We've had all sorts of reactions when telling people about our favourite hobby, from curiosity to complete and utter confusion. I'm certain every cacher has attempted to explain geocaching in twenty five words or less, and a lot of the time that's all they want to hear. But every now and then, they grow interested, and ask to tag along one day. Introducing somebody new to the game can be a wonderful way to bond, so we've created a list of tips to help you turn that newbie into a valuable caching partner!
Keep it simple
You might be dying to tell them about TOTTs and CITOs, but there’s no need to info dump on the poor souls as soon as your feet walk out the door.
Let them be curious, let them ask the questions they want answered. Telling them only what they need to know will avoid headaches, and allow them to learn the sport at a pace that they feel comfortable.
Choose Caches You've Already Found
Let’s be real, we’ve all come across those containers where the logbook is wet and the smell of mildew is almost too much to handle. Finding a soggy or ill maintained cache won't be an immediate winner for any cacher-to-be. By choosing a cache that you have already done, you can be confident that the experience will be enjoyable. Choose one that made you smile, or impressed you with it's seamless camouflage. If revisiting a cache is out of the question, look for one with a few favourite points and a promising log history.
Check the recent activity of the cache
Make sure that you're not setting yourselves up for disappointment. Has it been found recently? Is there any 'needs maintenance' logs? You want to show off the best caches, not the lid of one that went missing weeks ago.
Let them find it
As a seasoned cacher, you’ve obtained a set of skills that allows you to find caches quickly, sometimes before you’ve even reached GZ. And it’s tempting to show off your keen eye to a fresh group of newbies. But, remember that excitement you got when you finally spied your first cache? That feeling is close to priceless. Share the fun, and let your future caching buddy feel that rush that gets us hooked!
Keep their skill and fitness in mind
You may be a thrill seeking climber, or a long distance hiker with hundreds of trails under your belt. And, you’ve been spying that challenging series that’s been sitting in your list for a while now. But is your future caching buddy up for the challenge?
Don’t push them into a circumstance that would put them in danger, and don't make them work so hard they are sore and ready to go home. Start easy, figure out their limits and remember that today their enjoyment is key.
Keep it short and sweet
Yep, you’ve finally solved all the puzzles in that 60 cache mystery series. It’s going to be a long day of stopping, logging and leaving. No. Don't do it. We've already fallen in love with the game, so a day of repetitive park-and-grabs is nothing. You want to leave them wanting more, so limit it to a couple of caches.
We once took my mum out for a short geocaching hunt. She was so hungry for more that later that afternoon, she asked to go cache hunting on a local hiking trail!
Even if you aren’t a fan of SWAG, bring along a handful of random swaps
Chances are, they’re going to find some random trinket that they’ll want to keep as a memento. Letting them add something to the cache is a good way to keep them involved, while teaching them the ins and outs of how our system works
Consider trackables after your adventure
If you have a spare trackable lying around, and your accomplice enjoyed their geocaching adventure, let them set a mission for it. Then, drop it somewhere next time you're out. Seeing it move over the next few months will be a good conversation starter, and may inspire them to go out with you again.
Be a good representative
Set a good example. As of this moment, you are their first and only experience with this game. Their future caching habits will reflect how you treat the caches and the environment in which they are hidden. Be safe, be respectful, and show them that we have a responsibility as cachers to keep our playing field clean.
And, most importantly, have fun!
The reason we go out there with the coordinates locked and our pens at the ready is for nothing other than the thrill of the discovery. Enjoy it!
We hope you enjoyed reading our tips for introducing your friends and family to geocaching. If you have a cool story about taking somebody on their first geocache hunt, reach out to us on Instagram, we'd love to hear it! Take care, and happy caching!