Hiking & Treking

Why geocaching is still better than Pokemon Go

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After this past month, Pokemon Go has swept the world. Everyone and their mother is outside chasing these imaginary creatures, waiting for eggs to hatch and catching them all, as is Pokemon’s catch-phrase. Before this craze came along, there was another world-wide scavenger hunt: geocaching. While Pokemon Go may be cool for now, it’s a fad and it’ll fade. Geocaching, on the other hand, is a more permanent and more worthy hunt, for the following reasons:

  1. Geocaching is real! When you use the app to search for caches in your area, you actually find something tangible. There is a case of some sort, with a list and treasures inside. You can write your name to document your find, and trade treasures back and forth with strangers, to keep as a memento of your catch. You can read the logbook and be fascinated by how long the cache has been hidden, how many people have found it, learn its history. You can leave behind a treasure for the next person to find. Pokemon Go is all on the app, with nothing tangible or a reward for your effort. You can pat yourself on the back for catching a virtual creature, or you can take home a cool prize and know that you are now a part of something bigger.
  2. Geocaching is available 24/7. You can go out and find these caches at any time of the day or night, on any day. There is no sitting and waiting for an egg to hatch or for a Pokemon to appear at the right second. The caches are always there waiting for you.
  3. Geocaching doesn’t involve trespassing. Have you seen on the news where people are finding these Pokemon? They go into abandoned buildings, construction sites, private property, etc. This is not the case for geocaching. There is a system built into the geocaching app that eliminates the possibility of caches being hidden in any illegal areas or private property, unless the owner of that property has given specific permission.
  4. Geocaching doesn’t drain your data. With Pokemon Go, you waste all your data on your phone chasing these things and waiting for them to appear. Pokemon Go is able to track your movements through this data collection, and who knows where that information is going? With geocaching, yes, you can use the app to track caches, or there’s another way. By logging into their website, you can find caches in your area and then print out the directions. No phone required! No Big Brother knowing your every move.
  5. Geocaching is meant to be stealthy. This is part of the fun! You hide from the “muggles” (non-players) and try to discreetly find the cache and put it back before you’re seen. It adds the thrill of being sneaky. When you’re playing Pokemon Go, everyone knows you’re doing it. There are crowds of people gathering in parks and other locations, all of them staring at their phones, and it eliminates the element of suspense.
  6. Geocaching doesn’t have a history of crime. In the past few weeks, Pokemon Go has already received backlash because of the targets they’re putting on people’s backs. As anyone with the app can track the Pokemon, and know the location of PokeStops, a criminal can easily lie in wait of victims. On July 11, a couple of robbers used the app to hold up players at gunpoint. On July 14, two people were arrested for climbing into a tiger’s zoo enclosure, in search of Pokemon. One girl while playing the game was led to a dead body. Since 2000 when geocaching was created, no such stories have surfaced.
  7. Geocaching gets you back to nature. When you go searching for caches, the best places to find them are in state parks, national parks, playgrounds, trails, etc. The caches are hidden in trees, under rocks, buried in sand, or lodged in a crevice of some kind. There is exploration and discovery involved. Pokemon Go does get people outside, yes. However, they’re still glued to their phones. Technology is still necessary to play. It’s all in a virtual reality, so where’s the adventure? Shouldn’t the point of an outdoor scavenger hunt be to enjoy the outdoors?
  8. Geocaching doesn’t have bugs. Well, unless you’re searching for a cache in the woods. Pokemon Go has been full of problems since its release, from freezing at inopportune moments to servers crashing constantly due to overuse. It drains your phone’s battery and eats away your data quickly. Again, the app is useless without technology. With geocaching, print your directions before you go, and be on your way. No loading, refreshing, re-starting or batteries involved.

Kaitlyn is a graduate from Lee University and is a staff editor for R.H. Boyd Publishing. She enjoys travel, books and penguins. When she's not working, she dreams of seeing the world.