DNF for the Good of All Humanity


If you’re just joining the geocaching adventure, DNF stands for Did Not Find. It’s a log type when you’re searching for a geocache, and guess what, didn’t find it. But what you should also know, is that a DNF log can transform into a “Found it!” The log type doesn’t mean you’ve given up, it means, well, that you didn’t find the geocache—this time. A DNF also means, “I care.”

When you log a DNF, you’re telling geocachers that the geocache may be more difficult to find than anticipated or may even be missing. You’re also letting the geocache owner know that they may need to double check that their geocache container can still be found at the posted coordinates.

If you’re a geocacher who’s logged one of the millions DNF’s posted to Geocaching.com so far, thanks from the geocaching community. It’s a small way to help ensure the quality of geocaching. Plus, you can always go back and search again. Who knows, maybe this time you’ll catch a break and log a “Found it!”

Share the geocache that you’ve DNF’d the most in comments below.


  • huflungpu1230

    Thekeeperfamily’s “Go Fetch” in Mentor, Ohio. Took me four tries on that one, but finally found it!

  • mark

    the one i have the most difficulty with is one call 6 bricks to misery. i have looked 2 separate times and could not find. i have since talked with the owner of the cache and have been assured it is right were it should be. i have not gotten a chance to go look for it again due to weather and a few schools i have been sent to.

  • TeamRocket5

    DNF our second ever geocache twice. When we went back for a third time, we found it! yay!

  • FAVA

    I have 2 FTDNF (First to Did Not Find)

  • Firecarp

    My favorite DNF was “Clearlake Oaks Guardian”, near Clearlake Oaks, CA. A hide by “tylercindy”. After trying hard as a newbie to find this one, with no success, I didn’t want to give up. I encountered a different type of hide that got me thinking maybe this one is the same type. There were lots of DNF’s mixed in with Found Its, so I knew it had to be there. I finally went back with this new idea in my head, started looking and sure enough I was able to make the grab. I have made a couple of my own hides similar to this one. Sneaky evil hides!

  • Bill Powell

    I’m on try #5 with one. Its maddening, and the CO says its there.

  • SlackMac

    GC1Q03J Sentier des Garennes, just south of Paris.
    This cache is only 1.2 km from home. It is a D2 T1.5 which I searched for repeatedly during a period of 18 months. I confess I did not always log a DNF, because I was still a newbie. I returned with ladders, telescopic mirrors, magnets on a stick, leather gloves to search the nearby junk and other tools & gadgets, I even borrowed friends’ GPS, to try to reduce the error in the coords (which were spot on). I wrote to the owner and he confirmed the cache was there….
    When I finally found it I was very, very pleased 😉
    So the moral of the story: Always try again.

  • Kitty Katch

    I dnf a cache in my local suburbs about 5 times. First time I couldn’t find it after a long search. I logged a dnf and put it on ‘watch’. Other people were then finding it so, I went back and had another look – still couldn’t find this micro that I was sure was hidden in one of the bushes. Another dnf log and I moved on, but came back a few more times as other people were making the find. Each time I logged a dnf. I even met the CO who suggested I widen my search. I still didn’t find it until the time after that. What a victory it was – and it was staring at me in a much more simple place then I had thought. Why do we make it so hard for ourselves some times hahaha!

  • Don Jag

    It took me ten years to find the third cache I ever looked for. I figure that I gave it about 25 tries. All the while, it was getting “Easy find”, from new players.

  • Sleeping Trucks :
    This Sleeping Cache
    was not emerging for anyone on this day of torrential rains and
    thunderstorms. I squelched through knee high sodden grass to within 12m
    of GZ, then contended with thigh high sodden grass till I reached the
    dripping mess of a tree that at its base shrouded enough stripped bark
    to cover a giant redwood. Checked my Iphone one more time, trying to
    keep the rain off it with my already soaked hoodie, and , yep, 1 metre!
    No way was this cache going to show itself despite the amount of bark I
    lifted away with rain cascading down my back as I bent to my task. I
    even visited another 3 trees with equally as much bark at their bases,
    just in case, but no. The cache was smarter than I was and stayed dry
    and hidden, while I emerged from that lowly forest a sodden eccentric
    mess carrying enough water through my clothing to launder the uniforms
    of an entire army. Thanks for the challenge, Team Casho:-)

  • ohbeep

    Question for cache owners. How many DNF’s should be logged before you go out and check the cache?

  • RenMin

    For me it depends on difficulty and who has DNF’D. Easier hides take just one but more devious ones I might let slide. If cacher has a good amount of finds I might check on it sooner. Keep in mind some hide methods are meant to build DNFs.

  • DreimalS+

    I was searching for GC3D660 near my church a dozen times. I always returned to the same spot, trying to figure out, where this well camouflaged cache could be hidden and how to reach it.
    In the end I came once more with a geocaching friend of mine. He found it immediately where I searched at my very first visit (but than never again). I really made me smile.

  • D&JC (geocachers)

    As Cache Owners, our most DNFed cache was recently archived because the city replaced the powerpole it was attached to- and took the cache with it. It was called Pullover and the screwhead that seemingly held the whole thing in place was actually a magnet attached to a pullstring. Pull the string and up popped the micro cache as it pushed the rainflap open.
    There was also evidence that it was tried several times but no DNF was logged…