The basics of geocaching are inspiring in their simplicity. A geocacher hides a geocache and challenges others to find it. But as with most things, there’s more to geocaching than meets the eye! Many of the rules of geocaching are outlined in the geocaching guidelines but others come from the experience of getting out there and geocaching. Below we share five rules of geocaching you may not know.
1. Leave no trace
It’s important to be conscious of your surroundings when geocaching so we can preserve the world around us and the geocaching game board! When geocaching, be sure to stick to designated trails and don’t cut across switchbacks when navigating to the cache. Doing so might disturb and destroy flora and fauna along the way. Just remember the saying “take only photos and leave only footprints” the next time you hit the trails!
2. Use stealth
Searching through bushes, reaching under benches, looking through tree branches—to the untrained eye, a geocacher can look a little suspicious. Muggles (aka non-geocachers) who get curious have been known to unknowingly take or damage geocaches, which is why it’s important to maintain a level of stealth while geocaching.
3. Record your starting point
A waypoint is a reference point for a physical location on Earth. You can use waypoints to mark important locations such as stages of a Mystery or Multi Cache, but some like to use them to document our starting point at a parking lot or trailhead. To add a user waypoint in the Geocaching® app:
- In the cache details page, select Waypoints.
- Tap the + sign to add a waypoint.
- Tap Current Location
- Save the waypoint with any name.
4. Photograph thoughtfully
Sometimes there is a fine line between a helpful log and a spoiler. The same can be said for photos included with a geocache log. It can be tempting to share a creative hiding spot or a fun cache container but discovering that is part of geocaching! Be thoughtful of what you include and when in doubt, ask the cache owner if it’s ok to post the photo!
5. Dress appropriately
Dressing appropriately for geocaching can go a long way! You never know when the weather may change or if that Multi-Cache will turn into a grand adventure. Pack layers and be prepared for all weather conditions if you’re heading into the wilderness. You don’t want to miss out on a smiley just because you don’t have the right gear!
These are not the only unwritten rules of geocaching, there are many more that exist. What unwritten rules would you add to the list? Share in the comments!