Geocaching is nothing more than treasure hunting for young and old using a GPS or your phone.
You search for a treasure (the cache) hidden at a certain coordinate.
The GPS allows you to get to this exact location and usually, this is in a beautiful piece of nature. Once found, the cache contains a logbook in which you can write your name to log your visit. You also log this on the website when you return home. The cache usually also contains goodies to exchange.
Anyone who is a member of Groundspeak, the parent company behind Geocaching, can place a geocache. Every day there are new caches online, annually there are over 10,000 new caches in the Netherlands alone. Through the website, you can see all caches on the map.
Table of contents
- Do you have a Geocaching question?
- What is Geocaching?
- How does Geocaching work?
- How to get started with Geocaching?
- What’s in a cache?
- Find out more about Geocaching
- Geocaching for Beginners
- Cache container
- Solving Geocaches
- Geocaching FAQ
Below you will find our Geocaching expert who will tell you everything about geocaching. Currently more than 15 years of experience and I like to share my tips and tricks on outdooronly.nl.
My name is Patrick Heijmans and I have been geocaching since 2005. From very simple to very challenging caches. The nicest caches we will show through the YouTube channel of OutdoorOnly. Don’t follow that yet? Then do so right away: https://www.youtube.com/@outdooronlyNL
Do you have questions about Geocaching, I will answer them for you. Have fun caching.
Do you have a Geocaching question?
Do you have a question about geocaching or one of the related topics? Then contact our experts using the comment box below and we will answer your question as soon and as well as possible.
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching originated in 2000 when American Dave Ulmer decided to hide a cache and share the coordinates online. Since then, Geocaching has grown into a worldwide activity with millions of active users.
How does Geocaching work?
Geocaching is nothing more than treasure hunting for young and old using a GPS or your phone. In the app, or online you locate a cache location. Keep in mind that there are different geocache types. Based on these types, you will know what kind of cache it is. Then you start looking for a treasure (the cache) hidden at that particular coordinate. At that end point, there is then a geocache container usually containing some goodies.
How to get started with Geocaching?
To start Geocaching you need to know the coordinates of the geocache or treasure. You can find these on the Geocaching website or in the Geocaching app. Some are made only for premium geocachers. You pay an annual fee for these and then you can see these as well.
Once you have the coordinates you can put them in your GPS or navigate via your phone or go geocaching as it is called. Once you have found a geocache there is a logbook inside. You write your team name and the date in the booklet. Later you also log via the website. Of course, you make sure you hide the treasure again (in the same place) so the next geocacher can log it again.
In most caches there are also goodies, you may take one if you also put something back of the same value. If you take something out, you put something back of equal value. We always have some extra goodies with us so we can always exchange or add to them. Sometimes there are also trackables in there, you don’t get to keep these and have to put them back in another cache. Read our special Geocaching trackables page what exactly these are and how to log them.
What’s in a cache?
The cache (or stash) is preferably a waterproof box or ammunition box in which the goodies (SWAG) and the logbook are placed. In the logbook, you write your Geocaching name and the date of the day. You may only exchange the goodies for something of equal value. After logging you have to put it back in the same place, so others can look for this cache again.
There are various degrees of difficulty in stashing, from easy to difficult. The size of a stash can also vary from small (macro) to large (large). Sometimes you even need special geocaching tools to open it or grab it. Consider a fishing rod for a rod cache.
Find out more about Geocaching
If you have a GPS you can already start Geocaching, a phone with GPS and an internet connection is also good. The great thing is that you can play this anywhere in the world. Another example is snag the tag.
There are more than 3 million geocaches hidden in 190 countries! Wherever you go on vacation there is always one nearby. The nice thing about this is that most caches are hidden in places where you would otherwise not come easily. This is because the locals know the most beautiful places in that area.
Geocaching for Beginners
As a beginner, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right cache. Here are some tips on how to get started:
Start with easy caches: this gives you a chance to get used to finding caches and how the GPS works.
Read the descriptions carefully: they often contain information about the difficulty, size, and hints about where the cache is hidden.
Always bring something to exchange: many caches contain small items that can be exchanged. It’s nice if you leave something of your own.
Be discreet: not everyone knows what Geocaching is, so try not to look for caches too conspicuously.
The Geocaching website also indicates the size of the container you are looking for. This does come in handy so you know approximately what size to look for.
These sizes are indicated as follows:
- Nano – for the very smallest geocaches. ‘Nano’ is not officially listed on geocache pages, so players should mark Nano’s as Micro’s, for example, a fake bolt.
- Micro – Small containers that will only hold a log sheet, e.g. a roll of film.
- Small – Just big enough for a sandwich. Contains only a small log and small items, e.g. a small plastic container.
- Regular – Think shoe box. An ammo box is a common cache.
- Large – Think shoebox from Bigfoot. Think of a lockable barrel
- Other – Unusual geocaches that just don’t fit into other categories, for example, a magnetic strip.
- Unknown – When a little extra surprise is needed, such as when you know the size of the container would give the cache away completely.
In both mysteries and in the field you sometimes need to solve some puzzles. Some you can do just like that, for others you really need some tools! We have the Digital Geocaching Toolbox for you. On this page, you will find all the tools you need while caching.
Did you know there is a special store where you can buy all kinds of nice Geocaching items? From GPS to Geocoins, trackables, and woodies, they have (almost) everything. Visit the Geocaching shop and try not to buy anything!
While caching we regularly get questions from other geocachers or people asking what we are doing. The most frequently asked questions are listed below.
What is Geocaching and how does it work?
Geocaching is nothing more than treasure hunting for young and old using a GPS or your phone. You search for a treasure (the cache) hidden at a certain coordinate. A geocache container is then located at that endpoint.
Is Geocaching free?
Yes, you can start for free, though there are special premium caches for which you have to pay to see the coordinates.
What do you need for Geocaching?
You can start with a smartphone or GPS and a basic (free) membership to Geocaching.
What is a good app for Geocaching?
The best place to start is with the official Geocaching app from Groundspeak. This app provides everything you need as a beginning (and advanced) geocacher to get started.