How do you hide a good geocache? What makes a geocache great?
The answer is … many things and it’s likely to be entirely different for every geocacher, but we think there are some commonalities or things that generally make a geocache shine above the rest!
Shine Factor #1 – Coordinates
This trumps all other geocache hiding requirements on our list. To be considered a great geocache the coordinates need to be accurate. Modern GPS receivers should be able to put you within 3-5 meters of a cache. Just remember, no one likes searching for a needle in a haystack, especially if they’ve been promised a park and grab. Indicating container size, using the rating system accordingly, and providing some form of hint could help offset poor coordinates, but should not be a subtitute.
Shine Factor #2 – Container
When choosing a geocache container, be sure to use a sturdy waterproof container. Suggestions would include a a lock and lock, water proof match container or an ammo can. These containers all have rubber gaskets inside the cover to help keep the water out.
Secondly, and we’ll note that this one is less essential, make the hide creative. This can be done through an interesting container, or hiding the geocache in a unique/interesting way. Use your imaginations, there are so many possibilities here.
Shine Factor #3 – Location, Location, Location
Ensure that the place that you are bringing these geocachers to is interesting! Why do you want to bring people here? If possible, provide some background about the location in the geocache description. This is not to say that caches should not be placed along regular walking trails or in urban areas, but hiding a geocache somewhere just because you can should be avoided. Also keep the game safe, do not hide geocaches in areas that may arouse suspicion from muggles or put geocachers in severe danger.
Shine Factor #4 – Fun
This game is one big treasure hunt, and if it’s not fun then something feels like it is missing! In our experience really focusing on Factor #1 and one of either Factor #2 or #3 usually leads to a good geocaching experience, one that can be enjoyed by all!
The above Shine Factors represent the opinions of Treasure Island Caching and outline what we look for when trying to choose our Geocache of the Month. Over the years, we’ve been as guilty as anyone for not always adhering to the above cautions, but I think we’ve learned from our mistakes and wanted to share our perspective… Feel free to leave us a comment below and let us know your own thoughts on these criteria! Is there anything you would add? Anything you don’t agree with?
Instead of just taking our word for it, let’s now look at this from another angle…
In 2011, Geocaching.com introduced a new feature entitled Favorite Points, designed as an easy way for geocachers to share some of their favorite finds with others. The idea is that if a geocacher thinks that a geocache container is creative or that the location of the geocache hide is interesting, they have the ability to favorite that geocache. In a sense it’s a sign of approval, indicating to others that you felt this was a quality hide and that you really enjoyed the experience of finding this cache. While not a perfect reflection of a geocaches quality we feel that there is some value in having a look at the type of geocaches that end up getting multiple favorite points through this system.
Below you’ll find a list of geocaches within a 10km radius of our house, all of which have received 7 or more favorite points. We thought we’d offer up a brief description of each cache, highlighting why it’s likely to have received such high praise.
- Extreme East (GCWJZ3) – 31 Favorite Points – Located at Cape Spear and is the most easterly geocache in North America, enough said!
- St. John’s Harbour (GC1GQZE) – 28 Favorite Points – Located on Signal Hill, directly beside Cabot Tour, it’s also one of the only Earth Caches around!
- Cape Spear Light (GCEE24) – 27 Favorite Points – Located at Cape Spear, offering amazing views!
- Another “Log” for the Cookhouse (GC2TR9N) – 14 Favorite Points – This one is all based on the container, and also the manner in which the container is hidden.
- Pinocchio Bird! (GC1FTP3) – 13 Favorite Points – Ratings for this cache are also likely to based on the unique container.
- The Lookout: First Ever Cache in Newfoundland (GCE1C) – 10 Favorite Points – It’s #1 in Newfoundland, a bit of trek to find it otherwise we think it’d have more favorite points.
- First Post (GC6COA) – 9 Favorite Points – One of the very few virtual geocaches remaining, it’s part of a Nation wide series of geocaches hidden to commemorate land surveyors.
- Bowring 1811 Cache (GC1CJD6) – 8 Favorite Points – The container is unique and it’s located in the heart of downtown St. John’s. If we’re out with visitors and only have time for one, this is usually it!
- Bo-Tan-Nickel (GC2BAPQ) – 8 Favorite Points – A cute hide and one of Kayla’s favorites!
- Fogust Foursome (GC32A79) – 8 Favorite Points – The container was certainly unique and made for a challenging search, we returned twice in order to find this one.
As you can see the same themes carryover to the concept of favorite points… These geocaches all start with an accurate set of coordinates and from there, their locations and/or the creativity of either the hide or the container propel them into greatness.
Writing this post has allowed us to reflect on what we value in geocaching as finders, and it’s our promise to the community to hold ourselves to higher standards in the future! There’s always room for improvement right?