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Ah yes, that new cacher enthusiasm. I recommend waiting a while. Find a bunch of caches. You'll learn a few of the tricks. You'll figure out what you like in a cache. That way you'll be better able to put out a cache you are truly proud of. Write down your ideas. Take them out and look at them with a bit of gained experience and you'll be able to make them even better.


Welcome to the game/sport/insanity.

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You would not be "totally stupid" but you would certainly be ill-advised.


Ultimately the decision of when you are ready to place caches is totally up to you.


It would be very valuable to wait until you have found several more of different types in different environments with different styles of camo and hiding.


Then, after you have gained a little experience with what others have done that you like (and what you don't like so much), spend some time going to new places and finding just the right place that is saying "I need a cache."


There is no need to hurry. Caching will be around a long time. Placing your own cache without much experience is likely to lead to a cache that people don't find fun.


Even with a world of experience and with the greatest care in finding the right spot and placing the cache, there will always be SOME people who don't like it... that is part of the game (part of humanity actually).


So don't sweat it if you get some bad comments whether you place caches now or after you have found 5000.

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Well if you place your first cache and it turns out to be lame, nobody is going to die. However it really is a good idea to find more caches of different types before you decide to place one. Find some micros, find some ammo cans, find a few multis or puzzles, then you'll get a much better grip on what is generally considered a good cache. Hiding a good cache is much more fun than just hiding one for the sake of doing it.

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Yes, definitely find more before you start hiding them. Also, it's really helpful to read everything you can in these forums to see what people find to be fun or challenging caches. It really helps to cut down on spending the time and money to place what some people call 'lame' caches. We are fairly new to this game and I think we may have started hiding too soon. Some of our caches could surely be described as 'lame' But we are learning more and more with each new find and now we are working on making some really 'good' hides. It all takes time, but now that you are addicted, you have plenty of that! Good luck and have a great time!

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When placing your micro, think first of why you are bringing people to that spot. If it's just for the cache, then consider another spot.



Beyond that I will go against the above advice and say hide whenever you want... many great caches were a hider's first effort soon after discovering the game.


I recently adopted two caches - the first cache placed in Alabama, active and popular since 2001, and a 4-year-old multi that is very highly regarded... each was a cacher's first hide, placed immediately upon learning about the game!


Waiting until you find a bunch, say the 75 as was mentioned earlier, almost guarantees that you'll duplicate what you have seen and that kills creativity and new ideas!


This isn't rocket science... choose a location that you would like to bring folks to and a container and hide method that you would like to find and just do it!

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Hmm.. based on what has been said here.. I think I'll create one cache, see how its liked, if people love it, I'll create more.


I also see that you are on the fringes of Treequest country. He's easily one of the best hiders in the region so I suggest finding a few of his to learn what an outstanding cache can be like.


But as Alabama Rambler said, if you have some good ideas, go for it. This nonsense of finding 50, 75 or 100 caches before you hide your own is just that, nonsense.

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Hmm.. based on what has been said here.. I think I'll create one cache, see how its liked, if people love it, I'll create more.


There is a ton of valuable information to garner from these two articles.


The only thing I disagree with is his premise regarding ammo cans. In suburban areas they might not be a good idea, but in remote areas there should be no issues.


Ready to Hide Your First Geocache?


One of the rarely spoken, but obvious, truths about Geocaching is that there wouldn’t be any geocaches if someone didn’t spend the time to plan, assemble, hide, and post them. For me, hiding is as much fun as finding geocaches. In August of 2003, I wrote an article on how to go about hiding a cache. Having gained a lot of experience in the last two years it seemed like a good time to update it. The “style” of cache hides has become a lot more varied, and the discussions of what makes a good hide continue to occupy geocachers.


Some tough lessons about placing a geocache!

Let me preface this article by pointing out that “Homeland Security” issues have forced some significant rethinking about where it is okay to put a geocache, and what areas should be avoided. There have been some incidents resulting from geocaches at or near airports, bridges, and similar potential terrorist targets that caused some unfortunate interaction between geocaching and law enforcement personnel. In some of these instances, areas have been cordoned off and evacuated, and/or the bomb squad has been called in to investigate and remove suspicious items that turned out to be geocaches. This has the potential to put geocachers into dangerous situations, waste the resources of the law enforcement agencies, and cause bad press and bad feelings toward geocaching.


Please consider whether someone wandering around with a navigation device might look out of place enough to cause concern. Even the appearance of inappropriate actions can get someone in a lot of trouble. We are all now asked by our government to keep a watchful eye for suspicious activity in transportation centers and other potential target areas. What looks harmless to one person can be very suspicious to others. Since the recommendation is to not confront a suspicious person, but to contact authorities immediately, the first indication you may have of an issue is when the nice police officer politely asks you to stop where you are and keep your hands in plain sight….


I personally avoid actual ammo cans. I am concerned that any items with a military appearance could lead a casual observer to jump to uncomfortable conclusions. “Is that a bomb?” or “Someone is stockpiling weapons and ammo!” are phrases we don’t need to hear. Ammo cans are very durable and pretty waterproof, and the cost is usually pretty low, but there are a number of alternatives that don’t have a military appearance.


None of us wants to get into any of these potential confrontations, and we should make a reasonable effort to help each other stay out of harm’s way!


Getting Started


How do you start? First ask yourself why you want to hide a cache. Yes, hiding a cache is a good thing, but why do you want to hide this cache in that place? I strongly believe that the quality of a cache is totally dependent on the planning that goes into it. The more time and effort you put into the planning, the more likely you will have a high-quality geocache.


It is essential to our hobby to have a regular supply of new caches. Of course, there is not such a critical shortage that quality should not be a major consideration. What is quality? There are probably as many ways to define a good cache as there are geocachers. In general, I think most geocachers prefer a cache that brings them to a place they might not go otherwise, and once there enjoy either the visit or the journey. The journey can be either the physical journey to get to the cache, or the intellectual exercise used to figure out how to get there.


There are many simple micros hidden in lamp posts and guard rails. Most experienced geocachers prefer to find caches that are unusual or unique. A few of our colleagues have developed major reputations for devising interesting, challenging, and fun geocaches. After finding a few geocaches, you will start to get an idea of what kind you like to find. Think about how to make your geocache stand out in the mind of the folks who find it. I usually plan the location, and then plan a cache to put there. You can also determine the type of cache you want to place and then go look for a place to put it.


Selecting a Hiding Place


When I start to look for a new cache location, there are several questions I ask my self:


Is it an appropriate place for a cache?


Is it safe and legal for members of the general public to visit this location?

(Is there safe access? Is there a safe place to park?)

Will most parents be comfortable bringing their children here?

Does it cost to enter or park there?

Is there some reason that geocaching would be inappropriate or disrespectful?

Is it an area where you would expect an unusually high risk of crime?

Can you identify the person or agency responsible for giving you permission to place a cache?


Is there a reason to come to this location, other than to find a geocache?


Is there something to learn here?


Is there something that will make you want to take pictures and recommend a visit to your friends?


This is not entirely essential, as Geocaching for the sake of Geocaching is fine with most of us. It does make a cache more enjoyable for me if I find something new or learn something at the cache site. A beautiful view, a hike in a natural area, or a historic or educational place I wouldn’t have found otherwise make a cache much more interesting to me than a vacant lot full of trash, or the occasional homeless camp.


Is there good cover for the cache, and can you search discretely?


An area with little cover and lots of people around can make it very hard to find and retrieve a cache, log it, trade trinkets, and then get it put back as it was found without being seen by a muggle. A two-mile hike on a mountain trail can greatly reduce the chances of a cache being plundered. An urban setting can make it challenging to actually hide a normal sized cache. A significant number of people in the area can make it a real challenge to be discrete. Considering all this in your cache placement can help you manage the risk of accident or malicious discovery. Of course, having a cache exposed in a high traffic area can also add to the excitement level.


Is it a location that many geocachers will normally be going?


Having a cache that is in a location rarely visited by anyone means that fellow cachers will rarely visit it. Some do enjoy getting off the beaten path, most have limited time and/or ability to reach remote caches, and most casual cachers prefer to hunt in their own neighborhood. Hiding a cache in a remote location is fine, but you have to be realistic in how often you expect it to be visited.


Is it an area where you can maintain the cache fairly easily


The work doesn’t stop with hiding the cache. You will need to be able to get back to it if a problem comes up, and periodically check to see that it is okay.


Choosing a Container Once I have found the location, I start thinking about the cache type and size. How do you decide what kind of a container to use? I find a systematic approach is best: what characteristics do the containers need to have, and what should it not have? The obvious considerations are general durability and weather resistance.


Many geocaches are in containers approximately the size of an ammo can. Say one gallon in volume. This size makes it easy to include a logbook and some trading trinkets. I the location has limited cover for the cache, or cachers looking for it, a micro may be a better choice. I think most people prefer a normal sized cache, but micro containers definitely have their place.


I prefer either plastic jars or the new Folger’s plastic coffee cans. Glass or other breakables are definitely off my list. I like to recycle containers that would otherwise go in the trash. Not only does it extend their usefulness, they are also as cheap as containers get. It is fairly easy to find a plastic jar about the right size, and I usually have no problem painting them for camouflage. Cookie and popcorn tins are pretty durable also, but not as weatherproof. Tins tend to leak if not positioned right, and can rust when left exposed. The camouflage paint help reduce the rust, but they still need to be changed out occasionally, and I have been replacing mine with the more durable plastic.


I haven’t had occasion to hide a Large (greater than 5 gallon) container yet. I do know a group of geocachers who did, but the location made it an attractive choice. Most locations don’t.


Let the location determine the size—I have wondered at going on a hike into a wooded are and stirring the leaves at the base of an oak tree looking for a medicine bottle, when there are plenty of places nearby suitable for a normal sized container. On the other hand, in an urban environment you can be much more discrete with a micro than an ammo can.


Micro-caches are defined as being the size of a 35mm film can (you do remember when cameras used film, right?). Various small containers can be used, and the basic considerations are the same as for normal size, durability and weatherproofing. Altoids Tiny Tins are about half the volume of a film can, and are also used as micro containers, as are medicine bottles. Micros normally have only a log sheet, and no trade items.


Regular Altoids tins and similar sized containers are popular as geocaches also. They are about 3 or 4 times the volume of a film can, but still small enough to be concealed in much smaller locations than normal sized containers. Recently geocaching.com added a category for “small” containers. “Small” is defined on geocaching.com as “Decon container, sandwich-sized Tupperware-style container or similar, holds trade items as well as a logbook”.


A water proof match holder is about the size of a 35MM film canister, so it would be a micro, but a 3 by 5 card box or cigar box would be small. The definitions and dividing lines are not too specific, so you need to use a bit of judgment in determining which category to use. In any case a physical description of the container on the cache page is a good idea. I tend to prefer normal sized containers, but go small if the location warrants it. I have placed a tiny tin cache in a fairly high-traffic area with little cover. Part of the challenge of that cache was picking it up, logging, and returning it without being noticed.


How Do You Actually Hide It?


A cache can be hidden in different ways. You have to decide how hard to spot you want your cache to be, and then decide how to make it so. In the Marine Corps we had training classes about Camouflage, Cover, and Concealment. These are three very different ways to hide something. Let’s look at each, briefly.


Concealment is the most common method of cache hiding I have seen so far. Basically you take a normal looking object, and put it where it is out of sight. Put a Tupperware container behind a rock, under the foliage of a bush, on top of something, hanging above the trail in a tree, etc., out of a person’s normal visual field. It may even be completely visible and in the open from some approach angles, usually where you would not expect people to be.


Cover is using available materials or spaces to physically protect the cache. Stacking rocks or bark around the cache, putting it under pieces of wood, inside a hollow log, or inside a more visible container of some type. Cover means there is a barrier put in place to keep you from seeing the cache until it is moved.


Camouflage is the most interesting to me. Camouflage is the art of disguising an object so it can be hidden in plain sight. It could be as simple as painting the container to match the surrounding materials, or subdued colors to make it harder to see in shadows. More intricate camo can involve adding devices or material to make it look like something else, something innocent, that you would look at, and not notice because is looked like it belongs there.


A container made to look like a rock, or a log hollowed out to hold a container, or piece of pipe attached to other pipe that is actually capped off to form a container; camouflage is an area of cache hiding that allows a lot of creativity.


Combining these three concepts can make for very challenging caches. A cache that uses camouflage to make it easier to conceal is more difficult to find than if just one method is used. A Tupperware container with a blue lid is easier to spot under a bush than an identical container that has been painted in colors and patterns to match the dead leaves it is sitting on under the bush. A partial view of a bit of blue plastic gives the cache away as un-natural; a partial view of a bit of leaf shaped brown plastic is much more challenging to spot.


Okay, I hid it, now what?


Posting the cache page on the Geocaching.com website allows the rest of us to search for your cache. The basic process is fairly easy, but how you write things up is very important. You should give some thought, during the planning and assembly phases, to the description of the cache, and what hints you want to provide.


Deciding on the difficulty and terrain ratings can be tricky, but there is a link on the web site to set of criteria you can use. If you rate the difficulty of the cache too low, you may frustrate someone trying to find it. If you rate the terrain too low and you could put someone in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation. If you make the ratings too high, you may limit the number of people who will look for it. Developing this judgment take time, but you will usually get lot of feedback if your ratings don’t follow the norm for similar geocaches.


What if my new listing is not approved?


One consideration for submitting a cache is how much information the approver needs to make a decision. If your cache is a bit out of the ordinary, expect a dialog before approval. If it is a lot out of the ordinary, you may want to contact the approver before submitting it, to see what information may be needed.


The guidelines are spelled out on the geocaching.com web site. You also have to check box indicating that you have read the geocache guidelines, and conditions of use for geocaching.com, before you can submit your cache. It is really important that you actually do read them! If you have questions about what they mean, or if a particular cache is likely to be approved, the forums on this site are a good place to get advice (including from an approver, maybe). If your cache is not approved, please remember to keep the dialog with the approver and any appeal on a friendly level and be prepared to take no for an answer. The approvers do a great job, and as flexible as they can with in the rules.




Hiding good caches is not rocket science (another of my hobbies, but that is a whole different article). It does take some thought and preparation. Think about the good and bad points of the caches you have found and try to learn from them. What is you favorite cache, and why? You don’t really want to copy that cache, but you do want to learn from it. Hiding can give you a lot of satisfaction, and the occasional frustration. Maybe you will find it more fun than searching for caches; some of us do! At the beginning I mentioned four steps to hiding a cache.


Planning is the most important, in my opinion. Find a good location and plan the cache.


Assembling the actual cache is usually fairly easy. Find a durable, weatherproof, container and camouflage to match your plan. You need to include a logbook, and should include swag items that will fit easily, and something to write in the log with.


Hiding the cache is the easy part. Of course, when you are actually hiding it you want to get a very good set of coordinates, or update the coordinates you recorded during the planning phase.


Posting a clear, complete, cache page on geocaching.com is what allows other geocachers to search for your cache. Even a great geocache can be sunk if the cache listing is not accurate and understandable. There is no minimum number of finds required before you start hiding geocaches! When you feel comfortable, give it a try. We will appreciate it and be happy to write TFTC in your logbook!


by Dave_W6DPS



What would you think?


The hobby of geocaching is quite unusual when compared to most leisure activities. It relies on annonymity and discretion--stealth even.

It relies even more on being able to hide geocaches on other people's property for our colleagues to find. Geocaching cannot exist without discretely placing geocaches where others can find them. This usually means on property we don't own, either public or private. Let's think about how our hobby looks to others.


Pretend for a moment that you are a normal person.

You look out your window toward a greenbelt in your neighborhood and see a stranger lurking about with a strange device, obviously trying hard not to be noticed. Then you see several other strangers doing the same thing over the course of a weekend. You might even spot them looking for something hidden, or hanging around for a few minutes and then hiding something before leaving.

What would you think? You find yourself overlooking an open area near a train station, or even an airport. A stranger comes to the area, and furtively walks around with a strange device (looks like some kind of homing system or remote detonator like they use in spy movies!). He stops for a while, repeatedly pushing buttons on the device. He then gets an olive drab container with military markings out of his car and hides it! The whole time he has obviously been on the lookout for anyone watching him, and generally looked very sneaky!


What would you think? Suppose you happen to notice a lot of folks showing up, for no reason that you can think of, behind the local convenience store. They seem to crawl around on the ground for a while, feel there way around trash containers and electrical boxes until they find a small container. They surrepticiously take this container a short distance away, all the while looking around to see if they are being watched. They rifle through the contents before, just as secretively, returning the container where they found it and then making a quick getaway!


What would you think? Okay, enough trying to think normally!

Let's think like a geocacher planning a cache hide (much easier than thinking normally for many of us). The importance of considering appearances is growing by the day. We need to consider how unusual activity at our cache location looks to observers who know nothing about geocaching. In today's society, most of us recognize that there can only be a limited number of responses by various bomb squads before they start comparing notes and decide that geocaching is a waste of resources and/or a potential cover for other covert activities. If communities begin to consider geocaching in this light, it would be easy for them to decide it should simply be banned. So how do we keep from bringing geocaching to the attention of regulatory bodies who may feel the need to help us keep things from looking bad? By behaving responsibly, and encouraging our fellow geocachers to do the same. Start by always following the spirit of the geocaching.com submission guidelines. This includes getting permission BEFORE placing a geocache, where appropriate. Most of the folks I have approached and discussed geocaching with have been happy to allow geocaches to be placed on property they administer. Obviously, the cache must be placed in an appropriate area, and designed to not cause conflicts or difficulties. If you have communicated with the property manager or owner, it should reduce the likelihood of calls to the police. Be prepared to take "NO" a an answer! There are plenty of places to hide a geocache in southern California. For a bit more information on selecting a cache location, please read: "Ready to Hide Your First Geocache?" We should all encourage other geocachers to place responsible caches. If you find a geocache that you think may draw unwanted attention or is in an area that is questionable for geocaches, you should contact the cache owner and explain your feelings. They may not be receptive, but you will have done your part. A diplomatically worded email could draw their attention to something they may not have considered. We shouldn't have to form the "cache police", but we do need to encourage each other to behave responsibly. If we continue to have bomb squads respond to geocaches, we will draw even more attention of a type we don't want. I am not trying to re-ruffle feathers or salt any recent wounds, but this is a topic we have to discuss openly for our hobby to survive!


by Dave_W6DPS

Edited by Kit Fox
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I love your enthusiasm and your want to give back, but by finding a few more caches first you will get more opportunity to see what containers work best, what problems you might wish to avoid with your hides to make them more enjoyable, different camo techniques, and location problems that are possible, such as no safe parking.


Let the ideas stew a while, just as simmering chili lets the spices cook in. You will find you revise it several times before you are really ready to hide, and most of the time the cache shows the extra effort. For instance, I have a series of caches that I want to place in spots with little vegetation other than grass. What I have in mind are actually going to be hidden in plain sight, but disguised. I have been to the spots several times, and each time I got an idea to improve the cache. They should be out for the summer season.

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I think some experience behind your hide will help it greatly. I agree that putting a number on how many caches you should find before hiding is bunk, but some experience will do the cache and seekers of it good.


I still get compliments on my first hide, which I hid after close to 70 finds. Thing is, I had it planned out down to every detail after only 10 finds...


The detail that most are overlooking here is where the experience behind your cache is coming from. Ask another more experienced geocacher what they think of your plan! Who introduced you to caching? Ask them! Don't want to spoil the hunt for them? Ask someone here in the forums. Give enough details (pictures, if necessary) to give them a full picture of the hide style, etc. I wouldn't post it in a thread, as that'll be a spoiler.


I think if I had waited to plan my first cache until after I had 100 (or whatever) hides, it would have changed my perspective, and the cache experience would not be the same as it is today. A fresh perspective on how to hide a cache is one of the best resources for innovative hides. Don't spoil it by waiting too long. At the same time, don't sour your experience by hiding a cache that everyone hates and goes missing 3 times in a week.


Ask someone for help.


I'm willing, and I call for anyone else reading this who is to step up and say so.


Disclaimer: If I really like your idea, I might have to imitate it. They do say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. :laughing:

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I felt the same way! I thought of a lot of good places for caches, but waited a while - not long. For my first (and only so far) hide, the FTF had over 2000 finds so I immediately e-mailed them to ask for feedback. It was good and "right on" and I've had positive feedback so far. I did a lot of research online for cache containers - unique ones - and that can REALLY get those creative juices flowing! But to me - the number one joy of finding a cache is discovering a new and unique location that I would have otherwise not visited.

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Personally I waited till I found about 25 or so before I placed one. Glad I did because it really made a difference of where I would have hidden them. After seeing ideas and places people had hidden them it my imagination grew...and the devious hides began! <_<

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As a newbie myself, with two hides, I would say follow the rules for hides, make one that you think is cool and just go for it. We're all bringing new things into the game just by being here, and we don't want to hinder the creative efforts of newcomers. Your local cachers will let you know if they like the hide or not - the ones around here have been very supportive of our caches.

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I wish all new cachers would find a few of the oldest caches in their area before running out and hiding a new cache. If you look at the locations of the oldest caches in this area, they were regular-sized containers placed at the end of a nice hike.


Although imitation is the highest form of flattery, in the past few years there have been way too many people following the lead of hiders who place micros in parking lots or in strip mall landscaping . . . :P


That said, I applaud your enthusiasm. <_< The ideal cache would be a clever container in a great location. ;)

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As a newbie myself, with two hides, I would say follow the rules for hides, make one that you think is cool and just go for it. We're all bringing new things into the game just by being here, and we don't want to hinder the creative efforts of newcomers. Your local cachers will let you know if they like the hide or not - the ones around here have been very supportive of our caches.

I agree.


Hiding a cache is not rocket science. If a cacher hides a cache that he would like to find and it follows the guidelines, it's all good. When in doubt, have a friend or family member 'test drive' the cache before it's published.

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I wish all new cachers would find a few of the oldest caches in their area before running out and hiding a new cache. If you look at the locations of the oldest caches in this area, they were regular-sized containers placed at the end of a nice hike.


Although imitation is the highest form of flattery, in the past few years there have been way too many people following the lead of hiders who place micros in parking lots or in strip mall landscaping . . . :o



As I and others have said ad-naseum, I wouldn't think that someone who read the geocaching.com guide to hiding your first cache would be making their first cache a micro in a parking lot or strip mall landscaping. :D


I quote: "Ultimately you'll want to place a cache in a place that is unique in some way. The big reward for geocachers, other than finding the cache itself, is the location. A prime camping spot, great viewpoint, unusual location, etc. are all good places to hide a cache."


But Sbell's oft guoted "place a cache that you would enjoy finding" (or something like that) works too. :laughing:

Edited by TheWhiteUrkel
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But Sbell's oft guoted "place a cache that you would enjoy finding" (or something like that) works too.


I use the "Place a cache that you think others would enjoy finding" rule.

The problem with that is that you then have to figure out what someone else would like. My method only requires you to understand you.


There's a reason that the golden rule is the golden rule.

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