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Running short on ideas for swag, What would you like to find in a cache?? (be reasonable nothing over about $5)

I am not interested in swag. Fun is in finding and signing the log. It bothers me to see members complaining about cheap swag. Things to make it fun for kids is great, I enjoy the search.

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When I take something from a cache, it is usually a signature or presonalized item. poker chips and wooden nickles can be made fairly inexpensively. I've recently started dropping pathtags in caches. To start out, they work out to $4/tag for the first 25, but if after the initial order, they are about $1/tag.


Other things I'll take from a cache: I'm a sucker for pins. If I see one in a cache, I'll usually trade for it. I've also taken keychains. lanyards, and such like that.

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Here is a list of some of the things I've stocked my caches with or left in caches. Most are under $3 and a lot are under a dollar:


Individual packets of insect repellent wipes, Handi wipes, hand sanitizer, etc...

Emergency rain ponchos (87 cents at Walmart)

Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars (sometimes as low as 50 cents on sale).

Small keychain calculators ($1 at Staples)

packs of Post It notes

Collectible coins (Indian head pennies, buffalo nickels, mercury dimes, Eisenhower, SBA and Sacagawea dollars, and Kennedy and Franklin halves are all coins that I've left).

Foreign money

Eyeglass screwdriver kits

Small US flags

US flag pins

modeling clay


Energizer squeeze lights


Clip on ball and zipper pull compasses

bags of toy soldiers

water colors

mini screwdriver sets

allen wrench sets

gel pens

boxes of crayons or colored chalk

packs of AA batteries

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

music CDs

blank RW CDs

cassettes (blank and recorded)


clip on safety strobes

bungee cords

LED key lights

"euro" stickers & other decals

mini sewing kits

maps (hiking & road)


key rings

packs of Hefty Handi Sacks

bags of balloons

rolls of camo duct tape

velcro fasteners

interesting buttons


mosquito head nets

foreign money

rolls of film

travel mugs

electrical tape

Slinky Jrs.


movies on VHS & DVD

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

Mylar emergency blankets

decks of cards


travel lint rollers

Pick Up Sticks

individual packs of Armor-All & Rain-X wipes

survival whistles

travel packs of Kleenex

collapsible cups

Wheresgeorge bills and stamps

Edited by briansnat
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The dollar section at the front of most Target stores aslo has some really nice items, much better than typical "dollar store" quality. AND, every so often, they clearance everything in the section to $.25 each, which is when we usually stock up :laughing:


I love Target's dollar section. Not long ago I picked up a couple dozen inflatable travel pillows for a buck and used them in caches.


I'm generally not thrilled with "dollar stores". A lot of the stuff you get there isn't even worth a buck, but you can sometimes find gems. So I rarely pass a dollar store by, but I only find myself buying something about 1/4 of the time. I prefer hitting Target, Wal-mart (check the toy, hunting and camping sections), supermarkets, Home Deopt, crafts stores like Michaels, Rag Shop and AC Moore and office supply stores like Staples.

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Pretty much the only things that I would be interested in are unique items that I can not get at Wal-Mart or the Dollar store. Please stay away from there completely. Think of unique items that others can not easily get. This might be something that you buy a lot of from Ebay, or see at at a flea market, samples from businesses etc.

For example in my swag bag I have:

Gold tone Elvis/Memphis souvenir tokens that were minted in the 70's

A hand carved fish

An old glass marble

A 1 3/4 x 3/4 inch sample brick from a factory in VA

Wooden Nickle for a free round of golf at Beggs Family Farm

Wooden Nickles for Blue Sky Winery

Hat Pen from Pennyrile State park

A colorful KY magnet

Some unique key chains (Alaska salmon head, 3 way clip form REI, $100 bill)

and some Leave no Trace Ethics Cards



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i go into dollar stores for their quick cakes that my kids like to make so I haunt them. I found giant carbiners there - not good for climbing, but they look cool. I'm thinking about grabbing a bunch to add to my trades bag.


a liquidation store I know of is getting rid of the inventory of a store that my hubby used to work at - the owner still owes him over 2K in overtime pay that was court ordered to pay. Every time we walk in there, he starts to snicker. Anyway, they have beanie babies from about 2000 in there. I've grabbed a bunch for my kids and for kids FTFs in my two big caches I have planned...


I'm also trying to find micros. He and I have plans for them. I'm thinking about placing micros that are pre-camoed into caches as swag. I have a cunning plan... It involves glue, a router, stones and more. I need to buy a bunch of flat stones to make a "fairy house" for some kids to find.


I have also painted up a "treasure box" and used enough varnish to paint the inside of my lungs (no sillies, I sprayed it outside!) and I painted the gc.c logo on it.


Then there's the cache top that my hubby made for me. I can't talk about it because its an active cache, but he already has an order from another cacher. :laughing:

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We had some poison ivy fact cards that we were leaving in caches. They are laminated, so they hold up well. We also have left Geology of PA books in caches. Both of these were freebies.


Most of the time the girls swap toys. We found a good deal on Harry Potter trading cards, and loaded up on them. Gotta say that we are also fans of the Target $1 section. We found little craft kits clearanced there for $0.25! Those made their way to many caches.

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I always take a look at the dollar aisles in the drugstores and grocery stores. Some of the things I have used for trades include keyring flashlights (2/$1 from drugstore dollar aisle), FM radioes with earbuds, Micro machine cars, and occasionally a compass or a second-hand FRS radio. I make sure the electrical items are working, then remove the batteries (to avoid corrosion) and place the item in a ziplock bag. The keyring flashlights, had non-removable batteries, so I tested them before I before leaving one in a cache.

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Recently been using:

  • Hot wheel cars
  • screw drivers - got 40 for ike $22
  • duck tape roll
  • $1 calculators
  • $1 FM radios
  • emergency ponchos
  • glow sticks
  • stuffed ducks (long story)
  • beanie animals
  • bag of marbles ($1)
  • nice pens (new in package)
  • deck of cards
  • pack of dice
  • work gloves - came as a pack of 10 for $9
  • etc

I also carry a $25 watch and a $10 set of mini tools in case I find something really nice. Trade up or even is the best we can do...

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My grandson was caching with me in Charleston SC when we came across a cache with those plastic 'bubba' teeth in it . . . he traded for a set and played with them ALL day, looking in the mirror and acting silly - hours!


So I looked all over to find such inexpensive 'stuff' that gives kids a day of fun . . . finally, a party supply store was the answer. They have all sorts of packages of stuff that is given the party attendees. Including horns, bubba teeth, kazoos, toys and lots of goodies. You purchase in a bunch at a very good price . . . should make good swag!

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Garage sales are the best. I often get new or barely used items for a quarter each. That tends to be what I spend on swag, though it is nice stuff. Last weekend, I got a new pack of staionery for a quarter. It will go into a waterproof cache. It varies every week... sometimes I score, other times...


As far as making things, I frequent a local bar/laundromat (makes doing laundry so much more fun!) and am friends with the owner and bar keeps. They are saving a weeks worth of beer caps for me. Plan on gluing magnets into those (the unique caps at least, no coors or bud...) Am doing the same with wine corks, those as I am cheap, I don't hang out around places that go through a lot of different types of wine.


I don't like to buy new as I don't want to add more stuff to the earth... and I'm cheap. Garage sales and crafts are great!

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I enjoy collecting trading cards featuring fantasy art. As any collector knows, you end up with a ton of duplicates trying to get a whole set. I like to take the duplicates and put 8-10 in a plastic bag and leave them in caches. I figure the kids might enjoy trading them if they find the same cache after me.

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The only things I have found in a cache and kept:

  • a keychain
  • a refrigerator magnet (customized)
  • quarters
  • flag pin
  • pocket calendar card

Things I would have liked to find in caches at some times:

  • mosquito head net
  • hand warmers
  • batteries
  • bandana
  • bandages
  • nail clippers
  • moist towelette in individual packet (hand cleaner)
  • emergency rain poncho
  • aspirin

Things I would always be glad to find in a cache:

  • book
  • unactivated travel bug or geocoin
  • WheresGeorge? dollar

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The most quickly traded-for item you can leave in a cache is a ready-to-hide micro (or small, if the cache is big enough.) All variations on film cans (with magnet, with wire held on by cammo duct tape, etc), key-hider, cammo-wrapped beach safe (much better than film can as they have an o-ring) altoid tins, yadda. Already stocked with stash note and log, people will leave good swag in exchange for these, and the price of creating them is low.


Try it and then watch the logs of the caches you've left 'em in. You'll see.

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we went after three caches today.


One was a bison tube. woopee.


One was a keykeeper micro. woopee.


But the third one was supposed to be a "regular" cache with lots of swag.


Yah. right. There was nothing I wanted except a toy car which I would have only gotten if DS had been with me right then and there. He wasn't so I didn't. My gf found two patches and used my trade bag to cover her trades. :huh: Not too impressed that she forgot her trade bag. Ah well, I'll get it out of her later.


Anyway, I digress...


I'd like to see kid stuff, neat stuff and more. I don't like opening up a cache and seeing junk. Doesn't matter how "weatherproof" the container is, you should make sure the stuff you put in is in a watertight container even just a gladdie or ziplock baggie. One of the things we found recently was a hedgehog that I would have loved to have kept, but passed it on cause it had a mouldy smell. If I could have, I would have kept it for myself, but I already have enough stuffies.


In my swag bag at the moment is - baggies for fixing broken log baggies, Ty beanie babies, crystals, shells, some old jewelry, and a few other things. I plan on putting more things in soon.

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I rarely take anything, but thats a big thrill for my kids. So I always (kids in tow or naught) leave something cool for kids. In the last year its been a signature coin - an ID'ed and 'flipped' coin (with my handle) that is somewhere between 1500 and 2000 years old. Now I've taken the occasional fishing lure or an item that I can use in other hobbies, but otherwise the joy is in the giving, not the receiving.

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I found a folded dollar bill (origami?) which was in the shape of a shirt. That was pretty creative and unique. I still have it. I also came across a TB made out of clear poly, which contained a folded dollar into the shape of a heart. They had also included a shiny quarter tucked neatly into the folded dollar heart. I was impressed. So for all you Geocachers who are into origami paper folding...another cool idea. use your talents.

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