Before hiding a geocache, I recommend that you have at least a dozen or so finds as experience. Finding what others have hidden (such as the containers in the image above) really helps demonstrate what works and doesn’t work when it comes to hiding geocaches.
Once you’ve done this, you may want to consider hiding a cache of your own. The first step is to find a suitable location. Look for nearby parks or nature reserves with plenty of good places to hide a cache. Don’t just hide the cache on a verge or somewhere it could be found really easily by muggles.
For the purpose of this post, I’m assumign you wish to place a fairly traditional cache. These are a good start for beginners, however you may want to turn your hand to more innovative hides, such as constructed containers using the materials nearby, etc. I’ve placed caches using power point cases, carved wooden planks, hollow sticks, and the like.
My philosophy is that it either should be an interesting location (so in a beautiful part of nature, an area worth visiting for some reason; historical or otherwise, or a tourist landmark) or that the cache should be an interesting hide (so well camoflauged, or in a very tricky hiding spot). If you’re planning to throw a plastic container under a bush in an ugly industrial site, you’ll find that your cache won’t be well received.
Also be aware of the placement rules. It’s not a smart idea to place the cache on school grounds, outside a police station, or anywhere that it could be considered a security issue. I also suggest that you don’t place it right near a playground, as the hunting process, especially for lone males, will look very suspicious.
Next, put together the cache. Remember that you’ll need to maintain it, so choosing the cheapest container isn’t a smart move; cheap plastic containers tend not to be watertight, and therefore will soon need replacement. I tend to use Sistema containers, which are hardy well constructed plastic lunchbox style containers, with multiple locking latches, to help keep the cache watertight.
Next, consider camouflaging it. I have a few different spray paints which I use to paint the outside of the container. Using brown, green and black or beige in a random fashion helps make the container less likely to be spotted by non-players.
Whilst letting your painting job dry, start collecting the contents. I typically have a bag of cheap toys that I have bought at a local bargain outlet, and a few different sizes and styles of notebooks. Place a notebook and pencil in a snap lock bag, add a few swappable items, and you’re good to go!
Visit the location you wish to place the cache. Make sure that there are no other caches nearby – you wont get your cache listed if there is another cache less than 200 metres away, and it just doesn’t make sense to place yours that close, anyway.
Place the container, ensuring that it’s hidden well from accidental finds. Take note of the location, and record the co ordinates using your GPS. It’s wise to let the coordinates settle for at least a few minutes, and it’s advisable to actually take a few readings, so you can average them out.
Once you’re happy, return to your computer and from the Geocaching.com homepage, click the ‘Add a new Cache’. Make sure that you read the Guidelines before listing, and that you add plenty of information, including those important attributes.
Best of luck with your first hide!