Geocaching is a relatively new, family-friendly hobby in which participants use GPS technology to search for geocaches (or treasures) that your fellow geocachers hide. Here we explain how to hide a geocache.
Step 1. Search first before hiding a geocache
Try to find different types, sizes, terrain, difficulties, and cache locations. This will allow you to recognize what works. In this way, you will be able to decide better. Some people will recommend looking for an X number of caches, but if most are of a single type, they won't be of much help. You will learn more if you find 10 different types of caches than 100 of the same type. First, gain some experience.
Step 2. Find a good place for your geocache
One of quality will be hidden near something that presents some natural, human, historical, landscape interest or at least, it will be at the end of a pleasant walk. Try to select a place that people would like to visit even if the geocache is not there.
Step 3. Make sure geocaches are allowed in that location
If it's private property, get permission from the owner. Some park systems require permits and others do not allow geocaching, so check with the park administration that geocaching is allowed, and obtain a permit if necessary.
Step 4. Select a suitable container
This must be waterproof and resistant. Many geocachers prefer large boxes of military ammunition. Also make sure the container is appropriate for the area (see tips). It is important that this close well, since if the water leaks, the cache will be ruined.
Step 5. Camouflage the container
This is optional, but it's a good idea if you don't want non-geocaching people to find it. Painting it with colors similar to the area it is in or wrapping it with camouflage patterned tape are two of the many ways to hide it. There are other methods like gluing bark to the container or hiding it under fake rocks and tree stumps.
Step 6. Put a label on the outside
Nowadays, suspicious packages can cause alarm. Placing a label on the container that clearly identifies it as a geocache and putting your contact information can reduce the chances that someone will report it as a suspicious package.
Step 7. Fill the cache
Include a letter that explains what it is, in case someone who does not practice geocaching finds it. It also includes a guest book, pencil, and trinkets or "little treasures" so that whoever finds it can make a trade-in if the container is big enough.
Step 8. Hide your cache
This is more likely to last if you decide to put it in a low-traffic area where it is not likely to be discovered by accident or by passersby, business owners, security guards, or residents seeing the person looking for it.
Step 9. Use your GPS to get the coordinates
Make sure your satellite signal is good, then let your GPS sit where your cache is for a minute or two before marking it. Check the section of your GPS manual on how to mark a waypoint, if you don't know how.
Step 10. Register your cache
You have to post about the cache on some website so other geocachers can find the coordinates. The most popular website so far is www.geocaching.com. There are other sites like www.navicache.com, www.terracaching.com, opecaching.com and www.opencaching.us.
Step 11. Keep your cache
You have to be ready to respond quickly the moment a problem is reported such as when the bin is not found or when the guestbook gets wet or full. If you are no longer interested, remove the cache and archive the registry.
- Try to hide it where homeowners or passersby cannot see searchers. This reduces the chances that someone will report suspicious activity or remove the cache.
- Before hiding your cache, go back and think what a person who does not participate in geocaching would think if they saw a person traversing that area with a GPS.
- If you use an ammo box, be sure to cover the military markings.
- Use an appropriately sized container. Deep in the forest, large containers are very good. In urban areas and residential or high traffic areas, use a smaller container, which is easier to hide, so that it is less likely that someone will accidentally discover it.
- Also take into consideration the environmental impact. Where possible, hide your container on sturdy surfaces (such as a rocky outcrop). Avoid steep slopes where seekers can contribute to erosion.
- When hiding your cache, make it look as natural as possible. Covering it only with pieces of wood, rocks, or bark might encourage non-geocaching people to investigate it.
- Fill your cache with the kinds of things you would like to find. You do not need to spend a lot, a few things not very expensive, but useful, they are perfect. Stores that sell items for a dollar are popular places to get items. Don't put items destined for trash in a cache.
- Know the rules of the website where you plan to register your cache. Read them thoroughly and make sure your cache meets the requirements.
- If someone finds your cache by accident and creates public alarm, you could face prosecution or pay fines.
- Lands managed by the National Park Service (example national parks, national recreational areas, and national historic sites) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (example national wildlife refuges) are prohibited for geocaches. Some National Park Service lands have begun allowing geocaching on a trial basis, but the superintendent's permission is required. Many nationally designated wildlife protection areas are also prohibited, as are some state or local parks. If you have doubts, get in touch with the administrative authorities and ask the question.
- Many park systems have rules regarding geocaches. Learn more about them before hiding your cache. If in doubt, check with your local geocaching club or society.
- Don't hide your geocache on business property without first checking with the owner.
- Do not hide caches near bridges, tunnels, military installations, airports, bus terminals, train and rail stations, schools, or other places that could be considered terrorist targets.