Nano Caches – Are they REALLY That Bad?


I’m sure 90% of my audience HATES nanos. Are you one of them? I’ve never understood why so many people dislike them so I thought I would write a quick post to start a discussion on the topic.

I do realize we all have our own reason why we enjoy Geocaching. Some like easy caches, some like hard caches, some like micros while others like large caches. So I’m not at all trying to say you SHOULD like them 😉 BUT I can explain why I personally don’t have a problem with them at all.

I don’t have a problem with nano caches because:

1. They aren’t as difficult to handle as most people make them (see the video below.)
2. They open up many more possibilities for hides. With large, medium and even some micros you’re greatly limited to where they can be hidden. But you can hide a nano almost anywhere!
3. Most micros that are nanos clearly state on the cache page that they are nanos. No, not all of them do, but in my experience many do. So if you don’t like them just don’t hunt for them.
4. They are much less likely to be muggled because they’re so small and they look similar to large screws and/or rivets.

Having a few nanos myself out there I’ve come to the conclusion that nearly all of the cachers who write in the logs their dislike of

Nano Caches are sneaky!

these containers are fairly new to Geocaching and/or hate having to roll them up and get them back into the container.

I’m 6’0″ with fairly large hands (not huge, but probably larger than the average person) and I have absolutely no problem with this. So I just put together a quick video how how to open, sign and close a nano cache (below.)


So what about you? Do you have a problem with nanos? If so why?

  1. ValleyPirates6

    I personally don’t mind nano’s either.
    One positive is the fact that yes, they are easier to handle when you are where there are possible muggles. It’s tough when the cache is a ammo box and there is a high likely hood of someone walking up or by.
    One downside is when you have kids and they are looking for swag like good little treasure hunters. A nano is fun to find but not as rewarding to open for them.
    Up to this point, I would say that most of our finds have been nano’s, but my real treasure is TB’s. We are planning on making some caches but don’t own any yet. I already know nano’s will be part of our stable of caches.

  2. AmboGuy

    Nano’s v’s regular?
    SUV v’s mini, personal preference, as Josh said, personal preference, at least you don’t have to take up 2 parking spaces with a nano (that really pi sses me, when someone with a flash big car parks in 2 spaces, take your vehicle to the back of the parking lot and walk you lazy bugger, am I getting sidetracked here)
    My point is, personal choice. I have only placed 44 caches, and a mix of nano’s, micro’s, right up to a real working bubblegum machine sprayed woodland camo (double bubble hybrid stage 4 night cache), I have placed drive by caches and I have placed series on a trail to a mountain top. What does this give, it gives choice.

    Because nano’s can be placed almost anywhere, they are great for getting numbers up, like when I visit the States (washington), I try to find as many as I can (as well as the cheap shopping)

    A couple of points to mention [blue][b]A nano logsheet is tiny, consider others, place your initials only, write small[b]
    If you sign it as a normal logsheet, full name date etc, then the log would need to be replaced weekly, with initials (my caching name is AmboGuy, so I put A.G. on the sheet, so my log would look like “A.G.5/10” (no my date is not back to front, it is only you Americans that are back to front with dates – whoops, WW3)
    [purple][b]try and carry a very sharp pencil or a retractible pencil, or a fine tipped pen with you [b]
    As Forest Gump would say “that’s about all I have to say about that”

    Guy (amboguy) B.C. Canada

  3. Flexeaton

    I really don’t have a problem with nanos – a cache is a cache and different sizes add variation. There’s really not much you can dislike – so what it’s smaller – that makes it more challenging, and therefore more fun, right?

  4. Bibliotec

    I don’t mind nanos. I just don’t look for them when my grandson or other kids are with me. Also, I like to choose caches based on where they are hidden. I wouldn’t ride to a parking lot to pick up a nano but would go for a unique locale.

  5. AmboGuy

    I have been thinking of placing a nano, in a small bison, in a larger bison, in a tube, in a lock n lock, in some other container, listing the size as “other”

    like those ever decreasing stackable dolls inside each other.

    If that doesn’t make some angry, don’s know what would!!

  6. Pigtales

    I for one, like nanos. They are often the cache of choice in the city. They give a person more options to hide and for multis they are often less muggled and work well for one or two hints to the ultimate cache. I think they also add a bit more challenge to the hunt. And let’s face it. It’s all about the hunt. Besides, my first find was a nano and I got hooked…Right!

  7. Dennis

    A cache is a cache of course of course and no one can talk to a cache of course unless the cache is the famous . . .

  8. Handyman:)

    Well 1st off my personal attitude is I really don’t base my life (including Geocaching) on what “other people think” If they don’t like nanos, then they shouldn’t hide or look for nanos. There are alot of people that want to control the world Well tough monkeys to them. I have only found 2 nanos & I haven’t hidden any, but I am not opposed to them as long as I know what I am looking for. Where I am, all the “old timers” think every cache should be some glorious place to visit or have a historical lesson. I ignore that…. I like to take my handyman skills & make extremely bizarre custom built caches or cache hides. Guess what, Everybody LOVES them even though there is no “lesson” and the places I hide them are mediocre or even ugly locations. I like to find & do “different” caches. Around here they Poopoo light skirts, while most are boring I thought it might be fun to attach a bison tube to a fake spider (cause thats what I always expect under skirts) Oh & if you take my spider skirt idea send me an e-mail, I would be interested in watching your cache for responses (just send me the GC# My name is Handyman:) I’m kinda a noob

  9. Terry K
    Terry K10-06-2010

    Nanos are great for those areas best suited for small caches. I do sometimes bunch them or have them identified to hunt for when I don’t have swag or when I want count for the month. The only problem I have with those little ones is me. I forget to pocket a pen/pencil and then oops! My bad.
    I like all sizes…….

  10. Tracie

    Yes, they are that bad :) Of course, my caching partners are an 8 year old and a 3 year old, so a big part of the allure is finding the “treasure.”

  11. CountryGirl

    I do not mind nano’s. The only thing I do not like are nano’s in the woods. Without any clues! Those are out and out mean.
    I myself have placed numerous nano’s. They are great for in the city.
    I have people complain about them. So, don’t look for them!

  12. ShadowHawke

    Personally I like nano’s. As someone else pointed out they are versatile in that they can be used in many places that micro and larger just won’t work. Currently I have two caches out and one of them is a nano. Although it hasn’t seen the traffic of my small cache, it’s seen a good deal of traffic and feedback has always been positive.

  13. Patrick

    I kind of like them and don’t like them at the same time. I like them because they are easy to hide and I don’t like them because they can’t hold very much stuff.

  14. Geocass

    I too like nanos as they can take you to interesting places where larger caches aren’t suitable. They can be very frustrating though. We once searched for one in a scrap metal yard for half an hour. It could have been literally anywhere! Needless to say we didn’t find!

  15. rcm999

    Nanos are no problem for me. I have placed one or two, myself. I’ve even found a pico. Yes, smaller than a nano. THAT was cool. Anyway, I found a nano once disguised as a rivet, with a pill bottle close by as a teaser. I enjoyed that one as well because both of those had several DNFs and only a few finds. But it’s all about getting out among people and having fun. Bottom line; if you don’t like the song, don’t get up and dance.

  16. Tatortott

    If one does not like nanos then one should just not look for them. I like variety and love finding nanos in unique locations. I agree that hiding a nano in the woods w/o a purpose or hint is just plain mean. I hide nanos and regular caches and do not favor one over the other. In urban settings, nanos work well and provide caches to find when I am traveling.

  17. Team Chipsndip
    Team Chipsndip10-06-2010

    I like a variety of caches, and don’t prefer one over another. However, it’s harder and harder to find anything but micros and nanos. These sizes give cache hiders an easy way to hide a cache, and some hiders take advantage of this to plaster a populated area in a .1x.1 mile grid of nanos stuck with magnets to handicapped parking signs. I like a cache to bring me somewhere unique, tell me a story, make me glad that I found it for reasons other than chalking up another “found” +1 to my counter. I’ve seen some excellent caches that were nanos – but I’ve seen a much larger ratio of junk caches.

    So – I’m not opposed to nano caches, just opposed to junk caches. The odds are higher that a nano will fall into the junk category than a regular size cache…

  18. PTBL family
    PTBL family10-06-2010

    I personally don’t mind nano’s, as I have a few out. The only problem I have in nano’s are the ones in the middle of a big forest, which you can hide ammo cans.

  19. Monterey Company
    Monterey Company10-06-2010

    I think that part of the dislike stems from what I call the treasure box factor. There is something really satisfying about arriving at a box that is large enough to contain actual items. The initial mystery and anticipation of what you might find inside adds to the finding experience.

  20. joytoy1963

    I love nanos !!! The only part I hate is when the logs are so cramp into the container.

  21. JadeMason

    /agree with Team Chipsndip

    I don’t have a problem with a nano or any other small container, but I go caching to experience something new and unique. That can be a new place, a new activity, or just an interesting container or hide location. Finding a vanilla container under a light skirt at the local Taco Bell doesn’t do anything for me. One particularly memorable nano was made to look like an egg in a fake bird’s nest.

    On the other hand, when I’m out with my young children, I know better than to go looking for nanos. I want to help build a sense of appreciation for nature in my kids, and the ‘treasure box’ is the enticement to get them out in the wild. They will listen to boring old dad as he points out and describes things along the way so long as their is a pot-o-gold at the end.

  22. JimDoss

    Nano! Bah Humbug! I’ll look for them if I’m trying to clear an area, but half the time I won’t even sign the log. It’s too much trouble.

    But where I really hate nanos (and micros) is in the desert (where I live). There’s nothing around for miles and miles but rocks and someone will put a nano out. I often wonder if they’re just too cheap to put out a “real” cache.

  23. stickerooni

    My feeling is that a cache should be suited to the area around it. A nano in a city seems perfect. A nano hidden in a hollow of tree in the woods is pointless. Some are questionable — did the bridge railing really need a nano when a key-holder micro would have been just as well hidden? In a case like this, a nano often doesn’t get returned to the correct spot, making unnecessarily difficult for the next finder. Difficult is okay, but when it’s in a busy city area, it makes for obvious searching.

    I’ve hidden one nano (on a door to a nanotechnology organization!) and found many. It’s just another cache. Like another reader wrote, I’m looking at location more than I am size of cache. It isn’t the size that matters, it’s how you use it! :)

  24. nickgatt

    I like nanos, but the tiny logs are….tiny.

    Another cacher showed me how to sign it using the stamp I use. The bottom of my stamp has my geocaching name. I stamp the log with the bottom of the stamp, so only my name appears. Most people with stamps don’t write the date, so the entry is pretty small.

  25. Eric

    Well, I’m still somewhat new to geocaching (only 25 finds) but I think that as long as they’re marked correctly whether it be micro, nano, regular or small I have no problem with it. The more options out there the better. Anything that gets people having fun works for me!


  26. Mike

    One thing I don’t like about nanos is there is no “nano” size choice on Most people are pretty good about using the hint or desc to tell you it’s a nano, not a micro, unless they mean for it to be a 4/5 diff.

    The only other thing would be “needle in a haystack” nanos, even micros. Hiding one in a pile/row of rocks is no fun at all. If I get to GZ & it looks like it could take me, and the kids, an hour or more to narrow it down, it kills the fun for us.

    I say that, but I’ve also remembered those the most. One such hunt took us 4 trips & a few hours worth of hunting before we came up with it. Another hunt, was a magnetic nano painted to match tree bark perfectly. And there were 2 street signs a lamp post & a metal art sculpture nearby.

    I love putting ’em out though. They’re easier to hide & be clever with in urban environments. Fire hydrant nanos are easy to hide from muggles. Some people hate 35mm skirt-lifters. Boring, sure… but when I’m on a business trip with limited time for caching, those are the ones I target, to get the most bang for the buck out of my time.

    If you’ve been caching long enough (over 1000 finds), chances are you’ve learned to appreciate all the different types of caches for their various niches in the game. Variety is the spice of caching! Happy Cache Year 2011!!

  27. Eirik

    I have two points in favour of Nanos.
    They are a nice challenge, and are extremely fun when you find them. I think I’ven found around 8 nanos (I have only found 101 caches, so it’s a fair chunk)
    However, I appreciate when it is written on the cache page that it is a Nano. It’s a pain when you are looking for a 35mm film canister and doesn’t register that black little knob on the black fence…

    I think groundspeak should make a “Nano” classification, just like micro, small etc…

  28. Halina AKA Ninawiski
    Halina AKA Ninawiski06-09-2011

    I like the nanos, they drive me nuts but hey that is part of the fun. I don’t drive and a lot of the larger caches are out with where I can travel to so the nano’s are ideal for me.


  29. Freddo

    Bloody Nanos! Spawn of satan. Burn down the Nano factory, and exterminate anyone who sells Nanos.

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