Geocaching is both a game and a business
Groundspeak who manage Geocaching are a business. Groundspeak shows adverts on their website if you are not a premium member but this is minimal and restricted to a couple of small ones in your sidebar. They don’t get into big contracts to promote other people’s wares, so the money has to come from somewhere! Premium membership is their primary source for funds and about 7p a day, it isn’t a bad deal for Website in 26 languages, iPhone and Android Geocaching App, Adventure labs & Wherigo. Hours of fun for a few pence a day!
Don’t be a Geocaching tyrant, it’s a game played by many people most of whom you will never meet or know anything about. When Caching, it’s helpful to remember that the cache belongs to the owner, and if they say no photos of logs, signatures required, they are perfectly within their rights to delete your log if it doesn’t live up to the requirements set out in the geocaching page. If you don’t like this, then avoid that users caches, there are millions more out there. While there are rules, people’s interpretation of them may differ from your own. Rules like leaving a throw down when the cache is obviously there goes without saying, but deleting someone’s log for not signing because it’s too wet isn’t fair play IMHO.If you are a cache owner, please try to be understanding. People from all walks of life and all abilities cache, not everyone is as perfect as you might like. When submitting a new cache remember that reviewers are people, volunteers, and fit Geocaching in around their lives. Reviewers try to be objective and ensure everyone follows the same rules, but they are Cachers, like you and I, work with them to get your caches published. Check what is required before you submit a cache and make sure all the required information is on your submission, missing information is the largest cause of rejected caches. It’s not the reviewers job to do the leg work for you when you submit your new entry, if a reviewer rejects a cache and you don’t understand why, ask them.
Having the right equipment makes for a great day of geocaching running out of battery or getting soaked is not. The primary item of course is a pen or pencil, and maybe a spare or two, there must be thousands of ‘lost’ writing implements left by Caches each week. Spare batteries or a power bank is essential for a day’s intensive caching, constantly using the GPS on your device is a heavy drain on batteries, and there’s nothing more infuriating than coming towards the end of lengthy series, only to have your phone die on you.
If you are heading up to the moors or into the mountains, appropriate footwear and waterproofs are the absolute minimum, snacks, water and a whistle should be carried as well. There are many articles on what to carry in your day bag online that can help you better than I can. Check the weather before you set out, because in the UK, it’s not unusual to have 3 seasons in one day. If venturing up a mountain or moors, it is worth noting as you gain altitude, the temperature drops surprisingly fast, around 1°C for every 100m, cold, wet and miserable isn’t a great day and possibly the quickest way to put someone off caching. If you are going into the wild and off the paths for a day hike, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, it might just save your life, and don’t forget to let them know you are back at the end of the day.
Carry extra logbooks and pencils. We all know that it’s the Cache Owners’ responsibility to keep caches maintained, but sometimes life gets in the way, if you discover a cache with a full or wet log, please be kind and drop a new log in for them, don’t forget to message the cache owner and let them know what you have done. Please don’t slap a “Needs Archiving” on straight away, a simple message to the cache owner or a “Needs Maintenance” log is sufficient.
Get Social and meet other Cachers
Geocaching can be a lonely game, it is usually played in secret, and that’s half the fun. There are lots of events where Cachers gather and share stories of their adventures and great finds. There’s all sorts of social events from Cache In Trash Out which could be a litter pick or working with an environmental group to remove an invasive species from an area to a get together for a chat. It’s a great way to make new friends and catch up with old ones.
People who cache with kids love SWAG (Stuff we all get), it makes the day more exciting searching for treasure and primes the next generation of Cachers. The golden rule about SWAG: if you take something, leave something of equal or higher value. Kids and some adults love to find treasure, and it’s so much better if they can take a new toy away and leave something behind for others. If we want to keep the sport alive and growing, it’s our responsibility to pass our enthusiasm to the next generation.
Ideas for what to put in: Small toys, Key Rings, souvenirs like woodies or path tags, Trading cards (in a waterproof seal easy bag), foreign coins, rain ponchos
Do not put in: Perishables, e.g. sweets that go horrible quickly and mess up a cache, non family friendly items, fireworks, lighters, drugs, alcohol and any illegal materials should also not be placed in a cache, although if someone is considering placing any of the above items they really need to have a word with themselves.
Lastly it’s a game have fun and help each other, it’s not that difficult 🙂