Geocaching 101: Geocaching Glossary - Peanuts or Pretzels (2023)

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When we first got involved in our hobby of geocaching, we saw geocaching terms and geocaching acronyms that we weren't familiar with. It took us some time to understand what they meant.To help you explore the fun world of geocaching, we've put together what we think are some of the most basic geocaching glossary terms you need to knowGeocaching beginners.Consider this your essential geocaching vocabulary lesson that will help you understand some of the things you read while continuing to improve your caching skills.



Archiving a cache removes the entry from public view on This action is typically taken when a cache owner does not intend to replace a cache after it has been removed. As an alternative to archiving a geocache, the cache owner can temporarily disable their cache if they plan on maintaining the cache or replacing the container within a month.

bookmark list

A feature for Geocaching Premium members to group cache lists as you wish. Maybe you want a bookmark list of caches you want to find this weekend, or maybe an "all time favorites" list to share with friends.

BYOP (bring your own pen/pencil)

BYOP is an acronym often used by geocache owners to communicate to other geocachers that you must bring your own pen or writing utensil to sign the geocache logbook. Some geocaches are too small to hold a pen in the cache. So if you see this, you might know it's onesmaller Geocache.


Cache is a shortened version of the word geocache. Geocaches often use this when talking to other geocachers. Sort of like our own geocaching jargon or geocaching jargon.

Caches along a route

A feature for Geocaching Premium members that allows you to identify caches along a specific route for quick and easy geocaching. You can choose from routes already created by other geocachers or use Google Earth to create your own unique trip.

founding member

In the very early years of, when Premium Memberships were first offered, they were called Charter Memberships to thank those who supported the site. Be sure to thank the founding members you meet along the way, without them the site would not exist today.

CITO (Cache in Recycle Bin)

Cache In Trash Out is an ongoing environmental initiative supported by the global geocaching community. Since 2002, geocachers have dedicated themselves to cleaning up parks and other cache-friendly places around the world. Learn more

DNF (not found)

An acronym used by geocachers to indicate that they haven't found a cache. This is also an online log of sorts on and is useful for alerting cache owners to potential problems. Cache owners who are repeatedly receiving "Not Found" logs should verify that their cache has not been removed.

Watch our DNF video in New Zealand below

(Video) Geocaching on the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii (EXTREME GEOCACHING)

D/T (difficulty/terrain)

Geocaches are rated in two categories, each on a 5-point scale. Difficulty refers to the mental challenge of finding a cache and terrain that describes the physical environment. A difficulty/terrain rating of 1/1 would be the easiest cache to find, while a difficulty/terrain rating of 5/5 would be the hardest.

We found a 5/5 geocache in Hawaii


AErdcacheis a special place people can visit to learn more about a unique geoscientific feature of our earth. EarthCache pages contain a number of teaching notes along with cache coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how geological processes shaped our planet, how we manage its resources, and how scientists collect evidence to learn more about Earth.

Check out someOur favorite EarthCaches from around the world

event cache

An event cache is a gathering of local geocachers or geocaching organizations to discuss geocaching. The Event Cache page specifies a time for the event and provides coordinates for its location. After the event, the cache is archived.

Check out what a geocaching event looks like below.

What does FTF (First to Find) mean?

FTF means First to Find. An acronym is written by geocachers in physical cache logs or online when logging cache finds to indicate being the first to find a new geocache. There can only be one First to Find (FTF) on all geocaches, and if you're looking for one, many people can be after it at the same time.

To readFinally!!! GeocachingFTF adventures in Macau, China


A unique identifier associated with each geocache listing is the GC code. The GC code begins with the letters "GC" followed by additional alphanumeric characters. This is how geocaches are stored, you could say.


A geocache is a hidden container containing at least one logbook for geocachers to sign.

(Video) Geocaching 101


Geocaching is a global game of hide-and-seek. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology, and then share the geocache's existence and location online. Everyone with oneGPS unitcan then attempt to locate the geocache.

Read more about"What is geocaching?"


A Geocoin works similar to a Groundspeak Travel Bug®(see Travel Bug) as they are trackable and can travel the world picking up stories from geocache to geocache. Geocoins are often created as signature items by geocachers and can also be used as collectibles. You can also call this aGeocaching trackable.

GPS (Global Positioning System)

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It's a system of satellites that work in tandem with a GPS receiver to pinpoint your location on the planet. That makes geocaching possible.

What does GZ (Ground Zero) mean?

The point at which your GPS device indicates that you have reached the cache location or are within 15 feet of the cache. At ground zero, you are zero feet (or zero meters) from the geocache. So if you see GZ in the geocache description, you know you are within 15 feet or so of the geocache.


A hitchhiker is an item that is placed in a cache and has instructions to travel to other caches. Sometimes they have log books attached so you can log their travels. A travel bug is an example of a hitchhiker.

What is a geocaching trackable?


A mega event cache is an event cache that has more than 500 participants. Mega Events offer geocachers a day of planned activities. Around a mega event there are often several days of additional activities. These major events attract geocachers from all over the world and are often held annually.

Read and see our experience on theGeocaching HQ Block Party Mega Event

What is a geocache muggle?

A non-geocacher. Based on "Muggle" from the Harry Potter series, who is a non-magical person. Usually this term is used when a non-geocacher looks confused after befriending a geocacher who is looking for a cache, or when a non-geocacher accidentally finds a cache. Geomuggles are mostly harmless.

Multi-Cache (Offset-Cache)

A multi-cache (“multiple”) spans two or more locations. The final location is a physical container. There are many variations, but most multi-caches have a clue to finding the second cache, and the second cache has a clue to the third, and so on. An offset cache (where you go to a location and get hints about the actual cache) is considered a multi-cache.

Mystery- oder Puzzle-Caches

This type of geocache, the "common" among cache types, can involve complicated puzzles that you must solve first to determine the coordinates. Mystery/puzzle caches often become the starting point for new and unique geocaches that don't fit into any other category.

(Video) 5 Tips for International Geocaching

Pocket Query (PQ)

A premium member feature, Pocket Query is a custom geocache search that you can have emailed to you daily or weekly. Pocket Queries give you the ability to filter your search so you only get information about the caches you want to search for, in either GPX or LOC format. This feature allows you to download up to 500 caches at a time.


Volunteers from all over the world who publish the cache lists on


Notes for geocaches are encoded using a simple format that rotates each letter in the alphabet up or down by 13 characters.

decryption key


(Letter above equals below and vice versa)


An item was unique to a specific geocacher that was left in caches to indicate that they visited that cache. This often includes personal geocoins, tokens, pins, craft items, or business cards.


A spoiler is information that reveals details and can ruin the experience of something. For example, telling someone the end of a movie before they've seen it. When geocaching, a spoiler reveals details about a cache location and can ruin the experience of finding it.


An acronym often referred to as "Stuff We All Get". It contains the trade items left in caches by geocachers.

What's in a geocache?

TFTC (thanks for the cache)

An acronym is written by geocachers in physical cache logs or online when logging cache finds. You will see this when people sign the log when geocaching.

TFTH (thanks for hiding)

TFTH is an acronym for "Thanks For The Hide". You will see this when people sign the geocache log.

TNLN (Take Nothing/Leave Nothing)

taken nothing. leave nothing Typically written to cache logs by geocachers who do not trade for tangible contents in a cache.


taken nothing. leave nothing Signed log book / Taken nothing. Signed logbook.

TOTT (Tools of the Trade)

Tools of the Trade is an acronym used for any tools that can be used to search/retrieve/find/log a geocache.

Traditional cache

This is the original geocache type, consisting of at least a container and a logbook or log sheet. Larger containers usually contain items for trade. "Nano" or "micro" caches are tiny containers that only hold a log sheet. The coordinates listed on the traditional cache page give the exact location of the geocache.

Trackable orTravel Bug®

A Groundspeak Travel Bug is aTrackable Geocaching-Tagthat you attach to an element. This allows you to track your item on The item becomes a pickup that is carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and you can track its progress online.

virtual (cache)

A virtual cache is about discovering a place rather than a container. The requirements for logging a virtual cache are different - you may have to answer a question about the location, take a picture, complete a task, etc. In any case, you must visit the coordinates before you can post your log.

While many places are interesting, a virtual cache should be unusual enough to warrant a visit.


A waypoint is a reference point for a physical location on earth. Waypoints are defined by a series of coordinates, usually including longitude, latitude, and sometimes altitude.

Each geocache listed on our website is a waypoint. generates a unique "GC Code" associated with each geocache listing.


These are caches using existing web cameras placed by individuals or authorities monitoring various areas such as parks or business complexes. The idea is to stand in front of the camera to record your visit. The challenging part is that you have to call a friend to look up the website where the camera recording is showing. You must have them to save the image to log the cache. If you're a techie, you can save the image yourself using a wireless modem and a laptop.


Wherigo is a toolset for creating and playing GPS-based real-world adventures. By integrating a Wherigo experience, called a cartridge, with finding a cache, geocaching hunting can become an even richer experience. Among other things, Wherigo allows geocachers to interact with physical and virtual elements such as objects or characters, while still finding a physical geocache container. A Wherigo-enabled GPS device is required to play a cassette. Learn more

** All glossary terms and descriptions were sourced

Geocaching 101: Geocaching Glossary - Peanuts or Pretzels (1)

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