Learn The Lingo - Common Geocaching Terms

We don't need to tell you how awesome Geocaching is. Chances are, if you've made your way here you probably already know that.

But, with our TFTCs and BYOPs, the sport is full of terms that may be confusing at first. Heres a quick roundup of the most common, and most important terms to know.

Looking for one in particular? We've put it in alphabetical order to make it easier to find!


Bring Your Own Pen/Pencil

Sometimes caches are too small, or too awkward to keep a writing instrument inside. It’s always good practice to bring your own to ensure you can make your mark on that log book.


Cache In Trash Out®

These are events, where you get to do your part in keeping our playing field clean, while helping the environment at the same time!


Cache Owner

This is the person who is in charge of maintaining a geocache. They are either the original hiders of the cache, or they have adopted it with the promise of keeping it in working order.


Did Not Find

This means that the person was unable to find the cache. We all know it sucks to admit defeat, but logging a DNF can be helpful to other cachers, and could signify a problem for the Cache Owner to address.


Difficulty and Terrain

The difficulty rating of the cache relates to how hard it is to find. A well hidden cache, or one that requires a complex puzzle will have a higher rating than something that requires very little effort to locate. Similarly, the terrain rating is designed to tell you how much effort the environment takes to navigate. A park and grab cache will have a lower terrain rating than one that requires a boat or a hike to get to.


First To Find

Being the first to find a new cache is a wonderful achievement, and in the geocaching community we like to celebrate the quick-footed cachers that make it to new hides before anybody else.


Ground Zero

If you’re at GZ, you’re standing at the posted coordinates of the cache.

Jasmer Challenge

This is one of the most widely recognised challenges in the geocaching community. To complete the challenge, you must find at least one cache that was hidden in each month since geocaching started.

Lamp Post cache

Lamp post geocaches are an infamous and common hide. Unsurprisingly, they are a container that’s been hidden under the skirt of a lamp post. Personally, we don’t mind them as a quick park and grab. However, other cachers can be passionately against them, as they tend to lack creativity or difficulty.


Put simply, a muggle is anybody who isn’t a geocacher. Most of the time, muggles are oblivious to our secret little game, and generally we like to keep it that way - to avoid missing caches or getting into trouble for acting suspicious.


Smaller than a micro, this is the unofficial name for a super tiny geocache.

Original Can of Beans

Quite possibly my favourite geocaching term. It means exactly that - 'The Original Can of Beans'. It was a can of beans placed in the original geocache that started it all. It’s now a rusted, but expertly preserved piece of history, touring events as part of the geocaching holy grail.

Park and grab

A park and grab cache will be one you can easily reach, driving up to its location and jumping out for nice, quick find.


These are custom made tradable items. They are generally a metal tag the size of a small coin. Geocachers have them made with their own personal design, swapping them at events or leaving them inside geocaches.

Project APE

We’ve included this cache type in the list because we clearly remember the day we had to search for it’s meaning! If you come across one of these caches in your area, you are extremely lucky - there is only two left in existence! These physical caches were a 2001 promotion for the Planet Of The Apes film. If you do find one of these caches, share a photo with us, so we can envy you from the other side of the world!


This is a skill that every geocacher will need from time to time. When you arrive at a cache’s location, you might not be the only person there. Muggles can be curious creatures, so to avoid the disappearance of a cache, or a visit from the police, we need to look like we're not doing anything out of the ordinary.


Stuff We All Get

This is the little treasures and trinkets you’ll find inside a cache. The rule is that you can take something as a prize for your efforts, but you must replace it with something of equal or higher value. Some people even make their own personalised SWAG. SWAG, however, is not to be confused with trackables.


Thanks For The Cache

This is a wonderful acronym to use in your digital log to show the Cache Owner you appreciate their hard work.


Generally frowned upon, this is a container that’s been placed with little thought or care. It can either be a new cache, or one that’s been put there to replace a lost one.


Took Nothing Left Nothing

This acronym means that other than signing the log book, you left the cache as it was.


Tool Of The Trade

This refers to a tool you may require to obtain a cache. This could mean anything stored in your geocaching kit, from a simple magnet, to nano-log-extracting tweezers.

Trackable, or travel bug

These are items that have a code attached to them which is used to track the objects movements. Most of the time, they have a goal they want to meet, such as reaching a cache in another country.


Waypoints are coordinates of interest. A waypoint may be part of the geocache hunt itself, or it may be a point of reference such as the start of a hiking trail, or ideal parking spot. A cache may already have helpful waypoints posted for you, or you can add your own (which comes in handy for those complicated mystery geocaches!).

Want to know more? Check out the other posts in our

'Geocaching Basics' series!

Cache In Trash Out® is a registered trademark of Groundspeak, Inc. We are not affiliated with Groundspeak, we are just massive fans ;)

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