View Full Version : What makes a "good cache"?

02-17-2006, 10:20 PM
With some of the numerous comments about how good caching is here in Maine I thought I would ask - - -

Just what makes a good cache?





Or is it a combination of many factors?

Personally I like the location of many of the caches here but ironically for many of the caches I have done here there is little consideration given to quality location, containers or even difficulty. IMOHO Location is not everything.

It is good seeing folks trying to upgrade some of the containers they have out there. Far too many containers that just do not make the grade. Ever been to a great location only to find a plastic container that does not keep the elements out. Wet contents and logs are not so good even if the location is great.

Of course there is the dreaded Maine pile of sticks caches. They are everywhere here. It is much more a Maine thing than most other places I have been.

Of course too one has to consider that trying to get the message out that there are other places that have great caching is a bit difficult when all one hears is how good it is up here.

Consider the fact that Maine ranks right up there near the top as it relates to the least amount of new caches being put out. Also a fact to consider is that Maine cachers are generally not as active as other states. Maybe our low density of caches has something to do with that. Our is it the fact that some perceive a certain clanishness exists here in the Great Caching State of Maine.

OK, OK, where do I sign the anti micro anti Psycho Cache petition. They are not Maine at all and really don't belong up here. ;)

Just kidding actually, but sometimes it sure feels that way.

02-18-2006, 12:08 AM
That is such a hard question, you will get many different answers. If i had to sum it up , a good cache is a cache that is doable.. not one that will take you all day to figure out to get coords and find it. One that may take you to a place that you may not other wise go to. The container is not that important to me as the cache itself. Some of my best caches have been the hardest hikes to tops of mountains but yet others have been quick and easy caches but took me to an interesting place. Not sure i have help with any info.

ITS ALL GOOD>>>:rolleyes:

02-18-2006, 01:49 AM
I will answer that from my opinion and my opinion only.

Location = Anything that holds my interest. Everyone is going to have a different interest. I like going to places that I have not been before. I like natural scenic views, historical things, things that are different, seeing sites, hiking, nature. I hate going to caches that are right off the road where you dash in and dash out. I also hate micro’s (no offense Gob-ler) and so far puzzle cases are dislikes. I like to go places and see things and don’t like to spend all day trying to find the cache or trying to solve a puzzle. If I am spending all day doing that then I can not enjoy what I am caching for, which is to see the sites.

Container = The container for me does not really matter as long as it is water proof and not full of moisture or water or a micro. The container really does not matter if the owner is taking care of it. But that is the biggest problem here in Maine so far. We have a lot of out of staters that place caches here while on vacation and never come back to maintain them.

Placement = The placement is not a big deal for me either. I do like to see it hidden enough so that it does not get muggled or so that non geocaching people would not find it. I would have to say I like it some what easy but not to easy. This way you can find it and then spend some time enjoying the scenery. It does not have to be easy all the time though. I do like difficult ones to as long as there is some type of clue to help me if I can not find it.

Difficulty = I don’t like to see them so difficult that they are almost impossible to find. As I said in the above statement. I don’t mind them being difficult as long as there is a clue to help me if I can not find it.

With all that said I have to agree with Gob-ler. There is very little consideration given with some of the caches places with the quality of the location. I have so far places all my caches close to home and in places of interest. Like hiking trails, dams, boat launches/swimming areas, water falls. I try to bring people to places that may be interesting or places with thins to do.

I would have to disagree with you when you say “location is not everything”. In my opinion location is everything. That is the reason I started geocaching. I wanted to go places and see things. But that is why I started doing it. Others may be doing it for different reasons.

The pile of sticks cache can be good or bad in my opinion. If your on a area where they are trying to keep you from digging up the trails or the ground then that may be the only option. But if it can be avoided by all means do something else besides the pile of sticks. The only other reason for maybe having a pile of sticks is if it were to be a kids caches.

With that said I think the biggest problem with cachers is that they want to see how many caches they can put out. It is not the amount of caches that a person puts out that makes it good. It is the quality of the cache that makes it good. That falls back on the old saying “it is not about the numbers”. How many times have we heard that saying and yet not everyone it not practicing what they preach.

I am not going to dwell on the numbers thing. Because everyone has heard me say it is not about the numbers. If it were about the number I would be well past where I am at now. I don’t plan my vacation around geocaching. I plan my vacation around my family and why I really want to go on vacation. I don’t plan all my trips to involve some type of geocaching. Everything in my life does not in some way involve geocaching. If it were about the numbers I would have done one more cache to reach number 200. I have been at 199 for two months now. Wow, I did not mean to go on the rampage here. Sorry. This was not directed at or towards any one individual. I was just making statements and opnions. I love you all. LOL

02-18-2006, 07:40 AM
My one word answer has always been "variety" since the day I started caching.

For the long winded answer, check out one of my first posts here. It still holds to my beliefs to this day.

02-18-2006, 08:42 AM
What make a good cache? Hmmmmmmm. Tough question and obviously one that can only be answered from one's own perspective. I personally like caches that have been well thought out, be it a traditional, micro, puzzle or virtual. I enjoy caches that have significant meaning to the "hider", and they may or may not fit the above criteria but because they mean so much to the "hider", I feel priviledged to share the location with them. The container is not a "turn-off" for me personally although I do agree that ammo cans seem to be more durable. The variety of types and difficulty are what truly makes good caching for me, hiking to the top of Tumbledown or Roundtop mountains or the drive-by virtuals or stop-an-log caches along the side of some rural road. The puzzle caches are exciting too, solving a puzzle and finding the cache can feel like a great accomplishment. The final type of cache and my all around favorite is the event cache. this is where it all comes together for me. This is where I meet the people who have a shared interest in this sport. (One of the few places you can talk candidly about caching without being accused of belonging to a cult as BC would put it.)

As far as making a comparison to other states and the quality of their caches, well, I would be way out of line to comment based on the fact I've never cached anywhere but here in Maine. I hope to change that fact and then I will be able to form my own opinion.

02-18-2006, 09:50 AM
What makes a good cache? The answer to this of course is completely subjective, but for me I like caches that bring me to a location that either is scenic ("Cache Falls"), historical ("Boxboard Mills"), personal to a cacher ("Salute to Veterans") or a combination of the above ("Quarry Rocks" which is scenic, historical and personal.)

The container, hide and difficulty in accessing the cache are important, but for me it mostly boils down to the location. I would rather do one cache that brought me to an area that I really liked than do a dozen caches that were not scenic, historical or special in some way (i.e. and no offense to anyone here . . . but the I-95 reststop caches which I have done aren't that thrillling to do . . . although they are useful for moving Travel Bugs.)

As some of you might recall I am not a big fan of puzzle caches since my wee mind can rarely make head nor sense of them and I don't particularly like multi, multi-stage caches that have me driving or walking from point to point for half a day . . . although I have and will continue to do these caches as well.

As for micros . . . I don't dislike them providing they are placed in an appropriate area (i.e. hiding one in middle of Baxter State Park might not be the best decision, but hiding one in middle of a busy city park would be) and are hidden in a nice area and/or hidden well (i.e. hiding one on a guardrail at Dunkin' Donuts doesn't exactly rock my world.)

I like a variety of caches and I like a variety of challenges. I like the easy-to-find ones hidden under a bundle of sticks as much as the ones where someone has taken some time to really think out their hide (i.e. "Ol' Swimmin' Hole", "Battleship").

As for containers . . . I purposely found 50 or so caches before I made a decision to hide my own. I did this because I wanted to see how people made their hides and what they did for the containers. While I will not fault anyone for using tupperware, ziplock ware, etc. I am not a big fan of plastic containers (with the exceptions being mortar tubes and thermos containers) since they seem to be more prone to damage, leaking, etc. I dislike trying to write on a soggy, half-frozen logbook or scooping out items that are rusting, falling apart or in general disrepair due to the weather. I also dislike the idea of having to constantly check on my cache and so I made a personal decison to use ammo cans since they seem to stand up better.

While I still check my own caches from time to time I have found thus far they have held up well providing no one puts bug dope in them which leaks out on to everything else. :) The only thing I will say about cache containers is that it may be snobbish . . . but if I think a cache container may be compromised by the weather I often will only do a log and not place any item or signature item into it. I figure I took the time to create my ladder S.I. and I would really rather it not end up being trashed due to the cache container allowing moisture inside.

You bring up an interesting point about Maine caches and the fact that Maine cache placement is low. Could it be due to the fact that things usually slow down in the winter . . . I know I've slowed down quite a bit due to the cold, snow (for all two days that it was here) and fact that I most enjoy geocaching in "good" weather. Moreover, Maine has a fairly low population compared to much of the rest of the U.S. which may also be a factor for the low number of new caches placed . . . although to be quite frank I have been pleasantly surprised to see how many new caches have been placed in just this year alone.

I also will say that I made a personal vow to myself when I first started caching. I vowed that

a) I would place a cache in areas that I found scenic, historical or personal in nature to me and not place a cache just for the sake of placing a cache

b) I would attempt to maintain that cache to the best of my ability and would place good "stuff" in the cache and clean out the "junk" since I know it was quite discouraging to me as a newbie when I would find a cache full of water, trash, rocks, etc.

c) I would attempt to place caches that were easy to get to and easy to find along with caches that might require a little extra work with the 4WD or 2FT (feet-legs) and would be a bit of a challenge to find so that newbies and veterans alike would enjoy my caches.

d) Finally, I decided that one of the quickest ways to kill this activity is by having it stagnate with no new caches and so I vowed I would attempt to place a new cache of my own with every 25 or so finds. This way I figure I am giving back to the caching community.

Well, that's my feelings on the issue.

Beach Comber
02-18-2006, 02:49 PM
This is a fun question - there are so many variables and so many reasons AND there really isn't a wrong answer.

We all bring something different to the sport, which is part of the great fun. I have been to caches that I have loved and some that I haven't really enjoyed. In fact, it could be the same type of cache - two different locations - two different times - maybe I'm alone - maybe I'm caching with a buddy - maybe I'm introducing a friend to the hunt - maybe it's raining, sunny, windy, snowy, icy, cold - etc.

I have two favorites.....
One is exploring a new location that I would not have otherwise seen - preferrably with a place to hang out at the cache - perhaps in the sunshine, on the water's edge, atop a great hill or mountain, etc. For me it is about two things - exercise and relaxing - whatever the type of cache it is, location it is placed, container it is in, reason it is there, or level of challenge - as long it meets at least one of my objectives I am content.

The other is the cache event. It is fantastic to be with a group of people who have a common interest. The energy is obvious and the enthusiasm contageous. I have met a number of great people along the way and I look forward to meeting more. My circle of friends has expanded greatly and my life enhanced as a result of geocaching. What more can one ask for?

Caching and a "good cache" is whatever you want it to be.

02-18-2006, 07:24 PM
I've never met a cache I didn't like...

My pet peeve is not adding more info. in the dexcription and the logs. Hard, easy, small, remote, trendy, nerdy, even Walmart lampost themes are good, as long as you know getting into.

Pooh and friends
02-19-2006, 03:13 PM
After a few beers they all look good! :D :D

02-19-2006, 04:08 PM
Unfortunatly we have all done our fair share of caching errors. I remember the 1st caches that I placed as a rookie. I am not sure if I did anything right from the placements that went out with the tide to the gladware containers to not quite getting the numbers quite right... :) Ok so I am not sure if I did anything right on the first 2. :) But after thoose lessons I got them fixed and are still active caches. Myself I look at several things when I am going to place.

1. Location, Why do i want to go there? If I do not want to go there then why would someone else.

2. Cache type, does it work with the location, I myself like setting up puzzle caches and even with all the issues I had with setting up Rubic's Revenge Cache I still would not trade it for the world and am starting to plan my next puzzle if I can find a good place that would be good for a puzzle.

3. As for containers, I now use 2 that have proven to be very reliable and am looking for a good micro container that I like if I find a place that I need one for but then I doubt it cause I just do not think that way.

that is the major things i consider, I am not going to go into the things I hate in a cache cause that is not constructive and we each have our own opinion. I also feel that if something needs fixed you should either fix it or get ahold of the owner and let them know depending on how much the owner is maintaining the Cache. I have gone in and fixed caches that the logs have said were in serius need of attention for a while when I was near to them just to keep them running. But then I try to do what I can to make caching beter when I can.

But that in my opinion.

rob t

02-19-2006, 06:28 PM
There is not a lot I can say about hiding caches. So far I have picked out a couple spots that ended up muggled before I even got permission to place the cache. . . but stay tuned (im still looking).

I can say what I have found that took the fun out of finding a cache. Not all of which relate directly to the placement of the cache.

10) Muddy Roads & long hikes to bla locations.
9) Religious pamphlets (Im the one who throws them away!)
8) Too many bugs (aka Geocacher blood donation location)
7) Nebulous puzzle answers (hmm. . . is that mauve or eggplant?)
6) Missing Travel bugs (some have been missing a very long time!)
5) No clear sky (last 10 logs say, "DNF! hard to get a signal here!")
4) No Tresspassing Signs!!!
3) Muggled Caches (too close to the beaten path?)
2) Coordinates off by more than 30'
1) Wet Logbooks (human error, containment failure and aqueous toys)

With that said, I wonder if there should be more "types" of caches or a kind of Finder Rating Score (FRS) to help people decide what to seek.

When close to home, I wouldn't mind searching for a cache that is nothing more than a place to drop a travel bug or log a find.

When traveling on vacation, I would like to be able to tell which caches are "worthy" of my time (estimated value $200 a day). One of the things I love most about Geocaching is finding hidden places that I probably never would have found otherwise.

02-19-2006, 07:10 PM
There is only one thing that is important to the Team. Good :p Bad :eek: or indifferent ;) . There has to be a story, to go along with the cache. If I can't remember doing the cache, then it probally wasn't a good one. By the way. I remember most of our caches. Wait til you hear the stories from our Quebec City trip with KK.

Beach Comber
02-19-2006, 09:10 PM
Another favorite to add to my list........yes, the quick and easy cache under a pile of sticks or behind a rock (perfect for teaching a child).

I took my 9 year old niece out today to learn about caching. She is visiting from NY and has been so excited that she would finally get to go. Treasure hunting through the eyes of a 9 year presents it's own fun and excitement. As simple as this particular cache is for adults, it was perfect for her. She was excited and proud to have found it, and thrilled to go on despite cold temperatures. Though we travelled a bit from Portland to Stockton Springs today, the ride in the car was no longer so boring as she anticipated the next hunt. Each time she got more excited - was so fun to see her. For our final cache, she jumped out of the car with the GPS in her had and navigated the entire trek herself. Someday she will do a micro, a puzzle, a multi or other more complicated caches than we did today, but had we started there, I am sure she would have quit right away.

Just another reminder that the caching experience and the cache itself are anything that we want them to be - there is a positive experience there no matter what if one wants there to be.

02-19-2006, 09:32 PM
everyone gets different jollies from different things, it all depends on the person seeking the cache. I like trekking out into the woods in any condition to look for a cache I might not find. Others like the micros in the middle of city, and having to play 007 to keep the cache from being muggled. My best advice for making a cache is, that there is no bad cache because there is someone out there who will enjoy it, so it's your job as the cache owner to give the best possible description of your cache so that someone will know if that's a cache they want to do. The star ratings don't do caches justice, I've done a lot of big star caches only to find a great dissapointment in both the terrain and skill required to do the cache. The more work you put into your cache to keep it nice and free of junk, and to make it as user friendly as possible, the better it will be. You gotta think of it as "you're selling your cache to other cachers" you want them to be as informed as possible and happy with the end product. :D :D :D

02-19-2006, 10:16 PM
The more work you put into your cache to keep it nice and free of junk, and to make it as user friendly as possible, the better it will be. You gotta think of it as "you're selling your cache to other cachers" you want them to be as informed as possible and happy with the end product. :D :D :D

That's what a good cache is!

02-20-2006, 07:50 AM
I wonder if there should be more "types" of caches or a kind of Finder Rating Score (FRS) to help people decide what to seek.

I think a "finder rating" on would be a great idea. Anyone know if this has actually been discussed? :D :D

02-20-2006, 09:02 AM
I think a "finder rating" on would be a great idea. Anyone know if this has actually been discussed? :D :D

User/finders ratings sound similar to Terracaching (

02-20-2006, 10:18 PM
User/finders ratings sound similar to Terracaching (

well, i signed up for it, and i dont see anything but forums... where's the caches?? :confused:

02-21-2006, 12:26 AM
Well there are only 2 caches in the whole state,1 in Pittsfield at Manson Park and the other one is in SW Maine someplace. The website is very hard to get around and not very user friendly if you ask me. At the top of the home page click on To Do List and then click on traditional and that will give you the locations of the 2 caches that are here in Maine.

02-21-2006, 06:46 AM
I think a "finder rating" on would be a great idea. Anyone know if this has actually been discussed? :D :D

Finder ratings have been discussed in the forums many times. I know there was concern about misuse - people giving bad ratings because the finder was not given enough hints or because the hider gave a bad rating on one of the finder's caches. IIRC, there was also a discussion where only good ratings could be left (something like good, very good, great).

I'm middle of the road on finder ratings. It would probably help if I were away from home and was not biased by any relationship with the hider or previous finders. But at home, I think the logs give a good indication. When you see a cache with a lot of "TNLNSL" logs you get an idea there was not much worth talking about. Of course, you'll always get those loggers who never write much - that's the beauty of knowing the type of logs people write.

02-21-2006, 07:33 AM
Some local orgs run a contest with many categories, similar to the "Best Of" contests for restaurants. For example, Most Scenic, Most Challenging Climb, Best Micro, etc were some of the categories. This kind of contest can help the visitor find just the cache they're looking for.

02-21-2006, 06:16 PM
That's what a good cache is!

i know that's what a good cache is, that's why i said it... :rolleyes: :D

02-21-2006, 09:43 PM
User/finders ratings sound similar to Terracaching (

ok, so i've been sponsored and can look at the caches now.... but am i lookin at it wrong or am i just dumb??? are there really only 2 terracaches in maine????

02-21-2006, 10:08 PM
There really are only two caches in Maine. And only a handful in NE.

02-21-2006, 10:17 PM
wow, that uhhh... sucks...
i think i'll stick with GC.COM

02-21-2006, 10:25 PM
wow, that uhhh... sucks...
i think i'll stick with GC.COM

That's almost word-for-word exactly what I thought when I first saw the site about three months ago :p

02-22-2006, 09:30 AM
wow, that uhhh... sucks...
i think i'll stick with GC.COM

Just think... If you placed 2 caches you could double the number of terracaches in Maine.:)

02-22-2006, 08:32 PM
Just think... If you placed 2 caches you could double the number of terracaches in Maine.:)

or if i placed 3 i could uhh 3/4ers it??

02-26-2006, 11:14 PM
I'd like to follow up on TAT's idea of a contest with many different "Best of" categories. We could post the rankings here on the the geocachingmaine site.

Or, look at this link for what cachers in Philly have done to provide "tours" of their city:

Seems to me that we Maine Geocachers would be in an excellent position to something similar for our home areas; you know, as a service to our beloved summer cachers from out of state. Again, the "tours" could be posted on this site.

Also, you can use the bookmarking feature of the GC site to create your own lists of memorable caches. These listings get put right on the cache page (if you allow that) so anyone looking up the cache can see that it belongs to so-and-so's "Most Kayakable" list or on someone else's "Best Views". I think I'm going to start doing this as a way to journal my favorite hunts with my 4 year old son. It won't be too long before they'll all start to blend together, but we've had some great adventures already (usually because dear old dad didn't really read the description that closely). Anyway, you know whom you respect and if you saw a cache on Gob-ler's "Best of LA" list, wouldn't you choose it if you had only a limited time in that area?