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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Everything You Want To Know About Geocaching Swag

Ahh Swag, in the geocaching world it is the "treasure" in treasure hunting but what is it really?

When a geocache gets initially "hidden" many times the owner places trinkets, knick-knacks and treasures inside for other geocachers to find and trade from. The idea is that the "finder" opens up the geocache, signs the log book and trades items they are carrying for the swag found in the geocache. The rule of geocaching states that if you trade an item from the geocache you should replace it with something of equal or better value. The idea is to keep geocaches stocked with rotating supplies of swag-like goodness. Does that always happen, no. Many times some geocachers just take for the sake of the moment but it is still best to replace with equal or better stuff. Keep in mind that the majority of the swag found in a typical geocache usually ranges from $1.00US to $5.00US in value.

What are some examples of swag?
Basically anything that will fit in a particular geocache that fits your budget.

Store bought items as: Toys, Tools, Jewlery, Electronics, CDs, DVDs, etc.
Handmade items
Bags of Polished Stones

Where is some of the best places to get swag for geocaching?
Listed below are some suggestions from actual geocachers. It is not the end all beat all but it sure will give some things to think about when looking for swag. The list is not in any particular order.

The Dollar Store - Can get oodles of swag for a buck. Sort of the common man's swag store.
Garage Sales - You never know what kind of stuff you can find for trade.
Target: Dollar Wall - all sorts of bargain items.
Ebay: Wholesale lots - you never know what is out there for a great deal to trade.
Ebay - Vintage coins and arrow heads
www.orientaltrading.com - Multitudes of swag items for a small amount of $$$.
Claire's bargain area - kids love jewelry, purses and other dressup stuff.
Joanne's - tons of craft stuff for making swag items or to trade.
Craft stores - see Joanne's
Fast Food Chains - Kids love wrapped or new happy meal toys

Some final things to keep in mind about swag and geocaching. The big thing is you do not HAVE to trade. If you do not have something to swap then don't. Sign the log book and earn your smiley.

Also Travel Bugs and Geocoins are NOT swag. They are personal items owned by someone else. These specially ID'd travelers are handled differently than swag and move from one geocache to the next. They are not swag and not trade items.

Is there REAL treasure in Geocaches?
The answer I will give in my humble opinion is YES. Sure there is a ton of playing cards, happy meal toys and chip clips waiting for you when geocaching. I asked a bunch of geocachers what the most expensive items they found and here were a couple of answers.

One geocacher heard of someone finding car keys but only felt that was 10% true
Two separate geocachers have found real 1oz gold kruggerands.
A harmony ball. The geocacher didn't know what it was at the time but they value around $40.00.
A brand new Gameboy Micro with game included.
A $35.00 chunk of Citrine
A bolo tie placed in honor of another geocacher. It had a rare jasper stone worth over $300.00.

Of course there are the stories of championship game or box seat tickets, new Rolex watches and other gold, diamond and other treasures. Whether true or not you never know what you are going to find until you open the geocache up and look for yourself. There are currently 901,962 geocaches around the world waiting to be found. What treasures do you seek???

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Nick said...

In over four years of geocaching, I have taken swag from a cache once. I had to remove a mini football (deflated) to make room to leave a large travel bug. Any thoughts on what percentage of geocachers ignore swag?

Anonymous said...

I love swag - especially handmade things made by other geocachers. It's especially nice when cachers also put their handmade swag in a baggie and label it. Viva la swag!

Great article.

Chris said...

My friend once found a double-barrelled shotgun hidden at a cache. I think that's the highest dollar item I have ever heard of.