Geocaching and Metal Detecting: Two Exciting Hobbies Combined

By Michael Bernzweig

A relatively unfamiliar hobby until now, Geocaching with a Metal Detector combines the fun of geocaching with the thrill of metal detecting. Geocaching with a Metal Detector is suitable for people of all ages—it can be enjoyed on a family vacation or on a solo nature hike. Here’s how this hobby came about: Many geocachers started expressing an interest in metal detecting; and many metal detectorists like to treasure hunt after a geocaching quest. So, a new sport that combines the best of both worlds was born! Geocaching with a Metal Detector is the game of hunting for a buried treasure using GPS coordinates and a metal detector. You can select from many caches hidden in your city and or state.

How do you get started Geocaching with a Metal Detector? It’s easy. Just like geocaching, all you need is a handheld GPS, the coordinates of a hidden cache and in this case—a metal detector. Geocaching with a Metal Detector is usually staged with buried treasure hidden in a predetermined location. Hobbyists often report finding additional metal relics or valuables along the way. Some recent finds include metal buttons from military outfits and relics from old train stations. Geocaching with a Metal Detector is particularly exciting for kids, as seeing pieces of history makes stories from textbooks come alive!

Geocaching with a Metal Detector offers guaranteed success when it comes to treasure hunting. With the correct coordinates, you can be certain that a treasure cache awaits. Granted, you can’t keep the treasure. But, at least you won’t spend hours in field and come up empty handed!

Planning a Geocaching with a Metal Detector Outing

Once you have found a treasure cache you would like to locate, the first order of business is making sure you write down the correct GPS coordinates. Just like geocaching, Geocaching with a Metal Detector requires a GPS device. Just because you have the cache’s coordinates doesn’t mean the hunt won’t be challenging. GPS will guide you to your approximate location. What this means is that a GPS device is only accurate to within 10 feet. So, there’s usually some navigating around and surface exploration required before you can zero in on your exact target. The level of difficulty is indicated on each Geocaching with a Metal Detector cache, so if you want an easier hunt, select a lower difficulty. More challenging caches will often list hints so you know you’re in the general vicinity.

How to Navigate with your GPS Unit

Both geocaching and Geocaching with a Metal Detector rely on using a GPS receiver. GPS displays your current location and provides information about how to get to a specific location (like a geocache). When you get the coordinates of a geocache, you can put your GPS device to work. A coordinate system is a way to locate places on a map- think of it like an imaginary grid laid over a map. To get an accurate read on your location, a GPS receiver locks into four different satellites. By default, GPS receivers display a position in latitude and longitude, but you can change the setting to UTM (which uses meters instead of degrees, minutes and seconds) if you prefer. The long and short of it is: you can enter a “Go To” location on your GPS and the receiver will immediately tell you know how far away it is and what direction to travel. North, south, east or west, the GPS makes easy work out of finding a waypoint. An exciting fact is that there are over one million Geocaches hidden around the world. Be sure to read the article “Over 1 Million Geocaches are Hidden Around You” to get in on the fun!

What is a waypoint?

A waypoint is GPS lingo for a location or point programmed into your GPS device. The waypoint is stored with a name, coordinates, an icon and the date and time when you store it. Waypoints are important for geocaching and Geocaching with a Metal Detector because a GPS receiver has several features that will guide you to your waypoint. GPS will generate a route you can take from your current location to the waypoint. The route is usually a straight-line course between one or more coordinates. However, the terrain plays into it, too. If there is a stream, mountain or difficult area to travel, GPS can help you navigate around it. Your GPS device will also tell you how far away the waypoint is based on your route and how long it’s going to take to get there. The GPS receiver continually updates as you hike and it will indicate if you're drifting off course.

The two types of waypoints you can enter and save to your GPS receiver are:

  1. Known location: If you know the coordinates of a location (such as a geocache), you can manually enter it into your GPS device. You can get geocache coordinates from the or Geocaching with a Metal Detector Treasure website and enter them as waypoints.
  2. Current location: GPS receivers have a button or on screen command for marking your current location as a waypoint. You can create a waypoint for where your car is parked so you can find your way back to it.

By selecting a waypoint, no matter where you are, you can find your way there. The distance to the waypoint is shown; it will decrease or increase as you get closer or farther away.

Best Models for Geocaching with a Metal Detector

Since Geocaches contain metal objects, most detectors are suitable for the job. Newbies to metal detecting may wish to purchase an entry-level model to get the feel for detecting. If you are new to the hobby, be sure to read, “Metal Detectors are Useful in Geocaching” A multi-purpose metal detector offers the greatest flexibility for finding caches along with other types of treasure hunting. For a multi-purpose metal detector, check out the manufacturer you are interested in and read about their entry-level and mid-level models. These all-purpose models are usually not as deep-seeking as some which detect very small grains of metal, but they do offer superior trash metal rejection. And many of them are designed to turn on and go for ease of use. To learn how to choose a metal detector by selecting your desired features and narrowing down your choices, check out this article: “How to Select a Metal Detector.”

Here are our most popular multi-purpose metal detectors:

Entry Level:

Mid Level:

Higher End:

Top Deep Seeking Metal Detectors:

© 2014 Detector Electronics Corp. Revised November 2021