Posts Tagged ‘cache’

Find Your Geocache

Just What Size IS That?  Container Sizes Explained

When I got started in geocaching, I had no idea that caches actually came in different sizes. As a newbie cacher, I was like a little kid: all about the swag! The thrill of trading toys in the woods hasn’t really worn off either; I really only go for caches that are big enough for trade items.

However, I know some people who live and breathe for micros. Or, the evil little brother of a mico: the nano.

But, if you’re new to geocaching, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering just what I’m talking about. So, here are cache container sizes explained!

The first place you can see a cache’s size is on the list of caches when you run a search. But, don’t use this chart as the gospel truth of the cache size. I found a cache that was listed as a “small” but was really just a log sheet stuffed behind a sign!

This is shown on the cache listing page.

Cache Sizes

Large – This is listed as the size of a 5 gallon bucket. I’m not really sure how many caches this size exist. I know I’ve never seen one listed in my area, let alone actually found it!

Regular – A regular is an ammo can, nut jar, or other container that is about the size of a 3 pound coffee can. There will be plenty of room for trade items and trackable items.

Regular cache with trade items!

Small – This is defined as holding a log book and a few trade items. I classify my favorite cache containers as a small. A small may or may not hold a trackable item; it just depends on the size and shape of the traveler.

Altoids tin is usually classified as a small.

Micro – a 35mm film canister size. This typically means a log sheet and nothing else. Bring your own pen.

This is somewhere between a micro and a nano.

Nano – This is an unofficial cache size. It isn’t recognized as a real size by but anybody who’s hunted for a cache that’s so tiny it uses 1/4″tall strip of paper for a “log book” will agree this is a far cry from a micro!

This nano was less than 1/2 inch across and about 1/4 inch deep.

Not-Specified – Sometimes the hider of the geocache doesn’t actually say what size cache it is. That can be fun or it can be frustrating. Usually on this “size” I read through the logs to find out if trade items were left, and if so, what types of items. You can pretty much figure that if they say they left a Happy Meal toy that it’s not a micro!

Each cache’s unique page will also have the cache size listed. If you’re not sure if the size is listed correctly, scan through the logs. Usually, if a cache is listed as a regular and it’s really a small, somebody will have mentioned it in a log or two.

Check for the cache size listed on the upper left of the page.

If you’re just getting started, I recommend going for Regular or Small caches since it is more fun to FIND the caches when you’re new. As your geosense develops then start going after the micros.

And if you’re caching with kids: decide if the FIND is more important or if they like the SWAG. My other advice for caching with kids is to make sure they have fun and are successful. Most of the kid cachers I know define successful as finding the cache!

The more you geocache, the better you get at finding the container. I think most geocachers have a favorite size of container that they go for.

You can buy some really interesting geocaching containers on

For the experienced cachers:

  • What is your favorite cache size?
  • And for everybody who loves finding micros and nanos — what advice do you offer to get somebody started with that?

Find Your Geocache

Using To Find A Spot For A Cache

Here’s the scenario:

You get the cache container all ready to go. It has a log book, swag, the geocaching disclaimer and the PERFECT camouflage. You hike out to where you’re going to place the cache, going through all manner of pricklies and brambles. You find the PERFECT spot, stash the cache, take a GPS reading (I’ve some tips on just how to do this!) and the scurry home to submit it to

But, alas! When you submit it for publishing, you get that nasty message that says that it is too close to another cache! All caches need to be .10 miles apart. says: “Cache containers and physical stages should generally be separated by a minimum of 0.1 miles (528 feet or 161 m).”

Here’s a tip to help you find likely places for your caches BEFORE you get all carried away!

This past summer my family and I were camping and caching near Flagstaff, Arizona. Since I came up a full week after my folks were there, my Dad asked me to research all the caches near Ashurst Lake. Well, that was really easy since by that time, had coordinates for most attractions. All you need to do is visit the attraction page on the website and then click on the link: Find geocaches.

This link appears on any attraction that has GPS coords for!

Bingo! A link to with all the caches listed. But, that didn’t really tell me WHERE those caches were located in relationship to the lake.

All the caches near Ashurst Lake, in a list.

So, what I did was click on a cache listing. For this example, since now there ARE caches at the lake, we’ll pick “Mud Bug Haven”, the second one down and placed by EatStayPlay & ESP Boss. Scroll down on the cache page until you see the lower map.

There are two maps on the page. This is the bottom one.

And then click on the map which will show you all caches as icons on the page. As you can see from this view, there are only TWO caches near this huge, popular body of water. That means that it is ripe for placing caches just about anywhere there’s a good spot. In fact, when I first placed “Mud Bug Haven” it was the only cache there! But, since I live about two hours away from this cache, I wanted to be REALLY sure before I placed it that I wasn’t going to have to drive back up to the cache to move it!

(Here’s the link to Mud Bug Haven in case you want to see it for yourself!)

Now you can see all the caches in the area.

Now, what about if an area where there are caches? Principle is the same. In this image, I zeroed on a road here in Prescott near Goldwater Lake, a road that I was pretty sure had nice pull-offs for caches.

And what do I see? I see caches evenly spaced along a road, Cougar Trail. I’m pretty sure that THIS means that in every pull-out there’s already a cache. But, this is an instant where I really can’t tell without driving the road.

All the caches along this road. I'll bet they're EACH in a really great pull-off.

So, if I REALLY want to lay a cache along this road, here’s what I do.

  • Load the caches into the GPS.
  • Find my favorite pull off, one that backs public forest land.
  • Then, hike AWAY from the cache, into the forest, for .10 miles to hide the cache. Not at all a park-n-grab, but at least I know that it’s likely to be found. MUCH better than placing a cache only to find out that it is too close to another cache.

Now, here’s a question for all you senior geocachers out there:

How do you find likely places to place a cache?

What techniques do YOU use before you place the cache container to make sure there are no other caches nearby?

Have you ever asked somebody to move their cache so you could place yours?

Find Your Geocache

Best Cache Camo vs. Whimsy Caches

I’m always very interested in the best cache camouflage that’s out there in the “wild”. Like in the animal kingdom, camo can make or break a cache. If it lacks camouflage it’s just too easy. Of course, too hard of a hide isn’t always fun either! In my opinion, there’s a big difference between camouflage and unique hides. Camouflage is designed to be that thing that you look at and look at and you’re not sure that the cache is there and then you get an “a-ha!” moment when you find it.

Unique hides are for location or whimsy. They’re usually evident that the cache HAS to be there.

Here are some examples from my favorite caches. I’m purposefully leaving the GC codes out (the codes provided by that give the name and coordinates of the caches) so there won’t be any spoilers.

Whimsy Caches:


Javalina cache guard

This metal javalina is on the side of the road, nearly in somebody’s front yard. A park-and-grab style cache that gets serious props for it’s whimsy.


Rock-man with a geocacher's heart!

Now, this man is in the middle of nowhere. And NO, before you ask, it wasn’t built to hide the cache! The person who hid this cache actually says that he found it out hunting in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s — that’s long before the creation of geocaching. Of course, this stone man in Northern Arizona gets my whimsy vote since it was the ONLY place the cache could be hidden. Plus, the cache container was hidden in the man’s chest. He is a geocacher at heart!

Excellent Camouflage:


The clue was "Stick"

Ah, a stick. Under a tree. With LOTS of rusty tin cans lying around. Now, the photos just don’t do it justice. Since this stick was under a palo verde tree. In a basin full of OTHER palo verde trees and the clue was something like: “Stick”.

The Outdoor Princess and family

The Outdoor Princess & family

You can see in the background all the palo verde trees as well as the multitudes of “sticks” on the ground. Not very helpful!

The best camo!

In the stick

This pill bottle was painted grey and then clipped into a carved hole in the stick. The clip is a hose clamp. The whole thing is VERY clever. In fact, the Queen Mother actually moved the stick with the end of her walking pole before me, the ever brave Outdoor Princess, actually flipped the stick over. Of course, being in Arizona, there could have been any number of poisonous creepy crawlies in residence under the stick. There were evidence of biting spiders but no actual spiders in residence at the time.

And then of course, there are the caches that fall somewhere between whimsy and excellent camouflage.

Best of Both Worlds:


There's a small cache HERE?

This is a favorite cache of mine in Tucson, Arizona. Not so much that it was hard to find, in that there were so many great PLACES to look! This is the type of place that you just need to visit. My first trip was Thanksgiving 2008 but I was back for Thanksgiving 2009 to enjoy the garden in the daylight. (The light was failing on my first visit.)



This could be excellent camo except that the bolt was a bit out of place in the welcome sign. It was a bit TOO easy to find since it was the only bolt of it’s kind. Full props for camouflage, it’s just the context of the hide could have been more exciting.


Itty Bitty Micro

I’m sure that sign posts all over the geocaching Universe have micros like this one. But this was the first time I’d ever seen it and I was impressed. A little obvious for the next time I go looking for one like this (whimsy) but for the size and coloring (excellent camouflage!)

What are your favorite camo hides? What about the whimsy hides? Let me know what YOU think!

Don’t forget: You can find caches near your favorite attractions on!

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