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Cache content etiquette?


WestbrooksByTheSea
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I'm brand new to geocaching, only 3 finds thus far (just started yesterday after finally getting the basics of my Magellan down), so I hope I'm not being too presumptuous. There's my disclaimer. Now my topic:

 

I kind of thought the idea of leaving something in the cache was to leave something that another person might delight in (or at least find curious or silly). Today I opened a cache that had (partial list, there were some cool things too) a cracked and chipped cup with the handle broken off, a mangled ball that no longer bounces, and other miscellaneous wet and broken things. After all the excitement of slogging through mud, stomping through icy puddles, jumping stumps and scrambling through poison oak with my 3-year-old on a "treasure hunt", it was a total bummer to see that there was stuff that really should have been thrown away rather than left for the treasure hunters. We brought something really cool with us and did take something cool, but made me wonder if there's any etiquette for leaving treats in a cache?

 

Don't mean to sound hoity, and I realize one man's trash is another man's treausure, but some of this stuff was really lame - why hike all that way to leave it?

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hello, we are new too with almost 50 finds. when we first started we were surprized by some of the junk in some caches. as we are hunting more we are finding that it really is about the hunt, not the prize at the end. as you probably have read, you should trade up or even or not at all. it is probably best to keep a few cool items in your stash so when you come across something you really like you can trade for it. as it is in most things in life, not everyone plays by the rules.

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I'm also new to geocaching and I also use it to "treasure hunt" with my 3-year-old. We've been wondering the same thing. Our first cache was a mix of good stuff and some trash. From what I've learned so far, I've heard to "trade even or trade up" and to use the golden rule and leave behind stuff you'd want yourself. I guess not everyone follows the etiquette?

 

We're also trying to be thoughtful - bringing toys for family friendly caches, but maybe grown-up stuff for more difficult caches (if we ever get the chance to cache without the kids, ha!) My husband I enjoy brainstorming ideas for good loot to leave, and I'd like to think that other cachers do the same.

 

To further extend your question about cache content etiquette - Is there an even trade for a travel bug or geocoin, can you just grab the TB or coin in order to keep it moving along without leaving another coin or TB?

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With travel bugs and geocoins, you don't have to trade for them. An exception is made, however, for "Hotels". These are generally a little larger caches where several bugs/coins can be left. Most of the ones I've seen listed do request that you not completely empty them out or to trade in as many as you take out. The directions on these "Hotels" are usually found on the cache's listing page. As far as the "swag" goes in the caches, it does vary wildly. I do try to leave interesting things, but you never know what will be of interest to the next cacher. I could care less about McToys, for example, but there's lots of kids out there that do like them. Just enjoy the hunt/find and, if you do find something that you lke in the cache, it'll just be a special bonus! I do revisit, on occasion, the cache listings that I've visited to see if what I've left has been picked up, if it's been noted in others logs. That's a good indicator that you're leaving good swag. Welcome to the addiction and good luck!

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always leave cash.

 

more is better.

 

:)

If you want to leave cash, the co-ordinates of my mailbox are..... B)

 

Seriously though, it's considered good etiquette to "trade up or trade even" meaning if you take something, leave something that is at least as good. Alot of caches I've found though have contents that don't follow this rule. I've seen alot of broken toys, the free CDs/DVDs you get with Sunday newspapers, and I once found a train ticket that had expired!

 

I cache mainly for the enjoyment of the hunt and I rarely trade swag, but I do carry some swaps with me just in case. It doesn't cost alot of money to find some half decent swaps for caching, I bought a pack of Volkswagen Beetle keyrings on Ebay that worked out at less than £1 each, small toys of good quality are cheap and easily available, and with a little imagination you can think of some decent swag for adults too.

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Feel free to ignore any restrictions placed by the cache owner regarding trackables. The owner of the travel bug or geocoin wants it to travel, and will appreciate it if you can move their item along towards its goal.

 

As for trade items and small kids, I suggest bringing along a new small trade item as an emergency trade. Open the cache first (always a good idea for the grownup to open the container), quickly see if it's filled with junk, and if it is, slip the emergency item out of the palm of your hand and into the container for the child to find. This has worked well for me on several occasions when caching with kids. Fortunately, my daughter outgrew trade items after a couple hundred cache hunts, so I don't worry about this anymore!

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You'll find out that good things to find are few and far between, But the hunt is always there. The best way to find the neat items is to go for the newer caches. FTFers always gets first choice in the new caches.

 

I agree! And, since you're a PREMIUM MEMBER you can set up notifications as new caches are placed. Or, run a POCKET QUERY looking for caches that have been placed in the last 7 days. You are almost assured of finding quality swag before it is traded away for McToys or worse.

 

On the other hand, most people are SELFISH and trade down! The quality of most caches deteriorates quickly, and too few geocachers trade up to improve the situation. In fact, many geocachers have abandoned trading at all, which does nothing to improve the situation. So, consider this a treasure HUNT; assume you'll only find junk, and celebrate when you find something of worth. Oh, and trade up!

 

On the other hand, I really enjoy leaving good swag behind. If you visit dollar stores as often as I do, you will eventually find some really neat stuff for a buck! I've left tape measures, flashlights with batteries, pocket calendars, flashlight keychains, glow in the dark dinosaurs, etc. Some of these items I've only found ONCE at the dollar stores and wished I'd have stocked up on.

 

In my opinion, the REAL TREASURE is in finding an unusual hide or a memorable hiding place. As I look back on my 18 months of geocaching, the caches I remember most are the ones that took me to beautiful or interesting places; or that were a FUN HUNT; or that were fun or unusual hides. I remember little of the swag I've taken from caches.

 

There are so many fun aspects of geocaching.

Edited by michigansnorkeler
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The most amount of fun is actually finding the thing (if it is too well hidden and can't be found it's a bummer) but if you find something cool it's the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The first tradeable cashe I found had a ten comandments coin and a broken toy train. I took the plastic coin and left a necklace that cost about 6.00 new, now I know one does not have to go that nice but I never ever wear it and it is kinda kewl so I thought maybe someone else could find it and enjoy it like I once did.

I carry a whole bag of neat little trinkets, theres nothing wrong with them they just are not interesting to me though I know others would be interested. I have a few of those rubber bracelets that have been extreamly popular in the last few years, I'm not into them at all but they are often big sellers at stores.

It's not about getting rid of your trash in exchange for something great, it's about sharing things that are great just not your style.

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The most amount of fun is actually finding the thing (if it is too well hidden and can't be found it's a bummer) but if you find something cool it's the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The first tradeable cashe I found had a ten comandments coin and a broken toy train. I took the plastic coin and left a necklace that cost about 6.00 new, now I know one does not have to go that nice but I never ever wear it and it is kinda kewl so I thought maybe someone else could find it and enjoy it like I once did.

I carry a whole bag of neat little trinkets, theres nothing wrong with them they just are not interesting to me though I know others would be interested. I have a few of those rubber bracelets that have been extreamly popular in the last few years, I'm not into them at all but they are often big sellers at stores.

It's not about getting rid of your trash in exchange for something great, it's about sharing things that are great just not your style.

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you'll likely not bother with trading after a while... the worthless junk will bug you too much.

 

I used to always drag a bunch of swag along with me, and swap stuff out each time out of some obligation. Sometimes just swapping something out of one cache and leaving it in the next, etc. etc. etc.

 

Now, unless I'm planning on a major caching trip, I bring nothing, and trade nothing. If I actually find something that I'd like, I'll just leave a buck or two in the cache... so, I was only half joking about leaving cash, I've done it lots of times. I figure that I get enough enjoyment out of finding a cache that even leaving a few bucks is still a great deal for me, and I get to trade something in the process too.

 

course, there's also the whole where's george thing too, but I don't usually do much with that.

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We are new to it also. My daughters and I are working towards our 100th find. We bring items with us to trade just in case they find something they like. We don't always take something and sometimes we leave something without taking anything just to add to the cache for others to find. But like the others are stating, my daughters get a bigger kick out of the hunt and find of the cache itself not what's inside. They like all of the different sizes, colors, locations, etc. This to me is the fun part.

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This has been an issue since the beginning of this sport. Even if a cache is nicely stocked, it will be filled with garbage after a few dozen visits.

 

They key is to forget what is in the cache and realize the fun is in getting there and searching. That way if you find something nice, worth trading it's a pleasant surprise.

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With travel bugs and geocoins, you don't have to trade for them. An exception is made, however, for "Hotels". These are generally a little larger caches where several bugs/coins can be left. Most of the ones I've seen listed do request that you not completely empty them out or to trade in as many as you take out. The directions on these "Hotels" are usually found on the cache's listing page.

 

Sorry if I'm going off-topic here... but according to the recognized guidelines put forth by Groundspeak (that we all follow) it is correct that "travellers" such as Bugs and Coins are not considered trade items. If you can assist the item in reaching their goal, please do so. As for "Hotels" and their stated "rules"... the travel bugs visiting the "hotel" don't belong to the cache owner, so again, if you can help the bug along... please do so. I'd ignore any added rules designed to constrain the movement of the bugs on their intended mission. One bug's hotel is another one's prison.

 

DCC

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When I started caching just over five years ago, they often had so much good swag in them that it was hard to pick just one item. Nowadays I hardly ever take anything, but I almost always leave something. I also always record my trade both in the cache log and online. If more people recorded their trades (and did it honestly), the quality of the swag would stay higher.

 

The trinkets are not why I cache, but they are the cherry on top. I still get just a bit happier when i see quality items in the box, even if they are all for kids and thus of no interest to me.

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I am quite new to this as well, I've only found 6 caches as I got my GPS for Christmas, but have also noticed the same thing as you have in the "quality" of swag. Even though I only started a couple of days ago it already isn't so much about the swag as it is the find. I have gotten some relative junk but I am keeping a little "cache stash" of all of the things I've found. I figure it will be fun to look back on and see what we have found, even if it isn't really "treasure". We have also really enjoyed finding and leaving swag. It isn't really "good" stuff but I think they are fun items. Right now we are using some of our old small plush toys but have also left some other stuff. In a cache at a park near us called "Dinosaur Hill" we left a toy triceritops just for fun. It is also fun to look in dollar stores and see what you can find. It doesn't have to be good stuff, I just like things that will make people smile :anicute:

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Just got a GPS for Christmas and am really excited about getting out for some finds. My etiquette question is: I do alot of woodworking as a hobby, and make ornaments as well as other items. I try to make my hobby pay for itself and sell some of my items. Is it bad geocaching etiquette to leave a business card with an item in case the finder would be interested in getting more?

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Any opinions on mint condition sports cards that are 11+ years old? My son loves the treasure hunt/trading aspect, I love the hunt and see/watching coins/bugs travel. I've been struggling to come up with something semi decent/affordable that my son can trade. We've been leaving about 1/2 inch stack of cards in protective baggies and only in caches where we are sure they will be protected (water proof/tight/etc). When I was a young kid that would be about the coolest thing in the world. :P But times have changed and it doesn't do much for most little girls I'm afraid, but I am still a boy at heart and just have one son, so all we got are boy stuff!

 

I been waiting for some of the few caches we have traded to be visited and try to guage by what people might post in the log. But in Nothern Idaho with either snow or melted snow swamp lands every where right now, it appears only us "dumb newbs" or a few serious die hards are out caching about right now. :P

 

I definitely want to practice the trade-up policy and my son likes to swap stuff everywhere we visit when/if he can (been leaving loonies in the smaller caches when he trades). I am just struggling to come up with something decent that I have or can get in large quantities so my son can trade swag at any cache we visit. He likes the keep anything he gets, sort of like a memento of that particular cache. So trading swag we receive isn't a great option for us.

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We raid the Dollar stores or the clearance isles at Wal-Mart. We pretty much only cache with our kids and you can find some really nice things for trading in all those stores.

 

I'm like most on here...I can't stand it when people leave rocks, leaves, trash or gross things in the cache containers. One of the last hunts we went on, we found a nasty, moldy old rubber duck. Ewwww! We always screen the cache contents before we left our kids go siftin thru them.

 

I think you should trade up or at least trade even. A lot of times, we'll even get to a cache and see that it is completely empty. I know how my kids feel when there is nothing to trade, we we make sure to leave a few items in the cache for the next kids that might come along.

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I love the Dollar stores. Great stuff there for both adults and kids. Sometimes I just leave a little neon rubber lizard or frog in a cache. I like the way they feel and look. They make me giggle even though I'm no kid. Other times I leave better stuff to exchange for better stuff or just for fun. Batteries, sheets of stickers, flashlights, radios, fans, glow sticks, screwdriver sets, velcro ties, books you liked, etc. can be great to find and can all be gotten at Dollar stores. Think fun or useful. I do have some inexpensive but nice jewelry I don't wear anymore so those will likely be showing up in plastic bags in caches too. Yes I like swag if only as a trophy and I like giving things I would like.

 

I don't have an issue with leaving the business card with an ornament as long as both are related and bunches of businesses don't start throwing in business cards for air conditioning repair, accountants, etc. I did put my blog URL on a card I had to add to a travel tag per its instructions so I could boost my website hits. ;-)

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I hate golf balls! But sometimes I will trade up just to get them out of the cache. As mentioned, the Dollar Stores are great for swag - especially around Halloween. I can't believe they sell that stuff for just a dollar! Did anyone mention the dollar isle at Target?

 

But here's the best swag of all. rickrich of Twin Cities fame turned us on to these great LED keychain lights(No spam) These are fabulous little lights that can be used to look into hollow logs, tree stumps, around rock piles before sticking your hand in there. You can order a package of these things and the price comes out to 45 cents each. For most geocachers, that's a year's worth of swag! Best trade item ever.

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Where's George (www.wheresgeorge.com) was originally created to track dollar bills to see how far they naturally get. Geocachers started leaving them in caches and moving them around like TB's (and in my personal opinion completely ruining the original mission of the project).

Edited by ncfinn
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Where's George (www.wheresgeorge.com) was originally created to track dollar bills to see how far they naturally get. Geocachers started leaving them in caches and moving them around like TB's (and in my personal opinion completely ruining the original mission of the project).

 

I'm a Georger. I've been wanting to geocache for a long time. I've seen it on discovery and travel channel shows before. I finally got a GPS but haven't had any successful finds yet. I will probably get my first tonight.

 

Anyway, I was planning on leaving Georges sometimes but not very often. I hope that doesn't make people mad. They don't HAVE to hit the bills if they don't want. Hey, its a free dollar or 2. :(

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Where's George (www.wheresgeorge.com) was originally created to track dollar bills to see how far they naturally get. Geocachers started leaving them in caches and moving them around like TB's (and in my personal opinion completely ruining the original mission of the project).

 

I'm a Georger. I've been wanting to geocache for a long time. I've seen it on discovery and travel channel shows before. I finally got a GPS but haven't had any successful finds yet. I will probably get my first tonight.

 

Anyway, I was planning on leaving Georges sometimes but not very often. I hope that doesn't make people mad. They don't HAVE to hit the bills if they don't want. Hey, its a free dollar or 2. :anicute:

 

I love finding the $, I always spend them to buy more swag. I meant that moving George from cache to cache is messing up the natural travels of a dollar bill. For me it is interesting to see how far a bill can go, but moving him from cache to cache is artificially adding miles to him. If any "harm" is done, it is to the George project, not to caching.

 

Welcome to the sport and good luck with your first cache.

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Dingdingding we have a winner with this post. It is all about the journey and the hunt. I understand that for some families it may be about the treasures in the chest, but I don't cache with kids very often. I still live in hope and carry a few trinkets in my cache bag, but haven't traded for anything in almost two years. Most of the time I just look for the log book and ignore the contents anyway.

 

hello, we are new too with almost 50 finds. when we first started we were surprized by some of the junk in some caches. as we are hunting more we are finding that it really is about the hunt, not the prize at the end. as you probably have read, you should trade up or even or not at all. it is probably best to keep a few cool items in your stash so when you come across something you really like you can trade for it. as it is in most things in life, not everyone plays by the rules.

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I recently saw a suggestion on another thread that I thought was interesting, so I'll pass it along here.

The discussion was about the degrading quality of swag, broken McToys, etc.

The suggestion was to collect a few broken down items, leaving something better in the cache in their place. Then, come Christmas time, hang some of the broken down swag items you have collected on the tree.

It gives the family a chance to talk about each item, maybe remember the cache or the trip you got it on.

In that way, you can enjoy these broken down items as a rememberance of good times had while caching. If you have youngsters, it is also a good way to demonstrate the concept of giving (especially in a Christmas context) being better than taking. At the end of your caching year, you will have a tree full of reminders of all the fun you have had, places you have been, and the better things you left behind for the joy of others.

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