Geocaching is the popular, high-tech game of treasure hunting using GPS receivers to help find a cache that has been hidden by another player. There is a version of the game called Waymarking. Both pursuits are similar in that they use GPS to find a location. With geocaching the objective is to find a cache (this is the treasure) and with waymarking the objective is to find a specified location and take note of what you find there.

Camouflaged geocache container

Camouflaged geocache container

A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware or ammo box) containing a logbook and “treasure,” usually toys or trinkets of little value. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. If the visitor takes something out of the cache, they are asked to leave something in return. For some, the biggest reward is the thrill of the search and the discovery of a place that they have never been.

You might see the following in a geocache log book: TNLN or TFTC. TNLN = took nothing, left nothing. This is used when a cache has been found but nothing has been exchanged. Some geocaches are too small to contain any “treasure”. TFTC = thanks for the cache. The act of placing a geocache is completely voluntary so it’s a nice idea to thank the person that placed the cache.

The basic etiquette of geocaching is as follows:

  • Fill out the logbook with your geocaching name/handle and the date you found the
  • If you take something out of the cache
  • Put something in the cache
  • return the cache to the exact position and condition in which it was found
  • Caches typically consist of a waterproof container discreetly placed within the local terrain. 


I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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