A Beginner’s Guide to Trackables

So, you’ve found a trackable! As many geocachers have said before, “Wow! But what’s next?”

Although the world of trackables can be intimidating, there’s no need to worry. We’ve assembled the definitive beginner’s guide to trackables so you know just what to do!

What is a trackable?

A trackable is a moveable item within the game of geocaching which travels from geocache to geocache. Trackables appear in many shapes and sizes and are different from other SWAG items you may find within a geocache. 

Each trackable includes a six-digit code somewhere on the item. This code is unique to the trackable and tracks its specific journey around the world. 

Trackables are most commonly seen within Traditional Caches, Multi-Caches, and at Event Caches. In general, the larger the size of a physical geocache, the greater the chance that there could be a trackable inside. 

A Travel Bug®, Geocoin, and other trackable.

If I find a trackable in a geocache, what’s next?

If you find a trackable, you have two options: 

Retrieve or Discover

If you retrieve a trackable, it means that you are taking it with you to drop in another geocache.

  • Before retrieving, research the trackable to see if you can help it on its mission – if not, consider leaving it for the next geocacher to move along.
  • Log the trackable quickly to let the owner know it’s on the move, this is a best practice when it comes to trackable etiquette.

If you discover a trackable, it means that you saw it in a cache, but decided not to take it with you. This helps the owner of both the trackable and the geocache know that everything is a-ok.

How can I view past travels of the trackable?

On the trackable webpage, next to “Tracking History,” select “View Map.” This will provide an exact map of the trackable’s journey so far. Depending on how long the trackable has been on the move, the map may only have a few points or it may show a journey around the globe!

Trackables can often be found within Regular and Large sized geocaches.

What do I do with a trackable?

After retrieving a trackable, feel free to take it with you on your adventure. Each trackable’s mission is different; they can range from specific goals such as “Take me to Japan” or broad goals such as “Help me see the world.”

After you find the perfect geocache for the trackable, place the trackable inside the cache, and log that you have Dropped it. Now it’s ready for another geocacher to find and continue it on its mission.

If you would like to “keep in touch” with the trackable on its travels, select the “Watch This Trackable Item” link on the trackable’s page. 

Trackables come in many sizes!

How do I release my own trackables?

Shop Geocaching and our International Retailers sell Travel Bugs®, Geocoins, and other trackables which you can release into the world. After receiving your own trackables, be sure to activate them and give them a mission! 

With all this information in mind, you are ready to interact with trackables! For additional information about trackables, please visit our Help Center.

Adam is a Community Coordinator at Geocaching HQ. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, you can find him laying out for a catch in ultimate frisbee, playing the baritone sax, or lacing up his boots to cache on a PNW hike.