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What to leave?


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Well, since I got such a fast response from my question about muggles, I figured I might as well ask this while I'm thinking of it :D

 

What do you usually take to leave in a cache an/or what do you usually find in one?

 

Obviously small things, but I just have no ideas whatsoever :D I really want to get this more or less figured out before my GPS arrives in the mail at the end of the week :D

 

Thanks a ton for your help, you guys are just so darn... well, helpful!

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I geocache with my kids and they always love to find some sort of toys. I assume that there are other young geocachers out there so I try to carry some simple toys: balls, little cars, sparkly plastic jewelry - stuff like that from the dollar store. My kids are always very excited to see stuff like that.

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When I started caching I bought a load of VW beetle toys on keyrings from Ebay (kinda goes with my username!) but now I tend not to swap or leave swag items as I'm more in it for the hunt and the adventure.

 

Small toys, keyrings, badges etc are popular. I've always thought orange survival whistles are a good idea, as many people go out into the wilderness without one! Just remember that kids will be finding caches as well as adults so leave nothing dangerous such as knives, ammo etc.

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Just remember that kids will be finding caches as well as adults so leave nothing dangerous such as knives, ammo etc.

 

That much at least seems like common sense :D

 

Head down to your local dollar store. You will be surprised what is available. The most important thing is to leave items you would like to find.

 

That's brilliant. Thanks for the advice :D

 

Thanks everybody :D feel free to keep posting though.

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Swag (stuff left in caches) can be anything that will fit from used to old to new. Some examples are McDonald's toys, key chains, batteries (and any other stuff that might be helpful to a cacher like small inexpensive compasses, CITO (cache in trash out bags), or small tools), jewelry, items that reflect your caching identify like pins or business cards or small wooden coins -- we know of a local cacher who is a wood carver and he makes tiny little wood carvings to leave in caches. Also a local cacher goes by the name of "two bugs" and they leave little glass lady bugs.

 

Pens, pencils, souvineers that reflect your local area, hat pins and the list just goes on and on and on.

 

Don't leave food of any kind because it draws bugs and critters. Don't leave trash and/or junk (strange as it sounds some cachers do). Also don't leave anything that might be dangerous to small children. My grandkids love to poke through the cache for treasures.

 

Caching etiquette says usually don't take something unless you leave something of equal or greater value but this is not hard and fast. I have left stuff and taken nothing and vice versa.

 

Hope this helps.

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You'll soon find that most caches are filled with absolute junk, so anything you leave that is a notch above junk would be appreciated. Inexpensive, but useful items are the key. One of my favorites now is to buy a a few boxes of individually wrapped Off! insect repellent wipes when I see them on sale. I'll leave one or two packets in caches. Very inexpensive and very useful.

 

Another favorite of mine are the emergency rain ponchos sold at Walmart for 87 cents. Once in a while I'll buy a couple dozen and use those for cache swag. Inexpensive and useful.

 

Another is the small Johnson & Johnson first aid kits that come in a tiny plastic box. They were on sale for 89 cents in my local supermarket, so I bought 20.

Edited by briansnat
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You'll soon find that most caches are filled with absolute junk, so anything you leave that is a notch above junk would be appreciated. Inexpensive, but useful items are the key. One of my favorites now is to buy a a few boxes of individually wrapped Off! insect repellent wipes when I see them on sale. I'll leave one or two packets in caches. Very inexpensive and very useful.

 

Another favorite of mine are the emergency rain ponchos sold at Walmart for 87 cents. Once in a while I'll buy a couple dozen and use those for cache swag. Inexpensive and useful.

 

Another is the small Johnson & Johnson first aid kits that come in a tiny plastic box. They were on sale for 89 cents in my local supermarket, so I bought 20.

 

Couldn't have said it better myself, 99.9% of what you will find is pure junk! Please do everyone a favor and leave something better. I have been leaving carabineers and key chain carabineers, there seems to be a fair percentage of hikers amongst the caching population and you can never have to many carabineers.

 

Don't bother with adding more junk to the mix there is plenty of that to go around!

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i like to find things that are clean and unbroken.

 

every once in a while my family cleans out our collection of nice trinkets from the smithsonian catalog and some nice pieces of jewelry. i like to leave stuff that's nicer than expected, and i don't log that i left it. it's just a little surprise for people.

 

i never can tell what will strike my fancy. i like round things and chunky things.

 

where possible or if i'm visiting an area where i do not live, i will leave my signature items: a photo dvd set to my own music, or one of my cd's. in micros i leave the miniature portrait of my church that i leave in collection plates when i visit churches away from home.

 

it's a pretty little historic building and the line drawing of the church is superimposed on a collage of the stained glass in the sanctuary. i also give them to visitors to our church. they're pretty and people like them.

 

at christmastime i leave as gifts my christmas album, no need to trade.

 

i live in an area where there is a culture of generosity and the stuff in the cache containers is on average better than i find most places i travel. the most reliable way to create an atmosphere like that is to start leaving good stuff yourself.

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Just remember that kids will be finding caches as well as adults so leave nothing dangerous such as knives, ammo etc.

 

That much at least seems like common sense :D

 

You would be surprised. I have found caches that contained food/gum, lighters, matches, caps for cap guns and knives.

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You'll soon find that most caches are filled with absolute junk, so anything you leave that is a notch above junk would be appreciated. Inexpensive, but useful items are the key. One of my favorites now is to buy a a few boxes of individually wrapped Off! insect repellent wipes when I see them on sale. I'll leave one or two packets in caches. Very inexpensive and very useful.

 

Another favorite of mine are the emergency rain ponchos sold at Walmart for 87 cents. Once in a while I'll buy a couple dozen and use those for cache swag. Inexpensive and useful.

 

Another is the small Johnson & Johnson first aid kits that come in a tiny plastic box. They were on sale for 89 cents in my local supermarket, so I bought 20.

 

Around this area, I have a policy of leaving a dollar store mosquito headnet in caches. (Believe me, they are needed here)

 

Think about what the next finder would appreciate, and go with that. It costs a buck or two, but the addition to the McToys and calling cards is a refreshing experience for finders.

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My favorite find was a mini-pocket-knife, pink, and labeled "Brenda". My beloved old dog Brenda had recently died, so I was very glad to find it. I know knives as cache items are not a good idea, but I still treasure this one. I hadn't planned to trade, so I left what I had -- an ace bandage. I hope the person who took it will never need it.

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We have our own signature item which is a plastic "Blorenge orange" slice with our name on it but we often leave a small plastic battery case, the sort that hold 4 AA sized batteries. Occasionally I get to a local rocks/mineral shop and pick up a selection of attractive tumbled stones, small ammonite fossils or sharks teeth to use as swaps. Our only "treasured" swap is a little pottery pony that we collected from our first ever cache.

 

MRSB

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We've taken to doing the mini carabiner keyrings, too. I left a couple of the plastic matchboxes that people are so fond of making micros out of, then realized that I don't like micros very much so I stopped leaving those :D

 

Bandanas are also good swag (we found one, bagged up in a ziploc, thought it was a great idea). They're less than 1$ at walmart...

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I usually leave my signature item, a 007 playing card. I love to take tb's and leave them.

I have been caching for about 2 months now and am enjoying the sport. I appreciate your thoughtful swag ideas. Many of the caches are full of junk and lunch type toys, but every now and then you find very cool things like TBs or geocoins (which many are so beautiful). To keep the sport alive and fun for all keeping the TBs and coins moving keeps it fresh for those who enjoy the sport. When I began to assemble my cache backpack, I went over to Walmart and bought new items for my swag bag. The Off packets are great...have a few myself and have left some too. Thanks for setting a great role model for other cachers to follow especially for those of us fairly new to the sport. BTW, I like the descriptions you have on all of your coin and TB pages... Happy caching! Buglady1 over and out

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We're pretty new, but since I am caching with little ones, the trade is the thing. Today we left a big box of crayons (the cache was shady), some magnets, and mini deck of cards. Other things we like to leave are small blank journals with jewels on them, note pads, fancy pens, tiny stuffed animals, polished stones, funky magnets, colored pencils, specialty items from American Girl (wallets, pads, hair items) little books, and marker sets. Part of the learning is in the giving, the kids are learning about equal or better value, so we don't do McToys, although to be honest my littles will take them out. The teaching value thing is completely in the eye of the beholder, remember, what a child is thrilled with, an adult may not be....

 

Our favorite finds in a cache so far:

 

Men's Safari cologne (a tiny bottle) - the five year old was THRILLED to find that to give to her Dad!!

An old moldy watch, that I got a new strap for, put in a battery, and hubby was DELIGHTED

a fossilized seashell from Oregon

a polished stone egg

a signature pin with a cacher's name on it, who I actually met once at an event

geocoins (to move on or to keep - I read the instructions on line)

Travel Bugs - love to do what they tell me to!

 

Great question!

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We're pretty new, but since I am caching with little ones, the trade is the thing. Today we left a big box of crayons (the cache was shady), some magnets, and mini deck of cards. Other things we like to leave are small blank journals with jewels on them, note pads, fancy pens, tiny stuffed animals, polished stones, funky magnets, colored pencils, specialty items from American Girl (wallets, pads, hair items) little books, and marker sets. Part of the learning is in the giving, the kids are learning about equal or better value, so we don't do McToys, although to be honest my littles will take them out. The teaching value thing is completely in the eye of the beholder, remember, what a child is thrilled with, an adult may not be....

 

Our favorite finds in a cache so far:

 

Men's Safari cologne (a tiny bottle) - the five year old was THRILLED to find that to give to her Dad!!

An old moldy watch, that I got a new strap for, put in a battery, and hubby was DELIGHTED

a fossilized seashell from Oregon

a polished stone egg

a signature pin with a cacher's name on it, who I actually met once at an event

geocoins (to move on or to keep - I read the instructions on line)

Travel Bugs - love to do what they tell me to!

 

Great question!

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I always leave a signature card, if not a micro. Room permitting, I leave a new Hot Wheels still in the box. My wife likes to leave girlie things but is currently dropping off wooden train whistles. The only thing that I ever take is signature items. Although, there has been a time or two that I wish I'd found AA batteries.

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I always leave a signature card, if not a micro. Room permitting, I leave a new Hot Wheels still in the box. My wife likes to leave girlie things but is currently dropping off wooden train whistles. The only thing that I ever take is signature items. Although, there has been a time or two that I wish I'd found AA batteries.

 

You know I was thinking about leaving batteries (that seemed insanely useful), but I wasn't sure how well they hold up to weather. And a corroded battery in a cache is definitely NOT something anyone would want to find. I'm trying to think of an inexpensive sig item, haven't thought of anything thus far.

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As for swag we don't like, fill in the blanks with the following:

 

"If I never found another ___________________ in a cache, I'd be happy"

 

1.) Golf Ball

2.) Mc Donalds Toy

3.) Band Aid

4.) Broken toy

5.) Poker Chip

6.) Wooden Nickel

 

I like the posts that mention leaving items that you'd like to find or that are useful (mosquito or poison ivy towels), gardening gloves, etc. or simply items YOU would like to find as a cacher. I know I typically pack an extra set of batteries when I go out caching, but I can't imagine being in a situation where I forgot and was down to one bar of battery life while out hunting. A set of batteries would be much appreciated. I understand the concern about them corroding in a cache, but I think they'd get snatched up before that could even happen, especially on more active caches.

 

Investing in a few trackables is always a nice find both for the cacher and the trackable owner. I also like to leave my "gently used" books, CD's or DVD's that I don't use anymore, but that someone else can enjoy. Encourage kids to trade items that are in good condition. I can't tell you how many broken toys end up in caches that no one wants for obvious reasons.

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winwin56's mention of gardening gloves reminded me of a local cacher who leaves a pair of vinyl gloves (the type used by doctors and mechanics) in every cache he finds, they are useful for searching in dirty places for caches, for taking off your muddy boots afterwards, and for working on your car/motorbike/bicycle etc. They don't cost much for a box of 100 from a pharmacist or a business supplies company.

Edited by vw_keychain
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I don't want to be redundant as many good comments have been posted but here's my $.02. First, when it comes to swag, keep in mind that these are the "treasures" that the kids are anticipating after trekking for the cache. We are a family team and our routine when finding a cache is the log book immediately gets handed to me and the kids go through the cache for the treasure. We get disappointed with the fast food toys even if they are in the original plastic bag. We keep a small backpack that my youngest son wears while caching. We frequently stock it from the dollar store. I like to think of things that other cachers would appreciate. One of our favorites are the mini glow sticks. The kind that you bend to activate. The boys also love the TB's but it is important to keep future caching in mind before you grab them. I will ALWAYS ask them how long it will be before we cache again so that the TB does not go dormant for too long. More people need to be responsible when moving TB's. After all, they are supposed to travel and not sit in somebody's back pack!

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You know I was thinking about leaving batteries (that seemed insanely useful), but I wasn't sure how well they hold up to weather. And a corroded battery in a cache is definitely NOT something anyone would want to find. I'm trying to think of an inexpensive sig item, haven't thought of anything thus far.

 

Every single time we've found batteries in a cache they're corroded. I would NOT leave batteries!

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We have only been caching for a short time now.

Mainly we don't take anything. We leave behind something called crazy bones. They were the rage a while back, but I still use them when teaching... tiny little characters that come in many colors. They are sort of like our calling card at a cache.

 

This topic has gotten me to think about other items. mini first aid kits, metal clips, unusal keychains or magnets... hmmm, might have to hit the $1 section at Target.

 

Punch

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Items I like to leave include: box of crayons (24 count, usually 50 - 88 cents at Walmart); individual 'bug' wipes, (along that note - in 2 of my caches where mosquitos can be a problem, I have added a can of bug spray, in a ziploc, with directions to use, and put back for others); caribiners; batteries (I leave in wrapping and put in ziploc - never had problem with corrosion); little coloring books; glitter pens; mini puzzles; glow sticks; blinky/squishy ball that I get at pet store (they always seem to be very popular, as always mentioned in logs); little stuffed animals (in ziploc); rain ponchos; hotwheels in orginal package); lots of little items at TSC like tiny plastic animals, little firetrucks, JD tractors; chapstick; in winter - hand warmers; CITO containers; individual handi wipes; lots more I can't think of right now. :sad:

 

What I find: 90% of the time - junk!!! Old broken toys; trash (really, people leave food wrappers, crushed pop cans) :sad:

 

I leave a sig item, but I still leave trade items.

 

I believe in 'trade up, trade even, or don't trade at all'.

 

Thanks for lot's of great ideas for new swag items! :huh:

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We have only been caching for a short time now.

Mainly we don't take anything. We leave behind something called crazy bones. They were the rage a while back, but I still use them when teaching... tiny little characters that come in many colors. They are sort of like our calling card at a cache.

 

Haha! I played with those when I was in middle school! I would love to find some of those :unsure:

 

Items I like to leave include: box of crayons (24 count, usually 50 - 88 cents at Walmart); individual 'bug' wipes, (along that note - in 2 of my caches where mosquitos can be a problem, I have added a can of bug spray, in a ziploc, with directions to use, and put back for others); caribiners; batteries (I leave in wrapping and put in ziploc - never had problem with corrosion); little coloring books; glitter pens; mini puzzles; glow sticks; blinky/squishy ball that I get at pet store (they always seem to be very popular, as always mentioned in logs); little stuffed animals (in ziploc); rain ponchos; hotwheels in orginal package); lots of little items at TSC like tiny plastic animals, little firetrucks, JD tractors; chapstick; in winter - hand warmers; CITO containers; individual handi wipes; lots more I can't think of right now. :laughing:

 

I believe in 'trade up, trade even, or don't trade at all'.

 

A few questions... wouldn't crayons melt? Or are you just in a very cool area? Thanks for the tip on the batteries. What's "TSC"? Same question as crayons for chapstick? Hand warmers is brilliant :laughing:! What's a CITO container? I know about CITO (and am going to try to do it when possible. Gratefully haven't come on any opportunities so far :laughing:) but what's the container? I totally agree with 'trade up, trade even, or don't trade at all.' I've just started caching, but I'm trying to inspire my community to leave better stuff by always leaving something far better than what I take. I always take something, though, sometimes just to clear out the junk, or sometimes just for a souvenir from the cache :laughing:

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Crayons and chapstick melting - I haven't had any trouble with that, but, I suppose it's possible if the cache is sitting in the hot sun...if that was the case, I wouldn't leave them.

 

Tractor Supply Company ... National, but maybe not in your area.

 

CITO(cache in, trash out) containers ...film canister I get for free, and I put 4 or 8 gal. size trash bag in it.

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Crayons and chapstick melting - I haven't had any trouble with that, but, I suppose it's possible if the cache is sitting in the hot sun...if that was the case, I wouldn't leave them.

 

Tractor Supply Company ... National, but maybe not in your area.

 

CITO(cache in, trash out) containers ...film canister I get for free, and I put 4 or 8 gal. size trash bag in it.

 

You can also recycle them plastic bags you get at Walmart, Food Stores & The likes. They come with handles built in them & fit in the film cans great. You can even print up the sticker to put on outside of can that say's CITO from http://geocacher-u.com/ Site

They good as a Trade item too. :laughing:

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Whenever I'm in the grocery store I check those marked down tables. Often there are packages of toys that are meant for birthday goodie bags and usually they're half priced and there's usually 4 in a package. These are the things my daughter likes to find - like those puzzles that are made up of 12 squares and you have to slide them to make a picture. Half the time she takes little figures like dinosaurs or animals because she likes to play with them in the car while we're out caching, usually they end up back in the tupperware that we carry with all our SWAG so she plays with them for a little and then we end up leaving them again sometimes. One time we found a package of holiday tissues in January just at the right time. Hubby and I will trade more useful items but often if we're without the girls we'll just sign the log and be on our way. If it's a little light in SWAG we've been known to throw in a couple toys and take nothing. I don't usually log what what we take and/or leave, I just do it.

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from paracord and glowintehdark cord i make zipperpulls, fobs, sinnets ... sort of a relaxing mantra for me... anyway

I have loads of those so i drop these in the caches, small but also handy.

 

i put a load of em in my first hidden cache and added this collage to the cache page so people know what these things are and how to use em.

 

49fffe67-b921-4212-a5f0-e7c1f3c49f6d.jpg

Edited by Guinness70
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So if you run across a cache that has broken toys and trash in it, is it OK to just remove and throw out? I know my kids would be disappointed to find broken toys . . . I think I would just be tempted to take all the broken ones and throw in some new ones.

 

We loaded up at Dollar General on small toys, but I really like the idea of the OFF wipes and other handy items like that.

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My family and I just began geo-caching a couple of months ago, and we love it! (Wish we had more time to do it.) Beacuse we also have children, and we tend to go as a family, I really appreciate seeing kid-friendly items in the caches. In addition to some of the great suggestions already given, we often will leave a lapel pin from a location that we have travelled to. Both the young and young-at-heart seem to like these, and many people collect them, as well.

Happy geo-caching!

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from paracord and glowintehdark cord i make zipperpulls, fobs, sinnets ... sort of a relaxing mantra for me... anyway

I have loads of those so i drop these in the caches, small but also handy.

 

That gives me an idea, I do a similar thing, but with a sort of chainmail hybrid. I could make some keychains/zipperpulls that way that might be pretty interesting. I'll have to find a new source for materials though... Thanks for the idea :unsure:

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My kids love the "treasure hunt". We just bought our GPS on Monday and found our first two caches yesterday(couldn't find a third). I like the idea of leaving things you would like to find. I went to Michaels (the craft store) last night and looked through their dollar bins. We got about eight cans of glow sticks that the kids love and some small 2009 calendars on karabiners.

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