How to find your first geocache: tips for new cachers

There is nothing quite like the thrill of finding your first geocache. You open the cache and suddenly access a global treasure hunt that’s been going on all this time without you knowing it. It feels like magic.

However, as any cacher knows, confusion can occur before that first find. Sometimes that first find happens after a couple of puzzling DNFs (Did Not Finds). But have no fear! We are here with nine tips to clear the confusion and make sure the path to your first find is a smooth one.

  1. Know your GPS accuracy
    Your GPS navigation will only get you within about 30 feet (9 meters) of the cache you’re looking for. Once you arrive at the coordinates, you can put your phone or GPS device down and start feeling around for the geocache.

  2. Classic containers and hiding spots
    The popular example of a geocache is the tupperware container in the woods, but geocaches are often disguised as rocks, bricks, bird houses, or other everyday objects. Another thing to keep your eye open for are typical containers like repurposed pill bottles, ammo cans, and Bison® containers.

  3. Use your geo-senses
    When you’re searching for the cache ask yourself, What looks out of place in the area? What feels different here? Another good question: What looks too obvious to be the geocache? Sometimes the most obvious hiding place is right where the cache is.

  4. Logging tips
    After you find the geocache, make sure to sign the physical logbook and post a log for the geocache in the Geocaching® app. Geocache owners and other cachers love to read a good log, so feel free to flex your creative writing muscles and include details about your cache outing and find in the online log.

  5. Bring friends
    What better way to bond with friends and family, than by combining your powers and going on a treasure hunt? Not only is geocaching with friends a fun outdoor activity, it also increases your chances of finding caches.

  6. Check the cache page
    Before you search for a cache, check its cache page in the app or on the website before you search for it. Caches come in all shapes and sizes so it’s good to have an idea of what type of cache you’re looking for. Cache pages show the size of the cache and its Difficulty and Terrain ratings. Also you can often get helpful information from previous logs or a hint on the cache page.

  7. The #1 Tool of the Trade: a pen
    In order to log a geocache, the physical logbook must be signed. Some geocaches have a pen or pencil included inside the container, but many don’t. Make sure to always bring a pen with you so that you can sign every logbook you find.

  8. Respect your surroundings
    Make sure not to trample on flower beds, scale walls, or damage property trying to find the cache. A geocacher should leave the location of a geocache looking like it did when they found it. Or even better, get into the CITO spirit and leave the location looking better than you found it!

  9. Practice makes perfect
    The best way to get better at making finds is by practice. With every geocache, you learn something new, sharpen your geo-senses, and add to your geocaching knowledge. It’s incredible how much one’s perspective can change between even your first and tenth finds. Suddenly you’ll be seeing potential geocaching hide spots every time you go outside and seeing your find count increase too.

What friendly tips do you have for geocachers who are just starting out?

Genevieve is a Marketing Associate at Geocaching HQ.