would like to recommend, let me know in the comments.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.