Types of Caches: More Than Just Boxes of Swag
Over the past few weeks, I’ve covered the different sizes of caches, what I like to use for a cache container, and cache camouflage. Now, it’s time to talk about that all important category:
For the longest time, I thought that a cache was just a box hidden in the woods. Or the city. Or wherever. I had no idea that geocaching actually offered more than just a “Here’s the coordinates, go find it” type of experience. Each cache not only has its own definition, it also has it’s own icon on the geocaching.com website. All of the icons shown below are copyright and property of Groundspeak.
Multi-Cache – A multi-cache (sometimes referred to as a “multiple”) involves two or more locations, the final location being a physical container. There are many variations, but most multi-caches have a hint to find the second cache, and the second cache has hints to the third, and so on. An offset cache (where you go to a location and get hints to the actual cache) is considered a multi-cache.
The first time I did a multi-cache I had no idea that there would be different “legs” to what I was finding. Imagine my surprise when instead of finding a container full of swag, I found a magnetic key-hider with coordinates in it!
Puzzle Cache – A puzzle cache, sometimes known as a mystery cache, is the “catch-all” of cache types. A puzzle cache involves puzzles (sometimes really complicated puzzles) you will first need to solve to determine the coordinates.
I’ve never actually tried a puzzle cache but I look forward to. (Or, I look forward to convincing ESP Boss that we should try one. He likes the good old fashioned PNG.)
Event Cache – Occasionally, local geocachers and geocaching organizations designate a time and location to meet and discuss geocaching. After the event the caches are archived. Event caches can have caches hidden specifically for the event, prizes, poker runs and more. Each cachers who participates gets credit for “finding” the event cache.
My first event cache was the A.J.A.C.S. 6th Annual Campout Event Cache. For three days, we searched for new caches (got our first FTF), met geocachers from across the southwest, camped and generally had a blast.
Letterbox Hybrid – A letterbox is another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates. In some cases, however, the owner has made it both a letterbox and a geocache and posted its coordinates on Geocaching.com. If there is a stamp inside a letterbox hybrid, it is not an item intended for trade; the stamp is meant to remain in the box so that visitors can use it to record their visit. To read more about letterboxing, visit the Letterboxing North America web site.
An artist friend of mine, Ann, has hidden several letterboxes near Prescott. I had actually known of letterboxing long before I knew about geocaching. But, I thought it sounded complicated and was positive there wouldn’t be any near where I live. I was totally wrong on that! (But, between you & me, I prefer the principals behind geocaching!)
Mega-Event Cache – A Mega-Event cache is similar to an Event Cache but it is much larger. In order to qualify as a Mega Event, the event cache must be attended by 500+ people. Typically, Mega Events are annual events and attract geocachers from all over the world.
I’m trying to convince ESP Boss and The Queen Mother that we should attend GeoWoodstock VIII this year. I’ll let you know if we’ll be there!
Earth Cache – An EarthCache is a special physical location that people visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth. EarthCaches include a set of educational notes and the details about where to find the location (latitude and longitude). For more information about EarthCaches, visit http://www.earthcache.org/.
Grandfathered Cache Types
These are cache types that are no longer available for creation on geocaching.com. These cache types are now considered waymarks and are part of Waymarking.com
Virtual Cache – A virtual cache is a cache that exists in a form of a location. Depending on the cache “hider,” a virtual cache could be to answer a question about a location, an interesting spot, a task, etc. The reward for these caches is the location itself and sharing information about your visit.
I’ve run into a few virtual caches but I never participated — I wasn’t sure what the ghostie meant and it made me nervous!
Webcam Cache – These are caches that use existing web cameras placed by individuals or agencies that monitor various areas like parks or road conditions. The idea is to get yourself in front of the camera to log your visit. The challenging part, however, it that you need to call a friend to look up the web site that displays the camera shot. You will need to have them to save the picture to log the cache.
I tried to do a webcam cache the last time I was in Las Vegas. Even though I found the correct street corner, I couldn’t figure out the whole camera-online photo thing.
Locationless (Reverse) Cache – Locationless caches could be considered the opposite of a traditional cache. Instead of finding a hidden container, you are given a task to locate a specific object and log its coordinates. A scavenger hunt of sorts, it involves collecting waypoints of various objects around the world.
All in all, I know I prefer a nice traditional cache with a few multi-caches thrown in for spice. And the next time I have the opportunity to attend an event cache, you can count me in!
What’s Your Opinion?
- Do you have a favorite type of cache?
- Do you participate in any of the “sister” games to geocaching like letterboxing or waymarking?
- Have you ever been to an event cache?
Find Your Geocache
June 8, 2010 @ 8:33 pm
[…] Types of Caches: More Than Just Boxes of Swag […]
Bangers & Mash
June 9, 2010 @ 7:10 am
Nice explanation for the geocaches. The “other” are always the hardest or me because they could be like the rock one you showed or they could be a paper-collage rock or a bird in a tree etc….you never know so makes you have to use your geosense that much more!
June 9, 2010 @ 9:45 am
Bangers & Mash — Thanks! You’re 100% right there is no substitute for having a finely tuned geosense.
June 11, 2010 @ 8:50 am
Hey Kimmy, hope your having a good time. I myself am going to New Jersey this weekend after I sip my coffee.
Puzzle Masters Old and New
The Pic-A-Lilli Inn is the King of the Wings and our starting point. Located in Wharton State Forest it is a favorite among geocachers, hunters, 4 wheelers, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
A year and a half ago a Challenge was put out to all the Puzzle solvers in the Mid Atlantic area.
17 of the best puzzle cache creators got together and became the Puzzle Masters. They created a series of puzzle caches from New York to Maryland that each contained a clue to the final cache – GCZZZZ.
Recently, a whole new group of Puzzle Masters emerged to create three separate challenges for a wider variety of puzzlers.
The PMC2 – another series of incredible puzzles designed to drive you crazy.
The PMC Lite – An easier version of the original. Designed to be fun and to introduce people to the puzzle world.
The PMC X – A variety of puzzles; some easy, some hard. The challenge is not necessarily in the puzzles but in the terrain!
Me I’m not much of a puzzle person I prefer Traditional Caches, but Extreme Traditional Caches, lol. Ones that require repelling or climbing. The PMC X listed above is an Extreme puzzle cache where the puzzle may or may not be that difficult but the terrain will require special equipment and or will not be for those faint of heart.
Well I,m outta here, have fun and stay safe and take a deep breath. lol
June 11, 2010 @ 10:21 am
You didn’t mention Whereigo caches…I just downloaded Whereigo software to my phone and am hoping to test it out this weekend
June 11, 2010 @ 3:21 pm
My favorite type of cache is the traditional. However, the Virtual caches are great when you are in the busy area of a strange city. Just read and record the info on a statue, plaque, etc. Better then trying to explain to the local Police why you are looking up the nether regions of a newspaper dispenser. Don’t be afraid of the Ghost.
I do wonder about your usage of the term “good old fashioned PNG”. There is no such thing. Good old fashioned was ammo cans in the woods. PNG’s came years later.
June 19, 2010 @ 12:45 pm
You now, that is an excellent point about virtual caches in a strange city. I’d never really thought about that! But, you still get smilies and NO worries about Officer McFriendly. I’ll have to try some out now.
June 19, 2010 @ 12:46 pm
I didn’t want to go into Whereigo since it seems so much different than the more “traditional” geocaching I cover on this blog. How did your adventure go? I’d love an update!
June 19, 2010 @ 12:47 pm
Troy — Thanks for sharing some puzzles with me. I think maybe the people in this immediate area aren’t too interested in puzzles. I’ll have to look one up and give it a shot when I’ve got an afternoon to spend.
Geocaching In National Parks: Can or Can’t?
September 29, 2010 @ 9:47 pm
[…] they mean EarthCaching or Virtual Caching. These are both a type of geocache, but unless you have some familiarity with exactly what those terms mean, then I can understand the […]
Ghost Love: Finding A Virtual Geocache
November 3, 2010 @ 7:22 pm
[…] blog reader Don_J left the comment: “Don’t be afraid of the […]