If you’re a geocacher, I think it’s safe to assume you enjoy the outdoors — the earth is our game board, after all.
Now, I don’t think we need to discuss all the ways the earth needs our help right now; but let’s talk about what we can do within the geocaching community to help keep it healthy and happy.
Rethink your swag game
We all know how easy it is to swing into the dollar store and buy a pack of cheap plastic toys. But, if you’re a swag collector, you know how unlikely you are to care about those. Jenna and I are always on the hunt for potential swag. When we run low, the thrift store is a good place to pick up some interesting items — pins, keychains, or even an interesting toy to attach to your next trackable!
Alternatively, you could get creative and make something worth collecting! It’ll be less likely to end up in the trash, which means less plastic in landfills!
Consider 3D printing
While PLA isn’t as durable as other plastic materials, it does eventually break down, making it a great choice for SWAG items. PLA is made from renewable sources, and you’d be amazed at how people are applying it to the sport of Geocaching — in fact, one of our most popular travel bugs is a 3D printed gecko! (TB94NA1 — if you’re interested!)
Better yet, if you’re willing to learn how to design your own 3D printed objects, the sky is the limit; from customised coins and trackables, to intricate puzzle boxes and cache containers.
When you can, use the paths
When Jenna and I first started, we’d take the most direct route to the geocache, stomping through the vegetation like a pair of godzillas. It didn’t take us very long to realise that not only was this a highly inefficient way of finding caches, it was at the detriment of the natural world we’ve grown to love.
Now, we’ll follow any existing path until we’re as close to the cache as we can get, then we’ll tread carefully into the bushes. Sometimes, you can even spot a subtle trail left by past geocachers.
Sometimes even the coolest caches get archived due to a lack of maintenance. It’s sad to think of all the old, rotting containers left after their owners moved on.
Not only is it good manners to maintain a cache for future visitors, but it helps them to avoid that fate. Every geocacher should travel with a few common maintenance items; such as spare logbooks, an emergency container, and a few extra ziplock bags.
Pick up after yourself (...duh.)
This one sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at the amount of trash we’ve found at the GZ of even the remotest caches. I won’t nag you with a lecture, because deep down we all know that rubbish belongs in a trashcan. Don’t enjoy carrying your rubbish? Take along some reusable containers instead. Not willing to carry a bag of dog poop back to your car? Rethink bringing your geo-pup. You get the picture.
Heck, why not practice your CITO skills and pick up rubbish left by muggles (because we know true geocachers don’t litter).