Garmin Glo lesson: keep the Glo *with* the smartphone. Duh.

This post is the start of a category I’m going to call: Making Mistakes so You Don’t Have to., or Mistakes for short. Oh, yeah. I’m new at this geocaching thing and I’m bound to bumble my way through tons of caches, embarrass myself, and do bone-headed things. Feel free to laugh at my mistakes. I sure do. I crack myself up.

Garmin Glo SwirlYesterday, my husband and I went caching along a trail that is dotted with geocaches. We found *squat.* Effing nanos hidden in the effing fence line. Best of all: the kiddie cache, what all the logs said was an easy find, was an impossible find. We trekked into the woods, braved thickets, spiders, and things, but couldn’t find this easy cache. We left, grumbling about the stupid Garmin Glo spinning us in pointless circles.

Now I realize that some of the GPS interference was probably from tree cover. As we walked back to the car, I puzzled over what caused the Glo to spin in circles. Realize this is my second device – I sent the first one back because it dropped the Bluetooth signal.

My husband was a few paces ahead, revisiting the area we’d spent a good half hour searching for a nano, when the reason came to me: the Garmin Glo must be in close proximity to the smartphone. Otherwise, the smartphone shows the GPS signal not for the phone, but for the device. Get it?

The Glo had been in my pocket, but Robert had my phone. I was wandering around, looking for the cache and so was he. The Glo showed my location, not his. Duh.

You would think that this would be obvious. My husband has his master’s degree. I am one credit shy of mine. We’re not clueless in general. But, boy were we clueless yesterday. I can’t stop smiling at what idiots we were.

Today we kept the Glo with the phone. Two finds. Go figure.

See? I make mistakes so you don’t have to. You’re welcome. Has your GPS ever swirled when you reach your target cache? How did you cope? Leave me suggestions about fixing GPS issues in the comments. Feel free to share your laughter, too. This shit’s funny.

Do you have a mistake you’d like to share? Awesome. We could all use a laugh! Email me your mistake (and what you learned) and we’ll begin a dialog about how we can post it to the blog.

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New Garmin Glo works well

Just a quick update on the Garmin Glo that I exchanged. The new one works very well.


This one came charged; although, I did hook it up to the charger, just in case. It connected easily to my phone and stayed connected for our entire hike.

I realize that my phone does a great job with GPS and GLONASS, but let’s face it: the battery use is enormous. I carried two spares and an external charger, but it was frustrating when my phone would shut down in the middle of something. I’m a disabled hiker, so I use poles to get around and juggling two poles, my phone, and the batteries was ridiculous. (My husband carries the day pack.) I was dropping shit everywhere.

The Glo has a 12-hour battery. My phone stayed charged the entire hike (one hour) and I was heavily using GPS-enabled apps.

Happiness. I love it when shit works.

How ’bout you? What’s your preferred GPS? Do you cache with your phone? A lot of people do, but is that a good way to go about it? I’m kinda locked in to the idea now that I have a Glo, but I thought it would give me the most functionality and flexibility. Lemme know if I’m just a wrong-headed noob. I can take it.

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How to wrap a geocache container in camouflage duct tape

Want to know how to cover objects efficiently? Ask someone who sews. That’s how I earned my knowledge. Really, this tutorial can apply to any cylinder that you need to cover: Bison tubes, peanut butter jars, water bottles, etc. If it’s a cylinder, this is how to do it neatly.


  • Camouflage duct tape (about $3 at Wal-Mart)
  • Razor knife or Exacto knife (something with a sharp blade)
  • Bison tube or other cylindeer
  • Old magazine (for use as a cutting mat)

Step one: estimate amount of tapeStep one: estimate the amount of tape you’ll need

Take a look at your container next to your roll of duct tape. Think about how much tape you’ll need to cover half of the diameter of the bottom of the container and add just a little bit extra (maybe 1/4″). You can actually place the end of the duct tape on the bottom of the container, add a little extra and make a notch in the end with your scissors. Do the same for the top, but realize you won’t be covering the very middle of the top (where the Bison tube meets the keychain) and that the rim of the top is very, very narrow. Truly, an estimate is fine.

Step two: cut the tapeStep two: cut the tape

This one’s pretty obvious. I always cut more length than I think I need without getting too crazy. I don’t want to waste tape, but a little extra isn’t a big deal.

Step three: cut fringe

Step three: cut fringePlace the tape sticky-side up (naturally) on the magazine. About every 1/4 – 1/2 inch, slice the tape from one side to the other, but don’t cut through the tape. Stay about 1/4″ away from the other side. If you do cut through the tape, it’s no big deal. We left a little extra length, remember? When you’re done, you should have a nice fringe. Do this for both pieces of tape.

Step four: roll onto the cylinder

Step four: roll onto the cylinderLay the fringe for the main cylinder flat on your magazine, sticky-side up. Place the closed end of the main cylinder on the fringe so the cuts start where the cylinder ends. Slowly roll the cylinder onto the tape, trying to keep the uncut edge of the tape as parallel to the bottom of the container as possible.

Do this for the lid, too

Step five: trim excess length and spread fringe

Step five: trim excess length and spread fringeSo we left a little extra length when we first started. You can cut this off now and stick it to something to save for later use. You can use it to piece together fringe at some later point or use it if you mess up on this container. Just hang onto it until we’re done, in case we have to make repairs.

Flare out the fringe on the cylinder so that it looks like squid tentacles.

Do this for the lid, too.

Step six: fold down the fringe – main container

step six: fold down the fringe - main containerStarting with any piece of fringe, lay it down on the cylinder’s closed end so that it stretches toward the middle. We didn’t measure this exactly and that’s fine. If you cross the middle or don’t quite reach it, you’ll still be covered. If you don’t come anywhere close to the middle, you’ve used the smaller piece of tape instead of the bigger one. Remove the tape and start over with the bigger piece.

Work your way around the cylinder, slightly overlapping each piece of tape.

Step seven: admire your main container

Step seven: admire your main containerPretty.

The whole bottom should be covered in a neat camo swirl. Admire it. It’s nice. If you have a little nipple in the middle of the bottom, don’t worry. This is normal. Your Bison tube is a mammal. No, really. This is just the excess duct tape. It’s not a problem, it’s a feature.

Step eight: cover the lid

Step eight: cover the lidI’m not going to bore you with steps four and five. Just do ’em for the lid and we can all move on to step nine.

Step nine: don’t cover the key ring hole

Step nine: don't cover the key ring holeThis isn’t a step as much as it is a caution. If you’re covering a Bison tube lid, the tape shouldn’t cover the key ring hole at the top. It’s O.K. for the tape to go up the sides a little, but you’ll need to unwrap the lid, trim off the excess fringe, and go back to step four if you’re about to cover that hole. Or, well, cover it for all I care. Just know that you’ll have to open it up with your Exacto knife or something similar if you want to use the key ring again.

Step 10: admire your lidStep 10: admire your lid


Step 11: cover the main container

Step 11: cover the main containerSet your main container, rolly side down, onto your magazine work surface. Peel some of the duct tape off the roll. Compare the width of the duct tape to the cylinder’s length and make a slit in the cut-end of the duct tape to reflect this measurement. If you were wildly inaccurate with the first time we estimated lengths, you can go ahead and measure this one. It’s better to be a little short than way too long.

Pull off a generous amount of duct tape, knowing we’ll waste a little. If you want to measure this, that’s fine, but I never do.

Now that you have your tape, lay it flat on the magazine and place your main container on it, being very careful to align the mouth of the container precisely with the factory-cut edge of your duct tape. Roll the container towards you, keeping that factory edge even with the container’s mouth.

Step 12: admire the covered cylinder

step seven: admire the covered cylinderPretty.

I’ve put an Official Geocache decal on mine. It’s a really nice vinyl decal: waterproof and repositionable. I don’t make any money from this product, but I do recommend it. Here’s where I bought mine.

Click here to download a .pdf of this tutorial: How to wrap a geocache container in camouflage duct tape – TeamDaveGeocaching blog

I hoped that this post helped someone. Did it? Let me know in the comments. Show me your pictures, too, if you have some. Do you cover your containers better than I do? Awesome! Teach me.

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Garmin Glo: Exchanging for a New One

Well, I had high hopes for my Garmin Glo, but unfortunately the Glo would drop the Bluetooth connection with my Android phone after one or two minutes. That was frustrating when I was in the woods with my husband on a narrow foot path surrounded on all sides by the healthiest patch of poison ivy I’ve ever seen. Robert turned to me and told me that no film canister was worth this hassle, so we left without finding the damn thing. It was then that I resolved to figure out why my stupid brand-new GPS device kept quitting on me.

404 Error on the wallI consulted Garmin’s website,  but get this: support costs money. Like $30. I am not making this up. I ponied up the cash and guess what the expert told me? Yeah. For my $30, I learned that Garmin has complaints on Amazon about this issue. He recommended I exchange the device for a new one. So, I’m here to save you the money. If your Garmin Glo is acting funny, just exchange it. You’re welcome.

*Sigh.* The good news is that Amazon was going to send it to me overnight. The bad news is that my package was delayed. So no Garmin Glo for this weekend’s fun.

Do you have advice for me beyond exchanging my Garmin Glo for a new one? Have you had trouble with your Garmin Glo? Commiserate with me in the comments.

Thanks to Damien Roué for the photo, “404 Error on the wall,” licensed by CC BY 2.0

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My Geocaching Technology Setup


I’m a newbie, so my setup will evolve, I’m sure.

Samsung Galaxy S51. I use my Samsung Galaxy S5 as my principle device. My carrier is Sprint, which is great for my wallet, but lousy for almost everything else. Naturally, I lose reception in the woods just five miles from my home.

2. I’ve added a Garmin Glo, which I bought on Amazon on the advice of /u/joshuar9476, on the Reddit Geocaching subreddit’s excellent thread 2014 GPS Device Megathread, which can be found in the subreddit’s sidebar. I’m still working out how to use it, so don’t go thinking I’m some kind of expert. I struggled to even connect it to my phone via Bluetooth, but I was successful using Bluetooth GPS provider from Android’s Play Store. I had to try out a few of these bluetooth GPS connectors, so don’t be discouraged if you have to do the same. Each time I connect to my Glo, I have to run that program first. No biggie.

Garmin Glo front and back

I like that it’s small (5.3 x 2.6 inches or 13.4 x 6.6 cm), light weight (9.6 oz or 272 g), rechargeable, and that I can use different geocaching apps with it to see what suits me best. The lights are confusing at first, so I tried to photocopy the manual’s page that indicates what the lights mean. I reduced the size until it was barely readable, but it wouldn’t fit on the back of the little guy. So, I ended up printing out labels with my trusty label maker. I left off a few status lights (like charging), but I think it’s fine. Click here to view/download the Garmin Glo product manual.

3. I’ve tried many Android apps, but I think I like CacheSense (paid) best. I like its flexibility and many customizable features. I’ve also tried c:geo (good, but not as many features as CacheSense), and the Geocaching (free) app. I still have them on my device because I’m still comparing them. I also have GPS Averaging, Geocache Placer, and GPS Status.

That’s what I’m using at the moment, but there’s a learning curve. I’m not what anyone would call fast. Or expert. But since I’ve added the Glo, I’m not spinning in circles with weird GPS readings, either.

Do you have suggestions for me, a noob geocacher? What technological tools do you prefer? Please share what you have learned in the comments!

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