Geocaching Terms

Like almost every organization or club, and certainly very much like the military has, geocaching has lots of geocaching terms. These are short forms, acronyms, and unusual words to enable those “in the know” to communicate faster.

Want to be “in the know” about geocaching? This geocaching terms glossary page will help you understand the strange series of letters and words that are used in the geocaching world to help other geocachers read the logs.

Geocaching Terms

Bison or Bison Tube = a small, metal, watertight geocache container available in a multitude of colors and large enough for only a small paper log. See image below.

Bison type geocache container.

Bison type geocache container.

BYOP (or B.Y.O.P.) = an acronym (Bring Your Own Pen) to advise a geocacher that the geocache does not contain a writing instrument, and if they wish to sign the log, they will have to bring their own… or BYOP.

CITO = An acronym meaning Cache In Trash Out – a CITO event is a gathering of like minded geocachers that gather and remove trail trash while undertaking geocaching adventures.

CO or C.O. = Refers to the Cache Owner.

Coords or Co-Ords = Pronounced like chords or cords, this term refers to the coordinates of a cache. For example “the coords of this cache were off”.

DNF = short for Did Not Find – the log entry a geocacher is supposed to make when they have searched and not found a geocache. Logging a DNF, particularly if there are a lot of DNF logs on a particular cache alerts both the CO and that something may be amiss with the cache.

Earth Cache = in order to bring geocachers to an environmentally important or otherwise unusual part of our world, a CO will create an earth cache. To “find” it, you visit the coords and message back to the CO an answer or response to the question found as part of the description. This earns you a smiley for that find and brings you to a significant area of the world which, in itself, is often the reward for making the find.

Geocache = A location defined by GPS coords usually containing a geocontainer which is  a hidden container of some sort containing geocaching related items. Please see the “what is a cache” page on this site.

Geocoins = Geocache swag – collectible and recordable. Please see the “Geocoins” page on this site.

Geosenses = The developing abilities of a seasoned geocacher in using non-verbal GZ site clues to zero in on the exact location of that geocache, despite never having visited that GZ before.

GeoTours = Capitalizing on the popularity of the geocaching activity, some tour operators are now offering geotours which are trips that include an element of geocaching in the travel.

Micro Cache = A bit longer and a bit larger in diameter than a nano cache normally is, with no room for anything in this geocache but the paper log. A bison could be considered as a micro cache.

Muggle = A person not in the geocaching “loop” – please see the Muggle Menace page on this site for more Muggle information.

Nano Cache = See the photo below. Typically the nano comes with a magnet in the base, and therefore is often found magnetically clamped onto something. No room in this geocache for anything but a very small log.

Nano cache sitting next to a dime! My, but this geocache is small.

Nano cache sitting next to a dime! My, but this geocache is small.

P & G or Quick Park & Grab = A geocache that is hidden quite near a roadway, has vehicle parking, and typically with the geocache immediately adjacent to the parking area. Even though some caches are referred to as P & G’s, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are. We tried to find one recently that was described as a quick P & G and found the GZ on the side of a 60 MPH highway with heavy traffic, no place to pull off or park, and can’t quite understand how the CO thought their cache was a quick P & G?

Power Run = Either to draw geocachers to a specific area, or, to help them rack up the smileys, a power run is a series of geocaches hidden every 10th of a mile or so along a road or trail. Typically these caches are easy to find and the geocacher quickly accumulates finds for the day.

Slim Bob = Geocache container – typically a small ziplock envelope containing a couple of small magnets, overwrapped many times with heavy duty camouflaged or duct tape. Typically hidden under or inside of metal objects where the magnets can secure the geocontainer. Favorite hiding spot… think guard rails!

Slim Bob geocache container

Well camouflaged slim bob ready to be placed

Smiley = As shown below, it’s the digital happy face that appears on your profile when you have found a  geocache successfully.

Smiley = The digital happy face that appears on your profile when you have found a  geocache successfully.

TN or TNLN = These are acronyms that geocachers use when logging a find. TN is a short form for Took Nothing, and LN is a short form for Left Nothing. Not all geocachers use these terms every time they log a cache. It is assumed that if the acronym TNLN is not found in the cache log, that the geocacher would have mentioned had they taken something or left something behind.

Travel Bug = Geocache swag – recordable, trackable and travelling. Please see the “what is a travel bug” page on this site and image below.

Geocaching travel bug

This travel bug is on a mission. Logging in to told us what it was.


Did we miss a term or two? This page is a work in progress, so if you have a geocaching term not listed here, please let us know using the comment box, and we’ll add it to the page.

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