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Good Trade Items


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I'm new to geocaching with < 30 finds, and have been reading the forums trying to learn the ropes. I keep seeing threads complaining about junk or just toys in a cache, but not suggestions of good stuff to leave.


I wanted to restock my trade items and so stopped at a dollar store last night. I was able to pick up lots of stuff for kids, but I'd like to have some adult swag, too. It seemed like anything I thought an adult might like was not kid safe.


So my question is, what inexpensive , kid safe, adult type thing would you like to find in cache? I want decent items to trade, but not break the bank doing it. Thanks.

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We found a local chain drugstore (CVS) that had colored mini-carabineers 3/$1 and matching aluminum rescue whistles for the same 3/$1. We bought 30 bucks worth. I am also lucky enough to had a dad who’s hobby is making 2 ¼” custom buttons so we made our own button and attached the biner and whistle as our signature swag for caches around here. Really anything that you might enjoy as a trade item is fine. If it’s something you would pass over, then maybe you should think of another item. Discount stores and Dollar stores are always a good starting place.

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Wow, thanks for the quick responses! I wish I could have found the mini carbiners and whistles at the dollar store. I did pick up a couple mini carbiners at Walmart, but not at that good a deal. I also picked up some packages of fishing bobbers - lots of lakes and rivers around me.


I'll have to check out Target - there are a couple in town, both both are out of my way so I never get there, but if they have a "One Spot" I'll have to check them out. The flashlight keychains & first aid kits sound cool, I'll have to keep an eye out for them.

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Just did a restocking run on a cache I just adopted GC4AA4, Stopped by the dollar store and picked up a couple of toy bikers, some polishing cloths, roll of duct tape and a couple of other items that worked with the cache theme, spending about $10. Cleaned out a bunch of junk drawer crap that I round filed upon reaching home.

Edited by entropysedge
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Staples has calculator keychains for $1 (they really work). Before we started having signature buttons and wooden nickels made, my sig item was Mardi Gras doubloons (New Orleans being one of my favorite vacation spots, at least it used to be before it drowned). You can buy bags of them on eBay and they won't rust or get moldy in wet caches and they will fit in relatively small caches, I still keep them on hand and leave them in caches I really like. The camping sections of discount stores have compasses, mini flashlights etc. on sale sometimes really cheap. My sister leaves Livestrong bracelets, they are very popular and cost $1 apiece, you can buy large quantities on their website (another item that won't mildew or rust).

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Here is a partial list of things I've left in caches. Many are under a buck and most are under $3:


Small US flags

US flag pins

modeling clay


Energizer squeeze lights


bags of toy soldiers

water colors

mini screwdriver sets

allen wrench sets

gel pens

boxes of crayons or colored chalk

emergency rain ponchos

packs of AA and AAA batteries

collectable coins (buffalo nickels, indian head pennies, SBA or Sacagawea dollars)

foreign money

music CD's

blank RW CD's

cassettes (blank and recorded)


clip on safety strobes

bungee cords

LED key lights

"euro" stickers & other decals

travel sewing kits

maps (hiking & road)


small puzzles

travel packs of Wet Ones or Baby Wipes

Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars

key rings

bags of balloons

velcro fasteners

interesting buttons and pins


rolls of film

small travel bottles of hand sanitizer



small bags of Hefty Handi Sacks

several kinds of compasses (round pin on ones are a favorite)

movies on VHS & DVD

office supplies (packs of paper clips, thumb tacks, Post-Its, etc...)

Mylar emergency blankets

fire starters

decks of cards

new wallets

bags of marbles

folding scissors

small travel bottles of Lubriderm hand cream

individual packs of Armor-All & Rain-X wipes

survival whistles

packets of insect repellent wipes or small spray bottles of Repel

Wheresgeorge bills and stamps

Geocaching.com hats, pins and patches.

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Thanks for all the great ideas! I'll definitely have to check out Target, but what's a "Five Below"? If its a store we don't have any around here.


When I was browsing at the dollar store I considered a set of small screwdrivers, other tools, a sewing kit, etc., but decided that they weren't "kid friendly". I noticed that those types of things were suggested as trade items. Am I going way overboard with my kid friendly standards? My kids are both grown up, so I don't have little ones along to remind me what they're like.


Would anyone who caches with a young child like to comment about how kid friendly they'd like trade items? As long as its not matches, lighters, or knives it's ok, or should I be more careful & rule out things like screwdrivers too?

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Tools from the dollar store - I have left pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches. $1 Calculators from Wal-Mart, small flashlights. I used to leave rolls of duct tape that costs me about $1.10. Emergency blankets. Whistles. Books. Books on tape (on sale for $1 ea). Deck of cards. etc.......



.......and just why can't adults swap with the kid's toys? :laughing:

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Thanks for asking an important question! :laughing: I like the "Trade Up, Trade Equal, or Don't Trade" motto, and usually spend 50 cents to $1 on stuff I leave. And, believe me, that's real money considering what I generally FIND in caches (real junk)!!! Here's my list of favorite things to leave: anything about geocaching (tattoos, or pins), decks of cards (esp. Rt. 66 cards because of where I live), bandanas from Wal-Mart (packed in 2's, come out to 88 cents each), Sacagawea dollars (I'm a Girl Scout), the keychain calculators from Staples are great, big nice seashells (I live in the desert, and figure some would get a real kick out of finding these--for the same reason, never crayons; they melt!) foreign stamps for micros (which I don't like, because I like to swap stuff!). If there's really nothing I'd like or if the cache was a disappointment in some way, I generally TNLNSL.

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I have left miscellaneous stuff but the item that seems to leave on the next log is a deck of cards. I take the outside clear plastic off and sign my geocaching userid on the outside of the box with a waterproof pen, ball-point. I don't break the seal on the flap so that the box is still "new". I guess the signature makes it some kind of a collector's item.



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I dont think you should worry too much about the kid friendly status of a screwdriver, sure beats a broken Mc-toy. I too have found the chain auto stores to be a great stop for some swag, all sorts of odds and ends for $1.

I've found personal-sized Cutter bug spray at walmart for .88 and that makes a great trade item.

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B) I came across some trade beads when I first started caching, and decided to put together some for a signature item. I like using these when I don't actually trade but still want to leave something. You can pick beads up in bulk pretty cheap in several different stores. I kinda like seeing the different variety people use. I would think they would be kid friendly enough. B)
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I'm a bargain hunter by nature, so I usually SPEND around a dollar or two on swag items. Usually the actual value is a bit more (I scour clearance racks at Target!). One of my favorite things to leave was a new package of "catch-a-bubbles" - stronger than the average soap bubbles so you have more playability. Plus I liked the pun (cache-a-bubbles?). Dropped them in a cache on the way into a park, passed that spot again on the way out and saw some other cachers whose group included a kid, happily enjoying the bubbles :)


Edit: I know I know, bubbles ARE toys, but I would have taken them too! Also have been known to leave smaller items including pocket packs of Kleenex, single-pack wet wipes, and bug repellant wipes.

Edited by Team WorldPeaceTurtle
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I get bandanas from Hobby Lobby when they're on sale -- 88 cents regular price, I get them half off. My geocaching dog wears one so I figure some humans and other dogs might like one. Those always go in a ziplock bag.


I also make I Love Geocaching bracelets from supplies I get at Hobby Lobby. Not sure what the cost is but it's probably under $1 each. Does take some time to make but I enjoy it.

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I wiped out my local Walgreen's the other day when I found decks of playing cards on their Clearance counter for 24 cents each! The cashier at the pharmacy wondered why I was buying 50 decks of cards, so I gave her a geocaching brochure and explained swag. She asked if you could put religious stuff in caches...what would you have answered???

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I've been meaning to check the local coin shop. Old coins such as Buffalo Nickels and Indian Head Pennies are things that many folks love to find. I picked up a 1905 Indian Head Penny a couple weeks ago in a cache and loved it. The thing is probably only worth maybe $0.75 but you just don't see them anymore. Sooo.... I've been wondering if there might be a supply of stuff like that for $1 or less that I could buy and use as swag. Not sure I could bring myself to leave it though. :bad:

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I too am a fan of the dollar store, I get lots of the dinsaur sponge capsule you sak in watter to make them grow, they fit nice in the smaller caches. For the bigger one cards, small animal puzzles, and Matchbox cars seem to go over good. Around camsites I like to leave uno or similar card games so people have something to do at night.

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I think the idea of a relatively tough hike and find, kind of like adults only, and having some things worth finding is cool. The kids enjoy little plastic toys, but after climbing hills, rocks, mountains... it be nice to be a little better rewarded. Don't take this as a huge complaint, I'm a newbie and I'm definately going after all the caches I can find. But check this cache out near Napa, CA.


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I have left some small trinkets turned on my wood lathe. Just screw an eye hook on one end and someone will attatch to their key chain. I also just finished making a bunch of throw tops (the kind you have to wrap the string around). They would be nice for kids or sitting on your treasure shelf. Cheap (scrap wood) and easy to make and look really nice when finished.

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October is fight against breast cancer month, and Target has many items for $1 apiece, with all proceeds going toward cancer research. I picked up a bunch of bracelets, sets of 3 charms, and playing cards. I haven't had a chance to place them in caches yet, as the ground is too soft since it's been raining since the 7th!

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ghost9mm, If you're buying LIVESTRONG bracelets for less than $1 apiece they're probably rip offs with no money going to the foundation. LAF will sell them directly to you

LIVESTRONG. They don't discount no matter how many you purchase - you can only save on shipping - so if you're buying them for uner $1, they aren't genuine.

Edited by Isonzo Karst
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Since my wife is a two time cancer surviver, we can get 20 adult yellow Lance Armstrong cancer support bracelets from ebay for less then 20.00 bucks we leave them as our sig.and all goes for a good cause... <_<

As Isonzo Karst if they are under a buck they are probably fake or someone who bought WAY too many and is selling them to get $ back... I would NEVER buy livestrong bands from ebay though because even if they are real it's someone trying to profit off the popularity of something that is supposed to support cancer. I know most of the sellers say it's to help them, but I'm doubtfull...


But them from LAF, then you know they are real and they are going to the cause. My Dad had cancer, so everyone in our family has them too... I love them, but just hate to see bad people profiting from them...



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mercury dimes, liberty quarters, old coins in general can be found on ebay. They're usually about a buck or less each, make great swag, and don't take up much room in your swagbag.


Unleaned roman coins can also be had on the cheap from ebay. Put them in a tiny ziplock with cleaning instructions and you got some real treasure.

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ghost9mm, If you're buying LIVESTRONG bracelets for less than $1 apiece they're probably rip offs  with no money going to the foundation. LAF will sell them directly to you

LIVESTRONG. They don't discount no matter how many you purchase - you can only save on shipping - so if you're buying them for uner $1, they aren't genuine.

Well you got me to be somewhat curious about what I posted about the lance Armstrong (Livestrong)bracelets that I bought off ebay, less then a dollar... not much less but still less...and since my wife is a two time surviver of cancer and since I am retired and have lots of time on my hands, I contacted the Lance Armstrong foundation at www.laf.org got a phone number and talked to a real nice lady that said. They do not sell Lance Armstrong cancer support bracelets for (less)then $1.00 dollar But what people do with them after they buy them is up to them.

and there are lots of them for sale on ebay and there are so many out there now the sellers on ebay are starting the price below their costs,so it is a very good chance you could get some after market bracelets. It is a buyer beware on anything on ebay... Before you buy investigate the seller.Very easy to do..

and then I ordered 25 more bracelet from the young lady...

Edited by ghost9mm
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