That’s a Geocache?!? The Unending Evolution of Geocaches

Traditional geocache

For most, the evolution of the geocache container begins with a sturdy great-great-great-grandfather geocache.  It’s the iconic metal ammo can. But in one decade of geocaching, the geocache family tree branched off into dozens of directions.

Each branch embodies the spirit of evolution.  Geocaches now blend more and more into their natural environment.  Say you place a cache on the outskirts of an estuary?  There’s a bird geocache for that.  You’re considering an urban cache on a park bench?  We’ve heard of magnetic microcaches that resemble gum for that.

Take a quick look at the picture below on the left.  Guess how many geocaches are in that picture?  Ok, I know there are a few caveats. There can only be one geocache every tenth of a mile and none of these are activated, but how many possible geocaches do you see? The answer is… six. The bird, those pinecones, that rock, even two of the sticks are actually geocaches.

How many geocaches are hidden in this picture
Just enough room for a log

Geocaches are not the only part of the geocaching equation to evolve.  Geocachers developed a keener “geo-sense” over the past decade.  Say that you placed a corn cob shaped cache in field of corn… the cache will be found.

A cache like this one pictured at the bottom of the page is all in a days work for an average cacher.

I’d love to hear your most difficult find.  How many DNF’s did you log before uncovering the cache?  Let us know, just post a comment to this blog.

Thermometer reveals a geocache
  • I love the idea of using those tiny lab flasks (Eppendorfs) as caches, but with my handwriting, it would be very difficult to fill in a log that tiny… I guess the owner of such a cache has to check very often if the log-paper is not full.

  • Nikki

    We've found one that looks like a screw…it was screwed in to the side of a building with only room for a log book.
    Love the blog

  • Phelice

    Micors suck. Period.

  • My favorite was a small diameter PVC pipe buried in the woods. All that could be seen was about an inch or two of it above ground. The hint said to bring water. I poured the water down the pipe. A fishing bobber popped up and I pulled it out. On it were the coordinates to a second stage in the cache. When I placed the bobber back in the pipe the water had already drained out, so it was very well thought out. Also, as I am curious, I tried to pull the pipe out of the ground, but could not. They had it attached to a base they buried so it could not be removed. Simply an awesome cache!

  • creativetypedad

    A pinecone on a pine tree was definitely the most difficult but most entertaining for us. Thankfully didn't have to register a DNF because of the helpful hint.

  • Me

    A sad commentary on the evolution of geocaching.

  • me


  • bustres

    Sounds like defacement to me. I hope the cacher had permission for putting a screw into the side of the building.

  • bustres

    Burying a container is not good.,, 🙁

  • bustres

    I've never seen the thermometer. It's a good one One of my favorites was a fake bird feeder at a cache in Eldred, Pennsylvania. The cache was a hollow core down the center of the feeder. The visible clear portion of the feeder still had bird seed. It was a large feeder so it held a few trade items plus the log.

  • While I was reading the article, I clearly had my most frustrating cache in mind. It as at a drugstore and my GPS brought me to a fence. I looked all over several times before a fellow cacher told me what it was.
    It was a cable tie attached to the top of the fence, and cachers signed the tie.
    I like creative cache containers and hides, but I think this one cross the line. It looked much more like trash than a cache to me.

  • Jim

    This is very interesting, and very clever. But an obvious guideline violation.

  • Artur

    At the time, a year ago, these two were the ones closest to my home. Of course it made me frustrated having such difficult ones, and I didn't really now about the degrees of difficulty. One is concealed as a wooden plank in a wooden bridge, so you need to lift it, then it's carved out and holds a casette case. The second one is a fake water tap where you unscrew the center of the tap to find the log stuffed inside. 4-5 DNFs on the first one, 3-4 DNFs on the second one.

  • mom

    Fake magnetic screw and nut on the back of a guardrail, or yesterday it was in an 8″x8″ 3 foot high wood post to block the entrance to a trail. Cache was in a hole behind the 4″ square reflector on the post. You had to unscrew screw attaching the reflector to find the cache. With no finger strength I had to get tools to loosen screw holding reflector on.

  • Debrob40

    One of my most favorites, although not very difficult, was one of those plastic owls people put up to scare away birds. It was in a pine tree, the bottom of the back had been cut away to allow for the log container.

  • Nbbbbbb

    you are giving away my hides

  • Jules

    The toughest find for us was a tiny tube that had been placed into the side of a wood chip. The chip was then tossed into some landscaping with many, many other wood chips. The hint was, “how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” Our answer to that is probably not as much as we ended up chucking that day! We posted one DNF and had to go back a second time before we got lucky and spotted it. But what a rush when it finally turned up! We love caches like that.

  • Primrey

    i am aiming for a hundred caches today


  • Brianjwhite80

    my favorite was an ammo box that had a handle attached to the side to make it look like a high voltage power switch. the box had industrial strength magnets and it was attached to a support beam for a billboard. i walked by it many times thinking that it was the breaker switch for the sign's lights. one of the most creative ones that i have seen.

  • Brad

    I think you're misunderstanding my description. There was a stage of a cache in the ground and it was not buried. The final stage of the cache was not buried.

  • Patrick

    These are all very creative, and possibly entertaining, but anything that you have to take apart to find the cache crosses the line, in my opinion. What's the difference between taking apart a sign, or unscrewing reflectors, bolts, water taps, etc. and vandalism? The only difference is permission of the owner and whether everything is replaced properly, and the cacher will generally have no idea whether the CO has the land owner's permission (many do not). There are many careless cachers out there who will rip something apart destructively and not put it back. Like I said, if you have to take a normal fixture apart to find out if it is a cache, it's just bad form.

  • JDG63

    My most frustrating cache was at a local school. I knew I was right on the cache coordinate wise but could not put the clues together. As I was getting ready to log a DNF I started looking at the electrical utilities near the area of the coordinates. The CO had purchased a separate electrical box and intertwined it with the existing electrical boxes (all which were locked) and once I discovered it I was floored. It was then that I discovered that all caches are not created equal!

  • Thunderwear

    Brad, there is one of those water pipe ones here in Orange County, CA (Water Pipe GC1MQV8) and the page only tells you to bring two bottles of water. Doesn’t tell you there’s a hole at the bottom that you need to plug with your finger or the water just pours out at the bottom. I had to go back to this one twice, because my first bottle of water poured out of the bottom, and one bottle was not enough to float the cache high enough to grab it. Great cache, but frustrating that first visit! 😉

  • Dale

    Have a cache like that here in Calgary, (GC25ND5 Archimedes). I thought of a show I saw where a chimp used a twig to get ants out of a nest. Using a suitable length twig and pushed it up from the bottom. Worked for me.

  • These are all very creative, and possibly entertaining.

  • Danielrooke

    “Don’t bury your geocaches underground where it requires a shovel to retrieve them.” They can be partially burried provided no digging is required to retrieve the cache.

  • I just found a cache yesterday that was in one of those Thermometers 

  • Jason Sorensen

    I find it very time saving and very helpful for those with the handwriting issue to have a stamp made. I really like using the stamp, and it’s only a small investment.