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How do i make a night cache?


iwikepie
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The most common setup is to use reflective tacks that hunters use. A popular brand is called Firetacks. These little tacks go on trees and are extremely difficult to spot in the daytime.

 

I've seen fake rocks partially painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. You can find it the daytime, but the experience is better as a night find.

 

I have seen lasers at a one-of-a-kind cache.

 

I have seen a puzzle cache with a timer hooked up that makes a bird-chirping sound only during hours of darkness. The coords get you close enough to hear it, then you follow the sound to it.

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I've found a multi-stage night cache that uses fluorescent paint, and requires a UV flashlight.

 

The fluorescent paint was applied in places where it was protected from sunlight, since sunlight causes it to degrade relatively quickly. To make it harder to find during the day, non-fluorescent paint was used to obscure the figures painted in fluorescent paint. In normal light, the non-fluorescent paint and the fluorescent paint looked very similar. (You can also buy pens with fluorescent ink that is otherwise invisible.)

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I would suggest that instead of using the fire tacks to use retro reflective tape. 3m makes some that you can get it in many colors. What I have done for my night caches is use a hole saw and cut discs out of lexan to sandwich the retro reflective tape in and then placing them. They seemed to hold up better for me than the fire tacks and were less of a maintenance hassle. You can then make the cache a bit more of a challenge by placing them farther apart. i like to place my reflectors high and low to keep the finder on their toes and from my opinion to make it sort of like a 'coon' hunt.

 

If you are interested I can send you some information and pictures offline, but as another suggested it is probably best to find a few night caches first to figure out how you want to structure yours.

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As a hunter, i make trail markers out of clothes pins and reflective tape. You can buy the tape at some farm stores in the trailer supplies. Cut the tape into small strips and apply. One roll will make a lot. Plastic clothes pins will last longer, but wooden ones are harder to see in daylight. You can also use white on one side for the incoming trail and red on the other for the outgoing trail.

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We've seen a few different things. The most common is reflective tacks. A single reflector means to keep going. Two on top of each other with the top slightly offset indicates a turn in the direction of the offset reflector, just like a trail marker. 3 together, usually a triangle, means to stop and look for something, info or a container or something. It may vary a bit, but it's generally along those lines.

 

We've also seen a cache that's on a timer where you have to be at a certain spot at a certain time. A tape recorder or something speaks out the coords for the next stage. If you miss it, it plays back 5 minutes later and then not again till the next day. The only problem was when the time changed because the player didn't compensate.

 

Some night caches are a mix of reflectors and traditional containers with coords. Generally, you follow the tacks until you come to a container and then walk to those coords with only the GPS.

 

A creepy story & description to accompany the cache adds to the experience. Everything always seems worse in the dark.

 

Here's an example of a night cache where the description alone makes want find it. I'm sure the cache will live up to the description.

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Night caches are my all time favorite, both to own and to find. How you set your's up is entirely up to you, but I can offer a few points to ponder:

 

1 ) As MountainRacer mentioned, you need to find a location that allows folks to wander about at night, waving flashlights.

 

2 ) Firetacks are a great tool, however if your reflector trail is much longer than an average driveway, they can get costly. What I'm using is 3M reflective tape, sold in 3' long strips at most hardware stores, near the mailbox decals. I cut the roll into 1/2" strips, which I then cut diagonally, resulting in 144 triangles for about $4. I attach them with a staple gun. Pointed up = go straight, left = go left, etc.

 

3 ) Don't make the start of your reflective trail visible from your parking coords. Most places that we'd enjoy at night will also be visited by muggles. If a curious muggle sees a line of reflectors leading off into the woods, they might be inclined to follow it straight to your cache. (Which brings up the next point)

 

4 ) Rather than leaving your cache at the end of your reflector trail, consider leaving a micro with the final coords inside. That way, should a muggle still manage to stumble across your reflectors, they won't be rewarded with your cache.

 

5 ) Night caches are not found nearly as often as other types, so container selection is critical. I would not use anything but an ammo can for a night cache.

 

Good luck!

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I've put together one night cache that's been pretty well received. It's a multi-stage hunt that uses short reflector trails that end in a container of some sort. Finders need to locate the reflectors, follow the trail to the container then figure out how to view the coordinates there. Once they do they go to the location specified and find the start of another reflector trail. The last trail ends at an ammo can for the final cache.

 

Having a few short reflector trails instead of one really long one makes maintenance much easier. The puzzle-like stages add to the fun factor as well... everyone figures them out in 2 or 3 minutes, but they need to try a couple things first before they get that "Ah HA!" moment.

 

My cache uses 3 intermediate puzzle steps before the final and covers a distance of 2 miles in the woods. For most people, walking in the woods after dark really throws them out of their comfort zone. Doing it with a couple friends adds a social aspect that many caches lack, and the puzzles require a little cooperation and thought to pull everyone together as a team. The result? Just read the logs.... they say it better than I ever could.

 

A regular reflector trail hunt is fun, but add some imagination and creativity and you'll have a cache that people will absolutely love.

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I've found a multi-stage night cache that uses fluorescent paint, and requires a UV flashlight.

 

The fluorescent paint was applied in places where it was protected from sunlight, since sunlight causes it to degrade relatively quickly. To make it harder to find during the day, non-fluorescent paint was used to obscure the figures painted in fluorescent paint. In normal light, the non-fluorescent paint and the fluorescent paint looked very similar. (You can also buy pens with fluorescent ink that is otherwise invisible.)

 

I have a simliar cache myself, though I provided the black light. I used fluorescent spray paint for mine, and a set of stencils, an arrow that points the correct path, a X that marks the wrong path, and for the final, a geocaching emblem.

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One thing I don't see mentioned here, which could hold up the cache in the review queue no matter what technique is used, is to make sure GPS is an integral part of the hunt. Do not make your starting point (ie the posted coords on the page) for the parking lot. Let the cacher use their GPS to navigate the trail to the starting point, and then feel free to let them use their flashlight. If you use just the parking spot for the posted coords, there's no GPS use and that's not a geocache.

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I recently got interested in making a night-time geocache, but i don't know where to start!

Perhaps some fellow-geocachers could give me some pointers.

 

Seeing as I Review in the OP's territory, I'd suggest that before running out and buying a bunch of Firetacks etc., to begin with finding a location that does not close at sunset. Many Parks in CA (including State Parks), are generally Day Use Only, unless they have camping facilities or something similar.

 

The second thing I would suggest would be to scout out the Final Cache location and send the coordinates for a Proximity Check to your helpful Volunteer Reviewer :rolleyes: Considering how much time it takes to set one of these things up, it would save you a bunch of footwork by getting a quick check on nearby Puzzles/Multi's etc. before getting things in place.

Edited by Nomex
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One thing I don't see mentioned here, which could hold up the cache in the review queue no matter what technique is used, is to make sure GPS is an integral part of the hunt. Do not make your starting point (ie the posted coords on the page) for the parking lot. Let the cacher use their GPS to navigate the trail to the starting point, and then feel free to let them use their flashlight. If you use just the parking spot for the posted coords, there's no GPS use and that's not a geocache.

 

Hmm, backtracking using the tracks in the GPS would constitute an important role in the cache. Navigating in the dark, unless you are really familar with the area, tends to be a challange.

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I recently got interested in making a night-time geocache, but i don't know where to start!

Perhaps some fellow-geocachers could give me some pointers.

Take a look at cache "Glintz and Road Apples" under Arizona caches near Apache Junction and then look at "Trail of Shadows" near Silverton, Washington.

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I just sent in my first night cache attempt, we'll see how well it's received! The cache, in a huge nature park with well groomed trails, is a 6-stage tour of the night, the trek will be around 2 miles! We used both, reflective tacks as well as stages with coords to the next adventure, this makes for a bit of fun! Since there are many "intersecting trails" along the way, we spaced the markers out just enough that you'll have to choose your way wisely or backtrack!! Final is a big ammo can with a surprise!

 

We gave this one a 4 difficulty as it IS a toughie IMHO...we'll have to wait and see if others agree! We're hosting an event Nov 1st at the nature park, we'll be guiding a group out for a group FTF after the event! Shoud be fun!

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I would suggest that instead of using the fire tacks to use retro reflective tape. 3m makes some that you can get it in many colors. What I have done for my night caches is use a hole saw and cut discs out of lexan to sandwich the retro reflective tape in and then placing them. They seemed to hold up better for me than the fire tacks and were less of a maintenance hassle. You can then make the cache a bit more of a challenge by placing them farther apart. i like to place my reflectors high and low to keep the finder on their toes and from my opinion to make it sort of like a 'coon' hunt.

 

If you are interested I can send you some information and pictures offline, but as another suggested it is probably best to find a few night caches first to figure out how you want to structure yours.

 

Hi, i´m interested in tje way you make yor nigth caches, especialy because here i cant get tje firetraks, can you send me images of how you do yours? thank you, greattin from MOnterrey, Mexico

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I like HME tacks better. You can buy 50 for $3, which is way better that $10 for 25. Plus I think they are actually more reflective because the surface are of the circle is larger than one side of the triangle or square kind. Also I think they are easier to place facing in a certain direction. The FireTack brand work fine too, I just like the cheap ones cause they work great and I can afford to use lots and replace them if needed.

 

Also, plan on doing maintenance a few times a year. Foliage and trees change from season to season.

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What coordinates are required for a night cache. I am placing a traditional cache. Do I only post the start of the trail? It seems to me including the final coordinates would defeat the purpose of a night cache. Can I place my final container within the .1 mile radius of another cache?

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47 minutes ago, mavwitt said:

What coordinates are required for a night cache. I am placing a traditional cache. Do I only post the start of the trail? It seems to me including the final coordinates would defeat the purpose of a night cache. Can I place my final container within the .1 mile radius of another cache?

 

A night cache where you follow a trail of reflectors can't be a traditional, it has to be a multi or mystery. See this Help Centre page.

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I've just had my first night cache published. GC9EW6E - The Hunt For Howie The Yowie

It's a multi cache. At the published coordinates, you locate a sign with some symbols on it. Using these, you determine the coordinates of the start of the trail of reflectors until you find 3 reflectors in a triangle. The cache is within 1 metre (3ft). On my edit page, I have the published coordinates (obviously visible), the start of the reflector trail as a virtual waypoint (invisble) and the final GZ (invisible).

You must also involve GPS usage in your night cache. From the Help Centre: "night caches must involve GPS use for at least part of the search. This means that following reflectors from the parking lot to the container is not enough."

I would also read the information from the Help Centre... 5.4. GPS usage

 

 

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2 hours ago, mavwitt said:

What coordinates are required for a night cache. I am placing a traditional cache. Do I only post the start of the trail? It seems to me including the final coordinates would defeat the purpose of a night cache. Can I place my final container within the .1 mile radius of another cache?

 

For a Mystery Cache, the posted coordinates would be for the spot where the finder sees the first reflector/fire tack.  This should NOT be the parking lot or trailhead.  GPS use is required, and that's satisfied by navigating to a random spot along the trail.  As noted by Calypso62, you can also design a night cache as a Multi-Cache.

 

The final coordinates for the cache container must be entered as a hidden Additional Waypoint for the Reviewer's reference and for database completeness.  It does not need to be visible to the public.  The cache container must be at least .1 miles away from any other physical element of other caches.

 

Reflectors or fire tacks do NOT count in the Cache Saturation test, and do not need to be entered as Additional Waypoints.  This is an exception to the general rule.  For example, if you used metal tags, laminated cards or containers that you placed in the environment, these would need to be entered as physical Additional Waypoints and are subject to the Cache Saturation guideline.

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6 hours ago, Keystone said:

<...>

 

Reflectors or fire tacks do NOT count in the Cache Saturation test, and do not need to be entered as Additional Waypoints.

 

<...>

 

 

Wow, I just had a vision of two night-cache fire-tack trails crossing each other!

 

No, I'm not saying something should be done here; I'm just picturing myself standing there.

 

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45 minutes ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

Wow, I just had a vision of two night-cache fire-tack trails crossing each other!

No, I'm not saying something should be done here; I'm just picturing myself standing there.

 

There was one nearby us on game lands that crossed a hunters' tacks.  After a call the CO met me, and with a tiny two-step ladder in the truck, we replaced them with a different color.  Our state's largest landowner, we're gonna see that time-to-time.  I didn't claim it as found...

One recent daytime cache has reflectors pretty-much following the walking trail to it on a deer trail 30' away.  :)

 

Edited by cerberus1
darn autocorrect...
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10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

A night cache where you follow a trail of reflectors can't be a traditional, it has to be a multi or mystery.

 

Although Night Caches can be listed as Multis, I would argue they should always be listed as Mysteries, even if there is an intermediate container stage.

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51 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

Although Night Caches can be listed as Multis, I would argue they should always be listed as Mysteries, even if there is an intermediate container stage.

 

From the Help Centre:

 

image.png.05bc9a81f190a9eb0d12840e54ec5bcb.png

Night caches, or at least the ones I've seen, seem to be a better match for multi than mystery as none have required doing homework beforehand. There's no requirement for multis to have intermediate container stages, indeed many of the ones arouind here (including a lot of my own) have only virtual waypoints where you're getting clues from things in the environment, not all that unlijke following a trail of reflectors.

Edited by barefootjeff
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4 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Night caches, or at least the ones I've seen, seem to be a better match for multi than mystery as none have required doing homework beforehand.

One of my favorite night caches was very clearly a mystery/puzzle cache. It involved a reflector trail, markings with fluorescent paint that required a UV light, physical puzzles, etc.

 

But yeah, the basic reflector trail style of night cache seems more like a multi-cache, since there's no puzzle to solve: just go to the start of the trail and follow the reflectors to the cache.

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15 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

From the Help Centre:

 

image.png.05bc9a81f190a9eb0d12840e54ec5bcb.png

Night caches, or at least the ones I've seen, seem to be a better match for multi than mystery as none have required doing homework beforehand. There's no requirement for multis to have intermediate container stages, indeed many of the ones arouind here (including a lot of my own) have only virtual waypoints where you're getting clues from things in the environment, not all that unlijke following a trail of reflectors.

 

Any geocache that requires tools requires homework (procuring the tools). A night cache requires tools: a flashight, and sometimes UV light.

 

A classic night cache (a trail of reflectors leading to a physical container) is a a kind of field puzzle. The reflectors are not stages; it cannot be a multi cache because there is only one real stage. Following the reflectors correctly is a challenge above and beyond normal geocaching.

 

A Night Cache can normally only be done at night. In other words, you must read the cache page before leaving your house and plan to be there at a fairly specific time when you would not normally be geocaching. In contrast, while a Multi may be located on property with limited hours of availability and/or may involve field calculations where it's advantageous to print the cache description in advance, generally speaking a Multi - like a Traditional - can be done any time.

 

On related note, I believe any geocache that requires tools should normally be a Mystery cache, as should field puzzles at the posted coordinates (even if you just need to read the cache page to get a combo for a lock). A Traditional should be findable with nothing except the GPS coordinates.

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5 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

A classic night cache (a trail of reflectors leading to a physical container) is a a kind of field puzzle. The reflectors are not stages; it cannot be a multi cache because there is only one real stage.

While the reflectors are not listed as stages (an exception to the general rule, as Keystone noted), the location where you look for the first reflector is indeed listed as the first stage. Thus, a standard trail of reflectors has two stages: the first stage where you start, and the final container.

 

10 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

On related note, I believe any geocache that requires tools should normally be a Mystery cache

So any T5 cache (and many D5 caches) should be listed as mystery/puzzle caches because they require tools of some sort? Really?

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17 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

A classic night cache (a trail of reflectors leading to a physical container) is a a kind of field puzzle. The reflectors are not stages; it cannot be a multi cache because there is only one real stage. Following the reflectors correctly is a challenge above and beyond normal geocaching.

What if you hid a container at the posted coordinates and in that container you gave out the coordinates (or clues) on where the reflector trail started? I would agree that it probably fits better as a Mystery cache in the "catch all" department but having a container at stage 1 and then following the "clues" to the final is very much in the spirit of a Multicache. 

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9 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

A Night Cache can normally only be done at night. In other words, you must read the cache page before leaving your house and plan to be there at a fairly specific time when you would not normally be geocaching. In contrast, while a Multi may be located on property with limited hours of availability and/or may involve field calculations where it's advantageous to print the cache description in advance, generally speaking a Multi - like a Traditional - can be done any time.

 

On related note, I believe any geocache that requires tools should normally be a Mystery cache, as should field puzzles at the posted coordinates (even if you just need to read the cache page to get a combo for a lock). A Traditional should be findable with nothing except the GPS coordinates.

 

I own several traditionals where not reading the cache page and just taking the most direct route to the coordinates will lead to an impasse, but they couldn't be easily worked into multis. One of those, GC7YP51, also has the Flashlight Required attribute, not because it's a night cache but because it's hidden inside a dark cave and has special effects that are light-activated. In spite of all that, it's still my most appreciated cache with 18 FPs from 21 finds and no-one has complained about it being a traditional.

 

As for limited hours of availabilty, living in a coastal community means there are quite a few traditionals that have tidal access. Some of those also require a boat but are still listed as traditionals. And as for tools, what about all the fishing-themed traditionals that require a magnet or something with a hooked end? Should they be listed as mysteries?

Edited by barefootjeff
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