Hiding a Geocache
It's great that you're thinking of hiding a geocache! We hope that you'll find our advice on this page useful.
We advise that, before making your first hide, you find a variety of different geocaches in your area. This will enable you to gain an understanding of what merits a good, and sensible, geocache hide. It's hard to put a number on it, but around 100 geocache finds should provide you with this understanding. Why not try the Geocache Hiders Quiz to test your knowledge of the geocache guidelines.
Once you've selected which listing site you want to publish your geocache on, please read our Geocache Guidelines before hiding your geocache. Ensure that you adhere to them. In addition, if submitting a geocache for geocaching.com, check out their own Geocache Listing Guidelines, many of which are similar to ours. Ensure that you have the relevant permission from the landowner too - you may find that permission has already been granted - check our Geocaching Land Owner Agreement Database (GLAD). If not, you can find an example letter to a landowner here. Once you obtain permission, then place your geocache and obtain accurate GPS coordinates; take several readings or use the waypoint averaging feature on your GPS. You can then submit your geocache for review, it can take up to a week for your geocache to be published.
In addition to the guidelines, here are some more tips with regards to what makes a good geocache:
- Ensure that your geocache container is watertight.
- Clearly label your geocache, stating the GC code, that the content is harmless and your e-mail address or other contact method (eg GAGB contact phone number). A selection of different sizes of GAGB geocache labels can be purchased in our Online Shop. All our labels have our GAGB contact phone number, so if anyone finds your geocache they can ring us and we will contact the cache owner.
- Include a logbook - ideally within a small zip-bag to keep it dry and the Instructions for Finders Note.
- Try to include a pen/pencil.
- If the geocache is large enough, stock it with some good items for people to swap.
- Don't place any form of food/drink inside the geocache.
- Place your geocache in a purposeful location - not somewhere you can place a geocache for the sake of it. Think about why are you bringing people to the selected location.
- Have fun - if you want to challenge people with a difficult puzzle, a creative container or tough terrain that's great. It's also super if you want to place a good-sized geocache in a beautiful spot accessible to all. Do it your way and enjoy the process of planning and placing.
- To make it a great geocache for everyone, you need to maintain your geocache regularly throughout its lifespan. See below.
Some more things to consider:
- Ensure that your geocache is 0.1 miles apart from any other final stage of a physical geocache.
- Choose the right geocache size can be tricky. Smaller geocaches are easier to hide but they cannot hold any or very few swaps or trackables. Larger geocaches are more difficult to camoflague but easier to find. Look at What size is this? to choose the correct size of your geocache.
- Difficulty and Terrain ratings: this questionnaire will help you rate your geocache. Our article in Seeker 8 explains the ratings.
- Try to make the description and hint of your geocache as informative and helpful as possible - without giving spoilers (unless you want to).
- Spread the GAGB word - place a link on your geocache pages explaining what the GAGB does. Also look at how to use HTML for some good tips on improving your geocache pages.
- Before submitting your geocache, ensure you are listing its region in accordance with this map. Otherwise, there might be a delay in it being published.
- These Mapping Resources can be useful to see whether you need permission from a body e.g. the National Trust as opposed to a landowner such as a farmer. Just input the coordinates of your geocache into the MAGIC Map and you'll be able to see a detailed map of the area - use the legend to see what the overlays mean.
- Make sure you take accurate coordinates, take several readings or use the waypoint averaging feature on your GPS.
- Check out our Seeker Article 'A Reviewer's Lot', where a former Groundspeak Reviewer (Deceangi) explains what gets checked when a geocache is submitted for review.
How will my Geocache be Published Online for People to Find?
This varies depending on the listing site you want to hide your geocache for. On geocaching.com, your geocache listing will be reviewed by a fellow geocacher. These volunteer reviewers are appointed by geocaching.com. On terracaching.com, your caches will be reviewed and published by the two geocachers that sponsored you upon your registration.
Take a look at this summary video of how to hide a geocache:
A Note on Maintenance...
It is crucial that you maintain any geocaches you place. You cannot place a geocache and never check it again. Imagine you placed a fantastically devious fake mushroom container (they do exist, and they are difficult). The first people to find it would love it. Then, say it broke, went missing or the log was wet. Someone finding it a few years later would not experience the same clever geocache. They wouldn't enjoy it as much as the first finders. In other words, it would have transformed into a different geocache, in a sorry state.
Maintaining your geocache prevents this from happening. By regularly visiting your hide, you can repair the container, hide a new one if the previous one has gone missing and replace the log if needed. Consequently, your geocache will live on in all its glory throughout its life, meaning everyone will enjoy it.
If someone logs ‘Needs Maintenance’ on your geocache, head out as soon as you can to rectify the issue. If you're lucky, it will coincide with one of your routine maintenance trips.
If you can no longer maintain your geocache for any given reason, you may wish to send it for adoption. Our FAQ page contains a question surrounding adoption, so we suggest you take a look there for more information.
The GAGB wish you all the best with your geocache hide(s) and subsequent maintenance trips.
“Hiding a Geocache” video is copyright Groundspeak, Inc. DBA Geocaching. Used with permission. All rights reserved.