Creating a Geocache
Building, Placing, and Hiding
Our First
Identify a Unique Location
One of the reasons we like geocaching is that a cache can take us somewhere we would probably miss otherwise. Rather than choosing a popular tourist location. Find a place off the beaten path. Where are the places that the local people love that aren't in the tourist guides?
As you select your location, consider how people will approach the area. Conservation is a key philosophy of geocaching, so place your cache where it will have minimal impact on the nature. For example, rather than bushwhacking for miles, place the cache a few yards from an established trail.
You also need to consider the land itself. If the cache is on private land, be sure to get permission. The best place to locate caches is on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) or National Forest land. In addition, since National Parks and Monuments are specifically intended to preserve natural and historical resources, it's best to avoid these places.
Be creative, people have placed caches on mountain tops and underwater. Although you want a unique location, please keep it a safe location.
The location should be extraordinary. In other words, the site might provide a view of the ocean, an interesting rock formation, or a beautiful waterfall. It could also be a place of historical significance or cultural interest. Think special. Think unique.

Select a Good Container

Besides the location, your other major decision relates to the cache itself. The container is the key. It should be made of the best material for the area where it will be stored. Will your container get hot, cold, or wet? All containers must be water tight. Consider Rubbermaid plastic, ammo boxes, and paint cans.

Your container should be easy to open, but also easy to reseal. One geocache was stored in a paint bucket and they even provided a screw driver to help open the lid!

Think about the size of the container. It should be big enough to store oversized treasure, but small enough to be easily hidden.

Choose the Cache Contents
Log book. Every cache needs a log book. It can be a small spiral notebook, sketchbook, or even a leather journal. You'll want to put information about yourself including your contact information, your reason for selecting the location, and the date you established the cache. Also provide guidelines for using your geocache. You might also want to put information about nearby attractions and coordinates to other locations. Place the log along with a pencil (pens will dry out or freeze) and sharpener in a zip lock bag.
Label the Contents. There's a chance that an "outsider" might stumble upon the cache. Be sure to label the outside. Also put a copy of the geocaching letter inside your cache so people will know the purpose of the cache. You might also include a list of contents.
Treasures. You can choose any type of treasure that fits you personality. It may be things you find around the house or trinkets that you buy. Items such as old CDs, paperback books, matchbox cars, toys, key chains, and hiking tools work good. Keep it cheap. Your whole cache including the container should be less than twenty bucks. Put things in zip lock plastic bags for extra protection.
Remember that the treasure will be stored for a long time so avoid items that might spoil such as food, things that might melt, or things that could be dangerous or illegal such as ammo.
Incorporate Fun Activities
Adopt a rock family, swap a CD, or take a picture. Think about fun activities to incorporate into your geocache. One geocache provided a log book and pet rocks. Your mission was to adopt a rock family and place them in a geocache at another location. Another geocache provided postcards that could be sent to friends.
Many people include a disposable camera in their cache. People are asked to take a picture and write in the log. When the camera is full, they ask you to mail them the camera or let them know and they'll pick it up. Then, the pictures are posted on the web. Fun!

Brainstorm some unique activities or treasures you might incorporate into your cache.

Locate a Good Hiding Place
Once your container is ready, you need to pick the best location to hide your cache. It should be placed where people would miss it unless they're specifically looking for the cache. Inside a rock crevice, under a bush, or inside a jumble of logs works well. In some cases, you might have to build a shelter. For example, in the desert you might create a rock tower to house the cache.
There's a fine line between a good hiding place and a place that no one will ever look. Don't bury your cache or hide it such that it can't be found. Finally, don't hide it in a dangerous location or somewhere that will destroy nature. In other words, the top of a tree, over the edge of a cliff, or in a bird's nest are poor choices!
Remember, geocaching is about discovery. Make it fun!
Provide Good Directions
Although the fun of a geocache is in the discovery, you need to provide enough information to interest readers and get them to the cache. Begin with an accurate set of coordinates. As you set your cache be sure to double check the location with your GPS device. Also, if you think people might have difficulty finding the cache, consider identifying waypoints or key features along the route. For example, the picture on the left shows a rock that points directly at the cache. Fun!
Before you leave the site, write an accurate description of the area. Also consider things that might be useful clues such as landmarks or general directions. When you're ready, give the cache a name and enter it at the report a cache section of the geocaching website.
For more information about geocaching, check out Geocaching's Guide to Creating and Hiding a Cache page.
Our First

Created by
Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 07/01.