Beginners Guide to Understanding Geocache Descriptions

Understanding Geocache Descriptions

You’ve downloaded the geocaching app to your device, are ready for an adventure, and are eager to find a geocache. But you need some hints! Before you go, take a look at the cache description. Each cache listed in the geocaching database has a name and a description along with other details about it, such as size, difficulty level, and coordinates. Understanding geocache descriptions help you determine which caches are most suitable for you.

Review the snippet below for “A Special Memory”.  Then continue reading below for an explanation of cache descriptions.

Geocache Detail Page


The Name Gives Hints to Cache Location

The name of a geocache is significant. It either has a special meaning to the cache owner, or it gives hints to the geocache location.

Here’s a personal example. A number of years ago, our family hid a cache in a local park. After tossing around ideas for the name of the cache, much as the way families do when choosing a name for a new puppy or kitten, we settled on the name Magic Tree House. Why? Let’s break it down. The magic comes in because the tree hid our geocaching container filled with a variety of awesome swag that only geocachers would discover. It was hidden in a hole at the base of a huge tree that had remnants of a tree house. Ah! Yes! Perfect!

Now you get the idea. Always take a moment to analyze the name of a geocache. It oftentimes give hints about the cache.

Difficulty and Terrain of Cache

These are necessary details every geocacher should consider. Difficulty and terrain ratings start at an easy 1 star and increase in difficulty to 5 stars.

What Difficulty Ratings Mean

Difficulty ratings indicate how much of a mental challenge it will be to find the cache. If you are a rocket scientist, but a beginner geocacher, stick with a lesser difficulty rating. Gain some experience, develop your geosense, and then go for a more challenging find. It’s no fun to go on a geocaching adventure and not find the cache. Believe me, some experienced and longtime cache hiders enjoy making their caches very hard to find. Look for the starred ratings and know the level of difficulty before you go.

What Terrain Ratings Mean

Terrain ratings indicate how much physical exertion is required in order to find the geocache. Are you in good shape? Great! You may not bat an eye at the thought of a 5-star terrain rating. Boulder scrambling or hiking into the woods to find a geocache adds to the challenge and heightens the adventure. In contrast, if you have a bum knee or you don’t like the thought of working up a sweat to find a geocache, stick to the 1 to 3 terrain ratings. You’ll have more fun. Don’t ignore terrain ratings. They give excellent clues as to what physical exertion you will be up against.

Size of Geocaching Containers

Geocache size description is very important. Geocaching containers come in all shapes and sizes. By checking out the size ratings of the cache before you go, you will have a handle on whether or not the cache is the size of a suitcase or a screw.  The rating system icon looks like a small box that gets bigger in size. Small is difficult to find. It contains micro and nano caches. Bigger is easier to find and is usually an ammo can or larger container. Again, if you are a newbie, select a cache that’s rated on the larger end of the rating system. Plus, if you are bringing children, the larger geocaches are much easier to find. These geocaches are the ones that contain SWAG  and everyone loves to exchange swag!

Summing Up the Basics

In order to have the best geocaching experience, you should understand geocache descriptions. They inform geocachers as to the size of the cache, and indicate how much brain power and physical exertion will be necessary for success.


In under 2 minutes, explains the basics in this video.



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