Rules & Tips Regarding SWAG

There seems to be different suggestions as to what the term “swag” actually means, but a common version is “Stuff We All Get”. There’s no doubt what it reffers to, though: the trading items found in geocaches.

Many cachers carry with them a bag of small, cheap tradeable items, in case they run across something interesting. Because as the main rule says, if you take something out, you should leave something of equal or greater value in return. But at the same time it’s very rare that you actually find something valuable. It’s often a matter of cheap plastic figures, personal cards or home made items.

Rules for SWAG:

  • It is forbidden to leave food in caches.
  • It is forbidden to leave sharp, poisonous or in other ways dangerous items in caches.
  • All items should be family friendly.

Tips for good SWAG:

  • Cheap objects – The most common for of SWAG are cheap plastic items, toys and stuff you might have laying around at home.
  • Home made items – Many create their own SWAG, anything from specially designed coins to painted rocks. Stuff like these are often cheap but also personal and a good way of signallying “I’ve been to this cache”.
  • Personal cards – To show that you have been at a cache it can be fun to leave your card. These often feature the alias of the geocacher, real name, contact information and perhaps even a photo. These cards might not be of much value as trading items, but are fun to leave behind anyway.
  • CITO-kit – CITO means that you pick up trash as you geocache, to help pur eenvironment. A CITO-kit i basically a conatiner with a plastic bag in it. The point is for someone else to take the kit from the cache, use the bag to pick up trash in and the container to either make a new CITO-kit or hide a new cache.
  • Batteries – These are often valued by other cachers – for obvious reasons.
  • Expensive objects – Of course, expensive and valuable things are very appreciated. This might include anything from flash lights and above. Here, the rule of leaving something of equal or greater value doesn’t always apply – if you have left the item in a cache, it is not really yours anymore and anyone may take it – but it’s always fun making someone else happy!
Finally, it’s always appreciated when you “trade up” a geocache. You don’t have to take something to leave something new. Try to leave caches “better” than they were when you came.

Do you have any good SWAG to suggest, or opinions about SWAG in general? [Contact us] 😀

13 thoughts on “Rules & Tips Regarding SWAG

  1. I lived near a 3M plant and employee cachers would leave stuff from their employee store that the got for pennies- printed scotch tape, bandages, painters tape, post-it pads… Always appreciated!

  2. I’ve got a pet peeve on people that leave change as swag. We constantly find trinkets that have been traded out with a couple of pennies and a dime or nickel. It really kills the fun of treasure hunting. I’d rather find an eraser, than some change. We gathered up enough change on one heavy caching weekend, to go to the Dollar Store. We make most of our own swag, and I also leave items of my past adventures. Like national park coins or items displaying the places I’ve been.

  3. Swag is one of the neatest features of geocaching and really gets after the treasure hunting aspect of it as at least one other person commented on. Change is okay to leave, but only I think if it is some kind of foreign coinage. It’s definitely no fun to find pennies, nickels, and dimes! I did once find a nice one dollar coin that someone deliberately left there and that was pretty cool. I have a large collection of swag. It’s all affordable and I like to use it to both trade and “jazz up” a cache that has been emptied. I also do not finding business cards, coupons, or other kind of useless stuff. There is a really great cache in Colorado Springs where I live that someone placed a toe spreader in. I could not believe that. I “traded” it for some of my swag and later just threw it away. I really enjoyed this page that ashley above posted:

  4. The Wife and myself make our own tokens using a bottle cap filled with modelling clay and then pressing a small crystal into the center.

    It’s a very important part of geocaching for me. I’ve found some fun stuff in caches and I know people have enjoyed the handcrafted stuff I’ve left in caches. I appreciate cache owners who take the geoswag part of the activity into account and plant swag size water tight caches, and maintain them enough to keep the contents in good shape.

  6. Our family is just getting started, and I am looking into making a signature swag piece that we can leave. I sew, and make jewelry a great deal, and was considering making little bottle necklaces with “geocache dust” (copper color) or mini scrolls with mini pencils inside a clear glass bottle (sealed), and in a little organza bag. Would this be a good idea, or no?

    • I think that’s a great idea! I know a lot of people don’t like home made swag, but they can just ignore them. Those who do like it can trade yours for something else 🙂

      As long as there’s nothing sharp/dangerous, or any food/stuff that attracts animals, I say go for it 😀

    • I would absolutely love this type of swag. Would be willing to purchase one too as I most likely dont live very close to one of your caches.

  7. Remember newbies don’t know about swag. First timers are told to leave something, anything, even if they don’t take. Money might be all they have on them. Please don’t judge, educate your first timers.

    • Thank You for speaking up. When you’re new to the game sometimes you just don’t know all the suggested rules. My kids thought it was great to find change. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.


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