Do you log your DNF’s? Why you should!


It’s human nature to want to hide any type of deficiencies in your life. And it’s no different with hobbies. Especially hobbies that are as addicting as Geocaching! But, is a Did Not Find (DNF) really a deficiency? NO, it’s not!

Show me a Geocacher with a perfect track record… one who has found every single cache he or she has hunted for and I’ll show you a Geocacher who doesn’t log their DNF’s because it’s simply not possible (unless you do VERY little geocaching.)

Caches get muggled. Caches get moved. Caches get destroyed. And I could go on and on with very realistic possibilities. Possibilities that are a reality for many caches every single day.

So why not just log your DNF’s? Anyone who thinks you’re any less of a cacher just because you have some DNF’s obviously doesn’t understand our hobby, so who cares about what they think of it. And anyone who really understands the hobby isn’t going to think twice about DNF’s.

When people don’t log DNF’s it causes a problem. A problem that I’ve encountered several times with several of my own caches. Caches go missing and since so many people are afraid to log the DNF, it takes months for the cache owner to realize the cache is gone. This is especially problematic with 3+ star caches.


So please, log your DNF’s and help make this awesome hobby even more awesome :)

Happy Caching!

  1. Shadowace

    Your Geocaching Logs (Filtered by Log Type)
    197 Results
    Show: Didn’t find it

    Back in the day I used to remove my DNF logs when I returned and found the cache. Today, I let them ride as part of ‘my’ story of ‘my’ caching trips.

    Why do I stress the ‘my’? Because so many cachers are now placing throw down caches in location that homeless would not visit in an attempt to pump numbers or stump cachers with 5/5 micro in town hides.

    Do I log a DNF on a cache that reads:
    ” DO NOT ATTEMPT this cache until ultimate supreme ninja stealth skills have been acquired.” Nope, most likely if I try it will be a pass by and not worth adding to the hundreds of other DNF logs because that is what the cache owner was looking for.

    If I believe the cache may be missing or if we had a fun search, I am more than happy to log that dreaded DNF.

    A few of my DNF logs are longer and more entertaining than any find log I have written. I will log a DNF if the cache and location merit a log.

    Cache on.

  2. Team fatman
    Team fatman01-13-2010

    Yes I log DNF’s and yes I agree I go 3 DNF’s then check on the cache. I have one cache that sometimes will have 8 or 9 dnfs and yes it’s still there not a hard one just good camo.
    It is a corona beer cap that has a string glued to a bison that is in a pvc pipe in the ground and the cap is flush with the dirt so it looks like trash.
    Thanks John

  3. TJ

    Absolutely yes. I log my DNFs.

  4. HoppyFamily

    In general, we’d like it if more cachers would do more with logs. Every time one of our caches is logged – found, not found, a note, whatever – we get a little thrill.

    On a multi-stage, log each stage as a note about your progress – that way you’re alerting the cache owner as well as watchers and we can all follow along. Even if you only did a half-hearted search, parked next to the trail head but went home, or simply read the description and liked what you saw – log that as well.

    A cache will get a narrative of sorts if more people logged DNFs, notes, or simply put a little more effort into their logs to tell how they’ve interacted with the hide.

  5. Sara (Ducttapepirate89)
    Sara (Ducttapepirate89)01-13-2010

    So far i have only been caching since august 09. I have found a fair few caches and i have logged a few DNF’s its frustrating when you don’t find the cache especially when you probably wont be in that area again. But Such is life.


    Absolutely, we log DNF’s. The exception is if we have not given up and are going to return. Cache owners cannot gauge their hides if they don’t know there may be a problem with the cache. Good hides deserve the “win” if you just can’t find it. Other cachers deserve to be able to judge whether or not they want to try a cache that may be MIA or just tough.

  7. Mike

    I’ve only been caching since September 09, so I’m pretty new to the sport. If I don’t find a cache, I typically won’t log it as DNF – especially if it had been logged recently before my attempt to find it.

    I take other factors into consideration… such as, if my GPSr is jumping all over the place, time of day (eg twilight), weather, etc.

    If I don’t find a cache, I’ll go back to it a second time. If I don’t find it then, I’ll either log a DNF or return for a third attempt. If after the 3rd try I don’t find it, then I’ll log a DNF.

    So far, there have only been a couple of caches that I’ve just flat given up on, and logged as DNF.

    Usually when I return for the second attempt, I’ve found that I seem to notice things I didn’t notice on the previous attempt.

    For me not finding a cache just makes it all the more challenging… and when I return and do find it, it’s all the more satisfying.

    Happy Caching folks!

  8. Wheeler Dealers
    Wheeler Dealers01-14-2010

    As an owner of more caches in California than any other we want everyone to log the DNF’s. We take care of our caches and that is the only way we would know if something is missing or needs care. We would also like to know if someone decides to replace our cache. Strange how a different container OR other containers wound up at our caches.

  9. cainrcc

    I always log my DNFs !

    JUSTIN PEEK01-14-2010


  11. lesterzx3

    Just found your blog, looks like there is some good stuff on here.

    I agree that DNFs should be logged, but I am very cautious about it. I have only been caching since November 09, and there have been several times that my inexperience was the only factor in me not finding a cache. I think cachers should give at least 3 attempts before logging a DNF, as DNFs can cause some cachers to not even attempt the hunt.

  12. w9jim

    I log most of my DNFs. The difference is when I do an urban micro, or something else I’m not too interested in, and and my search was half-hearted. If I can’t find it in a couple of minutes, I move on to greener pastures and pretend I wasn’t even there.

  13. Mike

    DNF’s are important, for sure. As a CO, if someone logs a DNF on one of my 1 or 2 star caches, I know it’s missing & I’ll get it replaced quickly. But I am discerning with my own DNF logging.

    One thing I have noticed in this game, is “DNF’s can be contagious”. Sometimes cachers make assumptions about where a cache “must have been hidden” & think that seeing a couple previous DNF’s means it must be missing. They may cut their hunt short & log the DNF, waiting for the CO to recheck before coming back. I’ve been guilty of this on occasion, only to find out it was just hidden better or differently than I expected.

    I try to make sure we spend at least a good 15-30 mins (depending on difficulty) searching before we give in & log the DNF. Sometimes I’ll just use the “Write Note” instead, especially if I know the CO, just to let them know we tried, but I don’t think the cache is necessarily missing.

    There is nothing I love more than seeing a cache with 4 or 5 DNF’s in a row & being the one to find it before the CO can chime in & reassure everyone it’s still there, LOL!

  14. Luke

    I think about it before I log a DNF. If I didn’t spend too much time looking for it, I won’t put up a DNF. If I thoroughly searched everywhere I could think of and feel like there was nowhere else to look, I will log it. But you are right, it does hurt a little to admit that I couldn’t find one.

  15. Marrakesj

    I’ve seen people logging a found when the cache is still active but not in place (gone). How do you feel about this ? Thinking about it – when you found the place of the hide you would have found the cache when it was there …

  16. MadCacher

    Great commentary! Personally, I go back several times to search before logging a DNF. I will also look to see over the next couple days if someone else has found it. In my experience someone with better hunting skills discovers it and I return with renewed interest. If the area is particularly difficult I will post comments to other cacher’s and see if they can provide assistance. Usually on the second try the cache will stand out at me and I question why I was never able to find it before. However, if I return multiple times and after my search people begin logging DNF’s I will register the item as DNF.

Leave a Reply