Much of the game’s appeal is its simplicity. While there are few rules, you can ensure a successful hunt by following these guidelines.
- Remain stealthy, as attention from muggles* compromises the geocache. “If muggles are around, you can sit there and pretend you’re talking on your phone or pretend you’re taking pictures,” advises David Hayashida, a.k.a. Mauison.
- Don’t leave food, dangerous, illegal or offensive items behind.
- Don’t dump geotrash. Keep the game interesting by always replacing the item you take with one of equal or greater value. Then, visit Geocaching.com and log your experience.
- Be gentle to the geocaching game board (your surroundings). Leave the area looking the same as you found it. Better yet, follow the “cache in, trash out” credo and leave it better than when you arrived.
- Do not place caches on private land without permission, in national parks or wilderness areas, or at schools. “Some state parks require you to get a permit to hide a geocache. It’s always good to contact them and let them know where you’re going to hide it,” says David.
* See glossary.
BYOP: Bring Your Own Pencil or Pen — advice from a cache owner to searchers, since it’s likely the logbook won’t have one.
Cache Owner: The first person to place a particular geocache; he or she is also responsible for maintaining the cache or replacing it if it goes missing.
Ground Zero: The point where your GPS device shows that you have reached the cache location. Once here, put the GPS down and start hunting!
Hitchhiker: An item placed in a cache with instructions to leave it at another cache. Sometimes hitchhikers have logbooks attached so you can document their travels.
In-Laws: Unwanted muggles who linger near a cache site, preventing discreet access to that cache.
Muggle: A non-geocacher. Based on the term “muggle” from the Harry Potter series, meaning a nonmagical person. Geomuggles are mostly harmless.