For beginners, learning about the equipment needed to get out and about with Geocaching can seem like a minefield of jargon. However, there’s very little you need in order to get started with finding caches, it’s just a case of learning what the acronyms and terminology means.
BYOP stands for Bring Your Own Pencil or Bring Your Own Pen. When you locate a hidden cache on your Geocaching mission, you’ll sometimes need to record your find on the log within the cache as well as making a digital record on the website.
As we’ve said before, Geocaching can feel like it’s got its own language at times, and terms like Bring Your Own Pen are shortened to make them easier to use – especially in written clues for Geocachers. Other common examples of abbreviations used by Cachers include TFTC meaning Thanks For The Cache and FTF if you’re the pioneer in finding a hidden item.
Why Do I Need A Pen When Geocaching?
While it’s perfectly possible to enjoy the activity without ever adding your find to physical notes in the caches, a big part of Geocaching is the community. A huge number of people enjoy the sport, and it’s a great way to get outdoors and get some exercise to boot.
Having a pen handy when finding caches means you can leave a record of your find. Logs can be as simple as your name and the date you found the cache, or more extravagant leaving a note for future Cachers who find the location in future or a thanks to the person who created and maintains the cache.
Can I Use Something Else To Fill In The Log?
It’s almost always a good idea to have a pencil or pen with you when Geocaching, what’s important is the you leave a log to document your find.
Some Geocachers have made stickers to place on Cache logs, instead of completing them with a pen or pencil. It’s still a good idea to Bring Your Own Pen Or Pencil (BYOP) though, as stickers may not fit in the space provided, and it’s good to keep them tidy and not use up more space than provided.
What If The Log Is Full Or Almost Out Of Space?
Some caches are rarely located, while others will be discovered multiple times a day. Usually, inner city parks are popular caches, whereas those located way off the beaten track may go untouched for months.
If a log is full when you discover a cache, feel free to add a new piece of paper with your details. Be sure to log what you’ve done online too, either through the app on your phone or the website when you get home. That alerts the Cache owner to the fact that the Cache needs maintenance.
If a log is running out of space, you should also note that on the details through the app or website. Ideally action can then be taken by the owner before the next Geocacher finds the location.
It’s possible that the next player won’t have a spare piece of paper for a new log with them, so it’s always helpful to flag up a nearly full log ahead of time.
What Are The Other Essential Items For Logging Geocaching Finds?
As I mentioned at the start of this article, there is very little that’s essential for participating Geocaching. However, getting a basic kit together can make the activity feel more inclusive, as well as being far more enjoyable, rewarding and fulfilling.
Having a pencil to complete a Geocaching log is important, but you may also wish to consider carrying paper too in case the log is full. In addition, a pencil sharpener would be a wise choice, and perhaps some antiseptic wipes too as the Cache may be exposed to the elements.
Who Should Sign The Log?
While some people Geocache alone, a lot of participants head out in groups. How you sign the Cache log will depend on your normal Geocaching routine.
If you always go Geocaching in the same group, you may choose to sign logs with a group name of your choosing, whereas if you participate alone or with different people each time, each participant should sign the log individually.
Can Children Sign Cache Logs?
Geocaching is a wonderful family activity, perfect for a group activity in the great outdoors. Children can get really enthusiastic about such an adventurous treasure hunt, so it’s natural for them to want to sign logs too.
Children are welcome to sign Geocaching logs, but if parents are uneasy about leaving their names on what could be considered a public record, why not sign it once as a family group (for example The Smiths). You can allow children to take it in turns to complete the logs if they’re keen.
Should I Write A Detailed Log Entry?
All too often, you’ll find a simple list of dates and names on a log sheet, with very little else. Sometimes that’s out of necessity, such as when the Cache container is really small. In bigger caches though, you can find swag and other trinkets alongside much bigger log sheets.
Write a detailed log entry where there’s space on a logging sheet. Taking the time to provide more details about your adventure is a great way to show your gratitude to the Cache creator for taking the time to create something for you to track down.
A great example of a good amount of detail on a logging entry might be:
“TFTC! We’ve had a great day out hunting for Caches! The kids really loved finding this one as it was so cleverly hidden in plain sight. We were convinced it was going to be under the nearby rocks, but once we realized we were a little off target we soon found it peeking out from the tree”
Of course, that sort of entry is great on a paper log inside the Cache container, but you’d want to be a little more vague if you’re leaving a note on the website to avoid giving the secret away when people choose it to find on their next adventure!
By leaving a personal note with the cache you’re not only telling the creator how much fun you’ve had, but also adding a new dimension for future Cachers when they find it. I know how much I love reading through the logs people have quietly left in Caches, so no doubt you do too!