Glossary of Geocaching Related Terms

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10 YEARS! EVENT CACHE:  A grandfathered Geocache type.  These event caches were held to10 Year Icon commemorate Geocaching’s 10th anniversary.

BYOP – Bring Your Own Pen/Pencil:  An initialism that warns finders that the Geocache container does not provide a writing instrument for their use.

CACHE: short for Geocache

CACHE IN TRASH OUT (CITO) EVENT CACHE:  A Geocaching type that centers around the CITO Iconclean-up and disposal of litter in a particular location.  Geocachers should practice CITO at every opportunity not just at events!

CITO – Cache In Trash Out:  Geocachers must respect our playing field.  The Earth!  While Geocaching bring a trash bag along and pick up trash to help our environment.

CACHE OWNER – The hider of the Geocache container who also has the responsibility to maintain the cache and periodically review the caching hiding guidelines to ensure the cache meets all requirements.  You will often see this abbreviated as CO or C.O.

DNFDid Not Find: This indicates that the geocacher did not find the geocache.  DNF entries are valuable to cache owners since they may indicate that the cache is missing or has been moved from its intended location.  You should ALWAYS log your DNFs.

EARTH CACHE:  A type of Geocache where cachers learn about our planet.  A geological featureEarthCache Icon is often highlighted at and Earth Cache location.  You can learn more about Earth Caches here.

EVENT CACHE:  This type of Geocache is where Geocachers meet and discussEvent Icon Geocaching.  The Event cache pulls together the local caching community and containers, Pathtags, and stories are often exchanged.  After the Event cache, participants log the cache as attended.

FTF – First To Find: The lucky Geocacher that finds a geocache first and signs a blank log.  This is a highly coveted honor and the competition in most cities is quite serious.  Some cache owners leave rewards/presents for the FTF.FTF

GEOCACHE:  A hidden container that has a logbook for finders to sign.  These containers come in all sizes and shapes.  A clever hider will camouflage the container so well that it may be right in front of you and you don’t see it.  A family favorite is the ammo can since it contains large amounts of treasure!

GEOCACHING:  A hybrid word originating from the words GEO and CACHING.  A cache, in tradition terms, was a hiding place for keeping provisions (food, water, tools, etc) concealed for later use.  GEO means from the earth or ground.  GEOCACHING combines these meanings to describe someone hiding a container, recording the location’s coordinates, publishing the location to the public, and someone finding the container.  The original name was GPS Stash coined by the inventor of GEOCACHING, Dave Ulmer, in April 2000.  This name was changed later because of the negative connotations of the word STASH.

GEOCOIN:  A metal or wooden coin which is usually trackable online and moves from cache to cache.  The first geocoin was developed by Jon Stanley (geocacher name:moun10bike).

GEOSENSE: That silent intuition that tells your subconscious where the cache is located.


GPSrGlobal Positioning System receiver:  Equipment used to receive positioning signals for navigation and/or location. You may use your car GPSr, handheld, or smartphone to Geocache.  I used this Nokia N95 for my first find (accuracy was 30 feet)

GROUNDSPEAK HEADQUARTERS CACHE:  Groundspeak is the parent company of Groundspeak and their headquarters are in Seattle, Washington.  Cacher can visit and find the cache there.  If you would like to visit, send an email to

Letterbox Hybrid: A type of Geocache that is also a Letterbox.  Letterboxing is Letterbox Iconslightly different from Geocaching.  Letterboxing incorporates a hidden container along with a rubber stamp for the finder to use to log his find.  You can find out more here.

LOCATIONLESS CACHE:  This Geocache type was also known as a ReverseLocationless Icon cache.  Cachers were required to locate a specific object and log its coordinates.  This is now known as Waymarking.  Find out more about Waymarking here.

MEGA-EVENT CACHE:  An Event Cache that has 500 or more attendees. Mega Icon These can have a few days of planned activities (Such as GeoWoodstock) or be as short as 15 minutes (Flashmob).

MUGGLE:  Someone who is not a GEOCACHER.

MULTI-CACHE:  A Geocache type that leads you to two or more locations.Multi Icon

PATHTAG:  A type of Signature Item that is similar to a Geocoin but is traded.  Pathtags can be personalized for Geocachers and have become hot commodities.

PI or P.I – Poison Ivy (I found out the hard way)

POCKET QUERY:  A customized file (.zip or .gpx) that can be downloaded and used with a GPSr or software to show a selected set of GEOCACHES.

PROJECT A.P.E. CACHE:  A set of 14 Geocaches that hidden in conjunction with the 2001 APE Iconmovie Planet of the Apes.  Props from the movie were put in specially marked ammo cans for the First To Find.  There is only 1 Project A.P.E. cache remaining in the world.  It is located in Brazil and is called Mission 4: Southern Bowl GCC67.

PUZZLE or MYSTERY CACHE:  A type of Geocache that usually involves solving a puzzle.  ThisPuzzle Icon type of cache is also used when a unique Geocache does not fall under another cache type.

ROT13ROTATE by 13 places:  A simple substitution cipher that replaces a letter with the 13th letter after it (i.e. A=N, B=O, etc.).  You will find HINTS to GEOCACHES coded by this method.

SWAGStuff We All Get:  An acronym for the trading items left inside GEOCACHES.  Usually small trinkets, kid’s meal toys, or signature items.  If you take a piece of SWAG from a CACHE, it is customary to leave something of equal or greater value.

TFTC – Thanks For The Cache:  A quick log entry that barely acknowledges the trouble and effort put into hiding a geocache.

TNLNSL – Took Nothing Left Nothing Signed Log

TRADITIONAL CACHE:  A GEOCACHE type where the posted coordinates designate the Traditional Iconcontainer’s actual location.

TRAVEL BUG:  A trackable tag (usually a dog tag) attached to an item that allows the owner to track its location from GEOCACHE to GEOCACHE, or  person to person.

Travel Bug

SIGNATURE ITEM:  A personal “I was here” token that is left behind in a cache or traded at events.  This can take the shape of a business card, wooden nickel, Pathtag, or a log stamp.

VIRTUAL CACHE:  This grandfathered Geocache type is a Virtual Icondiscovery of a location instead of a physical container.  Cachers may be required to take a photograph, answer a question, or accomplish a specific task.  There are many Geocachers that would like to see this type of cache brought back for new locations.

WEBCAM CACHE:  This Geocache type uses public or private webcams to record the cacher atWebcam Icon a location.  This is another grandfathered cache type.

Wherigo Cache:  A Geocache type where the finder uses a “cartridge” (strangWherigo Icone term for software that leads you through the adventure) to interact with real and/or virtual objects or characters.  The cacher is rewarded by finding an actual cache container at the conclusion of their adventure.

Cache type icons courtesy of