A Free Catalog of Tips for Geocaching

An Introduction to Geocaching

Geocaching is an outdoor location-based hide and seek game, typically played using Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Players, also called “cachers” navigate to a dictated set of coordinates using their GPS to locate “geocaches/caches”, containing a logbook and small family-friendly items or “trackable” items with a unique tracking number that can be entered into the database to review the movement of the item. Geocaches can range in size from “micro” to large; a micro cache may be as small as an ammunition cartridge and a large is typically the size of a tupperware container. Once a cache is found, the cachers will sign the logbook and, if applicable, exchange once small item for another. The “find” is then logged online to share geocaching experiences with other enthusiasts. Geocaches are located worldwide and cachers are continuously placing and logging new caches to the online database.

The first reported cache was placed by Dave Ulmer in May 2000 in Beavercreek, Oregon, after GPS became more widely available. The cache's location was posted and, within a few days, was found and logged. The location of the fist cache is now marched by a plaque and continues to be a popular destination for cachers.

Preparing for a Geoaching Adventure

  • Make sure your GPS has a full battery

  • Always tell a friend or family member where you are going in case of an emergency or accident

  • Obtain the GPS coordinates of your desires cache, Geocaching programs are also available for many GPS, they can make accessing and uploading coordinates even easier and are perfect for spontaneous caching

  • Wear comfortable, durable clothing that covers your arms and legs – this is especially important when caching in wooded areas

  • Wear appropriate footwear; hiking or work boots are perfect, but simple waterproof sneakers work as well.

  • Pack bug spray – deep woods bug spay may be most effective

  • bring a water bottle and trail-friendly snacks

  • Practice “Cache In Trash Out” (CITO). This is the practice of collecting and removing trash while searching for a cache.

  • Get familiar with popular geocaching acronyms and jargon

When hunting for a geocache, be prepared to hike and go off of the beaten trails. Geocachers have come up with many unique hiding places and cache disguises to through you off the trail, so leave no stone unturned! Geocaching in teams or groups is strongly advised, it is more fun and much safer to take a fellow cacher with you.

Hiding Your Own Geocaches

When placing your own cache, it is important to stay within the Geocaching Listings Guidelines. This outlines the basic rules of geocaching, including acceptable locations and any restrictions. Caches are typically placed on public property; unless permission from private property holders is expressly given. Public parks and hiking trails are popular locations for caches, urban caching is also popular; but may be more tricky because of dense populations and passerbys, called “muggles”, taken from the popular J.K. Rowling Harry Potter series.

Once a cache is placed, the information can be uploaded to the Official Geocaching website. The cache owner will provide the GPS coordinates, a description of the cache and any other information they think would be helpful for fellow cachers. Once the cache location and information is reviewed and approved by, the information will be published on the website. Cache owners should keep in mind that each cache needs to be at least a tenth of a mile away from its nearest neighboring cache. If the cache needs to be edited for any reason, a Geocache reviewer will provide information about the changes that need to be made in order for the cache to be published.

Tips for Hiding a Geocache

  • Follow all regulations and restriction as outlined in the geocaching guidelines

  • Caches should be hidden from plan site, unless using a nontraditional cache container, such as custom containers made to resemble rocks, tree trunks, camouflaged micro caches, and even fake grass.

  • Always use waterproof containers

  • Hide the cache in a location that you, as the owner, have consistent access to, some maintenance is required for a successful cache.

  • Include any identifying Geocache material, such as the Official Geocache label to help fellow cachers and educate an “muggles” that might stumble upon the cache by accident.

  • Periodically check the online cache listing for feedback for those who have and have not found your cache

  • Always respect the natural environment when caching; make sure not to disturb and animal habitats

Geocaching is a great opportunity to explore and connect with people who share similar interests. Check out these geocaching resources for more information and suggestions:

A Beginner's Guide to Geocaching

Geocaching Glossary

Geocaching Webquest

The Boy Scouts of America: Geocaching

New York State Conservationist on Geocaching

All About GPS Application and Troubleshooting

Selecting the right GPS for Geocaching

Geocaching on Federal Land

Geocaching FAQs

Additional Resources