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
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.
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.
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!10 tips for finding more #geocaches - here's a hint: Look up! Click To Tweet
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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November 3, 2010 @ 8:33 pm
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November 11, 2010 @ 6:19 pm
Good list of common mistakes and I’ve been guilty of most of them. The one I’d like to comment about is #9. I’ve had to cut my way out of brier patches because I decided to take a short cut. As a general rule, if there is a trail, stay on it as long as possible. Frequently, a trail will seem to be taking you away from a cache only to double back to get you even closer to the cache. Stay on the trail until you’re sure that the trail won’t get you any closer.
Unfortunately, many cache hiders do not list terrain correctly so one has to be careful about assuming that a T1 is really a T1. I have been on many a hunt that the easiest way to a “T1” is really a T3 or more. I recommend that any one placing a cache go to http://www.clayjar.com/gcrs/ to better estimate the terrain and difficulty rating.
November 12, 2010 @ 2:14 pm
Take the time to read the cache page all the way through. Some C.O.s do not give you any information at all but some do. You have to find a few of each owners caches to learn their style. Most cachers develop a style of hiding and they tend to stay with that type of style. Once you learn their style it does help alot to finding more of their caches.
November 14, 2010 @ 6:03 pm
Well, I’ve made every mistake and more! One thing I learned the hard way was not to throw away the outer packaging with my first travel bug. Keep it! You need the code on the bag.