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What Makes Good Swag?


YodaDoe
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It's not too hard to find swag to put in caches that pleases the kiddies. I just found a particularly appropriate item: little plastic whistles with a compass in the side! But the few caches I've found so far have mostly toys for swag. I'd like to hear what all of you put into caches, if anything. And I already know about personalized buttons...

 

YodaDoe

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Here are some things I've put in caches

SmallUS flags

US flag pins

modeling clay

carabiners

Energizer squeeze lights

stickers

bags of toy soldiers

Swiss Army knivess (so sue me

water colors

mini screwdriver sets

allen wrench sets

gel pens

boxes of crayons or colored chalk

emergency rain ponchos

packs of AA batteries

collectable coins (buffalo nickels, indian head pennies, SBA or Sacagawea dollars)

music CD's

blank RW CD's

cassettes (blank and recorded)

calculators

clip on safety strobes

bungee cords

LED key lights

"euro" stickers & other decals

mini sewing kits

maps (hiking & road)

software

travel packs of Wet Ones or Baby Wipes

Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars

key rings

bags of balloons

velcro fasteners

interesting buttons

foreign money

rolls of film

lighters

Leatherman type multi tools

movies on VHS & DVD

office supplies (packs of paper clips, thumb tacks, Post-Its, etc...)

Mylar emergency blankets

decks of cards

packs of Armor-All & Rain-X wipes

survival whistles

Wheresgeorge bills and stamps

Geocaching.com hats, pins, patches and compasses

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I just looked into my trade bag. Here is what is in there now:

 

1. 3 small magnetic address books

2. One shark keychain/bottle opener

3. Two rabbit's foot keychains

4. One bullet keychain

5. 3 lanyards

6. 4 mardi gras necklaces

7. 2 chinese finger traps

8. One mini jeep keychain that lights up. :D (not yellow, it's red!)

9. One Powerpuff Girls address book/journal

10. 3 Colorado magnets

 

Besides the obvious kid stuff, most adult cachers I know seem to like useful items like handwarmers, glow sticks, keychains, etc.

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Well, I always put in my Fritz coin, a frog pencil topper and a sticky frog. These are my signature item.

 

I grab stuff while in the store check out line. I'm worse than any kid. Favorite place is Home Depot.

 

The other items I'm currently carrying are:

 

Energizer squeeze lights

Mini caribiner key chains

Caribiner flashlights

Caribiner flashlight

Mini spring clips

 

That's about it right now.

 

F_M

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Some of the things I got from the "99 cents only" stores:

99 cents only

Decks of cards

Packs of pens and mech. pencils

Flashlights

4-packs of AA alkalines

Carabiner/whistle/bottle opener keychain packs

Heavy nylon tool holders (will hold a Meridian)

Camera cases with shoulder strap

Fishing lures

Metal tape measures

Scientific calculators

Mini FM radios

Headphones

PDA Screen protectors

PDA leather cases

PDA serial and USB cables

PDA stylus 3-packs

Cell phone leather cases (hold a etrex)

Matchbox type cars (metal)

note pads

Red LED blinking reflectors for bicycles

Small First Aid Kits

Bicycle flat repair/tool kits

Pad locks (Master brand, combo and key)

Mini brass pad locks

And much more. A great place to shop. The real finds included: Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors, new in the box.

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It's not too hard to find swag to put in caches that pleases the kiddies. I just found a particularly appropriate item: little plastic whistles with a compass in the side! But the few caches I've found so far have mostly toys for swag. I'd like to hear what all of you put into caches, if anything. And I already know about personalized buttons...

 

YodaDoe

 

If you want to try something different for swag consider choosing things a lady would enjoy finding.

 

Such as bubble bath, pot holders, aprons, small cookbooks, etc.

 

Most of these items can be found for $3 to $5.

 

What would your mother (or sister, wife, cousin) like to find?

 

John

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I LOVE our local dollar store for trade items and cache stock.

 

My signature items are handstamped bookmarks and Euro READ stickers (cuz I'm a librarian). I just bought business card magnets for my stamped cache magnets to leave in caches I especially like. I figure before too long I will own a button machine....

 

My mom works in a hotel, so she brings me all the "amenities" samples - soap, body wash, pens, mini sewing kits, shower caps, etc.

 

Other stuff I have left:

mini 'biners

bubbles (in summer so they don't freeze)

compasses

orange safety vests

CL instant cache kits (log book, pen, mechanical pencil, stickers)

beads

"bug bite" bandaids

glow sticks

magnetic clips

chip clips

flower seeds

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What makes "GOOD" swag?

 

Something handmade and preferrably by you is what I trade for first.

 

Since I suck at that kind of stuff, I find buying large quantities of something that would be say "Usually more than a buck." You can get these items down near the dollar range if you haggle and buy a bunch.

 

For example:

 

I bought several hundred movie soundtrack CDs and tapes.

 

I bought a case of cap bombs.

 

I bought 10 pounds of red tiger's eye.

 

For a sig item I bought several hundred steel shot mazes that look like the smilies I use in my signature. I sign the back of these and put the date I found that cache.

 

I spent less than $300.00 on the above items and it will probably last me 2 years or so, at the rate that I cache.

 

People seem to like the stuff I leave. I have at least one fan.

 

Sn :rolleyes::bad: gans

Edited by Snoogans
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When I place a cache I like to include some certificates from Subway or DQ, The last cache I placed was a bit tough so I gave the FTF $20CAN coupons to Swiss Chalet, 2nd Finders got $10CAN in SUBWAY coupons and 3rd got a $5 SUBWAY certificate. I also try to carry some with me in case we come accross a cache with some real good swag....

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Practical things to leave at caches: A fresh pencil, a small plastic pencil sharpener, and a fresh new logbook. Gotta keep that logbook going strong. :rolleyes: All can be had very cheaply and in bulk, and help keep the cache going strong.

 

I'm probably going to order a bulk pack of golf pencils and cheap sharpeners to leave at every cache I visit, in addition to whatever other swag I bring.

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A good place to hunt for swag is Ebay's Wholesale Lots section. I found mini FM radios, screwdrivers, flashlights, and a variety of other things.

 

I concentrate on putting stuff that is useful (like tools) into the caches I find. These seem cooler when I come upon a cache that has a variety of items.

 

I usually will buy one or two thing on the Ebay Wholesale Lots site that will have 20-30 individual items in the lot. This gets me swag for the season and I am set. I usually concentrate on items that have a $1 per unit cost with shipping so I don't overdo the budget.

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Thanks for the Ebay bulk tip. The only thing I bought in bulk was the 'biners, and I have run out of those. The dollar store here in town is a great one - it is housed in a former CVS, and a lot of the merch was CVS stuff to begin with - so you get a great deal sometimes.

 

I cracked out the new magnets today - I hope people like them.

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Micros predominate in my immediate area, so I've been making a practice of carrying a 35mm film can full of interesting foreign coins with me to use for trade items. They fit into tiny cache containers and won't be harmed if they happen to get wet. Some of the ones I've put into caches were brought home from traveling and some I've bought at a local coin dealer from the 25 or 50 cent a coin bins. My rule of thumb for selecting them is that I think "Ooh, that's kind of cool" when I see them. A side effect of this rule is that I end up keeping half of them until I find a duplicate of the same type.

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without making a long list, i'll say

 

signature items

interesting coins or tokens

handmade items: notecards, firestarter, kaleidoscopes, painted boxes, puzzles

recorded music (legal)

decorative items: solid brass figurines, small silver acorns

antique keys

sealed, brand new lip balm, sunscreen, hand cream, what-have-you

gift certificates for restaurants and bakeries near the cache.

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I leave a cut gemstone in every cache I visit, if there's room. Thus far I've only found one that was really too small for this.

 

Most of them have been lab-created sapphires (beautiful and quite inexpensive compared to mined sapphires), but I also have a cache of fluorite, chalcedony, labradorite, amethyst, topaz, and (lab-created) rubies.

 

Besides that, I've left foreign coins, poker chips, and toys. Keychain LED flashlights are very useful tools, and I've left at least one in a cache.

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Souvenirs.

 

One thing I've done is go to local souvenir shops, like museum stores and stuff. I had never looked at local souvenirs, because, you know, I live here :rolleyes:

 

But many cachers are from out of town, so a local souvenir might be nice and they make even better trade swag when you are caching out of town. Magnets, pens, buttons, patches, toys, medals, pins, etc.

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I like the idea of leaving girly stuff like lotions/soaps, etc., but I have hesitated to do so because I am afraid the cache might smell too much like food and draw the critters. Anyone have this happen?

I've not seen it happen personally, but it is generally considered to be the same as leaving food, i.e., don't do it.

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I buy foreign coins by the pound on Ebay and sprinkle those in caches. These are really cheap. I've been able to buy 5 pound lots of unsorted, mixed coins for about $25 (watch the shipping charges, though).They seem to be real popular. I see a lot of folks grabbing them. By the way, I NEVER leave U.S. money -- how tacky!

 

Along the same lines whenever a friend goes to Europe I ask them to pick up some $1 Euro coins for me. These are real attractive with a bi-metal construction. They're currently worth about $1.25 each so I only leave these one at a time. They get snatched up right away, according to the logs.

 

I also occasionally leave scratch off lottery tickets. I don't play them myself but some folks seem to like them. I keep waiting for somebody to win big bucks off of one of these tickets but it hasn't happened yet (that ought to tell you something). Still, it would be cool if it ever happens.

 

Another item that I've started leaving that people seem to like are the little CD openers. This is a little plastic deal with a blade inside that will cut the wrapper on a music CD. I found some place selling them for about a buck a piece and bought a bunch of them. Do a google search for "EZ CD". Some places get big bucks for these ($4 or so) but you can find them a lot cheaper if you look hard and you're willing to have the name of some music store on them.

 

I also like lapel pins. Geocaching.com pins are popular. I live near the Katy Trail, a big rails to trail project, and often leave Katy Trail pins in caches along the trail (there's lots of them). Also, for the Lewis and Clark theme that's big in these parts about now I leave Lewis and Clark lapel pins or a reproduction of their friendship coin in caches near places they would have visited. I must admit that people don't seem to respond to these as well as they do some other stuff.

 

Other items I carry and trade or put in caches include fishing lures (Rooster Tails are great lures and cost just a bit more than a dollar), polished rocks (you can get them in almost any tourist trap) and Geocaching buttons from honeychile. I also carry Mardi Gras doubloons (the fakey coins they throw at Mardi Gras. I bought a boatload of these thinking kids would like them but apparently they don't. They tend to stick around a long time and people rarely post that they took them. Still they're a good thing to have on hand to leave in sort of lame caches.

 

Finally, I always carry a few extra baggies, pens and blank log books with me. You never know when you're going to need to spruce up somebody's cache for them.

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I bought one hundred different foreign currency notes on EBay for $25 including shipping. 25 cents per trade item.

 

I know that a Nicaraguan centavo or an Iraqi dinar are practically worthless, but most cachers would probably be excited to see Saddam's mug on swag.

Yes..I agree. I usually will take foriegn currency. The kids like to see the coins and bills from other countries!!

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I bought one hundred different foreign currency notes on EBay for $25 including shipping. 25 cents per trade item. 

 

I know that a Nicaraguan centavo or an Iraqi dinar are practically worthless, but most cachers would probably be excited to see Saddam's mug on swag.

Yes..I agree. I usually will take foriegn currency. The kids like to see the coins and bills from other countries!!

Ditto. You can get some great deals on bulk coins from Europe now that they have all switched to the Euro. They are fun to find and work well for little caches.

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I like the idea of leaving girly stuff like lotions/soaps, etc., but I have hesitated to do so because I am afraid the cache might smell too much like food and draw the critters.  Anyone have this happen?

I've not seen it happen personally, but it is generally considered to be the same as leaving food, i.e., don't do it.

That's what I thought...pretty sure I had seen or heard that somewhere.

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Good lord we've used all kinds of stuff for swag..

Mini puzzles

word find books

key chains

misc toys

body glitter

trial sized lotions

hair clips

silly putty

silly string

stickers in a zip lock bag

T-shirt

mini collector Spongebob mugs

jewerly

multi use tools

travel kit w/ toothpaste, toothbrush and razor

geo pins

play dough

AOK coins

pens, pencils

first aid kits

those "rub a pencil on the page to reveal the pic" books for kids

crayons

 

A note on the "girly" stuff.. just leave unscented lotions, gels whatever

Edited by Red Clover
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if toothpaste is the small foil sample sized kind - like the free samples you get in the mail - kind of a flat rectangular sealed packet that you tear the top off of - is that bad for attracting animals? ( bought in a pack of 20+ for use in a "geo- emergency " kit swag bag)

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if toothpaste is the small foil sample sized kind - like the free samples you get in the mail - kind of a flat rectangular sealed packet that you tear the top off of - is that bad for attracting animals? ( bought in a pack of 20+ for use in a "geo- emergency " kit swag bag)

Yes it's bad and generally, nobody will use it, or put anything in their mouth that came out of a cache. That's just gross. I won't even put my hands near my face after caching, if I can help it. Not until I've washed them, even if I have to use a stream. Especially if the cache is musty or moldy.

Nothing scented ever. You shouldn't touch a cache if you just ate a big sloppy sandwich or burger either.

Wow, this thread is old. Still applies.

Edited by Planet
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I got lucky a couple weeks ago and found a guy selling Soviet-era naval pins on Craigslist. When I got to his house he had a freezer bag full of naval pins which I also picked up. All together I paid $22.

 

I'm keeping the Soviet pins because they're unique and I find historical items like these interesting but the naval pins will make good swag. They range from small lapel pins commemorating various US Battleships to generic anchors, USA insignia, etc.

 

I'm also working on creating some stickers relating to caching to leave as sig items. My idea is to leave a bunch in caches so numerous people can take something personalized. When I get the designs together I'll post them here for opinions.

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ok- if it was presented like this:

little toothbrushes factory sealed with toothpaste. expiration ok. instant towel , 6-8 bandaids and two individually packaged antibacterial wipes. along with a poem that says:

in this little bag you'll find

some swag that might help ease your mind.

 

perhaps you have a runny nose

and don't care to wipe it on your clothes

 

was it just an accident

you ate skunk cabbage and not wild mint?

 

is that a cut upon your shin?

from bushwacking through the woods again?

 

maybe you don't know what to do-

you think you might have touched some poo?

 

don't fear, geocacher, you're not over yet

trade even or up, just don't forget!

 

I have another idea for one w/o the " dental hygiene aspect" , lol

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