Freaking GeoCaching Etiquette

GeoCaching:

1) What happens when Nerds go outside.

2) Using million dollar military satellites to find Tupperware in the woods.

3) www.geocaching.com

4) One of my favorite things in the entire world.

Long and short, people volunteer to hide containers (the sizes vary from teeny tiny to HUGE) then post the GPS coordinates of said container. Other people then go find said containers using descriptions, hints, and GPS devices. The containers can be hidden anywhere and everywhere and the type and contents are limited only to the owner’s imagination.

It’s a great way to get outside, stretch your mental muscles, and meet some great people. I am super passionate about it and spread the geocaching word whenever I can (my Cacher name is WarriorScholar….friend me on the geocaching.com website).

So, just like everything I’m passionate about, I get a little upset when people do things that either go against the spirit of the thing I love or are just plain lame. Hence, this guide was born.

I always hope that when I see some shenanigans it is simply because it’s a newbie or the cacher just didn’t know. I hope that this guide will help generate some discussion and help people cache a little nicer. It is written sternly, in hopes that it will hit home for cachers who just don’t care so if your new or just don’t know, I’m not yelling at you (I’m yelling at them ;-))

geocache
Here is a sample of one might look like (But there are SOOO many variations…don’t just look for something like this)

No One Wants Your Used Q-Tip

One of the many fun things about caching is the ability to put small trade items into larger sized caches. These are little trinkets that you can take from a cache and keep as your own (DIFFERENT from trackables – see below). These are typically kid or kid-spirit friendly or revolve around the caches theme (for example, an all purple cache or a cache to trade out those support bracelets or just little cheap McDonald’s style toys).

So….knowing this, who puts dirty Q-tips or random toothpicks in a cache that isn’t themed that way? Kids (ok, and some adults *cough, me*) take joy in trading out fun items. It’s no fun to come upon a big cache only to find old soda can tops and used grooming products.

You are supposed to trade kind for kind and if you don’t have something equivocal to trade, take nothing.  Again, embrace the spirit of caching and be fair!

Along with that, clean up your trash.  GeoCachers are very big on the Cache In, Trash Out (you’ll hear it called CITO) movement.  Embrace it yourself.

Do You Work In Adult Films?

I’m glad to say I’ve only seen this a time or two, but please watch your cacher names. Super filthy is not ok. This is a hobby that a lot of children take part in.

When you pick a cacher name that is dirty or blatantly inappropriate, that name is seen on the websites and logged in pen on cacher logs. I am FAAAAAARRRRR from easily offended and even I’ve seen a couple of names that gave me pause.

Just be reasonable.

Pick up a Trackable? LOG. THE. DARN. THING.

One fun part of caches is the ability to purchase what are called “trackables”. They are also referred to as travel bugs or geo coins. They have a unique code on them that allows them to be moved cache to cache and be mapped during travels. They usually have a goal (i.e. – visit all 50 states) and usually have a theme or a friend attached. (See one of mine by clicking here.)

When you come across one you can either leave it in the cache you saw it in or take it with you. Either way, you can go to a website and enter the code to “log” it. It’s nice to log it even if you leave it there (called Discovering it). It’s a nice way to let a trackable owner know it’s still there.

It is a MUST to log it if you take it. A trackable is easily spotted and simply cannot be confused for a standard tradable item. LOG IT ASAP. Then move it on. Don’t keep it forever and if you can’t drop it right away, take the time to log your plans with it so the owner knows where it is.

Someone spent money on this item. It usually means something to them or to their kid. It is their possession and they sent it into the world to brighten their, and other cachers days. Treat this property like you would treat any possession that you borrowed from a friend, because that it was you are doing when you take a trackable.

Owners – Maintain or Delete

This is for the more advanced cacher – the person who places their own caches.  For the love of Pete, either maintain, adopt out, or delete your cache.  It is so disappointing to not be able to find a cache and then learn the owner has neglected maintenance requests or Did Not Finds for months.  I will leave it at that, for if you are placing caches, you need no further explanation.

Well, there you go.  Caching is fun and really cool (yes, cool).  It is great to do alone and it is great to do with friends and loved ones.

Please just be respectful and follow basic common sense and courtesy and we can all get along just fine!  Remember, find me on Geocaching.com as WarriorScholar!

Fellow GeoCachers – What did I forget?  Newbies – What you would like to know?  Comment/Ask away in the comments.  You may inspire another blog 🙂

geocache
My triumphant find!  (I’d been looking for this one forever)

 

 

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