Find Your Geocache

10 Mistakes New Cachers Make & How To Avoid Them

1. Thinking GPS units are 100% accurate

They’re not! A GPS will get you close, but you’ll never stand right on top of a cache. And different units will be off by different amounts.

Tip: Expand your search area

Magnetic Cache Container

This was the first magnetic cache container we'd ever found. For people used to finding ammo cans in the woods, it took some time to readjust our thinking.

2. Hides are always on the ground.

Nope! People use string or wire to put caches on a branch and magnets to hide it under benches.

Tip: Look high AND low.

3. The cache will stand out in some way.

A lot of caches do. Especially larger caches in the forest. But not all caches do stand out. Some are so well hidden they’re used as a TOOL by cachers to flip over rocks and sticks.

Tip: Expand your thoughts about what a cache can and cannot look like.

4. Not reading the cache page carefully.

The cache page is there to help you with hints. Even the most careful (and evil) cache owner leaves digital hints in the cache description.

Tip: Read the entire cache page, including the hint, carefully.

5. Digging.

It’s against the rules to require digging to find a cache. You’re not mining for gold so leave the shovel at home!

Tip: But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t underground! I’ve found two that required me lifting something (a lid, a rock, and a cleverly disguised root) to find the cache below ground level.

6. Not double checking the coordinates of the cache.

Especially when you are manually entering the coordinates into your GPS! I’ve made the mistake of entering the coordinates of the PARKING area as the cache and then having to return to the truck to look up the real coordinates.

Tip: Enter the coordinates into the GPS and then check it for accuracy.

7. Not noticing the NAME of the cache.

Sometimes the name of the cache is more helpful than the hint.

Little Job cache

The name of the cache was "Little Job" but I kept looking under rocks in the stream!

Tip: A lot of times, you can see evidence that the name is important by reading the logs of the cache.

8. Paying too much attention to what other cachers have said in their logs!

Go off what the cache owner says FIRST since various cachers will approach a cache from different directions.

Tip: Look for clues, but don’t take logs as gospel. Some cachers will be misleading in their logs on purpose!

9. Making the terrain harder than it should be.

A terrain of 1.5 and you’re fighting your way through a bush? Climbing a rock? Climbing down a cliff?

Tip: If the terrain seems a lot more difficult than listed, try approaching from a different direction. A lot of times, you’ll find a clearly marked path!

10. Not having the right tools.

As we gain more experience as geocachers, we all develop our go-to geocaching tool kit.

Tip: Read the article Geocaching Supplies Checklist for hints.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What are some mistakes you made when you were new to geocaching?
  • What advice can you offer newbies about the game?
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