Hiding a Geocache
So, you've been racking up your geocache finds and have decided you want to join in the game even more, by hiding your very own cache. It's easy enough to do, but a few tips will help make your cache more successful. Ask yourself these questions:
Where are you going to hide it?
The first and most important thing you need to decide is where do you want to stash the cache. Typically, people try to hide new caches in areas where there currently are none. There is nothing wrong with adding another cache to an area that may already have one, but try to avoid "over-loading" an area. One of the principles of geocaching is that it brings people to new places. Finding 5 caches in the same park isn't really as much fun as finding 5 caches in 5 different locations. Use the search function at geocaching.com to see if your proposed site has any other nearby caches.
Also, choose a publicly accessible spot, not on private property. It should also be a location that is safe to get to and won't put people in any undue danger or risk. It can be a tough search, just not dangerous. If there are any particular hazards nearby, make sure to indicate that in your cache description.
Last detail on the hiding issue, is the immediate camouflage. You'll need to find a spot that offers a good niche to stash your cache. Fallen or hollow trees are always good, as is piling a couple of rocks over the container. You could also hang it from a tree or tuck it into a hole.
What are you going to put in it?
The contents of your cache will change as people visit and start to trade items. You still want to start your cache off right. Some people create a themed cache, containing a certain kind of trade item (dog items, or things with flags on them). Add that to your cache description so that people will know to bring the right goodies with them when they visit. You could also have a larger prize for the "first to find", like a gift certificate to a local coffee shop or a DVD.
But there is nothing wrong with just using a standard mix of prizes, such as pins, buttons, keychains, or small toys. Place 5-10 items to start off your cache. Also include a small notebook for people to sign, along with a couple pencils. There is also a note that you can print out from the website explaining what the cache is, in case a non-player person happens to discover your cache. Even if you have a good quality container, it's a good idea to put all your swag into a ziplock bag for moisture protection.
What kind of container are you going to use?
You can buy containers specifically for geocaching. But any sturdy and mostly waterproof container will do. Large coffee cans, or empty peanut butter jars work very well, as do big Tupperware-style containers. The specific size is up to you. Large metal ammo boxes have also become a favourite with some cachers.
Can you maintain it?
This point kind of goes along with where you hide the cache, but it's also a bit about your available free time. You don't just hide a cache and forget about it. You're expected to visit your cache periodically and do any maintenance on it. Make sure the log book hasn't filled up, or the container gotten damaged. Check on your trade items to see that the cache is still got some fun stuff in it, and fix any camouflage that needs adjusting. Don't hide a cache unless you can keep it in good running order.
Once all the decisions have been made, you just have to create your container of goodies and hide it. Take your GPS with you to your chosen spot and record the coordinates. Post your new cache on the website, using the form for hiding a new cache.
That's all there is to it. Now you just have to watch the online posts from other geocachers and see how much fun people are having with your cache. People may also report problems, so it's a good idea to check the site regularly as a way to help maintain your cache.
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