Geocachers of the Bay Area Home         Collage images except poppies © Lynn Murphy  

General Information and FAQs

Geocache Etiquette

Geocachers of the Bay Area

Geocaching has its own set of unwritten rules and acceptable behaviors. Take time to review these so you will know how to ‘play nice’.


Trade up, trade even, or don’t trade at all.

Small toys, fresh batteries, collectibles, these are typical items to find in a cache. Think of the sort of thing you would enjoy finding. Of special value are signature items, something that is uniquely “you”. This can be an unusual token that you always leave, or something handmade with your user name on it.

Use common sense. Explosives, ammunition, knives, drugs, and alcohol may not be placed in a cache. Respect the local laws. All ages of people hide and seek caches, so use some thought before placing an item into a cache.

Food items are always a bad idea. Animals have better noses than humans, and in some cases caches have been chewed through and destroyed because of food items in a cache. Do not put food in a cache.

Encountering Other Cachers

One of the greatest pleasures of caching is meeting other cachers on the trail. Take a minute to introduce yourself. Just don’t point out where cache is hidden or give clues unless requested to do so. If “caught in the act” of finding a cache, offer to re-hide so they can enjoy the hunt too.


When you log a cache, be sure to report its condition to the owner. Better still, if the log is wet, drop in a replacement. Place contents that are in danger of getting wet in a zip-lock bag. If the cache is filled with moldy trade garbage, pack it out and wipe out the container.


Avoid moving the cache unless you find it lying in the middle of the trail. Selecting a “better” hiding place can be offensive to the owner, and may make hints or coordinates obsolete. Replace it as you found it, taking care to restore the hiding place to as close to its original state as you can determine.

Log Your find

Let the owner know you were there, whether you found it or not! There is nothing wrong with posting a DNF, and it may alert the owner to problems with the cache.

Be nice, share a story from your hunt, list your trades. If you have a problem with the cache, let the owner know in a separate email.


Many caches request that you use stealth when searching. Letting a muggle see you might compromise the hide and result in a missing cache. A Muggle is simply a non-cacher, and may be curious as to what you are doing lurking in the bushes (certainly the police will take an interest). Be polite and feel free to explain Geocaching. Be an ambassador for the game!