Go from hunter to hunted by hiding your own cache. After finding a few on your own, you’ll get a good idea of what makes for a great outing. Use what you’ve learned to start planning where you’d like to leave something for others to find. Following a few simple steps can have you hiding highly rated caches in no time.
Seek permission first
If you’re hiding on public land, check with the authority that manages the land before you hide anything; the U.S. National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service both prohibit geocaching. If you’re on private land, ask permission of the landowner and make sure to abide by all “no trespassing” signs and fences.
Choose a place you can (and want to) visit repeatedly
Ultimately, you’re the one in charge of this cache. You are responsible for maintaining the cache if anyone logs issues, so you want to be able to visit it often.
Avoid setting off alarms
Consider the impact on the area before hiding a cache near sensitive ecosystems or important archaeological and historic sites. You should also be cautious of areas that might give people cause for concern. This could include high traffic bridges, military installations, railroad tracks and other structures that might be possible targets of terrorist attacks. If you want to hide a geocache in a sensitive area, you need to make sure you have permission from the governing authority and are following all required precautions to prevent ecological damage and bomb scares.
Keep your fellow geocachers safe
If you hide a geocache near treacherous terrain, be sure to warn your fellow cachers in the cache description.
Don’t oversaturate an area
Caches should be placed at least 0.1 miles from other geocaches on OpenCaching.com. If there are geocaches in the area that aren't listed on OpenCaching.com, keep your cache far enough away that people are unlikely to confuse the two.
In some sensitive ecosystems, caches might need to be further spread apart than these guidelines.
If geocaches are not allowed in an area, you might be able to list a virtual cache there instead. Virtual caches are geocaches without a physical container. They have their own guidelines, which you should read before listing one.
Business and caching
If your business wants to hide and maintain a geocache, you are welcome to do so. You can even link to your website or provide information about your store or business. However, your geocache should primarily be a geocache, not an advertisement. And like any other cache, finding the cache should be the requirement for logging, so these caches should not require interaction with your business or a requirement to purchase additional goods & services to log.
Be creative. An interesting and thematic cache (or series of caches) will get more interest than a boring cache with a link in the description.
Additional logging requirements
Signing the log is enough. If you want people to do something beyond just signing the log when they find your geocache, go ahead and ask them. Most people will probably enjoy it. This can be a great way to point out an area's unique features or build a theme around the geocache.
However, understand some people prefer to stick to the basics. Any additional activity should be optional and can’t be required to log the cache as found.
Think long term
If a geocache is worth hiding, then it’s worth maintaining. Plan on keeping your cache active for at least a year (and hopefully much longer).
Choose an appropriate container
Your container should be weatherproof. Watertight containers, ammunition boxes and plastic containers used for boating are all popular choices. Mark the container so it’s identifiable as a geocache and not trash.
Fill it with cool stuff
First and foremost, drop a pad of paper and a pencil in the box to use as a logbook. After that, pretty much anything goes (so long as its safe and appropriate for all ages). Consider disposable cameras, toys or trinkets.
Get accurate GPS coordinates
When you hide your cache, get the best GPS signal possible. For best results, you’ll want to “average” your waypoint. Some GPS receivers offer this as a built-in functionality. If yours doesn’t offer it, approach your cache from different directions – ideally on different days – and note the coordinates. Ignore any coordinates that appears to be drastically different than the others and average what’s left. This helps ensure the most accurate coordinates possible.
Finding it is enough
When someone finds your geocache, they can log it on OpenCaching.com. You might suggest another fun or educational activity for them to do while they are near the cache. However, you can’t make the additional activity required before logging the find. You also can’t require other cachers to email you before they log their finds.
If you want people to be able to prove they were there, then add verified finds to your listing.