How to Claim a Geocaching FTF (First to Find)


Ping! That’s the sound of your phone or email notifying you when a new geocache is published nearby. Grab your geo-bag, gps device, and get moving… you want to be the FTF (First To Find).


Discovering new geocaches before anyone else. Image by @gc_steph
Discovering new geocaches before anyone else. Image by @gc_steph


Why would I want to be FTF?

Being FTF on a geocache is an exciting experience. You get to discover the newly published geocache prior to everyone else in the community and you get to brag about it 😉 . On many occasions, geocache owners will leave a small gift for the first geocacher to discover their cache. Prizes? Heck yes!


Photo by @officialtinysuperman
Photo by @officialtinysuperman
Cash prize! Image by Instagrammer @ruznuz
Cash prize! Image by Instagrammer @ruznuz


How do I set up instant notifications to let me know when a new geocache is published (only applicable to Premium Members)?

You can custom build notifications under Premium Member features.

  1. Go to the Add Instant Notification page
  2. Name the notification
  3. Choose a cache type to monitor (e.g. Traditionals, Events, etc.)
  4. Choose the types of logs you want to see (if you are just looking for newly published caches, choose “Publish Listing”)
  5. Set the location (central point) and distance (around that point) you want to watch.
  6. Check the email listed in the “Send to” drop-down menu. (If you would like to send Instant Notifications to an alternate email,you will need to manage your email addresses first.)
  7. Check “Enable Notifications”.
  8. Select “Create Notification” and you are set!

For addition information on Instant and Text Notifications please go here.

FTF! Image by @driftsolo
FTF! Image by @driftsolo



How can I add FTF to my statistics?

Geocaching.com does not have a feature that showcases FTFs, as Geocaching HQ does not regulate or manage FTFs. However, many geocachers use outside statistics-generating sites such as GSAK.net or MyGeocachingProfile.com to display their FTFs on their profile pages.


Now go and search, young grasshopper. 

Young grasshopper
Young grasshopper


How will you celebrate your first FTF? Pancakes?

FTF Pancakes
FTF Pancakes posted using #geocaching @Guwisti



World traveler, outdoor enthusiast, social butterfly, friend to all animals (especially cats)
  • Guwisti

    My pancackes made the blog! I”m so excited!!! FTF on a Wherigo no less and my first time attempting pancake art! 😀

  • Carly- Geocaching HQ

    Thank you so much for sharing this delicious masterpiece! We were impressed.

  • Phetlern

    There is an additional component to “discovering the newly published
    geocache prior to everyone else” that hasn’t been specifically

    For those out looking for a newly published cache,
    part of the discovering of the unknown is the thought that is
    continually running through the mind “are the co-ordinates accurate”?

    With many placers just using Smart Phones to get “accurate” co-ordinates, the
    incidence of the Final (GZ) co-ordinates being out or totally incorrect
    is increasing. Adds to the fun and is part of the challenge of a FTF.

  • khaki

    If the location is great, then it doesn’t matter to me whether I’m the first or the 1000th to find the cache

  • RuzNuz

    Ahhhhh! I’m so proud! My instagram photo made it into the geocaching blog!

  • 51Capitals

    On my first hide I read in the logs about the FTF party that happened at GZ. I’ve since been FTF on three caches, but I actually anticipate meeting other geocachers there more, even if I’m not FTF.

  • Dennis Andison

    I was wondering if it’s possible to get notifications of newly published caches with the central point being your ‘Current’ location as opposed to your ‘Home’ location. Can this be done or do we just have to re-enter where we are each time, in the instant notifications? We love the challenge of a FTF, out there competing with likeminded crazies! LOL …

  • Riepichiep Cacher

    Good point. Here about we don’t only wonder, if the coords are good, but if the cache actually has already been placed… I know of many FTF-hunters that will not run if they see it is a newbe-owner… Might actually be a good point if the owner would need to spell out in words “I have placed the cache and got the permissions” prior to clicking “Submit”, instead of only clicking the checkboxes…

  • LightHouseSeekers

    My notifications come up according to my ‘home’ location; however if I am out on the road and get an alert I will load the app on phone which tells me the distance from my ‘current’ location.

  • cron

    Don’t be too serious about this. This is just a game. I’m a FTF hound and it doesn’t matter to me how many people will claim a shared FTF on one of my caches, or to share the FTF with anyone around at the time I find one (I sometimes offered to share a FTF to someone who would show up a minute or two after I closed the lid of the container). Does it really matter? Makes more people happy and that’s all that counts.