Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Etiquette of finding, logging and hiding Geocaches

As a n00b (or newbie, or novice, or greenhorn) to Geocaching, i spent a lot of time in the forums on both geocaching.com and louisianageocaching.org trying to find out what makes these Geocachers "tick" and what sort of behaviors to avoid.

If you are a new Geocacher, reading the following tips may help you avoid any Geocaching mistakes. On the Louisiana Geocaching forums, this turned into a project to collect the list of suggestions into what we've come to call:


  1. If your coordinates are telling you that the geocache is in a place that seems dangerous (like having to scale a fence or down a sheer cliff) you should abort! Either there is another way to get to the geocache, or the coordinates are bad.
  2. This is a family friendly game so keep your trade items and logs clean.  If it isn't PG don't write it or leave it!  Don't leave things like live ammo, knives, condoms, lighters or cigarettes in a cache!  Think before you leave a trade item or write something in/on a log!
  3. Please don't cache in rain storms. We all get caught in light sprinkles here and there, but when it is storming put your macho-man attitude aside out of the respect for the cache owners. Caching in the rain causes logs to get wet! A conscientious cache hider always strives to have a waterproof container. If you get the log wet in such a container it will NEVER dry. It will get moldy and be ruined.
  4. Carry spare logs and Ziploc bags with you when you cache. If you come across one that is too wet to sign, replace it! Logs don't take up much room and can easily fit in your pocket. By changing out wet logs and broken Ziploc bags you are helping out the geocommunity and keeping the game going. The owner will be very grateful for your actions.
  5. Please don't take the Ziploc bag that the log is in unless you are replacing it. The Ziploc bag is there to protect the log in the event that the container gets wet.
  6. If a cache breaks in your hands or you lose a piece of it, please notify the owner immediately or fix it if you can. It happens to the best of us. Let's face it, things out in the elements are going to break down eventually. Most of us carry cache repair kits so we can replace or fix things out in the field.
  7. When changing out logs, Ziploc bags or cache parts, please don't throw the old ones on the ground! Always remember Cache In, Trash Out! (C.I.T.O.)
  8. If you feel the need to write cut and paste logs, at least add something slightly different on each log. Most of us enjoy reading what you write and your cut and paste logs suck the fun out of it.
  9. Acronyms and emoticons are meant to be compliments to your log, but not act as a log alone. By doing this you are almost guaranteeing that your log will be deleted or at the very least annoying the person who went through the trouble to put out a cache for you to find. Show some respect and write something worthwhile!
  10. When your logs often have something negative to say about a hide, maybe you should find a new hobby.
  11. If you find a micro in a place where you think there should have been an ammo can, please don't whine to the cache owner about this. This falls under logging nothing but negative comments. Instead, go out and hide an ammo can in a place where you feel like one should be hidden!
  12. Please don't include hints in your log, large or subtle! Let the next cacher enjoy the challenge. Not all of us find a challenge annoying.
  13. Pictures are great, as long as they don't point out what the cache looks like or where it is hidden!  Don't include pictures in your logs of the cache or ground zero.
  14. Don't log a cache as Needs Maintenance if the log is only full on one side. Paper has two sides and both sides should be used before you say it is full.
  15. Don't log a cache as Needs Maintenance or Needs Archiving just because you can't find it! Not all caches are meant to be easy. Some require research, a lot of thought and even several trips to the location before they can be found.


  1. Please use a dedicated handheld GPSR device to hide a cache. iPhones, Nuvi's and TomToms and other GPS enabled devices are lacking the precision that is needed for placing geocaches. These devices end up with coordinates that are 30' to 50' off, which could put geocachers on private property or in other sensitive areas!
  2. Put a little bit of effort into your cache name and description. A lot of cachers really enjoy reading what you have to write about the area, the history, your cache or just some creative story that you come up with.
  3. Don't place caches in sensitive areas like at a post office, police station or a bank. We look suspicious enough without having the added suspicion of being a terrorist or a thief.
  4. Scope out the place you are thinking about hiding a cache. Put some thought into it! Is it a high muggle area? Will there be a ton of people watching when someone goes to grab your cache? If so, this might not be the best choice in the long run. A well placed cache will have a longer life span than one that is put in an area that is constantly watched by muggles.
  5. Don't place caches in bad neighborhoods or in areas that will put geocachers in dangerous situations. Safety first!
  6. Take a number of readings for your coordinates. Let your GPS average the coordinates for at least a minute. Cloudy days can really screw with your satellite signal. Take your coordinates and return using them at another time or another day and see if the coordinates are accurate.
  7. Choose your cache container wisely! Give it a test run. Submerge it in water and see how it holds up. If it ends up wet on the inside you might want to reconsider. You will be surprised to find out just how many things seem watertight, but aren't.
  8. Use a Ziploc bag is to protect the log sheet in 35mm film canisters and larger caches. If trade items are being placed in the container and they need to be in a Ziploc, they should be in their own bag.
  9. If you later find out that the coordinates you submitted to Geocaching.com are wrong, change them! Don't just mention it in a note that will end up being buried 30 logs down on the page.


Special thanks to LostPecans!

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