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4 Legendary Trackables Every Geocacher Should Find

Article written by Katie DiJulio

In the last 12 years, over four million geocachers have participated in one of dozens of geocaching-based Trackable promotions in partnership with adventurous brands around the globe. From John Grisham fans seeking gold ingot Geocoins to Jeep enthusiasts on the hunt for toy Jeeps, there are unique experiences for every type of geocacher. 

Trackable promotions give geocachers a unique opportunity to engage with some of their favorite brands on a digital and physical level while spending time enjoying their hobby. Partnerships have included free Trackable giveaways, pre-release sneak peeks, and photo contests with prizes ranging from a set of new tires for your vehicle (road trip anyone?) to all expense paid trips. Each branded trackable builds a unique story as it travels. Trackables continue to generate engagement for years as geocachers discover and display these pieces of history at events, on social media, and online via their collection of unique digital icons (who wouldn’t want to collect a fancy little achievement for your profile page?) How many of these promotional Trackables have you spotted?

Jeep
1. Jeep 4×4 sweepstakes

This was one of the first branded Geocaching promotions and the first time digital icons were introduced on geocaching profile pages. Over 24,000 Trackables were attached to Matchbox Jeeps and released in different color batches from 2004-2007. Jeep trackables have traveled over 16 million miles to date and have become a staple within the geocaching community. The first Yellow Jeep in the promotion was even inspired by the Yellow Jeep Fever, locationless cache, which was a life size jeep! Throughout the promotion Geocachers submitted photos and essays about the Trackables for a chance to win the top prize: a full size Jeep vehicle.

 

Jeep2
“As small as those TBs were in the grand scheme of life, participating in those promotions brought me an immense amount of joy.” – Brian – Team A.I., 2007 photo contest winner

Want to discover a jeep for yourself? Follow their latest movements or stop by Geocaching HQ’s museum!

 

gold 2. John Grisham Hunt for the Gold

Doubleday publishing group’s 2012 Geocaching partnership focused on John Grisham’s new book “The Racketeer.” 5,000 custom gold ingot trackable geocoins were distributed to geocachers who then placed and moved them from geocache to geocache to mirror the book’s plot, in which ill-gained gold bars are moved around the United States. In addition to moving the ingot trackables over 17 million miles, geocachers showed off their photography skills for a chance to win the grand prize of a real gold ingot! The trackable program was paired with Facebook ads and geocachers flooded the John Grisham Facebook page, which gained 72,000 new Facebook fans and an increase in reach of 220% (according to Marketing Sherpa.)

 

The winning picture was of a young boy who posed with the "Grisham Geocoin" as a character, Theodore Boon, from Grisham's series of young adult novels.
The winning picture was of a young boy who posed with the “Grisham Geocoin” as a character, Theodore Boon, from Grisham’s series of young adult novels.
The story continues two years later: “Big score at Goodwill lol. Figured I had the trackable, might as well read the book. Both books for only $2. Might need to use for another library cache” - Jason Winder / animjason, Facebook, 12/2/2014.
The story continues two years later: “Big score at Goodwill lol. Figured I had the trackable, might as well read the book. Both books for only $2. Might need to use for another library cache” – Jason Winder / animjason, Facebook, 12/2/2014.

 

Geico

 

3. Geico Find the Gecko

GEICO’s 2011 Geocaching promotion released 9,000 Trackable tags designed in the shape of the iconic gecko mascot into the hands of geocachers across the United States. The tags were sent on their way while spreading awareness for the “Find the Gecko” sweepstakes in which one Magellan Explorist GC GPS unit was given away to a lucky geocacher winner each week of the 20 week promotion! The gecko trackables were moved by geocachers over 73,000 times and remain one of the most popular trackables being discovered around the world, averaging 29 touchpoints a day years later.

 

SHC’s Danger Ranger Geico Trackable has traveled the world collecting more miles traveled than any other Geico Trackable with a total of 326,315 miles (mapped above) since it was released into the game on June 11th, 2011.
SHC’s Danger Ranger Geico Trackable has traveled the world collecting more miles traveled than any other Geico Trackable with a total of 326,315 miles (mapped above) since it was released into the game on June 11th, 2011.

Michlelin

 

4. Michelin Quest for Adventure

In 2014, Michelin celebrated their 125th Anniversary by launching a geocaching campaign to promote tire safety via a social media based photo contest. With 2,000 Trackable tags designed in the shape of a tire and attached to actual Michelin Man tire pressure gauges, geocachers were destined for success on the road. Geocachers across the United States tapped into their inner photography talent by submitting over 1,000 photos portraying a sense of adventure to the official photo contest by using the hashtag #MichelinQuest on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. The Michelin Trackables have traveled almost 1.3 million miles in just 4 months and have saved many tricycle tires from getting too low on air.

 

 

Geocachers submitted 1000+ photos over 4 months to the #MichelinQuest contest by adding the hashtag #MichelinQuest on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Geocachers submitted 1000+ photos over 4 months to the #MichelinQuest contest by adding the hashtag #MichelinQuest on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

These are just a few of the many examples of promotional trackable history. You can locate these promotional trackable types by looking up their latest movements on each of their home pages. Keep an eye on the Geocaching Facebook page and join 3.9 million other people who have subscribed to the geocaching weekly newsletter to learn when new contests and new free trackable series are available.

 

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2 Steps to Help Keep Your Travel Bug Traveling

2 Steps to Prep Your Travel Bug® for Its Journey

TB2.2

Everyone is doing the Travel Bug® 2-Step. Here’s how. It begins a bit like dropping your kid off at school for the first time. He may cry and stomp his feet, refuse to walk into the classroom, but in the end you know he’ll make it through just fine. Your Travel Bug is much the same. It might be difficult to part, but because you’ve taken the two key steps to ensuring his journey is successful you know you’ll see him again (online):

1. Seal the Travel Bug in a small plastic bag to prevent damage from moisture.

No matter how cute that little toy might once have been, if it’s icky now most people will take a pass. Nobody likes picking up a dirtied, smelly Travel Bug…queue the Ziploc. Some Travel Bugs are even sent off with provisions: sewing kits, an extra key chain, or superglue. You decide what goes in your Travel Bug’s luggage.

2. Include a note with a description of your Bug’s goal

Put yourself in the place of a first-time geocacher. You probably know slightly more about rocket science than about trackable etiquette. As a trackable owner, it’s difficult to fault a newbie for accidentally moving your Bug in the opposite direction it wants to go…but you can certainly prevent it! Make it clear that your Travel Bug wants to visit every country in Europe with a monarchy by writing this clearly on a note. Not only will this ensure that your TB isn’t accidentally brought to Fiji, it will also introduce new geocachers to the idea of Travel Bug goals, so they look out for them in the future.

 

Geocachers who do the Travel Bug Two-Step help create the beautiful global choreography that unfolds in this Travel Bug® Travels video.

Can’t get enough of Travel Bugs? Read more about how you can help keep others’ TBs on the road: 3 Travel Bug Travel Tips

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Picture This: A Geocaching Trackable Frames a Journey

Geocaching trackables travel far and wide—hopping from geocache to geocache in the hands of geocachers. If we could hear the stories they had to tell, we’d have an endless supply of tales that include action, adventure, love and maybe even some sci-fi. We haven’t developed talking trackables just yet (soon?), but they can still tell a story via the pictures you post on the trackable’s page. The next time you pick up a Travel Bug or Geocoin, make sure to add to the story and post a photo of its journey to the next geocache. You could help tell a story like Kelly Frazee (geocaching name: kelwin).

Kelly recently had the opportunity to take a picture perfect bike tour across Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand—and she brought along the perfect travel companion: a Geocaching trackable. The trackable, “Picture This” (TBKXCT), is an ornate wooden frame and has the mission to collect as many interesting photos as possible. So as she pedaled along the Silk Roads, she took photos of the trackable and posted them in a note on the trackable’s page. Here are a few photos of this amazing journey:

Wat Phra Si Sanphet Ayutthaya, Thailand Photo by Kelly Frazee
Wat Phra Si Sanphet Ayutthaya, Thailand Photo by Kelly Frazee
Bayon Temple Siem Reap, Cambodia Photo by Kelly Frazee
Bayon Temple Siem Reap, Cambodia Photo by Kelly Frazee
Downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Photo by Kelly Frazee
Downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Photo by Kelly Frazee
Angkor Wat Temple Siem Reap, Cambodia Photo by Kelly Frazee
Angkor Wat Temple Siem Reap, Cambodia Photo by Kelly Frazee
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Photo by Kelly Frazee
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Photo by Kelly Frazee

 

Have you taken any trackables to amazing locations? Tell the story and post the photos below.

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Shop Geocaching for the Holidays

MailerImage_120213_HolidaygiftGuide_vFINAL_BlogThis holiday season one Geocaching gift will smile back at you as it travels the world, heck it might even wave. It’s the poseable and adorable trackable LEGO™ geocacher. Each LEGO™ geocaching adventurer features the Geocaching logo and a unique tracking code.

Launch the geocaching game piece on a mission to explore as it bounces from geocache to geocache and track the entire journey on Geocaching.com. It might even be tempted to take a trip the most favorited geocache in Germany, near  LEGOLAND® Berlin.

The trackable LEGO™ geocacher is one of dozens of holiday gift ideas available for U.S. orders through Shop Geocaching and orders outside through U.S. through our International Retailers.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Geocaching HQ.

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The First Geocaching First-to-Find in Space

rick in space with Travel Bug
Rick Mastracchio with the International Space Station Travel Bug

An American astronaut Rick Mastracchio (AstroRM) enters the Geocaching history books. He logged the First-to-Find (FTF) on one of the most exclusive geocaches in existence. It’s a geocache hidden five years ago aboard the International Space Station. The geocache has orbited 260 miles above the Earth since geocaching pioneer and video game designer Richard Garriott created the geocache in 2008.

Signed logbook on the International Space Station geocache
Signed logbook on the International Space Station geocache

Astronaut Rick Mastracchio’s FTF log reads, “The geo space bug (TB5JJN1) has made it to the Russian Service Module, panel 218. He traveled from Waterbury, CT to Houston, TX to Cologne, Germany to Moscow, Star City Russia, to Baikonur Kazakhstan where it launched on a Russian Soyuz Rocket to the International Space Station. He has traveled around the space station and will continue to do so for the next 6 months. When he is not traveling he will be staying with me in my very small crew quarters. He hangs/floats on my wall and waits for more adventures while I do research and perform experiments here on ISS. Thanks for getting this little guy started Cizzors. Every journey starts with the first step and you took the first step of this one. Rick.”

Mastracchio thanked fellow Connecticut geocacher Robert Cizauskas (Cizzors) who first introduced the idea of geocaching to the astronaut. More than 26,000 geocachers at nearly 1,200 events around the world celebrated Geocaching in Space during Mastracchio’s launch into orbit.

The Travel Bug with Mission 38 hitchhikers to be delivered to schools back on Earth
The Travel Bug with hitchhikers to be delivered to schools back on Earth

The Travel Bug is riding along with Mastracchio on an educational mission. He’ll use the Travel Bug as a tool to teach kids back on Earth about geography and science.

The Travel Bug  is scheduled to return to Earth when Mastracchio finishes his six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

The previous Travel Bug Richard Garriott carried to the space station remained on-board the ISS for three years. It accumulated more than 350 million miles as it orbited the Earth. That Travel Bug returned to Earth by one of the last U.S. Shuttle missions to visit the International Space Station.

Watch the video of Richard Garriott’s mission to space. Leave your best wishes for Rick Mastracchio below in comments.