Geocaching Etiquette

So you’re a brand new cacher? Awesome! Welcome to the hobby/sport/addiction of many other people around the world. We all hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

To get the most out of Geocaching, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Logging Etiquette: When you log a find on a geocache, the person who hid it (aka the Cache Owner, or CO) actually receives an email of your log. I know most CO’s love reading what people write. It’s our way of being out caching, when stuck at work, etc.  Blank, single word, acronym, or emoticon logs may be easier when you have a lot of caches to log, but it doesn’t tell the hider or other finders anything about your adventure (or lack thereof) in finding the cache.  We also appreciate your feedback on whether you liked or disliked any aspect of the hide, or if you feel that some cache maintenance is required.  When you hide your first cache, you’ll appreciate it when people write useful/informative/creative/fun logs 🙂

Image3I love getting logs like this one, even when he's wrong about the coordinates 😉

Trading Etiquette #1: When you find a cache, you will often see small items in it. This is called Swag.  They are often toys, but can be almost anything. There are exceptions which I’ll get to in the next tip. The purpose of these items is to trade an item of yours, for an item in the container. The basic rule is trade evenly, or improve the quality of the items left. For example, don’t take a nice flashlight, but only leave a cheap, broken plastic toy.

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Trading Etiquette #2:  There are some items that should never be placed in a cache.  Items including, but not just limited too: Food, Candles, Candy/Sweets, etc. Basically anything with a scent that can attract animals that may damage the container.  Also nothing dangerous, illegal or not suitable for all ages. I’ve seen all sorts of just plain wrong items in caches, Individually wrapped cigars, (thankfully) unused condoms, cigarette lighters, cans of beer; nothing like this should ever be left in a cache, even if you have spares on you 😉 If you see something that obviously should not be there, please remove it – no trade is needed.

Image2Just some ideas of what should not be placed in a cache, and removed if found.

Geocoing / Travel Bug Etiquette: During your adventures, you will come across items that look something like these.  These are called GeoCoins and Travel Bugs. They are not normal trade items. They are only to be picked up, with the goal of moving them to another cache, or event. As cool as some of the coins look, do not keep them 🙂 One of the neat features of these, is the ability to track where this items has traveled; sometimes all over the the world.  For more information on trackables, click here.

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Cache Hiding Etiquette: While any cache you place that is maintained and has fairly accurate coordinates will appreciated hopefully by many finders, but there are ways to make them even better.  The best caches all have a reason for being there. They’re not placed because someone found a gap on the map. Simply finding an area that you enjoy visiting or spending time in, is more then suitable. We all want to experience something new, and after doing a few hundred lamp post caches in mall parking lots, they kind of lose the novelty of them.

And of course following the guidelines is a must. 🙂

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