Using GPS for Survival Geocaching

Geocaching is an up-and-coming outdoor sport, quietly gaining in popularity worldwide.  Its primary purpose is recreational, and there are literally thousands upon thousands of hidden caches that span the globe.  But this is only one use for a handheld GPS (Global Positioning System).

Spinning off of geocaching for recreational use, geocaching can also come in handy for survival purposes.  Here we will explore some of the ways that a GPS unit can be employed from an emergency preparedness standpoint.

There are a ton of good reasons to record waypoints (longitude and latitude coordinates) for survival purposes.  For starters, you should mark down a remote camping spot that you have identified as being suitable to set up your living quarters and that is favorable for supporting wildlife and other living things.  The site should be in close proximity to a water source, and not be so well known that it becomes overcrowded and unproductive.  Along with this site you should also record coordinates of nearby edible plants, roots, and berries.  These should be researched well, and you should be confident that they are in fact edible and are not poisonous or contain other toxins.  A field guide with pictures and descriptive text will help you to identify the ones your body can safely digest.

Further along the “trail” you may decide to mark a spot that is rife with critters for you to trap.  These may just end up being a decent source of meat for you; after all, everything tastes like chicken anyway, right?  Don’t let not having a refrigerator “spoil” things for you.  Dig a deep, wide hole that you can put some sturdy plywood over and cover with dirt to act as your cooling unit for foods that require refrigeration.  You might also decide to do something similar for other items you’d like to store, such as an axe, flint and steel, a saw, a pair of binoculars, or whatever.  Don’t forget to record these locations’ coordinates as well.

Another very useful waypoint for your consideration is a cave.  Should you be lucky enough to find one that you could fit in and use for shelter, by all means record this, too.  While were on the subject of survival, make yourself a hooter dart.  If you got hungry enough you might kill and cook up some bat.  Who knows, it might be a gourmet food (somewhere in the world).

Now, this is not meant to be an episode of Fear Factor, so settle down.  But you may need some “creative” sources of protein in an emergency/survival situation.  So mark a location where you have witnessed aplenty the following: red ants (bigger and tastier than the black variety), grasshoppers, and night crawlers.  These won’t all likely be plentiful in the same location, so look around and record your results accordingly.  And remember, protein is a must– why do you think when the food bank comes around asking for foodstuff donations, items high in protein are at the top of their list for requested items?  Chocolate makes everything better.  Just melt some chocolate over the campfire and cover these creatures to eat them for practice.

Another idea for something to mark is a honeycomb.  Look around for some wild honeybees.  If you find their home, and it’s close enough to the ground, bingo!  If it is in a hole in a tree, for example, and you need something sweet (and you were feeling really adventurous) you could build a fire at the base of the tree to smoke them into a hypnotic state while you stole away their golden juice!

To sum things up, these are a few of the serious and not so serious (but plausible, nonetheless) ideas of waypoints that you might want to record now before an emergency happens.  Don’t forget to record an area dense with dry wood for fire making.  The reason for recording all of these coordinates is for all of you folks with Halfheimer’s that forget the simplest things from one moment to the next.  But seriously, everybody forgets some things, and why risk a great find in the outdoors?  Record it! 

For more tips on survival, come on over and watch our short video clip Survival Techniques and get a free disaster preparedness E-Book.