Thursday, April 28, 2011


By Big Al

What are Signature Items, and what do they mean to you?

Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and let your signature be known.

Do you have a signature item? Do you even know what a signature item is? What does it mean to you? These are questions that we are going to look at today.

I first found out about signature items by finding one in a Geocache. It looks like a small compass, and is very colorful. I knew it was different from a Geocoin because there was no trackable info on it. I decided to keep it. Since then I have found a number of different items that I have kept. Then I started reading about them on the forums. I could not believe how many people have their own signature item.

So what is a Signature Item (SI)? A SI is a cacher's way of leaving their mark that they have visited a particular cache. states it this way: "An item unique to a specific geocacher that is left behind in caches to signify that they visited that cache. These often include personal geocoins, tokens, pins, craft items, or calling cards". 

Most SI's are not left at every cache visited; just ones that seem special. Usually these are left if the cacher really likes the cache and the way it was hidden. I have not only found poker chips, but I have found  Ranger beads (Pace Counters), personal Pathtags, buttons, wooden nickels, and Geocaching pins. Most of these end up on my backpack.

So what does a SI mean to you? To me they mean someone really enjoys Geocaching. They enjoy it enough that they sit down and come up with a unique item that specifically states "Hey, I was here!" It also says there was something special about that cache. I now take note of which caches these items are left in. Now don't get me wrong you can leave a SI in every cache if you want to. But that could get costly if you're paying good money for a personal geocoin or pathtag. At first I left a marble in every cache. They were cheap and I know some people collect them. Then I began to think about it more and started noticing the nice coins on the forums. They are really nice and I know that they have special meaning to their owners. That's why when a fellow cacher gives you one it says something about them and you. The more I thought about it the more I knew a geocoin was not what I wanted to do, yet.

Then there are the Ranger Beads. I love this way of keeping track of how far you have walked. Pace counting as it is called is a way military personnel learn to keep track of how far they have walked. These are beads attached to a piece of parachute cord and when you have walked a certain distance you move a bead. When all 9 beads are moved then you move an upper bead.  These are neat items and again time has gone into making them. I knew this one too was not for me. I needed something more personal. Then it hit me. I love the outdoors, so why not make it with something from outdoors. Excellent idea. Now would it be wood, stone, or something else.  I think something else would be perfect.

Since I am a hunter I happen to have a number of deer antlers just laying around. That was when the idea hit me. I would make deer antler key chains. So I set out making a trial key chain to see how they would look and function. I cut the first antler and then glued a small sticker to it. The sticker is the GC pendant. Then I dipped it in polyurethane. Once that was dry I dipped it again. I did this several times to make sure the sticker would not come off, and I wanted it to look professional. When it was totally dry I put some paracord through the hole and then braided it into a key chain. I thought it really looked cool. Then some of the people I see saw the key chain and said they loved it. I knew this was now a hit. I started making more of them to be sure to have plenty on hand. This past week I left my first one in a cache and I have many more to drop off and make.

So tell me what signature items have you seen, and what ones do you have. Also, comment below if there is a special reason you have the signature item that you chose. And if you would tell us which kinds of caches you leave them in. Whatever you do just have fun and keep those signature items coming. 


Dodger said...

You have to go hunting so you can make signature items and you have to go geocaching so you can use the signature items...

The best part of all this is that one hobby fuels the other!


I like it! How original is that? I want one, lol!
I have used a few different SI. The one I like the best is my wood burned Bloodhounded coin. It's pretty cool and like yours, each one is unique in it's own way. Some of the hounds look mean while others look happy, it all depends on my mood at the time. I number them too, this way it's not a trackable but I can keep count on how many I've given out.

BigAl said...

Numbering them is a great idea. Not that they are trackable like you said, but to know how many have been sent out. I'll figure something out for them.

Dan the Wodsman said...

I love this! I have always wanted to make my own SI but I don't know what to do. I was thinking about leaving small smooth stones (available in great abundance from a local beach) but no one will know it was from me because well...its just a stone!

Benizerith said...

That is such a cool idea, Al! I, like Bloodhounded, would love to find one!

Anonymous said...

Great article AL. I have made a number of different SI's in my short two years geocaching. I frequently leave a keychain with my handle and logo bptattooist on it and the "FTF" with many new caches I place as a signature item for the FTF. I usually leave a foreign coin in most caches that I visit as a signature Item that I was there. I purchase these in bulk and I like them because there are a vartiety of sizes which can be quite small and you can put one in almost any container including matchstick holders and slim bobs. Coins in their own right are really a treasure so most people find them interesting. I like to collect signature items and have a cool collection of them. I think an event cache dedicated to signature item swapping is a good idea...Happy caching Bill Land O Lakes, Fl

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