As anyone who has done it before can tell you, Placing a cache can be just as
much fun, and just as rewarding as finding one. And as any seasoned Cacher will also tell you,
the key to a successful cache, is proper preparation and planning. For that reason, we have
provided here what we hope you will find to be useful tips when planning a cache of your own.
1. Choosing A Location For Your Cache
Choosing an appropriate location is probably one of the most challanging steps
in placing a cache. You will want to be sure to take certain factors into consideration, such
as general accessibility, safety, and seasonal changes to the local terrain. Be sure to try and
balance accessibility, difficulty, and most importantly safety when you place your cache. Yes,
you want to make your cache challenging, but at the same time, you need to keep it safe and
When placing a cache, it is important to keep in mind that a location that may
be easily (and safely) accessible during that particular time of year, may be flooded or
otherwise inaccessable during other times. For instance, What looks like a great hiding spot in
the fall and winter months, may actually turn out to be a poor choice due to extremely heavy
ground or tree cover during the spring and summer months. Or, perhaps that dry river bed you
had to cross while placing your cache in the fall, is filled with fast moving white waters in
sping, making it difficult (if not dangerous) for others to reach. Another thing to consider is
that excessive tree cover can make proper SAT reception dicey at best with many GPS units,
making it difficult to locate a cache. Does this mean you shouldn't hide your cache deep in the
woods, or on the otherside of that river bed? No, only that you need to consider seasonal changes,
different equipment capabilities, and even that people of all ages and physical conditions
will be looking for it.
Also, don't forget to use a topographical map when placing your cache. Whether
searching for, or placing a cache, the second most important tool after your GPS, is a Topo Map.
Nothing more disappointing than hiking 45 minutes into your favorite park to place a cache,
only to later learn you placed it 10 minutes from a different parking area or trail on the other
side of the park. Using maps in the planning stages can help you avoid these disappointments as
well as help you navigate safely when in an unfamiliar area.
2. Choosing A Theme
While not a requirement, many geocachers have come to enjoy a thematic approach
to Geocaching. Because of this you may want to consider a specific theme when hiding your cache.
This is easy to do, and certainly adds to the fun of the search. For example, your chosen
location may be hidden near a waterfall, so an appropriate name might be "Over the Falls".
Cache items inside might include water falls souvenirs, postcards, or similar items. Another
theme which is rapidly growing in popularity is a Hitch-Hiker Theme. This involves placing a
particular stuffed animal or other figure in a cache along with instructions on where it is
headed. It could be across town, across the country, or even around the world. Other Geocachers
then get to take part in the challenge of moving the hitch-hiker from cache to cache in an
attempt to reach its intended destination.
3. Packing Your Cache
Packing your cache appropriately is very important for many reasons.
Depending on the area you have chosen, it may be exposed to harsh and varying weather conditions,
as well as the curiosity of the local wildlife. For these reasons, it is highly recommented you
use a tight sealing water tight container. One type of container that has become very popular
among Geocachers are the military surplus 30 or 50 caliber ammo canisters. These ammo canisters
are sturdy, virtually weatherproof, spacious enough for a fair sized cache and will help keep
the curious racoon (or even bear) out of the cache. You can generally find them at local
military surplus stores or order them online. Another popular choice is Tupperware© type
containers. While not as durable as the ammo cans, they are fairly weather resistant, inexpensive
at readily available in most discount type stores. An added benefit of the plastic type container
is that they are often transparent. This will allow non-cachers who may stumble across your
cache to see that the contents are harmless. If you are thinking of using a plastic container
of some sort just remember that plastic often becomes brittle when exposed to extreme cold. So,
if you will be placing a cache in an area that is exposed to harsh winter weather conditions, a
plastic container may not be your best choice. Whatever you decide to use, be sure to pick
something that will protect your contents from the elements, and be sure to mark the outside of
your container to identify it as a cache. We also recommend that you place a Cache Stash Note
inside so that others who find it will know what it is, and who it belongs to. A printable
version of the Navicache Stash Note is availabe here in both
English and in
The items you can place in a cache are endless. Small tools, bumper stickers,
toys, coins, and area souviniers are just a few examples. Remember if it is a themed cache to
place an item that fits your theme. Bug repelleant wipes and fresh batteries are always a welcome
site to most any Geocacher. Items you'll want to definitely include in your cache are pens or
pencils, and some sort of notepad to be used as a logbook. Optionally a disposable camera is
always nice too, as this allows finders to snap a picture to record their success. You may even
want to separate items in the cache with zip-lock plastic baggies for protection from insects,
dirt, and moisture.
There are also some items that it is best not to place in your cache. It is
recommended that you never place items which may be damaged by extreme heat or cold, combustibles,
or any type of food items in a cache. The thought of leaving that can of Insect Repelent may
seem like a good one, but let it sit in an ammo can on a hot summer day and well, you get the
idea. Also, wildlife tend to have a real keen sense of smell, So if you do place that snack in
a cache, a curious racoon or bear is bound to find it eventually. When they do, chances are your
cache will not remain where you left it. And if it does, it will certainly not be in the same
condition. Besides, most people are not going to feel comfortable eating something left
behind by a stranger.
4. Hiding Your Cache
By now, you've used your maps to help find an appropriate general location for
your cache. Your cache should be located on public property and never on privately owned land
unless the owner has given express permission for you to do so. When placing the cache, always
use care to place it in a way that those seeking it may get to it without damaging the surrounding
flora or entering restricted areas.
Use your imagination in placing the cache. You can look for the obvious
locations and take advantage of high brush or deadfalls. But keep in mind that like you,
the first inclination of the person searching for your cache when entering an area, is also to
"look for the obvious". Try to anticipate where others might tend to look and hide
your cache elsewhere! Make use of shadow and natural camouflage such as fallen trees, limbs,
and leaves to hide that cache imaginatively! Never!, Ever!, dig, break branches or otherwise
cause permanent damage to the surrounding area.
Finally, make sure others are not watching. Just think of the disappointment
when you find out that your cache was removed by curious onlookers shortly after you left.
5. Be Accurate!
Be as accurate as you can when using the GPS to mark your cache location. Make
sure you have a good lock on the SAT and that your reading has settled, then note your coordinates.
It is recommended that you take the reading not once, but several times until you feel confident
that your coordinates are correct. You may even want to move away, and use your GPS to retrace
your steps back to your cache. That way you can be sure that your coordinates are correct.
Taking photos for your own reference (and for posting online) can be very
helpful. Returning to maintain your cache will also be much easier if you have photos to help
find it after leaves have grown or blown with the seasonal changes.
6. Be Descriptive.
When posting the details of your cache online, be descriptive enough to be
helpful yet don't "give it away"! Often the descriptions are posted in the form of
rhymes or riddles. This is another area where you can have fun by hiding the clues witin a
7. Be Safe!
Above all, be safe! Have fun! and Happy Caching!