What is Geocaching?


Cache: Shortened form of geocache, the object of the search.  A cache is any container that is hidden and includes a log sheet for finders to sign.  Size and material vary.

Camo:  Any means used to make a cache blend in with it's surroundings. A well-camo'd cache blends in so well with it's surroundings that it may be in plain view of the public, but only geocachers know what it really is.

Coords: Shortened form of coordinates (lat/long).

Decoy: A fake cache placed in the vicinity of an actual cache.  When you find it, it usually says something like "Ha ha...not it." 

DNF: Did Not Find.  Technically, you are supposed to post a DNF any time you look for a cache and do not succed in finding it.  My own personal policy is to post a DNF only when I legitimately feel the cache is gone, or that the experience was so interesting I feel the need to tell someone.  Let me clarify that I am not ashamed of my DNFs.  In my experience, posting a DNF causes the cache owner to check on the cache (which is usually still there and makes me feel like I've wasted their time), or the owner emails me with an unsolicited hint.  Neither of these things is desirable.
FTF: First to Find. It's an honor to be the first one to log a cache.  Sometimes there are small prizes to be had.  I have a handful of FTFs, but so far no prizes.

Geocoin: A special coin with a tracking number that is moved from cache to cache.  The idea is that you take the coin, track it, and leave it in a new cache.  If there is a goal, respect it.  Some people keep a collection of geocoins that never get circulated.
GZ: Ground Zero. It's where the coordinates take the cacher and where the cache should be. Sometimes my GPS is wonky, sometimes the coords are just bad, and sometimes the stars align and I walk right up to the cache on the first try.

Large Cache: The biggest cache size, which is anything larger than a regular.  Five gallon buckets are popular.

Log: The piece of paper the geocacher signs as proof that they found the cache.  Not that anyone really checks these (though I've heard of that happening), but it's fun to look at who the previous signers were.
Micro cache: The smallest cache size, smaller than a small (if that makes sense).  It's usually a 35mm film canister, bison tube, or nano. 

Muggles: Any of the billions who do not geocache. They can be problematic because they draw unwanted attention (ie. police or employees of a business' property), or might even steal the cache, gasp! Muggles are unavoidable and there are a million ways to deal with them.  Some people come up with clever excuses (i.e. I'm just looking at this bug...oh!  It flew away before you saw it.  Too bad.  It was an extremely rare and precious bug.  And you scared it away.  Thank you.)  I prefer the honesty route, which is definitely the best course of action with police officers.  Geocaching is not a crime, so don't be embarassed.  I also find that the more information you volunteer, the less people ask.  If you look shady, people get suspicious, so don't.

Nano Cache: Not an official class of geocache, but reasonably common.  Nanos are technically micros, but extremely small, about the size the button on your shirt.  I've never seen a cache smaller than a nano.

Regular Cache: A cache larger than a small, but smaller than a large (how's that for confusing?)  Ammo cans fit into this category.

Small Cache: A cache larger than a micro, but smaller than a regular.  Tupperware and peanut butter jars are common.

Swag: The tradeables inside a cache. Tradeables, not takeables. If you take something, leave something of equal value.

Travel Bugs: Anything with a tracking number that is supposed to travel from cache to cache. When you find a travel bug, you're supposed to log it online and then leave it in a different cache.  Some have goals, many get stolen.  Be respectful.

Common Cache Types

Common Hide Locations