Learn to Geocache Lesson 2

Learn to Geocache Lesson 2

Nine Tips for Finding the Elusive Geocache

This is the second lesson in the learn to geocache series. In this lesson we will explore some tips that might help you conquer those frustrating geocache hides when you encounter them.

Learn to Geocache

By Jim Donovan

Learn to Geocache – I hope you have made a few successful finds before coming to a complete dead end, but it is bound to happen eventually.  You will encounter a hide that you just cannot seem to find.  There are a variety of reasons you might have difficulty finding a cache.  So, before you log that Did Not Find, let’s review a few strategies you might try first. 

Depending on where you live, there are going to be certain types of popular geocaching containers.  In my neighborhood, some of the most common container types are shown in the pictures below: Nanos (extra small), Bison Tubes and Pill bottles (small)  tupperware containers (small / medium) and crazy large and extra large containers of all shapes. 


“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
– Dr Maxwell”

Here are nine tips for finding the elusive Geocache:

Tip 1: Think like a geocacher – when you approach Ground Zero (GZ) it is helpful to think, “If I were hiding a geocache here, where would I place it?”

Tip 2:  Not all camo is created equal – If you are having trouble making a find, take a closer look.  Some camouflage is better than others.  Depending on the lighting or environment a cleverly disguised container might be right in front of your face.  Scan the area slowly and carefully.

Tip 3: Beat signal bounce – depending on where the geocache is hidden you may encounter signal bounce on your mobile phone.  When this happens, your location doesn’t seem to lock in and your blue navigation arrow and distance to the cache will move erratically .  There are a variety of conditions that cause this, so here some ways to try to overcome this:

Tip  3A- Be patient – Hold your phone flat in the palm of your hand and stand still for 1-2 minutes.  This should help calm the coordinates. Then move slowly towards Ground Zero (GZ)

Tip 3B – Avoid tree canopies.  Dense tree cover can impact the app’s performance.  Move out from under the heavy shade and repeat step 3A.

Tip 3C – Change the map type.  When navigating to a cache, tap the three dots at the top right of the screen.  You can choose different “Map Types” including: Trials, Street, Satellite and Hybrid.  While changing map type won’t eliminate the signal bounce, a different view might provide a helpful perspective. 

Tip 3D – Take a screen shot of the location.  The screen shot picture will allow you to zoom a little closer in on the hide area.  This might allow you to identify some landmark clues that will allow you to zero in on the hide.  Large structures or the edge of a parking lot or road can serve as helpful clues to direct you to GZ. 

Tip 4 – Read the hint.  Read the hint again.

“Accept the challenges, so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
– George S. Patton

Learn to Geocache continued…

Tip 5 – Search the activity – The recent activity log will often provide a hint, intentional or otherwise, which can help adjust your thinking and guide you to success.

Tip 6 – Phone a friend – Call an experienced geocacher friend who may have previously found this cache or who might have experience with a similar hide.

Tip 7 – Message the cache owner – When all else fails, you can message the person responsible for the cache for help.   Sometimes they might respond quick enough to guide you to success.  

Tip 8 – Create a list – One of the benefits of a Premium account are lists.  I have a list called “Try another day” to help keep track of caches I DNF.

Tip 9 – Watch the activity logs and try again another day.  

When all else fails, be sure to log the “Did Not Find” in the app.  This will let the cache owner know that there might be a problem. Keep an eye on the activity log to see if the owner posts a maintenance update or if another cacher makes the find.  And back to tip 8, create a list for your DNFs and keep your eye on the activity. 

Here is a little more advice from the folks at Geocaching.com

This is the second in my Learn to Geocache Series.  If you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend who might enjoy trying geocaching.  If you are an active geocacher, or become one, you can connect with me on Geocaching.com too!  My geocaching name is GeocacheMethod (of Course)

Geocache Method is dedicated to inspiring you to enjoy the great outdoors through the adventure game of Geocaching.  Please subscribe to this blog and follow @geocacheMethod on Instagram and facebook!

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