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FTF prize ideas


csaws
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We are placing our first hide and are struggling to figure out a FTF prize. What do you normally use?

 

Usually nothing. With 270+ hides I've placed a FTF prize in maybe a dozen of them. I've never encountered one in my roughly two dozen FTFs. In many areas FTF prizes are neither common or expected, but a nice touch. The only prize that most geocachers want is a blank logbook.

 

I usually suggest forgetting the FTF prize and using the money you would have spent on it to raise the level of all the swag.

 

That said, the few times I have left a FTF prize I used:

 

A hydration backpack (I had to hide it away from the cache with instructions how to find it)

Geocaching.com hats

Binoculars

Unactivated geocoins

Siver Certificate dollars

A Petzel Tikka headlamp

Platypus Hoser hydration bottles

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I am not one to use FTF in a log even when I am first to visit a cache -- for reasons that I am sure are the subject of a number of other threads. Therefore, I usually consider that the first person to find the caches I place has the pick of a cache that contains a number of worthwhile items and the ability to use the initials in the log.

 

When I have wanted to leave something special in a cache for a particular finder, I have usually gone with at least third to find. The first has the glory of signing a blank log and the choice mentioned above. The second might have been expecting to get all of the above. But the third or later finder came there for reasons other than using those three initials or saying "Yahoo." Therefore, if I am going to reward somebody, it might as well be them.

 

I have sometimes used a game spinner and then asked that an item remain in the cache until the number of finders reach the number that came up. It adds a certain mystery to things because I don't tell people the number that will be the lucky one.

 

But to get back on thread, those items have included everything from unactivated geocoins to a Crushers bobblehead (a collector's item!).

Edited by Erickson
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I have tried to leave for the first finder a prize that fits the theme of the cache.

 

For a hide that highlighted some beaver damage, I included a toothbrush. For a "Game of Life" cache I left a box of Life cereal. For my "Film-Can Multi-cache, I left a disposable camera." For a cache involving a maze; a book of mazes. For a cache involving a downtown district; a gift certificate for a local establishment.

 

When a prize cannot be found to fit the theme, folks get a gift card to a donut shop, an unactivated coin, or a set of travel bug dog tags.

 

Once, I had a spoon engraved for an FTF prize. Once I made a custom trophy.

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Fair enough, it will be a rather easy find and we will keep it stocked as the stuff depletes.

 

I tried to keep my initial caches well-stocked, but it was a losing proposition -- as as you place more, it will probably get harder and harder to do. Although there are some themed caches that I try to maintain, keeping the others stocked presents more of a problem. The other thing I was warned about after placing my first cache was that cache maintenance can be a drag at times. But my old caching friend likes to remind people that placing caches is half the game, so good luck on your first.

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We enjoy finding a FTF prize. Typically, our favorites have been geocaching related items such as unactivated geocoins/travel bugs, pathtags, buttons, etc. We also enjoy finding unique coins/currency.

 

We always leave a FTF prize in our caches. For lower effort caches, we have left geocaching patches, arrowhead points, large shark’s teeth. For high-effort caches, we have left a painted ammo can and on at least three occasions we have left a custom-made patch made especially for the cache.

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For our large multi we left a brand new 1gig mp3 player *(7.95 on woot.com) stuffed full of phish's reunion shows from march @ hampton va. with a note that said, expand your horizons and check out some new music, or feel free to delete and add your own.

 

I could care less if its a so called FTF hound, we dont put anything special in our regular caches. Believe me they earned it on the multi ( one almost vertical trail involved, some bushwacking, and all the assorted bugs and things you could imagine-- hell bigfoot might live in there) of course some people may find my sons favorite item to leave "special". Whoopie cushion $1.00 @ your local dollar store

 

:D

 

(~)}]

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We give a genuine original non-trackable Colonial Cats geocoin for FTF prizes in caches larger than a micro. 0ce48f9b-f27b-43b5-9d34-7520543ea834.jpg

 

I'm proud to say I have one of those. My cats are jealous now and want their own coin!

 

A short list of some more common items:

two dollar bill

lottery ticket

gold dollar

coupons for lunch

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I hide what I like to find, so my caches are expensive, which is why I don't hide that many.

 

I mostly use a Sportsman's Dry Box (Academy Sports), similar to a large ammo can but nicer, with something like a fishing reel (~$30.) as the FTF prize and ten trade items with average value of $5.

 

You might be surprised at the number of useful items you can find for $5 in WalMart and other big-box retailer's sporting goods.

 

Add gas to go hide the cache and I might spend $90 to $100 to place a cache.

 

I also build caches like that and donate them at events as door prizes. The winners truly appreciate them and almost all soon are hidden, which has the added bonus of giving me another cache to find!

 

It didn't take long for word to get around that my caches had decent swag in them and cachers took equally nice trade items to exchange, so while the swag does eventually deteriorate for several months after placement they contain kewl stuff.

 

The exception has been coin caches. For whatever reason coins bring out the worst in people, and all three of my coin caches into which I put top-quality trackable personal coins that I had traded my personal coin for very quickly devolved to non-trackable and coin-of-the-month-club dreck, and two were emptied, one of them twice. My little foray into coin caches cost me over 60 coins, so I won't be doing that again.

 

This year has been a bit tight for me, so I haven't been able to place nice caches, nor restock my existing caches with quality swag, so I adopted most of them out.

 

I have ten ammo cans and a bunch of dollar-store-type swag that I have accumulated but I just can't get interested in hiding that kind of stuff... I will wait until I can buy some nice swag that I will be proud of.

 

Anyhoo, just telling you what makes me happy, not advising that you spend that much on your caches... but if you do your community will certainly appreciate it and, my experience has shown, for the most part do their best to trade up or even.

 

As to the "FTF Hounds", we have a large and active FTF community in central and northern Alabama. A new cache will likely be found within hours by one of them, but they usually don't take the FTF prize, they leave it for the STF. Only once has one of the FTF regulars taken one of my FTF prizes, a pair of FRS/GMRS radios he wanted to use with his son while camping, and he contacted me to make sure that taking them was okay!

 

Some folks may think it is futile and silly to try to make a difference in the game by hiding and trading nice things... they rant about the guy that took a $5 item and left a quarter, and I do feel that pain, but nice swag begets nice swag, and we can make a difference if we stick to that.

 

As I said at the start... hide what you like to find! :D

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I haven't used many FTF prizes. The person who first finds my caches does have a pick of the swag which sometimes is good and sometimes is recycled leftovers from archived caches (what goes around comes around). I'll stop by my caches when I'm in the area and usually add and maybe remove any junk and broken stuff so at least there is always stuff to find in my caches. I'll also add stuff to any cache I find that needs it and clean out and organize the cache. Most people around here don't take anything. I, on the otherhand, always like taking home a "trophy" (a figurine, a toy, a TB) from my hunt which sits on an endtable until I add it to the swag in another cache.

My first puzzle cache went several months before someone found it so I was hoping that an FTF prize might encourage people to look for my second puzzle cache sooner. I bought a five dollar gift certificate from a nearby icecream parlor so they could stop and have an icecream cone after doing the hunt. (I hope that the gift certificate was still good because I couldn't get the cache in place that year and so it was a year later when I was finally able to get things in place. I called the store and asked if the certificate was still good, but didn't really get a straight anwer, yet it seemed like it was still good (I always wondered about that). ) Anyway, The first finder loved the cache so much he took the FTF and left $10 so the second finder actually made out better. Go figure. Most people who did it loved the cache. I try to make fun caches and hopefully what they take away are fond memories and fun times with their friends and kids.

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We are placing our first hide and are struggling to figure out a FTF prize. What do you normally use?

 

Why would you feel the need to have a FTF prize? They are rarely seen in caches placed by experienced cachers. A good cache with an empty log is all the prize they need. I've actually left FTF gifts behind when I've been the first one to the cache... feels wierd to take it...too much like a bribe to get me to the cache.

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We are placing our first hide and are struggling to figure out a FTF prize. What do you normally use?

 

Why would you feel the need to have a FTF prize? They are rarely seen in caches placed by experienced cachers. A good cache with an empty log is all the prize they need. I've actually left FTF gifts behind when I've been the first one to the cache... feels wierd to take it...too much like a bribe to get me to the cache.

Though I tend to leave First-to-Find prizes in most of the caches I place (usually Unactivated Travel Bug Tags or Geocoins)...I usually don't take any First-to-Find prizes...

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We are placing our first hide and are struggling to figure out a FTF prize. What do you normally use?

 

Why would you feel the need to have a FTF prize? They are rarely seen in caches placed by experienced cachers. A good cache with an empty log is all the prize they need. I've actually left FTF gifts behind when I've been the first one to the cache... feels wierd to take it...too much like a bribe to get me to the cache.

 

Knowschad...I usually agree with your posts, but I have to respectfully disagree this time. I think that is your opinion. Which you are whole heartedly entitled to, but I have met several geocachers that have thousands of Finds and lots of FTF....they leave and take FTF prizes. I also know where you are coming from. But, I think it is a personal preference but I would not generalize the entire experienced community of geocachers by saying they don't like to find a good FTF gift.

 

As to OP....I say do what you feel is fun and prevelant to the cache. NEVER over extend yourself for a cache. If you can't put a FTF prize in...it is ok.

 

Here are some FTF prize ideas I currently am doing.

 

I am working on a multi that has a series of 5's in it...so the prize is a Five Dollar Footlong!

 

I place one the other day that had a magnetic keyholder for the FTF to place another cache.

 

I like you am trying to think outside the box and come up with creative FTF prizes....but we also give that much thought to the SWAG (shiver me timbers) has all pirate items. eyepatches, pencils, coins...blah blah blah and the regualr booty.

 

Our night cache we are working on will have a FTF prize of a headlamp! Just fun stuff! :P

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We usually try to stick with the theme of the cache when we leave FTF prizes (which we have on all but one of our regular size caches). For our cache at a ghost town we left a book about the history, for one near a copper mine we left a copper nugget magnet. A FTF pin from Geoswag makes a nice little prize as well, especially for smaller caches.

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We are placing our first hide and are struggling to figure out a FTF prize. What do you normally use?

 

Why would you feel the need to have a FTF prize? They are rarely seen in caches placed by experienced cachers. A good cache with an empty log is all the prize they need. I've actually left FTF gifts behind when I've been the first one to the cache... feels wierd to take it...too much like a bribe to get me to the cache.

 

Knowschad...I usually agree with your posts, but I have to respectfully disagree this time. I think that is your opinion. Which you are whole heartedly entitled to, but I have met several geocachers that have thousands of Finds and lots of FTF....they leave and take FTF prizes. I also know where you are coming from. But, I think it is a personal preference but I would not generalize the entire experienced community of geocachers by saying they don't like to find a good FTF gift.

 

 

Actually, very little of that was opinion. Most of it was based on my local experience. I'd guess that fewer than, say, 5%, if that, of our new caches have any sort of FTF "prize" in my neck of the woods.

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I did my first hide today and left an LED flashlight for the FTF and let my young daughters put the rest of the swag in. The FTF left the prize, which is fine with me, but I kind of like the idea of leaving something a little special. The hide was fairly simple, with a nice walk, so just starting out and hope to do some more challenging hides as I play the game more.

P.S. Hey knowschad, I am in the south metro of your neck of the woods. :P

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Ok guys, it was placed June 1 and found within two hours. I did not place a FTF as this one was placed with community service in mind. If you knew where it was and what I do you would understand. If ya want to try to guess it is GC1T52F

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I put a First and Second prize in a theme cache. The cache is a joke on swing music and is at a really awesome swing hung from a branch of a 100+y.o Beech tree in the middle of some woods near my house. The cache description says to make some music and have a swinging time, and so I do my best to keep the cache filled with kazoos. FTF and 2ndTF got bigger, nicer (LOUDER) kazoos that were still pretty cheap.

 

My point, I prefer something to add to the fun, rather than of worth.

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On ‎6‎/‎1‎/‎2009 at 11:15 AM, csaws said:

We are placing our first hide and are struggling to figure out a FTF prize. What do you normally use?

  I like leaving a prize, it's fun!  I have a cute story about a micro FTF gift but first... I have found that cachers love to get a geocache container for FTF. We have left rocks caches, capsules, and nano caches as prizes. The cute story...we had a spider cache with capsule published and the FTF prize was a rock cache (described in the log). Obviously the rock couldn't fit into the spider so we left it on the ground next to the spider's hiding spot which was in a crack underneath a marble bench. The FTF signed the rock log instead of the spider. lol I messaged her and being the dedicated cacher she is, came back and signed the spider log. She left the rock, very nice of her!

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On ‎6‎/‎1‎/‎2009 at 3:07 PM, SwampGirl & BugBoy & TAG said:

I have found and left unactivated Travel Bug tags as FTF prizes. Not to long ago we found a cache with a $10 Lowe's gift card as FTF prize, that was a nice little surprise.

A FTF prize I would love to find is a camo capsule. Or any capsule because I can always camo duct tape it. I like stocking up on them to replace the capsule hides of mine if they ever go missing.

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FTF'rs need no encouragement but I will confess to having occasionally included something for them. In my latest series, in a couple of caches, I had prizes for up to Fourth to Find. Oddly there was no mention of finding them in the logs, including the FTFs. I may have to do a cache check and see if the prizes have gone.

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I used to leave a FTF certificate until one time when the FTF deliberately didn't take it, leaving the 2TF scratching his head thinking he was FTF but puzzled by the signature already in the logbook. So I don't do that anymore. With so little caching activity around here now, it's becoming increasingly common for FTF to go unclaimed for several days or even weeks, especially on the higher D/T caches, so the idea of FTF races has faded into caching folklore. My most recent cache, GC8DQXK published in October, had FTF the day after publication, 2TF three days later and no more finds since.

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Yeah I wouldn't label it "FTF prize" to avoid confusion. But I might label it indicating it's free for the taking.  Or do the FTF via private communication with finders and negotiating a meet up or mailing.  There are various ways to accomplish awarding a prize for the first person who wants to claim it.

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17 hours ago, colleda said:

FTF'rs need no encouragement but I will confess to having occasionally included something for them. In my latest series, in a couple of caches, I had prizes for up to Fourth to Find. Oddly there was no mention of finding them in the logs, including the FTFs. I may have to do a cache check and see if the prizes have gone.

 

I agree, there's enough heading out for that stat that a "prize" isn't really needed today.   :)

Years ago, with fewer cachers, a FTF prize was an added incentive to tempt someone to head to your cache,  and sometimes noted in the cache page.   

 

One local CO on distant hides places lottery tickets as prizes by finder, sort of a "5 for FTF", "3 for 2nd", and "I for 3rd" thing. 

There's been a few times where a 2nd or 3rd-to-find asked in their log "what happened to the tickets?",  hinting that the FTF was a hog.

Most times there's no mention of "prizes" in any logs...

These people will head to that distant hide when daylight's almost gone for that FTF ...  so much of that silliness could be remedied by simply leaving those tickets out.  

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16 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I used to leave a FTF certificate until one time when the FTF deliberately didn't take it, leaving the 2TF scratching his head thinking he was FTF but puzzled by the signature already in the logbook.

 

At a couple of my caches, the FTF signed the "FTF Certificate" and left it in the container.  And people also sign my swag plastic "Geocaching License" card and leave it inside.   They do love to write their name on things. :rolleyes:

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When we first started placing hides, we were giving real leatherman tools, binoculars,  real carabiners and other climbing equipment, and even a GPSr as FTF prizes.

Our last three had a coin in two, and one, a birthday cache, had a girls birthday present inside.  The rest is swag.

I don't see the need for an incentive on FTF today, and if new caches come out, probably won't do that again

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