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KonstantinMMRR

Trackables Appear Extremely Unreliable

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I am relatively new to Geocaching. I am most intrigued by trackables. Unfortunately, my experience with them has been very disappointing.

I have now found four caches where the app indicated a trackable. There were no trackables. I placed one travel bug in an empty cache. Someone took it, indicating in their message when finding the cache, and yet the app still indicates my travel bug is there. I have two more travel bugs in my posession, but have found it very difficult to find caches large enough to hold them. I found the three travel bugs in caches that indicated there were no trackables. None of this makes sense. I cannot trust the app as to which cache has a trackable and which does not.

I was thinking about buying some travel bugs, but it seems like a complete waste of money, based on my experiences so far. Please comment on your experiences with trackables. Are you able to keep track of most of them, or are they just gimmicks that disappear soon after placing them? I am enjoying finding caches, but trying to use trackables has been extremely disappointing.

Thank you for your help.

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It can vary! My daughter has a trackable that won a contest many years ago. It's been in circulation since September 2008. I consider that extremely lucky!  I have had more than one trackable stolen before they even travel one single mile. Most of mine have been stolen/gone missing. We have a popular TB hotel in town that is at a Visitor's Center. You have to ask the staff to hand you the ammo can. You'd think (and most people do) that it would be a safe place for TBs, but it's not. A very high percentage of TBs put in there are never seen again. You just can't rely on the geocache listings for accurate TB inventory, but there are exceptions.

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Some of it is malicious (stealing), but I think a lot of it is also ignorance - not knowing how to log them, not realizing they're not collectible but are meant to move around, etc.

Don't underestimate ignorance. ;)

I've only got 1 TB out there. It's been moderately successful - it's still "alive." I have one more tag (well, two - one I purchased, one that was given to me), but I'm nervous about sending it/them out.

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1 hour ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

I have now found four caches where the app indicated a trackable. There were no trackables. I placed one travel bug in an empty cache. Someone took it, indicating in their message when finding the cache, and yet the app still indicates my travel bug is there.

 


The accuracy of cache inventory shown in "The App" is totally dependent on Geocachers making the proper trackable logs.  A mention in a cache log is not the proper way to log a trackable item.

It's a complicated situation, but when you place a trackable item in a cache, it's in the wind.  If it's your trackable item, place it only if you're comfortable with the fact that you lose control of it.  If you made it in a very solid and secure way (for example, where the parts cannot be easily separated), a metal Travel Bug tag or Geocoin will have a visible tracking number for many years.  Even if lost or stolen, it can turn up again, with long intervals of no news.  Enjoy the ride!  :cute:

 

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4 hours ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

I am relatively new to Geocaching. I am most intrigued by trackables. Unfortunately, my experience with them has been very disappointing.

3 hours ago, kunarion said:

The accuracy of cache inventory shown in "The App" (and on the cache page) is totally dependent on Geocachers making the proper trackable logs.  A mention in a cache log is not the proper way to log a trackable item.

 

Trackables can be a fun and intriguing side game, but as you have found out, disappointing and confusing as well.  I am hopeful when I see trackables listed, but I have learned not to be too disappointed if they are not there.  A bonus when there IS a trackable in a cache that is NOT listed - both have happened to me!

For my part, I move them along when I do pick them up, and take pictures when requested, post pics of the trackable at locations I visit, and try to move it in the direction it wants to go, then drop it in an appropriate (safe, dry, and not likely to be muggled) cache for someone else to move along.  I've received appreciative notes from trackable owners for the pics and logs, and that's a fun feeling.

I've also put a few into play - none have disappeared yet but they aren't moving as much as I'd like to see - but that's part of the game.  Once you place them "out there", you are depending on other players to do the right thing, and patience is needed!!

All you can do is do YOUR part, and hope others will "get it" as well.

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4 hours ago, kunarion said:

 


It's a complicated situation, but when you place a trackable item in a cache, it's in the wind.  If it's your trackable item, place it only if you're comfortable with the fact that you lose control of it.  If you made it in a very solid and secure way (for example, where the parts cannot be easily separated), a metal Travel Bug tag or Geocoin will have a visible tracking number for many years.  Even if lost or stolen, it can turn up again, with long intervals of no news.  Enjoy the ride!  :cute:

 

For example, once I found a Geocoin in a Geocache, where it said that there were no TBs in the cache. I took it with me and looked up the code nd it turns out that the Geocoin hadn't been logged for years and last time in Japan! So even if you don't get logs it may well be that your trackable makes significant in the time and it can resurface.

Look up TB Rescue, maybe engaging in that can give you more confidence with setting out trackables.

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I think trackables are a waste of money NOW. Geocoins and travel bugs were a tremendously successful side-game but once the mode of geocaching became mostly app based, the wave of new cachers that poured in just didn't seem to grasp the concept of trackables. I can't say it's their fault as by that time, GS had done little to cross-promote trackables to the app users.

I could be wrong but I believe the first few versions of the geocaching app didn't handle trackables all that well (in terms of using the app, I'm a late bloomer) and I'm not sure how well the current version handles them as I almost never use the app to log trackables. But, I can understand the difficulty of a geocacher who only uses the app to cache in getting a feel of what a TB or geocoin is, especially if they would have had to use the website to log it. It really is two different mind-sets and if the app doesn't make trackables an intuitive part of geocaching, most new cachers probably won't realize that it's a side game.

By no means does that mean that the sad state of affairs for trackables can be blamed solely on app users. Trackables have been disappearing since they were invented. This didn't just start happening. But, even though trackables were being plundered right from the start, the frequency and speed that they go missing now has increased ten-fold. It used to be worth buying a handful and hoping that one or two would keep traveling. Now, not so much. I pretty much gave up on the game after the last half-dozen TB's I put out vanished within a month's time...some of them not making it out of the cache I dropped it into. That was enough for me. I still love the concept of trackables but the current state of affairs just isn't any fun as a TB owner.

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19 hours ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

I have now found four caches where the app indicated a trackable. There were no trackables. I placed one travel bug in an empty cache. Someone took it, indicating in their message when finding the cache, and yet the app still indicates my travel bug is there. I have two more travel bugs in my posession, but have found it very difficult to find caches large enough to hold them. I found the three travel bugs in caches that indicated there were no trackables. None of this makes sense. I cannot trust the app as to which cache has a trackable and which does not.

I was thinking about buying some travel bugs, but it seems like a complete waste of money, based on my experiences so far. Please comment on your experiences with trackables. Are you able to keep track of most of them, or are they just gimmicks that disappear soon after placing them? I am enjoying finding caches, but trying to use trackables has been extremely disappointing.

Most issues with trackables seem to be incorrect logging, but we've also seen many "go missing" by weekend-n-done app kids.  Not sure if that's the "prize" for their one day out, or considered treasure in this "real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game" (since few of them actually read how to play the hobby).

There is no way to actually determine that any cache is safe from errors or outright theft.  It's a guess.

I still have almost 100 unactivated coins, most are sigs, and sometimes put 'em in caches as swag.  After the first couple went "missing", I learned my lesson.  I'll move on promotion trackables if we get any.  The site has "algorithms" for cache actions, but doesn't seem to have an algorithm on folks who actually move those promotion trackables on.  See a lot on ebay shortly after marketing promotions .  Sheesh...

The other 2/3rds has over 250 coins still in her possession.  After a dozen or so "missing", she's holding on to the rest.    :)

 

 

 

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Thank you for all of your nice explanations. The answers to my questions are about what I expected. It would be nice if more people logged trackables as they should. I am sure many do not know what they are supposed to do, and some just don't care. One of you mentioned the "one weekend and done" mentality. That type of thing is a problem with numerous different activities, not just geocaching.

Suppose someone with good intentions takes a trackable from a cache, but does not log that he took it. When he places it in another cache will he be able to log that he placed it? If the trackable travels around from cache to cache, but is unlogged in the app, how will anyone in the future be able to log it in to where it has ended up?

I appreciate all of your responses.

 

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There are ways to catch up the TB, in a sense.

34 minutes ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

Thank you for all of your nice explanations. The answers to my questions are about what I expected. It would be nice if more people logged trackables as they should. I am sure many do not know what they are supposed to do, and some just don't care. One of you mentioned the "one weekend and done" mentality. That type of thing is a problem with numerous different activities, not just geocaching.

Suppose someone with good intentions takes a trackable from a cache, but does not log that he took it. When he places it in another cache will he be able to log that he placed it? If the trackable travels around from cache to cache, but is unlogged in the app, how will anyone in the future be able to log it in to where it has ended up?

I appreciate all of your responses.

 

 

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We have sent out 22 TB's without much success.   Some disappeared from the cache we placed it in without ever even getting logged once!

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32 minutes ago, WarNinjas said:

We have sent out 22 TB's without much success.   Some disappeared from the cache we placed it in without ever even getting logged once!

I cannot believe how often that happens!

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2 hours ago, WarNinjas said:

We have sent out 22 TB's without much success.   Some disappeared from the cache we placed it in without ever even getting logged once!

I've sent out a few more than that, and one is still active. It's bouncing around Europe. Occasionally it visits an event, and then I get a bunch of logs from people who discover it.

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On 09/03/2018 at 0:14 AM, KonstantinMMRR said:

I am relatively new to Geocaching. I am most intrigued by trackables. Unfortunately, my experience with them has been very disappointing.

I have now found four caches where the app indicated a trackable. There were no trackables. I placed one travel bug in an empty cache. Someone took it, indicating in their message when finding the cache, and yet the app still indicates my travel bug is there. I have two more travel bugs in my posession, but have found it very difficult to find caches large enough to hold them. I found the three travel bugs in caches that indicated there were no trackables. None of this makes sense. I cannot trust the app as to which cache has a trackable and which does not.

I was thinking about buying some travel bugs, but it seems like a complete waste of money, based on my experiences so far. Please comment on your experiences with trackables. Are you able to keep track of most of them, or are they just gimmicks that disappear soon after placing them? I am enjoying finding caches, but trying to use trackables has been extremely disappointing.

Thank you for your help.

Well I have 7 and two are successful.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, KonstantinMMRR said:

Suppose someone with good intentions takes a trackable from a cache, but does not log that he took it. When he places it in another cache will he be able to log that he placed it? If the trackable travels around from cache to cache, but is unlogged in the app, how will anyone in the future be able to log it in to where it has ended up?

Sometimes one may start a thread here, saying the "trackable doesn't work, won't accept a log , etc.", to find it's because they didn't log it properly in the first place.  Some may actually read Geocaching 101 and the Help Center and "get it".  So in answer, if they don't eventually realize that the error's on their end, no. 

You can "Grab" any trackable that isn't listed at it's location (even "unknown") and now found, which then logs it into your possession. Some will then do a "Visit" to the cache found (old school, I Drop and Retrieve) to get mileage working again.  :)

Edited by cerberus1
edited to add...

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I've released around 15 and all shortly have gone missing. :( The last cache that I visited that showed a trackable in it's inventory was a piece of paper in a small zip bag that had the tracking numbers and something about the trackable written on it. I'll pass on those. :D

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On 09/03/2018 at 0:14 AM, KonstantinMMRR said:

I am relatively new to Geocaching. I am most intrigued by trackables. Unfortunately, my experience with them has been very disappointing.

I have now found four caches where the app indicated a trackable. There were no trackables. I placed one travel bug in an empty cache. Someone took it, indicating in their message when finding the cache, and yet the app still indicates my travel bug is there. I have two more travel bugs in my posession, but have found it very difficult to find caches large enough to hold them. I found the three travel bugs in caches that indicated there were no trackables. None of this makes sense. I cannot trust the app as to which cache has a trackable and which does not.

I was thinking about buying some travel bugs, but it seems like a complete waste of money, based on my experiences so far. Please comment on your experiences with trackables. Are you able to keep track of most of them, or are they just gimmicks that disappear soon after placing them? I am enjoying finding caches, but trying to use trackables has been extremely disappointing.

Thank you for your help.

When TBs are successful they can be great but yes I agree I think in the tutorial there should be more on Trackables as it is mainly newbies to caching that can cause a stoppage in their journeys.

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17 minutes ago, aer72 said:

When TBs are successful they can be great but yes I agree I think in the tutorial there should be more on Trackables as it is mainly newbies to caching that can cause a stoppage in their journeys.

More?  There's an entire section on Trackables in Geocaching 101, the basics in how this hobby's played.  It has a "video playlist" as well for those who prefer that to simply reading.     I'd think the trick is getting them to read or view  it.   :) 

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14 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

More?  There's an entire section on Trackables in Geocaching 101, the basics in how this hobby's played.  It has a "video playlist" as well for those who prefer that to simply reading.     I'd think the trick is getting them to read or view  it.   :) 

I very much agree with that but many cachers only use the caching app and so are not going on the website.

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19 minutes ago, aer72 said:

I very much agree with that but many cachers only use the caching app and so are not going on the website.

 

All mine were long gone before the app was launched, so nothing new about trackables disappearing. :)

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15 minutes ago, Manville Possum said:

 

All mine were long gone before the app was launched, so nothing new about trackables disappearing. :)

might help though.

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21 minutes ago, aer72 said:

might help though.

 

It does seem to be worse now after the app, but I don't see anything that could help. I sure enjoyed buying and collecting geocoins, but I quit placing them in caches after losing several. I feel so cheated now finding those laminated proxies. 

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21 hours ago, niraD said:

I've sent out a few more than that, and one is still active. It's bouncing around Europe. Occasionally it visits an event, and then I get a bunch of logs from people who discover it.

I've also noticed if they make it to another country they have a better chance!

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27 minutes ago, WarNinjas said:

I've also noticed if they make it to another country they have a better chance!

 

I sent one of my Geocoins through a Stargate cache to a Stargate in another country (I guess they get mailed or hand-delivered to the designated cache. Or maybe they use an actual Stargate, who knows). I intended to send it to England, but a friend told me to send it to Germany, since coins there circulate within Germany and seem to survive. So I did. It went to Germany! Then a couple of weeks later it arrived back in the Stargate here in Atlanta. So I went over there and picked up the coin. It's the only Trackable item that ever returned to me after traveling in caches. So that's something, right? :cute:

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Posted (edited)

Well, now I regret spending my money on all the trackables that are currently on their way to me.  It was one of the main reasons why geocaching was appealing.  Now, I’m depressed...

Edited by Nightmaren

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On 3/10/2018 at 10:22 PM, WarNinjas said:

I've also noticed if they make it to another country they have a better chance!

This has been my experience too. 

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On 3/10/2018 at 11:22 PM, WarNinjas said:

I've also noticed if they make it to another country they have a better chance!

I dropped one in France and it is still going strong!

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On 3/10/2018 at 11:22 PM, WarNinjas said:

I've also noticed if they make it to another country they have a better chance!

 

I was hoping my first trackable I released would do well after it immediately jumped from the US to Ireland, then had a lovely trip with a cacher who sent me images via private message after I thanked them for taking care of him. Not a few days later he was already missing from the cache. I'm crossing my fingers it was just someone not logging their visit yet because they're a foreigner with no access to internet.

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