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Stealth Tips


ChelsieL
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Hi all,

 

I am new to geocaching, and I live in Chicago, so pretty much any cache I look for will be in a fairly crowded place. I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to look like less of an idiot, and obviously less conspicuous, while searching in extremely populated areas.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Chelsie

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Hi all,

 

I am new to geocaching, and I live in Chicago, so pretty much any cache I look for will be in a fairly crowded place. I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to look like less of an idiot, and obviously less conspicuous, while searching in extremely populated areas.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Chelsie

 

Haven't tried this one myself, but I hear that wearing a hard hat and safety vest and carrying a clipboard makes you invisible.

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I find there are levels of muggle infestation:

 

-Nobody in sight. You're out in the woods or a secluded corner of a park. Search at will, no one will even know you're there.

-"Almost" nobody around. You start searching but a muggle suddenly appears out of nowhere. You get that "deer in the headlights" look....

-Average muggle activity. Here is where some stealth is needed. There are enough people around to spot you but few enough people that someone acting odd (you) will attract attention.

-Muggle central. A really busy city location. Believe it or not, sometimes this is easier....there are tons of people around but they're so busy doing something else or moving from point A to point B that your activities won't even be noticed amid the hustle and bustle. :ph34r:

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I find there are levels of muggle infestation:

 

-Nobody in sight. You're out in the woods or a secluded corner of a park. Search at will, no one will even know you're there.

-"Almost" nobody around. You start searching but a muggle suddenly appears out of nowhere. You get that "deer in the headlights" look....

-Average muggle activity. Here is where some stealth is needed. There are enough people around to spot you but few enough people that someone acting odd (you) will attract attention.

-Muggle central. A really busy city location. Believe it or not, sometimes this is easier....there are tons of people around but they're so busy doing something else or moving from point A to point B that your activities won't even be noticed amid the hustle and bustle. :ph34r:

I kind of like this explanation but I will add that you need to learn to behave like you belong wherever you are, because you do, usually.

 

The essence of stelath is behaving in a manner that will not attract attention from others. If you are peering about and looking over your shoulder other people will notice you. They may not do anything but they will notice you. If you are busy searching in a confident manner other people will tend to not notice you because you will appear to be comfortable with what you are doing and therefor not be causing anyone to look at you and think you seem out of the ordinary for some reason.

 

I can stand and stare at a rock wall for an hour and noone will pay any attention to me other than to think I must be weird. I am. I stare at rock walls trying to find caches. I ignore the observers and they tend to move along.

 

Stealth is a learned skill and it is very well worth your time and effort to develop the skill.

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Bringing a camera and "just taking pictures" is good--also a good answer to "What are you doing?" You can even move things out of the way to get a "better picture."

 

Dogs and kids are good cover, because they both like to poke around in odd places and are not as likely to draw attention as an adult alone doing the same thing. Just teach the kids not to yell "I FOUND IT!"

 

When I'm riding my bike I find that I can stop and "just take a break" and have a drink of water while walking around seemingly aimlessly.

 

(btw The "dropped my keys" ploy has resulted in "Do you want some help?")

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I can't tell if you're serious about the hard hat/safety vest thing :P

 

I guess I will just have to try to get better at being confident in what I'm doing, but it'll definitely take practice.

 

The hard hat/safety vest really does work. I bought a used hard hat a few years ago, and put a Geocache logo on it. Added an cheap safety vest, and clip board. You really do fade into the background.

 

I have only used this costume a very few times, as I rarely cache where I need to go to that extreme. However, it has allowed me to be more comfortable when getting a couple of caches. :)

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I find that dressing all in black, sticking to the sides of buildings, jumping from parked car to tree, to mail box and adding in some commando rolls into the mix works best for me!

 

 

I think trying to act inconspicuous makes you look all that more conspicuous, although saying that, I drove passed a cache I found a week or so before and saw two cachers on their hands and knees trying to find the cache on the street, but no one else seemed to notice!

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I find there are levels of muggle infestation:

 

-Nobody in sight. You're out in the woods or a secluded corner of a park. Search at will, no one will even know you're there.

-"Almost" nobody around. You start searching but a muggle suddenly appears out of nowhere. You get that "deer in the headlights" look....

-Average muggle activity. Here is where some stealth is needed. There are enough people around to spot you but few enough people that someone acting odd (you) will attract attention.

-Muggle central. A really busy city location. Believe it or not, sometimes this is easier....there are tons of people around but they're so busy doing something else or moving from point A to point B that your activities won't even be noticed amid the hustle and bustle. :ph34r:

I kind of like this explanation but I will add that you need to learn to behave like you belong wherever you are, because you do, usually.

 

The essence of stelath is behaving in a manner that will not attract attention from others. If you are peering about and looking over your shoulder other people will notice you. They may not do anything but they will notice you. If you are busy searching in a confident manner other people will tend to not notice you because you will appear to be comfortable with what you are doing and therefor not be causing anyone to look at you and think you seem out of the ordinary for some reason.

 

I can stand and stare at a rock wall for an hour and noone will pay any attention to me other than to think I must be weird. I am. I stare at rock walls trying to find caches. I ignore the observers and they tend to move along.

 

Stealth is a learned skill and it is very well worth your time and effort to develop the skill.

Good advice. I also find that most people don't notice and/or don't care about what others are doing. I tend to "go in and get out" as quickly and nonchalantly as possible giving the impression I fully belong in the environment.

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It comes with experience of 'how' and 'where' caches are hidden.

 

The more you find, the easier it gets to find them.

 

In high muggle areas I stand or sit (if there's somewhere close to sit) and just look at where the cache may be.

Sometimes you will see the cache, then it's a case of wait for a lull in the traffic -muggle-wise- then move in, grab the cache, and move away to sign the log. Then you have to replace it!

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I find that dressing all in black, sticking to the sides of buildings, jumping from parked car to tree, to mail box and adding in some commando rolls into the mix works best for me!

 

 

 

I just started 'the search' Saturday (as in two days ago), but if I had known that I get to do THIS I would have started long ago!! My daughter and I are enjoying it and we hope to continue with the fun. But now I see that I get an added element of fun. YEA!! I can hear the music in my head already.

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I often use CITO as cover. I take out a plastic bag and collect trash. When I find the cache, I drop it in the bag and take a break. After I've signed the log, I collect some more trash, replacing the cache in the process. Then I throw the bag in a trash can as I leave.

 

Essentially, it's a variation of the clipboard and safety-vest disguise.

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I often use CITO as cover. I take out a plastic bag and collect trash. When I find the cache, I drop it in the bag and take a break. After I've signed the log, I collect some more trash, replacing the cache in the process. Then I throw the bag in a trash can as I leave.

 

Essentially, it's a variation of the clipboard and safety-vest disguise.

 

Yes, CITO is another great cover; not only great cover, it accomplishes another worthwhile function while we're geocaching.

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Nothing is going to make you look more conspicuous than trying to look inconspicuous. I don't bother with stealth, I just walk up to where I think the cache is, grab it, sign the log and put it back. If you act like you belong and know what you are doing you will receive a lot less attention.

 

Earlier this summer there was a cache in a public park hidden under a bench. The moment I identified where it probably was a woman and a child sat down on the bench. I loitered nearby thinking they would be leaving soon, but the woman picked up her cell phone and I heard her call someone and say "We're in the park and I have your sandwich, see you in a few minutes". That told me they were there for the duration. So I walked up to them, said "Excuse me do you mind if I look under your bench?" and without waiting for their answer, did so. Found the cache in seconds, pulled it out and signed the log. Then said "Excuse me, I need to put this back". As I went to leave she asked me what that was all about. I told her "geocaching" and went on my way.

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I've done a lot of caching with my cell phone up to my year, just absently poking around the target location while talking to absolutely no one. It's worked well for me.

 

Oh, and the safety vest supposedly works wonders. Haven't tried it myself because well, my vest says "police" on it.

 

Oooh, Danger, Will Robinson! You could be cited for impersonating a Police Officer with that. It would be far better to have something generic like "Maintenance" on it. But yes, the anonymity of appearing to be a worker is fairly universal.

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I've done a lot of caching with my cell phone up to my year, just absently poking around the target location while talking to absolutely no one. It's worked well for me.

 

Oh, and the safety vest supposedly works wonders. Haven't tried it myself because well, my vest says "police" on it.

 

Oooh, Danger, Will Robinson! You could be cited for impersonating a Police Officer with that. It would be far better to have something generic like "Maintenance" on it. But yes, the anonymity of appearing to be a worker is fairly universal.

 

Unless, of course he is a police officer. Which, is how I read this.

 

He wouldn't be cited for impersonating, but his superiors might not want him using the vest that way.

 

If I see someone with a safety vest poking around looking at stuff, I wouldn't pay any attention to them. If the vest said POLICE, it would be hard not to watch and try to figure out what was going on. :lol:

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Nothing is going to make you look more conspicuous than trying to look inconspicuous. I don't bother with stealth, I just walk up to where I think the cache is, grab it, sign the log and put it back. If you act like you belong and know what you are doing you will receive a lot less attention.

 

Earlier this summer there was a cache in a public park hidden under a bench. The moment I identified where it probably was a woman and a child sat down on the bench. I loitered nearby thinking they would be leaving soon, but the woman picked up her cell phone and I heard her call someone and say "We're in the park and I have your sandwich, see you in a few minutes". That told me they were there for the duration. So I walked up to them, said "Excuse me do you mind if I look under your bench?" and without waiting for their answer, did so. Found the cache in seconds, pulled it out and signed the log. Then said "Excuse me, I need to put this back". As I went to leave she asked me what that was all about. I told her "geocaching" and went on my way.

Bold and beautiful!

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And what about stealth with children? Children are NOT stealthy! You tell me six year old not to say something cause it's a secret and seconds later it comes tumbling out of his mouth while he giggles. We are headed out on our first geocaching mission on Saturday, and with three boys in tow this was my main concern. We are headed to a park area .. well its an historical site with people dressed in period clothing and the like (it's an old plantation home area), but within this area are 29 caches! I figure this way the kids are BOUND to find something and if we are really lucky can learn something along the way as well :)

 

But kids, geocaching, and muggles.. how do you combine those three things and make it work?

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The vest on and clip board is a good one, never tried that............yet :lol: But have heard of folk using it at one near Prestwick airport, the cache is slap bang at busy road so some one did use the hi viz vest to get to it. When we did this one we just thought 'go for it' so we did :lol: And just pretended that they couldn't see us! Tying shoelaces if you are looking at ground level, and yes using the gps as a mobile! Done that. :rolleyes: But sometimes in a busy city folk are going about their business and not looking at us anyway. In Dubai we got a lot of glances over but then we were at a busy junction with plenty of cars passing by the drivers would all be glancing over at us, and a man who pulled into the car park behind us actually came over and asked if we had lost something, we ended up standing talking and explaining geocaching to him. What I am waiting for one day though is a tap on the shoulder and seeing a police officer, " what are you doing?". :o But I know of at least one police officer who is a geocacher, so hopefully they will have heard if it.................. B)

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My 7 month old boy is my secret weapon in this department.

 

Holding him and saying things like "look at the pretty wall, isn't it a nice wall? Do you want to touch the wall? Oh, you want to see the hole in the wall?" Perfect cover!

 

There is a cache on a pedestrian crossing in the center of my town I'm going to look at tomorrow. He'll certainly be coming with me!!

 

The clipboard/hat/vest thing sounds wonderful. I work for a company that cooks/cleans/maintains/secures so my uniform will be the perfect disguise!

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I have actually used the Hard hat, Safety vest, and clip board Before. Several times. Kept in the back of my car. Must say it worked like a charm. Back in the day when I first started Caching in and around Las Vegas I use to print out all the cache pages and keep em on a clipboard ( Pre techy Days). Then I would take it a step further and actually use my GPSr like it was a meter of some sort!  Could go anywhere and do most anything and no one really gave no mind to what I was doing.

 

But now a days I find that if you just act like you belong and do not act like some creeper, People will not give you a second thought.

Edited by Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
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My biggest "stealth" tip is to act like you should be doing what you're doing.  If you're confident, people don't question you.  Occasionally I'll carry a clipboard with me and start taking nonsensical notes about nothing as I'm poking around looking for caches.

 

A couple local NYC cachers created this video about city caching; perhaps a squirrel costume will help?

 

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On 7/23/2018 at 6:56 AM, GeoElmo6000 said:

My biggest "stealth" tip is to act like you should be doing what you're doing.  If you're confident, people don't question you.  Occasionally I'll carry a clipboard with me and start taking nonsensical notes about nothing as I'm poking around looking for caches.

 

A couple local NYC cachers created this video about city caching; perhaps a squirrel costume will help?

 

That is hilarious!!

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On 9/13/2012 at 5:18 AM, SquirrelsGoneWild said:

And what about stealth with children? Children are NOT stealthy!

 

Ah, but kids poking around, that's such a common sight, nobody should pay any attention at all.  It's normal.

 

And Mom/Dad poking around as well, that's just "playing along".  More normal.

 

But if you could somehow keep the kid from yelling, I found the cash!!!  That turns heads.  (Who had to choose a word that rhymes with money?)

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4 minutes ago, Viajero Perdido said:

But if you could somehow keep the kid from yelling, I found the cash!!!  That turns heads.  (Who had to choose a word that rhymes with money?)

 

If they really found the cash I would look up too. :lol:

 

The best way not to attract attention is to go for caches in areas with little or no activity. We avoid busy areas as much as possible but then again, that's not always possible.

Edited by on4bam
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Here's a post I made in a forum thread several years ago:
 

Quote

 

I've used many methods of being 'stealthy' depending on the circumstances. All of them involve the principle of just doing what you're doing as if you belong there and observers will apply their own stealth TO you.

 

I frequently poke around buildings and public places with a clipboard, spending lots of time inspecting things and areas that I know to be cache-free, so that when I walk over to the big crack where the BT is and stick my hand in there, I won't be doing anything that the homeless guy across the street hasn't watched me do five times in the last five minutes.

 

HOWEVER, I personally wouldn't don a hardhat and vest to search. They'd work great with ninety-nine percent of the potential observers, but that last guy could cause you unnecessary hardship.

 

With a clipboard, you could be anybody, doing any task. But, with the defacto official accoutrements of a safety worker or another person dressed for physical danger, you attract MORE interest. Most people would see you and wonder what was going on, but SOME people would be more curious or concerned, and that would increase the chance that they would approach you.

 

Another aspect of that is that if you're seen by someone who feels that they're the person who should know if someone from the power company or phone company or a construction inspector is poking around and they don't see a truck, then you immediately transition from being a object of passing interest to a target of suspicion.

 

How many times have you seen the hero in a movie notice that the guys in the guard uniforms are wearing dress shoes instead of boots, and immediately take them out?

 

If I was curious about a lone hard-hatted worker poking around a public building without any apparent reason to be wearing a hardhat, and noticed that they were wearing sneakers instead of more-protective footwear, I'd consider finding someone that I knew worked there. A popular "Public Service" phrase here in the US is "If you see something, say something."

 

A police officer will approach you if they don't know what you're doing and usually be open-minded, but that approach will change if you're actually pretending to be something you clearly are not.

 

So, my point is, learn to use others' ideas of what stands out and what doesn't against them while caching, and don't get clever. Wearing a vest and hardhat states "I am an Official!"

 

And no, you're not.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

Here's a post I made in a forum thread several years ago:

 

Yep, I agree.  Seen a few post pics of themselves in "full gear", but actually doing that...I can't see it either.

In my area, if a passerby didn't ask, "Hey, whatcha doin'?", it'd be the local officer who knows where everyone's supposed to be and you ain't

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On 9/8/2012 at 12:09 PM, ChelsieL said:

I can't tell if you're serious about the hard hat/safety vest thing :P

 

I guess I will just have to try to get better at being confident in what I'm doing, but it'll definitely take practice.

 

Don't forget that you can always stop/delay the search if things get dicey.  Sit on a nearby bench, make a call, read for a few minutes, get a coffee.  Review the area from a distance.  Then you can get back into action.  Better than acting strangely in a single spot for 15 minutes with people around.

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My granddaughters cache is in a popular tourist spot where every tourist that visits comes to. When I went to hide it this last Friday, the place was packed. I returned that night about 10:30 PM to hide it. I didn't want someone calling in the bomb squad for a suspicious package being left behind. LOL.

 

We were happy to see someone found it and logged it in under 10 minutes of it being published.

 

When a cache I am after is infested with muggles, I will return at night to claim it.

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