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The Ultimate Treasure Hunt: Geocaching Trackables

Have you enjoyed geocaching so far? Are you ready to own a geocaching trackable or host your own cache? Then you’re a treasure hunter for sure and you know the excitement of geocaching. Congrats!

If you haven’t already read my post on geocaching 101, click here. It will give you a good overview of the basics of geocaching.

This Wonder Woman trackable was put in a cache in Massachusetts and is owned by my daughter Evelyn’s Girls Scout Troop. I hosted the geocaching badge for her troop and they put this travel bug, along with the Wonder Woman LEGO figure out in a cache with a fun mission, to meet Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in 2 other countries. I’m not sure how long it will take Wonder Woman to achieve her mission but the girls are excited to track her progress as she makes her way around the world. The girls are Junior Scouts right now in 5th grade. I hope they keep up with this activity as they get older and they send her on more missions.

geocaching trackables - a find
The girls setting their trackable off on its adventure

Geocaching Trackables

When you are out searching for caches you might come across a trackable. Geocaching Trackables are physical game pieces you can buy and add to a cache. Playing with a trackable adds excitement to your geocaching adventure. Trackables come in 2 varieties, either travel bugs or geocoins, which can be very elaborate and expensive.

Trackables are generally set on a mission. It can be as simple as moving from cache to cache or more ambition like to visit all 50 states in the US. If there is a trackable among the treasure in a cache you find, check the landing page to see if the trackable is logged in. If it is and you can help the trackable get to its destination or closer to it, you can take it and move it.

Make sure you log that you have taken the trackable on the landing page. You need to use the unique trackable code on the tag or geocoin, so the owner knows it’s “on the move.” If you aren’t going anywhere near the trackables destination it’s best to leave it for another geocacher to move. Rule of thumb is to log the trackable into the new cache within two weeks of taking it.

To Log A Geocaching Trackable

  1. Activate the trackable on the website.
  2. You need both the trackable’s code and an activation code that comes with the trackable when purchased.
  3. Enter the required information:
    1. Date activated – generally today’s date
    2. Location. Where it was released?
    3. Description. Rule of thumb would be for a simple tag, a simple description is fine. However, if you’ve attached a toy or some such fun object, the description should include that. Large trackables are curious entities throughout the geocaching world and can be highly sought after.
    4. Goal/Mission. Where would you like your trackable to go? Just visit different caches or do you want it to travel the world? It can take part in a race against other trackables or it can visit a geocaching event. you decide.
  4. After you’ve logged it, place it in a cache or event and ‘set it free’. You need to go to the geocaching app or website and log the trackable into the cache or event where you are leaving it.

To Retrieve, Discover, Grab and Write Note Logs

When you find a trackable in a geocache or see one in someone else’s possession you can do one of the following acts.

  1. Go on and enter the tracking code in the tracking box (center of the page) or select a trackable from your inventory.
  2. Find “add a Log Entry” on the right-hand side of the trackable detail page.
  3. Select from the following log types:
    1. Retrieve, take a trackable from the geocache.
    2. Discover it, note that you saw the trackable in the geocache but didn’t take it.
    3. Grab it, from another cache or another person.
    4. Write your log entry and upload a photo if you’d like.

A Note about Retrieve and Grab

Sometimes you will see retrieve and grab used interchangeably and from the websites view it does the same thing, it moves the trackable out of the cache and into your inventory. However, retrieve is really what is happening when you take the trackable from a cache.

Grab is intended for use in unusual circumstances such as finding a trackable in a cache but is not listed in that cache on

If somebody hands you a trackable, that would also be a good time to use grab. However, it is better to have the giver drop it into the event cache and you then do a retrieve, this will track the mileage as it goes from cache to cache.

Drop and Visit Logs

Follow these steps to drop a trackable in a geocache or log a visit to a geocache.

  1. From a cache page, select Log geocache.
  2. Below the text box, select an action for each trackable from your inventory:
    1. Drop, leave the trackable in a geocache.
    2. Visit, take a trackable to a cache but keep it with you when you leave.

Common Terms you might see while searching f or caches:

  • BYOP- Bring your own pen/pencil
  • CITO – Cache in, trash out
  • DNF – Did not find
  • Dipping – actually logging a trackable into a geocache, then immediately logging it back into one’s possession. This registers miles traveled on a trackable.
  • FTF- First to find
  • FTFI – First to find items
  • LN- Left nothing
  • LPC- Lamp post cache -a common type of cache hidden under an unsecured lamp post base
  • SL – Signed log
  • STF – Second to find
  • SWAP – Stuff we all get – trade items
  • TB – Travel Bug
  • TFTC – Thanks for the cache
  • TFTH – Thanks for the hide
  • TNLN – took nothing, left nothing
  • TNLNSL – took nothing, left nothing, signed log
  • TOTT – tools of the trade
  • WAYPOINT -The location of a geocache that is defined by a set of coordinates using longitude, latitude and sometimes altitude.

Pin for Later

I hope this has inspired you to become a treasure hunter. Download the app now, get out there exploring and find your next cache.

Have you found any trackables? Are you ready to put out our own cache?

This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. Sara

    I think it would be so exciting for my kids to find a trackable. We haven’t found one yet, but we are hopeful.

    1. Leeanne

      Look at the size of each cache, small or micro cache’s will not have trackables or even swag most times. You need to find a cache that is medium size so people can leave items in it.

  2. Carey

    This is awesome! I have never heard of this before and loved reading both your post!

    1. Leeanne

      Glad you enjoyed it. Please let me know how you like it when you find your first cache.

  3. Alison

    We haven’t done a LOT of geocaching, so I never knew that trackables were a thing! Such a great spin!

    1. Leeanne

      It’s fun to see how far it travels too.

  4. Pam

    Although we’ve done geocaching before I’ve never heard about trackables – sounds like a whole new element!

    1. Leeanne

      It does add a whole new element and seeing it move around the world it super fun.

  5. Taquia

    This is awesome! It would be the perfect activity to do with my son. How fun!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure he will love it, Taquia.

  6. Stacey Billingsley

    This looks like such a cool activity! I would love to see where my trackable ended up. This would be so fun this summer.

    1. Leeanne

      We’ve had a great time with the trackables, I’m sure you will too.

  7. Lisa Manderino

    I haven’t heard about trackables. This is great information it will be interesting to see where she ends up!

    1. Leeanne

      The owner of the trackable sets the mission for the trackable. The girls set the mission to go to different Girl Scout camps in the US and the World.

  8. Cindy

    I’ve not found a trackable yet! That would be fun to help it along on its mission.

    1. Leeanne

      It really is Cindy. Look for medium or large caches.

  9. Jennifer

    Geocaching looks like a fun activity to see where your trackable can travel to.

  10. Casandra

    We are newbies to geocaching so I’ll have to look for a trackable next time we do one!

    1. Leeanne

      Check for the size of the cache. Medium and large caches are places people leave them.

  11. Cindy

    I have got to get started!

    1. Leeanne

      The first step is to download the app. I’m sure you will love it once you try it.

  12. kmf

    This is super cool…I’ve never tried geocaching but it looks like so much fun.

    1. Leeanne

      We love it, I’m sure you will too.

  13. Eva Keller

    What a fun project! I didn’t do girl scouts, but our YMCA had an “Indian Princesses” thing that was very similar. We would’ve loved doing something like this since we earned patches for different things.

    1. Leeanne

      I love that the Y came up with their own program. Yes, the girls loved earning this badge. It was a lot of fun.

  14. Missy

    We have geocached but have not seen a trackable. I am excited to find one.

    1. Leeanne

      You need to look for medium to large caches to find trackables.

  15. Chantelle

    WOW! we have gone geocaching before, but I had no idea there was so much more to it! The trackables are so cool! This was so informative!

  16. Trisha

    I’ve been wanting to try geocaching with my kids and you just gave me the needed push to get started! Thank you!

  17. Amanda

    We have to do this! It sounds like such a cool adventure. I know my girls will love it. Need to go back to your other post and figure everything out. Thanks for the info!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure your girls will love it, Amanda. Check with the National Parks service to see what tours they are offering so you can maximize your trip.

  18. Charlene

    I did a lot of geocaching when my kids were younger. It took us to some really interesting places all over the country. I even found a few in Europe! We had a trackable, but it has been lost. I am hoping that it will reappear someday.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m glad you have good memories of geocaching. That’s sad about your trackable, hopefully it will reappear one day.

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