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Dos and Don'ts for hiding my first cache?


black_cat1
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Hello all! I've been geocaching for a while and would like to look into hiding a cache. Is there anything that I should or shouldn't do? Would it be better to go for something basic like a guardrail or lamp skirt one, or something out in the woods? Should I do a 'normal' container (ammo can, tupperware, etc) or something fancy like this or this  container? Should I do a regular or something smaller? If I have a container with space, should I put swag in it? I've found a variety of caches, but should I wait until I've found more to hide one? Thank you so much for any help?

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51 minutes ago, black_cat1 said:

Hello all! I've been geocaching for a while and would like to look into hiding a cache. Is there anything that I should or shouldn't do? Would it be better to go for something basic like a guardrail or lamp skirt one, or something out in the woods? Should I do a 'normal' container (ammo can, tupperware, etc) or something fancy like this or this  container? Should I do a regular or something smaller? If I have a container with space, should I put swag in it? I've found a variety of caches, but should I wait until I've found more to hide one? Thank you so much for any help?

Have you read the Help Center article on hiding your first cache?

 

https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.book&id=19

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31 minutes ago, black_cat1 said:

I have, but I'll reread it.

After rereading, I haven't found anything that really answers my questions- I have a better understanding of the rules of hiding a cache, but not a better understanding of what direction it would be advisable for me to go in when hiding my first cache.

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Maybe find a good location first, that others would enjoy visiting, and think about what kind of container would work there?

You can do a pre-check of coordinates with the reviewer, before you get too far with the cache container idea.

Your area doesn't seem terribly saturated, so the odds are in your favor.

Edited by Max and 99
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15 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

Maybe find a good location first, that others would enjoy visiting, and think about what kind of container would work there?

Good idea! I have a couple of locations in mind, and will try to think of some more.

 

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1 hour ago, Max and 99 said:

Maybe find a good location first, that others would enjoy visiting, and think about what kind of container would work there?

 

Yes. For me, the approach is never "I want to hide a cache, now where can I put it?", rather in the course of my wanderings, if I come across somewhere interesting enough to want to share with others, I start to think "What sort of cache would go well here?" The location I want to share is the starting point and everything else is woven around that.

 

At front of mind is always that briansnat adage: "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 geocache, then find a better spot."

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Why did you bring me here?" Is the location scenic, historic, interesting or whatever, this is the first question you should be able to answer.

 

Try to use the largest, waterproof container the location will support .

 

Take good coords: I downloaded an app for my phone that gives gps coords. Take several readings, walk slowly to the cache location and give it a minute to settle. Record the result. Do it a few times from different directions and record those results. You can check your results with google maps. After you settle on a set of coords, follow them yourself and see if they lead you to the cache.

 

Create a good cache page. Give some info on why you chose that spot, some basic info about the cache, possibly including the best route, special tools or other helpful details.

 

A good hint: A useful clue when you're standing at GZ.

 

The caches that last the longest are a ways off the main road or trail, not visible from the most common angle and protected somewhat from the weather.

 

Good luck and have fun!

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5 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

Would it be better to go for something basic like a guardrail or lamp skirt one, or something out in the woods? Should I do a 'normal' container (ammo can, tupperware, etc) or something fancy like this or this  container? Should I do a regular or something smaller?

What kind of cache do you want to own and maintain for the long term? What kind of cache do you want to be known for among the local geocaching community?

 

5 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

If I have a container with space, should I put swag in it?

I've started mine with a few trinkets, but I haven't tried to fill them up, and I haven't put anything particularly valuable in them. I used either trinkets that I had on hand, or inexpensive trinkets that were somehow related to the theme of the cache. Craft stores often have assorted wooden shapes (painted or unpainted).

 

5 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

I've found a variety of caches, but should I wait until I've found more to hide one?

Have you found enough that you know what kind of cache you want to own and maintain for the long term? Have you found enough that you know what kind of cache you want to be known for among the local geocaching community?

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Without reading everything that's been written here, I would suggest a place not too far from where you live, so you can easily attend to any problems the cache might have. The first cache can be a learning curve to problems that you must attend to, so don't place it far from home. For instance, lots of beginners place nanos, without realising how quickly the log fills and how often then the CO must visit it to place a new log. (Please don't place a horrid nano :laughing:). Other problems; such as leaking cache containers. There must be a reasonable place near where you live that you can put a cache. A view, a picturesque garden on an alleyway between houses, outside an historic building, an old church, a building with interesting architecture, or just a cute little hidden 'gem'. For instance, I found this cute little area near where I live to place a cache. There are houses all along the left of the picture and a main multi-lane road to the right, but in between, this hidden 'gem'.

1559903318_OaksIvy.jpg.74cab649299d6f02e748545d31248b2a.jpg

 

Another place close to where I live; interesting public gardens built by local residents on public land for all to enjoy. Highlight what's interesting and local. I suspect the local government authorities added the seating, after the locals adopted and built the garden. Plants were donated from people's gardens. That makes something to write about in the Geocache Description.

681995342_Narrabundahcommunitygarden.jpg.38f9658d5d312554e311ea642861d362.jpg

Edited by Goldenwattle
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6 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

Would it be better to go for something basic like a guardrail or lamp skirt one, or something out in the woods?

Should I do a 'normal' container (ammo can, tupperware, etc) or something fancy like this or this  container?

Should I do a regular or something smaller? 

 

When we started, the "language of location" was the theme, and we've pretty-much stuck by that.   

Isn't there a nice place, or unique area near you ?  Someplace where you say, "Wow, this is cool" ?  Wanna share it ?   ;)

We feel the location is more important than the container (but always use a quality container).

Have you searched your area for what caches have the most Favorite Points ?   Depending on what you're looking for, an option too.

I'd just place one I'd  like to do and see what others think.     :)

For example, I'd want to place a cache far into the woods, and maybe even off a tree limb requiring rope. 

But the caches near me with the most FPs are simple traditionals, or gadget caches (even if they're not working properly...).

 - Like your swag BTW...

 

Edited by cerberus1
an r
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1 hour ago, niraD said:

What kind of cache do you want to own and maintain for the long term? What kind of cache do you want to be known for among the local geocaching community?

My area is mostly filled with easy nanos with the occasional larger, more interesting ammo can, and the occasional more creative nano, so I think that I'd like to add some larger ones/small ones that deviate from bisons in trees, lamp skirts, fake rocks, and guard rails.

1 hour ago, niraD said:

 

I've started mine with a few trinkets, but I haven't tried to fill them up, and I haven't put anything particularly valuable in them. I used either trinkets that I had on hand, or inexpensive trinkets that were somehow related to the theme of the cache. Craft stores often have assorted wooden shapes (painted or unpainted).

Do you ever do an FTF prize?

1 hour ago, niraD said:

 

Have you found enough that you know what kind of cache you want to own and maintain for the long term? Have you found enough that you know what kind of cache you want to be known for among the local geocaching community?

I'm not entirely clear on which caches require more maintenance than others- I'm assuming caches with a lower D/T rating need more maintenance, both with log and container?

 

I'd like to be known for either having really good spots for caches, or having creative hides, or having cool puzzle caches. There isn't really anyone filling any of these roles in my immediate area at the moment.

I feel like I'd have a lot of fun doing really creative hides, so I think that I may go with that+good locations. 

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52 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

Without reading everything that's been written here, I would suggest a place not too far from where you live, so you can easily attend to any problems the cache might have. The first cache can be a learning curve to problems that you must attend to, so don't place it far from home. For instance, lots of beginners place nanos, without realising how quickly the log fills and how often then the CO must visit it to place a new log. (Please don't place a horrid nano :laughing:). Other problems; such as leaking cache containers. There must be a reasonable place near where you live that you can put a cache. A view, a picturesque garden on an alleyway between houses, outside an historic building, an old church, a building with interesting architecture, or just a cute little hidden 'gem'. For instance, I found this cute little area near where I live to place a cache. There are houses all along the left of the picture and a main multi-lane road to the right, but in between, this hidden 'gem'.

1559903318_OaksIvy.jpg.74cab649299d6f02e748545d31248b2a.jpg

 

Another place close to where I live; interesting public gardens built by local residents on public land for all to enjoy. Highlight what's interesting and local. I suspect the local government authorities added the seating, after the locals adopted and built the garden. Plants were donated from people's gardens. That makes something to write about in the Geocache Description.

681995342_Narrabundahcommunitygarden.jpg.38f9658d5d312554e311ea642861d362.jpg

Thank you for that, that really helped me think about different locations. Both of those spots are beautiful, and those are also beautiful pictures!

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26 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

When we started, the "language of location" was the theme, and we've pretty-much stuck by that.   

Isn't there a nice place, or unique area near you ?  Someplace where you say, "Wow, this is cool" ?  Wanna share it ?   ;)

We feel the location is more important than the container (but always use a quality container).

Have you searched your area for what caches have the most Favorite Points ?   Depending on what you're looking for, an option too.

I hadn't thought of doing that- is that an actual search you can use a filter for on the website, or do you just look through?

26 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

I'd just place one I'd  like to do and see what others think.     :)

For example, I'd want to place a cache far into the woods, and maybe even off a tree limb requiring rope. 

That sounds wonderful!

26 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

But the caches near me with the most FPs are simple traditionals, or gadget caches (even if they're not working properly...).

There aren't any gadget caches near me, unfortunately

26 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 - Like your swag BTW...

 

Thank you so much!! I need to make some more, I just ran out.

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21 minutes ago, black_cat1 said:

Do you ever do an FTF prize?

Other than a blank log, no.

 

23 minutes ago, black_cat1 said:

I'm not entirely clear on which caches require more maintenance than others- I'm assuming caches with a lower D/T rating need more maintenance, both with log and container?

Caches in busier locations get muggled more frequently. Bigger caches in busier locations get muggled much more frequently. The reason such locations have so many micro-caches is that those are what survive. One pattern that I've seen many times is an urban/suburban park or other location seems to call out for a cache. So a series of larger caches are hidden there, each lasting only a short time before it is muggled and archived. Eventually, someone hides a micro-cache, perhaps even a puzzle micro-cache, and that's what survives. And that's why the urban/suburban cache scene has so many micros.

 

Keep in mind that muggles can spot a cache not only when it's in its hiding spot, but also when a geocacher is searching for it, or retrieving/replacing it. Even if a larger cache won't be spotted when it's in its hiding spot, will geocachers be able to find, retrieve, and replace it without drawing undue attention to it?

 

Other than muggling, maintenance is mostly a matter of choosing a container and camouflage that can stand up to the elements. And that can depend on your location. Some containers that are fine in the desert do poorly in humid locations, or in locations that get snow and hard frosts in the winter. And so on.

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11 hours ago, black_cat1 said:

I hadn't thought of doing that- is that an actual search you can use a filter for on the website, or do you just look through?

 

I'm not sure (things change) that advanced searches can be done by basic members, but it's easy to use whatever search you use now to find FPs.

 Simply look at "all nearby caches" on the left of any local cache page if you'd like, and that forever-scroll will show FPs in line with each cache. 

Head to a couple, and you'll get an idea what other folks in your area may think is cool (if that is something you're interested in). 

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12 hours ago, niraD said:

Caches in busier locations get muggled more frequently. Bigger caches in busier locations get muggled much more frequently. The reason such locations have so many micro-caches is that those are what survive. One pattern that I've seen many times is an urban/suburban park or other location seems to call out for a cache. So a series of larger caches are hidden there, each lasting only a short time before it is muggled and archived. Eventually, someone hides a micro-cache, perhaps even a puzzle micro-cache, and that's what survives. And that's why the urban/suburban cache scene has so many micros.

 

Keep in mind that muggles can spot a cache not only when it's in its hiding spot, but also when a geocacher is searching for it, or retrieving/replacing it. Even if a larger cache won't be spotted when it's in its hiding spot, will geocachers be able to find, retrieve, and replace it without drawing undue attention to it?

That's a good point, I hadn't thought about that!

12 hours ago, niraD said:

 

Other than muggling, maintenance is mostly a matter of choosing a container and camouflage that can stand up to the elements. And that can depend on your location. Some containers that are fine in the desert do poorly in humid locations, or in locations that get snow and hard frosts in the winter. And so on.

Thank you!

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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

 

I'm not sure (things change) that advanced searches can be done by basic members, but it's easy to use whatever search you use now to find FPs.

I don't think that they can.

1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

 Simply look at "all nearby caches" on the left of any local cache page if you'd like, and that forever-scroll will show FPs in line with each cache. 

Head to a couple, and you'll get an idea what other folks in your area may think is cool (if that is something you're interested in). 

Thank you so much!

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13 hours ago, niraD said:

will geocachers be able to find, retrieve, and replace it without drawing undue attention to it?

 

 

It really irks me when the cache description says something like "This is a very busy place, so be sure to use stealth when finding."

 

My response is that the hider should have chosen a better location, and while I don't actively call attention to what I'm doing, I don't try to be stealthy either--I just go about my business of looking for the cache.  It's really hard to be stealthy when you're lying on the ground under a park bench--I just don't do it when someone is sitting on that bench.  

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Look at some of the caches you enjoyed finding, what made the stand out from others? Placement, type of container, a but of surprise. Maybe to get started with placing and maintaining caches do not go too far for home. GR , PPC, and such are not hard -- but are a bit too common.

 

I would refrain from trying a very difficult cache right away. 

 

One new cacher in our area has placed caches that will not last! One was a paper log under a corner of a solar light on a post, another an old iPod style tablet by itself leaning against a lamppost. Neither really protected from the weather, one is already disabled, Saying that only  to be sure that cache is placed so it can stay there, no use placing one if it will not last long.

 

 

And as mentioned, be sure the coordinates are good, I have been at many caches were the coordinates indicate a place up to 50 feet from the actual spot. That may be the instrument I use though. Remember, the coordinates have a built in 30 ' radius. I try not to give specific hints or wording in the description that tell you exactly where it is. Okay to point in the  right direction though. 

 

And wherever you place it I would recommend placing it where parking is reasonably close and SAFE.

 

Good luck.

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On 8/19/2021 at 11:43 AM, niraD said:

Caches in busier locations get muggled more frequently.

With busier locations, to assist with keeping the cache safe, I think they should be easy to find and extract caches, with very good hints. If people spend too much time looking for the cache, it draws attentions to what they are doing and the cache, and then muggles might look too. Some owners like to put caches in busy places as an extra difficulty. However not all searchers will care enough that they might be observed and very publicly begin searching, endangering the cache.  Tricky to find caches should be reserved for places where people can search unnoticed.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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33 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

Tricky to find caches should be reserved for places where people can search unnoticed.

Also, tricky-to-find caches should be reserved for locations that can withstand repeated intense searching without damaging the landscape or anything else.

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18 minutes ago, niraD said:

Also, tricky-to-find caches should be reserved for locations that can withstand repeated intense searching without damaging the landscape or anything else.

Good advice.

Also leaving geo-trails. Although I guess this example is only grass. Guess where the cache might be hidden :laughing:. Muggles can follow geotrails too and then find the cache.

 

Geo-trail.thumb.jpg.d82f900f79925d34152b65fa19134247.jpg

 

More like this one perhaps. Follow the broken bits.

1825973146_FollowtheGeo-trail.jpg.f7106b1cfe44629a726a489805baef01.jpg

 

I have seen far worse, But I haven't taken photographs of them.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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I like caches which are not hidden and which can be seen from afar. The only difference is that the muggles do not recognize this as a cache, only the cachers who have read the listing. Example: I created a stone and stainless steel dragon sculpture for a cache. In addition, I have attached a stainless steel sign with an old dragon saga from the area. The geocachers know, they have to pull up the sign and then find a description, of how to drag and rotate the sculpture, to get to the cachebox.

Edited by Johannis10
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9 hours ago, Jayeffel said:

GR , PPC, and such are not hard -- but are a bit too common.

That's almost all that are in my area. 

9 hours ago, Jayeffel said:

 

I would refrain from trying a very difficult cache right away. 

👍

9 hours ago, Jayeffel said:

And as mentioned, be sure the coordinates are good, I have been at many caches were the coordinates indicate a place up to 50 feet from the actual spot. That may be the instrument I use though. Remember, the coordinates have a built in 30 ' radius. I try not to give specific hints or wording in the description that tell you exactly where it is. Okay to point in the  right direction though. 

I'm a bit worried that I won't be able to get accurate coordinates, but that's a bridge to cross later, after I have more stuff figured out.

9 hours ago, Jayeffel said:

 

And wherever you place it I would recommend placing it where parking is reasonably close and SAFE.

I hadn't thought of that, thank you!

 

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9 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

With busier locations, to assist with keeping the cache safe, I think they should be easy to find and extract caches, with very good hints. If people spend too much time looking for the cache, it draws attentions to what they are doing and the cache, and then muggles might look too.

That makes sense!

9 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

  Tricky to find caches should be reserved for places where people can search unnoticed.

👍

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9 hours ago, Johannis10 said:

I like caches which are not hidden and which can be seen from afar. The only difference is that the muggles do not recognize this as a cache, only the cachers who have read the listing. Example: I created a stone and stainless steel dragon sculpture for a cache. In addition, I have attached a stainless steel sign with an old dragon saga from the area. The geocachers know, they have to pull up the sign and then find a description, of how to drag and rotate the sculpture, to get to the cachebox.

That sounds interesting, however, I think that it would be difficult for me to pull off as a first cache.

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8 hours ago, Johannis10 said:

Hi black_cat,

Not only for beginners, I find it helpful if you let another experienced cacher do a beta test, before the cache is published. Good luck with your new cache.

Greetings Johannis10

That's a great idea, thank you!

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On 8/19/2021 at 11:10 AM, black_cat1 said:

I'm not entirely clear on which caches require more maintenance than others- I'm assuming caches with a lower D/T rating need more maintenance, both with log and container?

 

Not necessarily, as a bit of foresight and planning can avoid most common maintenance issues even on a low D/T cache. Use a container that will give long-term protection to its contents, a hiding place that will protect the container from natural forces and inquisitive muggles, and a logbook that's big enough to cope with the likely number of finders. Obviously that's going to be easier with a regular or small sized container than with a micro, but even so, a well designed micro that doesn't get too much traffic can do pretty well, like GC6TNQ7 for example which was placed in 2016 and is still going strong, with what appears to be just one maintenance visit in 2020 to replace the logbook and the o-rings.

 

Part of the learning curve of being a CO is figuring out what works well and what doesn't, and sometimes a bit of a redesign is needed when something unexpected happens, like the container I put in what looked like a snug and dry hiding place under a ledge inside a cave, only to find out there's an underground watercourse that flows through there in heavy rain. But some have also proven unexpectedly resilient and long-lasting, like GC6647D which is a 1.5/2 traditional with a themed novelty container. When I placed it in 2015 I really wasn't sure how well it would stand up, but six years on and with 50 finds it's still in good nick with its original container and logbook, the only maintenance needed in that time being to replace a missing pencil.

 

DSC_0357.thumb.jpg.5ea460a46b19a86407079d3a0053b997.jpg

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1 hour ago, black_cat1 said:

I'm a bit worried that I won't be able to get accurate coordinates, but that's a bridge to cross later, after I have more stuff figured out.

If you don't trust your coordinates, then test them.

 

Enter your coordinates into your device, and then approach the cache location from at least 100ft/30m away. The arrow should point right at the cache location as you approach. Repeat the process, approaching the cache location from various directions, from at least 100ft/30m away each time. No matter which direction you approach from, the arrow should point right at the cache location.

 

If it doesn't, then adjust your coordinates until it does.

 

Bonus points for repeating the test on another day when the GPS satellites are in a different configuration.

 

Also, the Help Center article How to Get Accurate Coordinates should prove useful.
 

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1 hour ago, niraD said:

If you don't trust your coordinates, then test them.

 

Enter your coordinates into your device, and then approach the cache location from at least 100ft/30m away. The arrow should point right at the cache location as you approach. Repeat the process, approaching the cache location from various directions, from at least 100ft/30m away each time. No matter which direction you approach from, the arrow should point right at the cache location.

 

If it doesn't, then adjust your coordinates until it does.

 

Bonus points for repeating the test on another day when the GPS satellites are in a different configuration.

 

Also, the Help Center article How to Get Accurate Coordinates should prove useful.
 


+1

This is partly why there’s a suggestion to find a lot of caches before placing one.  It gives you a feel for what the device is telling you.  So you get familiar with setting precise waypoints.

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