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What's with the junk?

Ghost Crab

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OK, so I know that some seasoned cachers don't bother with swag any more. It has become all about the TBs, or just the fun of the hunt.

And, I'm not suggesting that cheap-o kiddie toys aren't good swag - they are.


My problem is finding a cache full of trash. One recent find contained:

a plastic soda bottle cap

a battered, bent business card

a piece of (used) chewing gum in an old wrapper

a crusty, broken latex balloon;

an unwrapped band-aid;

the cap to an ink pen (no pen);

and a rock - not a fossil, crystal, or anything cool, but a rock just like the dozens of others on the ground all around the cache.




I don't know if people are taking all of the "good" stuff and leaving trash behind, or what.

There are still little kids (and kids at heart) out there who enjoy the "treasure hunt" and hope to find something interesting to take home as a reminder of their experience.


I propose that we have a "spring clean-up" for our caches. Go visit a favorite local cache (or two or three...), take out the trash, and freshen it up with a handful of fun swag and maybe even a fresh log book and/or working pen if needed.


Any takers? :)

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That's been the case around here too. I'm not a swag collector, I much prefer signature items and I always drop one of mine in but most of what I'm seeing these days is just junk. I did run across a couple last weekend though that had stuff kids would like with no junk. I'd bet that those get regular visits from the CO's....

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I have found Crayons in Houston. in _HOUSTON_. I do find a bit of junk around too. An unwrapped bandaid though might be something necessary if the cache is like many around my place which are closely guarded by thorns. I do think children's toys are nice swag, but if it is something grabbed off the party isle at WalMart (ie 5 plastic whistles (not the hard plastic that work but those flimsy ones from China coated with lead and extra helpings of BPA, you know the ones)) I am disappointed to see them. What I like to find are army men, or little figures such as that. Marbles would probably be nice as well. Or anything nastalgic like that. Bendy bands are cool for some people, I just find them annoying (Hey look! I am wearing a rubber band on my wrist! WHen I take it off it looks like a start!!!!).

I took my neice and nephew out geocaching and they got really into it ans excited. We got to one and there was something in there i kinda liked but told them I could not take it because I did not have anything to trade with me. My Neice whips out her wallet and pulls out.... you ready for this? A receipt from Steak and Shake. Yes you read that right. She thought it would be a good trade to put a reciept in instead of something tangible.

"Why would you leave a reciept?"

"Well it is a souvenier from my going there."

"And why would someone else want that?"

"They can share in my experience!"



Needless to say, I did not let her leave it and we left the swag I liked. I _HOPE_ it was a good lesson to her about what is good trade and what is not and that you should not just take something if you don't have something good to trade for.

Another bad trade item (in my opinion) is cash. I am not just talking the 3 pennies and the nickel you found last week in an ammo can, I am also talking about the foldable kind. Except for a FTF prize, I would not leave money in a cache because as people start finding out there maybe cash in cache, theft will increase. Besides, what you leave in the cache really ought to mean something or have some value, even if it is something valueless like a plastic toy soldier. It should be something you actually have to consider to yourself, "Hmm, is this new item worth enough to me to outweight my item I am leaving?"

I KNOW food does not make a good addition to a cache. I have once though found a can of soup in a cache. I chuckled about that one. It was food but was fairly animal proof. On a related note though, I would probably not consider a bottle of water a bad item. But what does leaving a bottle of water in a cache tell you about the cache? It's a _NICE_ sized cache and most likely (because the person was carrying bottles of water in the first place) a bit of a hike and if you forgot water or ran out, that bottle will be most attractive. Of course there is the threat of leakage, but I think that is fairly minimal. If the seal is still intact... blah blah blah...

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I know it is very disappointing not only to me but to the kids.. we just take extra stuff and try to improve the cache and make a note to the owner. I bring stuff my kids dont know I have and if the cache is empty they get to pick from the "special cache bag" and they are happy! Just a little sommething we had to add so everyone is happy!!!

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I guess I am so used to seeing "junk" in geocaches that I thought that's all most people actually put in, lol. We, however, having little ones who love the swag, also carry around huge bags of excess swag and have been known tp throw in a lot of extra into a geocache to fill it up for the next geocachers to come along. We are relatively new to geocaching (26 finds so far- in Louisiana and Arkansas), so we don't have much to comapare with, but I honestly have not seen a decently stocked geocache yet. We have placed a lot of swag, though.

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We follow the guideline of always leaving caches better than we found them. This means we carry a bag of swag whenever we go caching. Today we spent the day FILLING a bunch of caches TO THE BRIM with some decent swag. Not something I could afford to do all the time, but I know how my own kids love a well-stocked cache, so we're paying it forward. Glad to hear that others do the same.

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Amen, Palmerra. My son and I are new to the game and when he found a large cache earlier this week with about 30 items in it he was really thrilled. He wants to go back with mom so she can see all the stuff and possibly make a trade. So far we've been pretty lucky with our staggering 8 finds so far. If they weren't micros they at least had a cool trackable or something. He has several items of swag in his GC backpack just in case he sees something that catches his eye. I guess we just have to maintain low expectations making the really good finds that much sweeter.

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there's a thread about this in another forum...there's a link to it in my signature.


You are not alone is wanting nicer swag. I cache with my two daughters ages 7 & 5. We clean out the junk and always leave alot of nice swag.


Leading by example and being a role model for my kids. Do unto others. If I can teach my children that lesson, then life is good.


My girls get excited to leave nice swag for others and say things like. "the kid who gets that REALLY cool blue hotwheels car is gonna LOVE it" warms my heart when I hear them say those things.


My hope is that those that come after us, will find a nice cache and then (hopefully) will carry that with them and use it in the future on their own.

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I really enjoy always having my Caches stocked up with goodies, I love the thought of how excited people will be when they find it! My favorite is my 10 Gallon Geocache named Treasure Inside, it is GC2D5G3 http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=7689ff49-e7cd-4562-ab2e-319896fa3f9d

I always carry tons of unique items of good quality to trade, I have never found much but my favorite I did find and still treasure was a small hand carved Teddy Bear ;)

Edited by Treasureinside
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