Hiding your very first Geocache


by: Larry Sullivan (localbiz)

Once you have gotten some cache finds under your belt, it might be time to hide some geocaches. I would not recommend hiding any caches until you have found a good variation of caches, so that you understand the game pretty well and understand the time and responsibility requirements.

Hiding caches is not as easy as you might think. There are a number of factors to take into account. Remember you are placing geocaches for others to find, so you want to make sure everything is good to go before publishing the new cache. Before I go any further, you need to make sure you read and understand Groundspeak’s rules on hiding caches.

So what do you need to take into account when hiding a cache?

Location: “location is everything” they say. As I drive around, I am always looking for new places to hide a cache. When evaluating a location, I ask myself:

• Where would/could geocachers park?
• Is this a high muggle area?
• Are there too many houses/businesses around?
• Where are the nearest caches in the area?
• How much bushwhacking or stealth would be required?
• What unique features or reasons do I have to put a cache hear?


Permission: Getting permission is very important. If the cache location is on private property, then it is critical to make sure the owner knows what geocaching involves, where the cache is located, and if there are any special instructions. There are tons of stories out there about geocachers getting into trouble because the property owner knew nothing about geocaching.

Cache type: There are a variety of sizes of caches. Pick a cache that will fit well into your environment-one you can hide and hopefully find. The possibilities are almost endless. Be creative, it does not always have to be an ammo can.

Coordinates:You need to make sure the coordinates are fairly accurate. It has been amazing to see how many caches there are

First Geocache!

out there with coordinates that are drastically off. It is very frustrating to the geocacher who has to figure out where the cache is vs. where it should be. Take multiple readings, approach from different angles, use multiple gps devices are all options.

Swag/prizes: Should you provide first to find prizes? It is really up to you but I usually will provide a prize for caches that take some effort or the geocacher needs to work to find it.

Maintenance: Remember if you hide a cache, you are responsible for it. Sounds basic but it is amazing how many cache owners seem to go MIA after they hide a cache. Periodically check on your cache, respond in a timely manner when a geocacher has a question or thinks the cache needs some help. If you can’t maintain the cache or have decided to stop geocaching, allow a fellow geocacher to take it over or archive the listing.

I hope these points are helpful. Overall hiding caches is just as fun as finding them, so I encourage everyone to try it out and help the hobby of geocaching grow.

img credit: nio_nl

  1. Jim

    Thanks so much, any information is helpful as I am just stating out, I have hid 3, and had troble with some of the things you have listed. As too close to another cach on one, and Coordinates were off on another. Thanks again.

  2. Chris

    I’m more of a finder geocacher rather than a hider. I appreciate it when cachers hide a cache where I can concentrate on the finding rather than keeping a lookout for muggles. Definitely, not in view of houses. It would seem that the geocache is just waiting to be muggled.

  3. Emily Preece
    Emily Preece11-07-2009

    Good article.

    I really try to think about where people will have to park, and maybe even post the coordinates for the parking spot in the descriptive text.

    To make sure the coordinates of the cache are correct, I usually go find my hiding place, get the coordinates, plant the cache. Leave and walk around a bit, turn my GPSr off and on again, and go back to re-check the coordinates to fine tune them. SOmetimes, I do this two and three times if there is a lot of tree cover, or inbetween tall buildings, etc. Then, I go away and come back the NEXT DAY and pretend I’m the guy trying to find the cache. How close can I get to it with the coordinates I have written down?…

    Then, and only then do I list the cache as being “active”. It’s worth it. I’ve not yet had a problem with any of my caches.

    I have an intresting situation, in that we have three homes in different states — one in Texas, one in New Mexico and one in OLD Mexico in Alamos, Sonora. I presently have caches in two of the locations, and will place some in Alamos this winter. I always have to explain to the reviewer that we frequent the locales often enough to care for the caches; and in the case of the ones in New Mexico — I befriended a geocacher who lives there who offered to assist me in repair/replacement should that become necessary. That seems to have appeased the reviewer, and all my caches have been approved..

  4. Reese

    Thanks for this. I’m a newbie to geocaching and need great info like this!

  5. Christine

    My husband and I have been geocaching for several years now and we’ve found that we like hiding caches almost as much as finding them. What we really enjoy is doing a creative series (not multi-stage caches) such as one we placed a couple of years ago – 20 caches called “Death or Taxes” – all of them located either in a cemetery or near a tax preparation office. We’ve had a lot of commentary on the series and most of them are still in place, even after two years and with very little maintenance.

    We also did a series several years ago, up and down a major highway that hosts a classic car cruise every summer. We placed a dozen caches on the route and we found fellow geocachers visiting the cruise (good for the local economy!) and picking up the caches at the same time.

    I also like creative cache containers. I’m TERRIBLE at finding nanos, so I don’t like placing them. But I’ve used some fun things, all the way from a traffic cone (I was really surprised at how long that one stayed in place!) to a paintball tube.

    I like covering things (From mint tins to prescription bottles) in camouflage tape or even spray-painting them to disguise the container so it will blend into the background. I’ve also hollowed out a stone – some work went into that one, I’ll tell you – and placed a fake electrical box in a public gazebo. I’m not really sure how good an idea that was, but it was plastic and snapped open, and didn’t have any real electric components in it, but I sure had some interesting comments on it in the cache logs.

    We have a travelbug hotel cache in our front yard, in one of the big ammo cans, and in one of my least favorite kinds of hides for traditional caches: under a huge picky pine tree.

    But all is fair in love and geocaching, I say.

  6. John

    We are looking for a little more specific help on hiding our first cache. My basic question is; is there anywhere you can hide a cache without having to find the right person to ask permission? I figure the obvious, private places ask the owner, businesses – if you are lucky and it is a small business you can find an owner, walmart parking lot – call Alabama? What about a mall parking lot? Church ask the pastor. What areas are out there to just place a simple first cache? Easmment of the road, or do I need to call the highway department? I see some in a small cemetary but do not know who “owns” them. Help on clearing up this “Adequate Permission” thing would be nice. I did see Keystones answer on geocaching.com but that still did not help me.

  7. admin

    @ John – 99 times out of 100 I think Geocachers don’t ask for permission unless it’s on private property. If the spot is in a parking lot or in an open woods or at a public area people just place it and there is normally no issue with it. I’m sure if you spoke with an attorney he would recommend getting permission every time, but it just really isn’t an issue in most cases. Obviously there are some situations where you would want to, but in the cases I mentioned above, and most others, it’s just not an issue.

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