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black_cat1

How do I pick a good hiding spot for a cache?

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I'm not thinking of general location (picking a park, beach, etc) but specific location- how do you go about selecting the perfect spot to hide a cache? What are some strategies for making it less noticable, especially with larger sizes? Do you usually put clues on your caches? If so, how obvious are they? I'm most interested in the regular, large, and micro sizes. (I know I can't hide caches yet, but everything has to be planned 2347 years in advance with me)

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This is pretty basic, common sense stuff, but some can be found in A Blog from this past Summer, or in the Geocaching 101 area.

We look for great locations first ...a view,  history, or unique spot (maybe an odd rock/tree formation, open water and visible animal life, etc). 

Then we head wherever we need to go for permission to place a cache there.  Even with hides already there we still ask ...

 - Then we look in the trunk at home for a container that fits that area, or whatever the landowner asks for.

All our remaining caches are noticeable.  Two, though a distance away,  you can see from the road if you knew where they were.

Most are a location far enough from trails so non-cachers can't casually spot it passing by.

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When I find a nice location and begin to look for hiding spots, I try to think like a finder arriving at ground zero.  What's the most obvious spot, where I would search first?  Then I skip that spot and choose another spot within a few feet.  It's not in the giant stump - it's over there, behind that smaller tree!  Besides making my cache more challenging to find, it also helps protect it from muggles.  That same giant stump is also a beacon for kids playing in the woods, for hunters, etc.

 

For urban hides, I concentrate on finding places where muggles would not look, but which would be obvious to a geocacher.  I also try to find a hiding place for the largest size container that the area can support.  One of my more popular hides is the only cache within walking distance of the downtown district that's big enough to hold trade items and trackables.  It is easy to hide a nano on a sign post.  Hiding a small or regular container takes more thought.

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27 minutes ago, The Leprechauns said:

When I find a nice location and begin to look for hiding spots, I try to think like a finder arriving at ground zero.  What's the most obvious spot, where I would search first?  Then I skip that spot and choose another spot within a few feet.

That's super smart! What is 'ground zero'? That spot where  you're close enough that the GPS keeps going in circles, but you haven't found the cache yet?

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"Ground zero" is the area where you consistently see a "distance to the cache" reading of as close to zero feet as possible.  (You rarely see exactly zero, except in clear, open areas.)  Typically this will be a circle with a radius of about 10 to 15 feet.  If the obvious spot is at the edge of that radius, people will look there first.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

I'm not thinking of general location (picking a park, beach, etc) but specific location- how do you go about selecting the perfect spot to hide a cache? What are some strategies for making it less noticable, especially with larger sizes? Do you usually put clues on your caches? If so, how obvious are they?

 

For me it's usually the other way around, I'll come across a location that I think will be an interesting place for a cache, scour that location for a hiding place that will be protected from the weather and prying muggles and, finally, design the cache to suit. These are some examples:

 

HidingPlaces.thumb.jpg.50ce8452015f0435a9e1ff902b9b5f10.jpg

 

Most of the time it ends up being in a rock hollow or under a ledge, but I've sometimes used hollow trees like this one:

 

TreeHollow.jpg.7f2f7b8876aaa3e8f7ee99cf2bab0603.jpg

 

Urban hides are a different matter, though, and some of the best ones I've come across have been designed to blend in with something there, like a magnetic container that looks like part of the thing it's attached to.

 

As for clues, I try to provide enough of a hint to get the searcher looking in the right place and limit the number of potential hiding places to search without giving it away completely. I like there to be a little surprise element to it when it's finally found.

 

Edited by barefootjeff
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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

I'm not thinking of general location (picking a park, beach, etc) but specific location- how do you go about selecting the perfect spot to hide a cache? What are some strategies for making it less noticable, especially with larger sizes? Do you usually put clues on your caches? If so, how obvious are they? I'm most interested in the regular, large, and micro sizes. (I know I can't hide caches yet, but everything has to be planned 2347 years in advance with me)

 

In addition to the excellent replies others have left, here's the best advice I can give you, and please take it in the welcoming, cooperative spirit in which it's tendered.

 

The best way to figure out how and where to hide caches is to..... Find Caches.

 

You're new, with (as of right now) 8 finds and it's GREAT that this hobby has hooked you to the extent that you want to jump all the way in, but there's a lot to know and work involved in planning, executing and mostly maintaining cache hides. Hiding is a commitment. 

 

Since you're obviously interested in hiding quality caches (because you ASKED) and not the carp we frequently see from 'newbies', take the time to do your research. Find a BUNCH of caches, of different types, sizes and D/T (Difficulty and Terrain) ratings. Figure out what kind of caches you like to FIND, and that'll guide you as to the kind of caches you want to HIDE.

 

I strongly advise against jumping right into cache ownership. Get some perspective and figure out what works and what doesn't work. Look at the cache pages of caches you find and see what people have to say about them. Pay attention to your 'experience' with caches you find. 

 

How many should you find first? Only you can say. If you KNOW you're ready now, then go ahead. If not, then build your caching history until you 'know'.

 

Make your first caches well and build your reputation in the community. Yes, that DOES matter. People pay attention.

 

There's no rush; we finders will be here, waiting for you. 

 

Welcome aboard and be not discouraged.

 

==================================================

 

(BTW, I read your logs worrying about the TB you worked - no worries; you did it just right.)

 

Edited by TeamRabbitRun
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1 hour ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

 

In addition to the excellent replies others have left, here's the best advice I can give you, and please take it in the welcoming, cooperative spirit in which it's tendered.

 

The best way to figure out how and where to hide caches is to..... Find Caches.

 

You're new, with (as of right now) 8 finds and it's GREAT that this hobby has hooked you to the extent that you want to jump all the way in, but there's a lot to know and work involved in planning, executing and mostly maintaining cache hides. Hiding is a commitment. 

 

Since you're obviously interested in hiding quality caches (because you ASKED) and not the carp we frequently see from 'newbies', take the time to do your research. Find a BUNCH of caches, of different types, sizes and D/T (Difficulty and Terrain) ratings. Figure out what kind of caches you like to FIND, and that'll guide you as to the kind of caches you want to HIDE.

 

I strongly advise against jumping right into cache ownership. Get some perspective and figure out what works and what doesn't work. Look at the cache pages of caches you find and see what people have to say about them. Pay attention to your 'experience' with caches you find. 

 

How many should you find first? Only you can say. If you KNOW you're ready now, then go ahead. If not, then build your caching history until you 'know'.

 

Make your first caches well and build your reputation in the community. Yes, that DOES matter. People pay attention.

 

There's no rush; we finders will be here, waiting for you. 

 

Welcome aboard and be not discouraged.

 

==================================================

 

(BTW, I read your logs worrying about the TB you worked - no worries; you did it just right.)

 

Of course! I'd never want to hide a cache unless I've found loads. I'm probably going to wait until I have at least 50 finds, not just the recommended 20. I asked because I like to plan ahead (I've planned the breeds of chickens that I want to get like 20 years from now, for example) especially when I know I can't do things in the moment (Like hiding a cache when I have less than 10 finds- shouldn't do that!) I can't do any of the really extreme ones unless I want to fly to a mountain somewhere, but I'm about to log 3 more from today. Going out again tomorrow. I also didn't think of reading through cache pages- great idea!! Thank you for the help!

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This is a related question, so I'm not going to start a new thread- for your first cache(s), and your caches in general, do you tend to do a higher or lower D/T rating?

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28 minutes ago, black_cat1 said:

This is a related question, so I'm not going to start a new thread- for your first cache(s), and your caches in general, do you tend to do a higher or lower D/T rating?

I would start with something lower (But please not a 1/1!), but it's totally up to you. I think our first hide was originally a 1.5/1.5, But then we ended up changing it to a 2.5/1.5.

Unless you're talking about our finds. I honestly prefer a higher D/T rating. Our first find was a 2/2 (Although I'm pretty sure it deserved a higher T rating). I believe the most common DT in general is 1.5/1.5. 

Edited by TmdAndGG
I always think of more to say...
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11 minutes ago, TmdAndGG said:

I would start with something lower (But please not a 1/1!), but it's totally up to you. I think our first hide was originally a 1.5/1.5, But then we ended up changing it to a 2.5/1.5.

Unless you're talking about our finds. I honestly prefer a higher D/T rating. Our first find was a 2/2 (Although I'm pretty sure it deserved a higher T rating). I believe the most common DT in general is 1.5/1.5. 

I was talking about hides. Why did you end up changing it?

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4 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

This is a related question, so I'm not going to start a new thread- for your first cache(s), and your caches in general, do you tend to do a higher or lower D/T rating?

 

We first started with a mix,  I liked the woods, and the other 2/3rds was a FTF monster (most were low D/T).  :)

One series was to show newbs different hide styles/containers so we wanted D/T varied too.

We ended with higher terrain hides, what we both now prefer, and if I place another cache again, it'd be 3T or up.

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10 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

This is a related question, so I'm not going to start a new thread- for your first cache(s), and your caches in general, do you tend to do a higher or lower D/T rating?

I started with the hide, and then tried to rate it accurately. As it turned out, I was pretty accurate with the terrain rating (public park, wheelchair accessible, T1), but I underrated the difficulty (it's easier to find when you know where you hid it). Based on comments from finders, I increased the difficulty rating.

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When I hide a cache, I usally look for a place that is kind of out of the way to increase it's life span. I also might look for an area that has some kind of history that is enough to set the area out of the ordinary. When I hid my first cache, I took the quote I found in Geocaching 101 to heart. 

"When you go to hide a geocache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot. If the only reason is for the spot, then build a better cache." Also, I would recommend getting some caches under you're belt, (I'd say about 20) and taking the quiz

Edited by dennistubaplayer
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30 minutes ago, dennistubaplayer said:

When I hide a cache, I usally look for a place that is kind of out of the way to increase it's life span. I also might look for an area that has some kind of history that is enough to set the area out of the ordinary. When I hid my first cache, I took the quote I found in Geocaching 101 to heart. 

"When you go to hide a geocache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot. If the only reason is for the spot, then build a better cache." Also, I would recommend getting some caches under you're belt, (I'd say about 20) and taking the quiz

Don't worry, I'm not going out and hiding caches tomorrow. I like to plan things about 223498 years ahead of time :) 

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You've been given some good advice, and since you've asked, I'll toss out a couple other things to ponder. 1) If you have the opportunity, I'd suggest doing some caching in other areas before placing a cache. Different areas often have different hide styles. You can leverage those differences when you start thinking about your first cache.  2) I'm a bit of contrarian. Many of my caches have some field puzzle / gadget aspect to them. As such, I build the cache, make sure it works, and then look for the place where it fits. I rated my first cache higher than I would if I were placing it now, but it is still in play. All but one of the group that I put out shortly later to increase cache density in my neighborhood are gone, simply because they weren't good enough (at least in my mind) to justify keeping in play. 

 

That said, experience will be your best teacher!

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14 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

This is a related question, so I'm not going to start a new thread- for your first cache(s), and your caches in general, do you tend to do a higher or lower D/T rating?

 

The D/T rating is about the last thing I settle on when placing a cache. Having come across a location where I think a cache might be worthwhile, and after finding a suitable hiding place, coming up with a container to go in there and deciding whether the spot's best served with a traditional, multi or mystery, it's then I start filling in the details. If I'm at all unsure of the T rating, I'll do a search of caches I've found with ratings just above and below what I'm considering and try to get a feel of where mine sits in relation to them. By the time I've done that I'm pretty comfortable with my rating. The D rating is a lot more subjective but I try to make my traditionals and multis as straightforward as I can, as the real challenge in my hides is usually the terrain.

 

My very first cache, GC4CAXV, was a 1.5/1.5 traditional but again I'd settled on a location and hiding place before thinking about its rating. It was a short level walk and easy one to spot in a bushland reserve near home with a bit of a tale to tell about strong winds and falling trees, and ultimately it met its demise when another tree fell right on top of it. I thought it was a good cache with which to learn the ropes of being a CO and get feedback on what I was doing wrong and what I was doing right, I then got more adventurous with my later hides.

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Like Jeff my first hide D/T was determined by the "why would I bring somebody here" factor. It ended up being a D3/T3. On reflection the D3 may have been a little high but the T3 is because it meant climbing a tree. There was nowhere on the ground where I could hide anything as the spot is sometimes subjected to storm or king tide flooding. It's still going today after almost 9 years.

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On 1/8/2021 at 6:29 PM, The Leprechauns said:

When I find a nice location and begin to look for hiding spots, I try to think like a finder arriving at ground zero.  What's the most obvious spot, where I would search first?  Then I skip that spot and choose another spot within a few feet.  It's not in the giant stump - it's over there, behind that smaller tree!  Besides making my cache more challenging to find, it also helps protect it from muggles.  That same giant stump is also a beacon for kids playing in the woods, for hunters, etc.

 

For urban hides, I concentrate on finding places where muggles would not look, but which would be obvious to a geocacher.  I also try to find a hiding place for the largest size container that the area can support.  One of my more popular hides is the only cache within walking distance of the downtown district that's big enough to hold trade items and trackables.  It is easy to hide a nano on a sign post.  Hiding a small or regular container takes more thought.

 

Something else to consider for urban hides.  If it's very difficult to find, it might lead to muggles noticing someone searching for it more than an easier hide.  More important, is how difficult the cache is to retrieve and replace.   I once found a cache after just a few seconds of searching at GZ, but it took me nearly five minutes to pry the container out its hiding spot.   One a cacher has located the container, then has it in hand, some place close by where one can sign the log without getting noticed will help protect it as well.

 

As an example,  there was a cache in Barcelona that was across from a museum that was a stop for tourist groups.  I was able to quickly located the magnetic container that was shoulder height (I'm average height).  Even though there was a tour group of about 15 people within 20' of me I was able to grab the container when the tour leader directed their attention to some sculpture then walk away to sign the log, and quickly replace it without stopping as I walked by.

 

 

Edited by NYPaddleCacher
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16 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Something else to consider for urban hides.  If it's very difficult to find, it might lead to muggles noticing someone searching for it more than an easier hide.  More important, is how difficult the cache is to retrieve and replace.   I once found a cache after just a few seconds of searching at GZ, but it took me nearly five minutes to pry the container out its hiding spot.   One a cacher has located the container, then has it in hand, some place close by where one can sign the log without getting noticed will help protect it as well.

 

As an example,  there was a cache in Barcelona that was across from a museum that was a stop for tourist groups.  I was able to quickly located the magnetic container that was shoulder height (I'm average height).  Even though there was a tour group of about 15 people within 20' of me I was able to grab the container when the tour leader directed their attention to some sculpture then walk away to sign the log, and quickly replace it without stopping as I walked by.

I've seen this play out in urban/suburban parks. A larger container may be perfectly hidden, but if geocachers can't retrieve and replace it without drawing undue attention to it, then muggles will notice it and it won't last long.

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Chiming in late. I use two approaches to choosing a hiding spot.

 

1. Sometimes I find an area that I think would be a great place for a cache, if there's not a multicache or puzzle blocking it. That's the location, location, location approach.

 

2. Other times I have an idea for a container I want to hide, and I go looking for a spot that is suitable for it. For this, experience is valuable. As you find more caches by different hiders, keep an eye out for what containers do or don't keep the log dry.

 

And sometimes when I am looking for a spot for a particular container, I find a location that would be terrific for a different type of hide, so the second approach leads to the first tactic.

 

There are exceptions, but usually you want the container to be protected and not just out in the open. At the least, it should not be likely to be blown away, get washed downstream, or get moved to a different location by an animal.

 

I rarely have a Difficulty or Terrain rating in mind ahead of time. One exception was when I wanted to hide a T1 cache that was not a micro.

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