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Primer: Hiding a geocache.

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I want to hide a geocache primer! BaytownBert May 2014

You want to hide a geocache, but you really don’t know how to go about it, right? Okay, here’s what you do.

Understanding the rules: First, I suggest you find a minimum of 50 geocaches before you make the awesome big step of hiding one. (Groundspeak) has very strict rules on where geocaches can be hidden and all of them must be a minimum of 528 feet (.1 miles) away from another cache. Go here, study the rules and then if you are ready, proceed:

Containers: I own over 200 geocaches and over the years I’ve found the single cheapest and best container to be the good old straight-walled pill bottle. There are a number of kinds available, but the orange container with the locking waterproof lid is the best. I usually wrap them in duct tape after attaching a fishing line (monofilament) as a tether and then spray paint them for camouflage.

Paint them gray to make them look like metal, but by all means paint them, or the UV rays will break down the plastic. Pill bottles come in sizes from small to very large. They are classified as Micro unless you can drop a full-size Geocoin or travel bug in them and then you can list them as a Small.
- The more exotic your container, the more prone it is to be broken and need maintenance.
- If you use a large unconventional container, put the logbook and swag inside a gallon freezer bag to protect it from the elements.
- Wash used containers to remove smells which will attract animals.

Log books: I have found there is no real reason to put your logbook in a baggie inside a pill bottle, as it is waterproof. Print log books online and save money also: or or you can always build your own custom logbooks.

Writing cool and descriptive logs on your finds becomes more relevant when people find your cool hide and log them only as “Found” or “TFTC”. In other words, reward the cache owner’s geocache with a good log and set an example for others.

Maintenance: Place your caches where they are easy to maintain. If you place one in a high muggle area, don’t be surprised if it gets muggled. Try to find interesting places to bring a visitor and watch for good parking places or post coordinates so people who are unfamiliar with the area can begin the search.

The bane of geocaching is unmaintained or abandoned caches scattered all over the place. If you hide it, you MUST maintain it and finding 50 will give you an idea how the game is played.

Terrain/Difficulty: Don’t focus on placing high difficulty/terrain caches, at least initially. Many cachers simply will not look for them due to their physical abilities or experience and you will be disappointed that no one is searching for your cool cache.

Unless it is a very high difficulty cache, post a hint. Many cachers won’t look at it until they’ve exhausted all other options. Other less skilled cachers will definitely appreciate the help.

If the cache requires special tools, make sure you use the Special Tools attribute.

Placement: After placing your cache, put the coordinates in Google Earth and make sure it is where you say it is. Remember that 15 feet off cords is still acceptable, but try to get the coordinates as close as possible.

When placing your geocache, ask yourself if you would be uncomfortable finding it there, due to muggles or private property. If the answer is yes, do not place a cache there.

If you place one geocache on a lonely stretch of road, miles from anywhere, don’t be surprised if very few people come looking for it. Create a series of caches out there and they will come and it’s as easy to maintain as a lone cache.

Edited by Baytown Bert

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Attributes:   On the page there is a list of attributes you can use that apply to your cache.  I've never found a cache that has none apply to it.  But people avoid this feature like it will bite them.  Break the trend and list attributes on your cache.

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So you want to hide a geocache

By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Southeast Texas Representative Texas Geocaching Association

I think it is safe to say that after you’ve found a few geocaches you decide it would be awesome to hide one and then watch the thousands of people look for your evil hide.  Of course it will be evil – possibly the most evil geocache ever!  So you grab a thin taco soup plastic container, wrap some expensive camo duct tape you bought for this purpose and bury it under a pile of leaves by a rose bush in front of a super busy business.

You decide it will be a real challenge because the place is open 24 hours a day, so you give it a difficulty rating of 4 and a terrain of 3.5 because the bushes have demonic  thorns.  Figuring out what all is required on the submission page is a hassle, so you leave anything nonessential off and presto, it publishes 2 days later.

However, the day after you hid it the maintenance crews half-destroy your flimsy container and then comes a frog-strangling rain storm.  The FTF geocacher writes a less than flattering needs maintenance log, as the container was not only in terrible shape, the contents were unsignable, and the coordinates were off by 82.5 feet.  Your Smartphone provided the coordinates.

You are floored and seeing that your experience level is so low, you have no idea how to adjust the coordinates on the page or how to post an owner maintenance log.  Your hours at work suddenly keep you from trying to focus on repairing the cache and before you know it, the Reviewer disables and then archives your geocache, as 2TF claims the owner of the business complained. 

This sad scenario happens quite frequently.

I teach geocaching classes and recommend a newbie cacher find a minimum of 50 geocaches before attempting to hide one.  This gives them a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t as far as containers, locations, and camo go. has very good instructions on their page about requirements located here:  and it is not my intent to cover them in this primer.

I also have a 101 page located here:

What I do suggest is contacting an experienced geocacher in your area through their profile page and asking for help.  You can also attend a local geocaching event and meet other cachers who will gladly assist you.  I’ve been a geocacher since 2003 and own over 300 hides and I have a mentor.  I learn new stuff about the game all the time.

As far as containers go, let me give a couple of pointers.  Hide as large of a container as you can, avoiding nano and micro containers as much as possible.  Forget being sneaky and evil on your first few hides and remember, whatever you hide – you MUST maintain.  The large pill bottles that hold a 90 day supply are awesome free containers that will hold a travel bug or geocoin and can be listed as a SMALL container.  Attach a monofilament fishing line or a wire to the container and then wrap duct tape around it and spray paint it.

After creating the container, you will have to find a place a minimum of 529 feet away from another geocache.  There is a place for this on the submission page and if it passes this test, you are ready to go to step two and make sure you have permission to place it if it is not public land.  Try to pick a cool place for people to visit.  Spend a lot of time figuring this out.  Avoid trashy ugly areas just because they are open.

Next, remember that you must maintain it, so make sure this is not going to be a problem.  That’s another reason to not make the container too elaborate or spend a lot of money on it.  Now let’s say you live down a dirt road and you hide one at the end pretty close to your house.  There are no caches for 10 miles in any direction.  Don’t be disappointed when no one shows up to find it.  Instead hide one every 529 feet and suddenly you have visitors and it’s just as easy to maintain 10 as it is that lone cache.

Pill bottles are also fairly water-proof, so there is no real reason to put the log (you printed off the Internet) in a baggie.  The tether is to keep the container from walking off.  Follow the old acronym K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) for a number of your first caches and as your experience level increases, you will have the confidence to make them more elaborate.

Add a hint to the cache page.  Something like “knee high” or “ground” to help newbies and those of us who just can’t seem to find it.  Leave the hint blank for your future evil hides.  By all means read everything you can on hiding geocaches before you hide one, but know this; you will soon find out what you did wrong.  Probably the first 20 caches I hid, I had to go back and repair them.  Any large heavy duty plastic container will make a good geocache, just insert a heavy-duty freezer bag inside it to water-proof the contents.

Avoid any vitamin bottle, as they neck down, making it difficult to retrieve the log.  Remember that your geo-name will be associated with your hide and protect it by maintaining your geocache.  When you find a trackable, drop it in your own cache and you will see more activity.  The last thing I want to cover is don’t forget that geocaching is a game and by all means have fun.


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