Geocaching Types Explained: Challenge Caches and Gadget Caches

Geocaching is an exciting activity that combines technology and the great outdoors. It is a type of treasure hunt where participants search for hidden items using GPS coordinates. There are several different types of geocaching, and each one has its own unique features. In this blog article, we will explore challenge caches

Introduction to Geocaching

Geocaching is an outdoor activity that uses GPS coordinates to locate hidden items. Participants use GPS devices to navigate to the location where the item is hidden. It’s like a real-world treasure hunt. Once the item is found, the participant can log their find using the Geocaching app or website. A Traditional geocache is the most common type of geocache. It consists of a physical container of various sizes located at the posted GPS coordinates. The container usually contains a logbook and sometimes small trade items, such as toys or trinkets. The geocacher signs the logbook and takes the item if they wish, leaving one of equal or greater value in return. While there is the most common type of geocache, there are several types and variations of geocaches to find.

Challenge Caches

A challenge cache is a variation of a mystery (sometimes called unknown) type geocache.  A typical mystery geocache has a physical container, like a traditional geocache, that the geocacher must find and sign the logbook to claim the find.  Unlike a traditional geocache, the coordinates posted for a mystery geocache are not the actual coordinates for the physical container.  To find the actual coordinates, the geocacher must solve the puzzle posted in the mystery cache description.

While a challenge cache is listed as a mystery cache, instead of having to solve a puzzle, the geocacher must complete the challenge posted in the cache description to qualify for the challenge.  Once the geocacher completes the challenge, they may claim the geocache online.  Geocachers are often required to show proof of qualification in their online find log.  It also differs from typical mystery caches due to the fact the that the container for the challenge is located at the posted coordinates.  These types of geocaches often have the word “challenge” in the name of the geocache.

Gadget Caches

A gadget geocache is typically a variation of a traditional geocache where the geocache container has a special “gadget” or puzzle element that must be completed to open or access the container and sign the logbook.  These elements can be anything from completing a “Simon Says” type game to requiring a geocacher to pour water into a pipe to raise the geocache container.

These types of geocaches often provide the geocache with a unique and fun geocaching experience.  While there is no attribute for gadget caches, they sometimes carry the “field puzzle” attribute or are described as being a gadget cache in the geocache description


Geocaching is a great way to explore the outdoors and have some fun. There are several different types of geocaching, and each one has its own unique features. Challenge caches and gadget caches are types of geocaches that provide geocachers with fun and unique geocaching experiences and are a great way to expand your geocaching experience.

Now that you know the basics of challenge and gadget geocaches, its it to go out and start finding them!

Related Podcast Episodes

S1E18: Derek from Behind the Cache – Creative and Gadget Caches
S3E1: Challenge Caches with Cache the Line

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