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Pocket Knives


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I was out caching with a friend the other day and the topic came up: what items do you trade and more specifically, should or should not trade. There are some obvious does and don’ts - but how about those small pocket or pen knives that you see in stores and as promo items. Not the big ones, but small (blade 2" or less).


I would be curious to hear any ideas on this, before I even think about doing it.

Edited by Catchmeifyoucan
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From Hiding Your First Geocache

Lastly, you can put goodies in the cache. It's recommended, but not necessary! Some ideas of items to give as gifts:


    * Disposable camera - Put one in and ask everyone to take a picture of themselves and put it back in the cache. Later you can develop the photos and place them online.

    * Inexpensive toys - play-doh, silly putty, action figures, etc.

    * CDs, VGA Cards, gift certificates, dollar bills, gold bars, etc.


It's up to you what you want to put in your cache, budget permitting. If you are a Dot com millionaire, I would hope you would pony up a bit of cache (err cash), but most of us can spend less than $10 to place a decent cache.


Do not put food in a cache! Critters have better noses than we do, and will bite, nibble or swallow your cache in an attempt to get to the goodies. Bottled water is a good alternative (and refreshing to geocachers).


Please! No alcohol, tobacco, firearms, prescription or illicit drugs. Let's keep this safe and legal.


I also stay away from matches, lighters and knives to keep it kid friendly and perfumed items (candles, air fresheners) to avoid animal problems.

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This is my personal opnion and does not reflect Geocaching.com principles. My sons age 5, 8 and 10 have each "found" a pocketknife, of the Swiss imitation variety, in caches, and those are the most memorable finds for them - treasures put into their little wooden boxes under their beds! By the way the knives that are "cache gifts" are usually not expensive and fairly dull- some can barely cut wood but they are considered - way cool. They sit and whittle in the summer for hours on end with them. In fact they helped me make some willow furniture. (Willow is nice and soft so to include a small stick with the penknife would be great). Kids do not cache alone - usually they need an adult to drive - and so the adult can safely steer them away from an item if it is not safe or unnecessary in my opinion.

I've actually personally been stabbed by more pencils (by kids in school) than knives (thankfully) in my lifetime but we allow those in a cache. Even a screwdriver, small hammer, fishing hooks, scissors, nailclippers with the file can become evil objects in the wrong hands but it doesn't mean we ban them. Let each adult be responsible with and for their own children. I've noticed on certain caches (not in Manitoba) that some people put mini alcoholic drinks in their caches. That is a bit more dangerous I'd think with children but again - if I found something like that it wouldn't be an optional trade for my children - I am the adult after all!? After having a bout with poison ivy due to caching I'm certain that is more unhealthy than most cache contents. But I laughed at that too.

In my opinion there are more inherent dangers by the junk on t.v. and in many videogames than in most caches - which is why we cache -exercise and prizes and mystery!

I suppose if it the cache is hidden in a very popular park where muggles are bound to find it it could be a problem. So my advice would be hide them in caches that are well removed from the public city parks - some young boys are sure to love them. My sons are country boys who've grown up with pocket knives and know what to do with them and what not to!

Anyway this is just my personal opinion as a mother of 3 boys. I've owned a pocketknife all my life as well. Seeing great penknives or pocketknives still make my heart skip a beat. And I'd reach for a water pistol or a fishing hook over a rubber ball or MCToy anytime. Usually we cachers are an outdoorsy lot I'd think. And waterproof matches seem like a great idea to me. Or are there really kids that cache alone or kids that take matches with adult permission?

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we cachers are an outdoorsy lot

What a thoughtful and intelligent post. I couldn't agree more, with all of it. I'm shocked to hear that people have left alcohol in caches. That is irresponsible. Though I've always been strict about removing and certainly not leaving food in caches, I must admit that I never even thought about scented candles (which I have left), or perfume (which I have found in stinky caches), as being attractive to critters, but of course they are. Thanks for the tip. :angry:


I also have to admit that, like the old joke about the surgeon, until the end where you said, "as a mother of 3 boys", I had automatically assumed that I was reading something written by a man! Oops! My apologies. :angry:

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Well spoken, 1queenand4jokers. I couldn't have said it better. I'm guilty of leaving numerous Chinese Army Knives and brass screwdriver/hammers in caches. I think they are cool swag and something I'd much rather find than McToys, erasers, stickers or magazine shampoo samples.


I find it humorous that, in the US, those same cachers that wouldn't dream of going into the woods unarmed find it inappropriate to leave a penknife in a cache. :angry:

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Pocket knives are great swag.  However not in caches listed on this site.  The ban evolved from concerns from parks as to cache contents.  To gain their support pocket knives were banned.  It's not rational or logical on the part of the parks but that's their terms for caches in their parks so that's the way it is.

Thanks for the history on this issue. I was wondering the reason for that. It seems silly, but at least there is some reason.


I still have a few edged tools that may find their way into a suitable cache. :blink:

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Pocket knives are great swag.  However not in caches listed on this site.  The ban evolved from concerns from parks as to cache contents.  To gain their support pocket knives were banned.  It's not rational or logical on the part of the parks but that's their terms for caches in their parks so that's the way it is.


So for caches not in parks the knives are okay? I've left or found knives, matches, skewers and even a lighter in a cache. I wasn't aware these were a no-no.


What I have found is the quality of cache goodies has gone down a lot in the last couple of years. I always take something good along but will only trade if there is something good to take. It took me a few caches to get rid of a wristwatch and Clancy novel. :-)



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I would prefer if a knife was not listed in any caches, this is one of the concerns Ontario Parks and SEPAQ had. They don't only look at cache pages in their parks but others in the surrounding area. They might make great trade items, but are preceived as bad. I don't think the main concern is childern Geocaching without adult supervision but more with the accidental finding of a cache by kids which occurs often.

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you meant but per the quote above gc.com hasn't said anything about knives in caches.

This is actually listed in the Geocaching FAQ's under the "What shouldn't be in a cache?" heading.


"Use your common sense in most cases. Explosives, ammo, knives, drugs, and alcohol shouldn't be placed in a cache."


Anyhow, even though I agree that they are cool trade items, I can most certainly sympathize with the parks about children finding them inadvertantly. I'm sure it is rare, but even just once is enough. Really, if it means the difference between being able to have a cache in a park, or stashing a pocket knife, I know what I would choose!

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Now to prevent misunderstandings I want to add that as a family we do not regularily drop banned items like knives into caches, but have enjoyed finding them.

Since most caches in our area are small we tend to carry mostly small items. We are trying to get good ideas for an extended caching trip we intend to take this summer in the Maritimes. We will take items that are cool, most kids love and we could buy in bulk and that do not take up much space. Besides the knives, our boys have typically reached for compasses, small comic books, hockey cards, mini-skateboards, music or computer CD's, old Nintendo 64 games, even blank CD's, hotwheels car (like new), whistles, carabiners, and amazingly - old wristwatches (where the batteries actually work), calculators, anything that glows (glowsticks - glowstick jewelry) and collectable coins with hockey players/foreign coins.


Our boys love SIR and UNITED ARMY stores so much so peruse there and you'll find gifts for any outdoorsy person. We've ordered a big bag of smashing pennies hoping various cachers will enjoy collecting them. When adding to a cache we do try to deposit items that we'd be sure to grab if we saw them in a cache. I do think a cache owner should be respected enough to be careful what one adds. I have grabbed a few candles (scented) to save the caches but I do not just take without putting in something else. A cache our kids really enjoyed was one where all the "gifts" were wrapped and they opened them later at Tim Horton's warming up. The variety of stuff included a picture frame, a little game, and a rubber spider and a cute pencil sharpener. We left three wrapped gifts as well. Anticipation is 90 percent of the fun!

We sometimes "feel sorry" for caches that have been bankrupted and we leave something we think the next cacher will be interested without swapping anything.

Anyway cache on! And yes the "female" Queen is delighted to cache with 4 delightful Jokers that happen to be male. We listen to story tapes including the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, and Robin Hood on long caching trips. If we could afford to drop a few of these into caches we certainly would! An idea for wealthy cache owners... Oh and does anyone out there have a plan for making homemade whistles out of small p.v.c. pipes? We've seen some and would love to try making some.

P.S. As I've surfed geocaching.com I've seen some caches have started with alcohol in caches...And they actually list it in the cache listing! I'm not certain how some of that gets approved unless they add it later.

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