CacheCrazy.Com: Why Not Wednesday ~ The Trouble with Trackables

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why Not Wednesday ~ The Trouble with Trackables

DctrSpott and Boltzmann the geodog 
I've got a beef.

Anyone who has been caching for more than a week has surely run across some sort of trackable, usually a geocoin or a travel bug. I remember my first geocoin run in: I was thrilled by the shiny, round object, originating from France, and having made it all the way to Bloodhounded's Grace Chapel Cache. Since then, trackables might be my FAVORITE part of geocaching: I bought several, have tried to retrieve them from wherever possible, and even brought some caching around the world. I giddily brought half a dozen to California with me in March, and had brought 3 others to Jamaica with me almost a year ago. I still check them from time to time, my favorite made it's way to Germany and is now traveling back to the states.

So, I bought several trackables, and even was gifted some, and thought I'd enjoy monitoring their progress around the world. Out of 6 trackables, 4 have since completely disappear, and one is sitting in a disabled cache, each having traveled less than 100 km before doing so! Imagine my frustration. One lucky coin made it's way to Cachepalooza 5, and is now floating around Germany, having traveled over 10000 km. So, I suppose there is that.

Trackable woes have been a problem for cachers since before I even entered the game. The main three causes are muggled caches disappearing, taking their contents with them, new cachers not understanding how trackables work, and older cachers retiring from the game, taking their trackable inventory with them. People have griped and tried for a while to combat these three problems, with little success. The forums even have a trackable ambassador, who threatens trackable hoarders with the banhammer. The problem here is that the trackables are disappearing because the player leaves the game... threats of being banned from the game don't really have much effect on those who no longer want to play.


I have a couple techniques to try to prevent trackables from going missingTry to place trackables in premium caches. It seems unfair, to bias the paying players. But, at the same time, it makes sense: cachers who pay to play know how the game works. Those who pay their annual dues aren't likely to drop out, and they've probably been around the block a bit. All in all, premium caches are a safe bet. This being said, most of us won't wait to find a premium cache to drop a TB, and it's going to be difficult to find a premium that matches the trackables desired destination. Still, premiums are a safe bet.

Similarly, I try to make sure my trackables always end up in higher-difficultly caches. There is a tradeoff here: higher difficultly caches have lower visit rates. This being said, the visitors to these caches tend to be more seasoned; it's rarely the n00bs that venture out to grab that 10-mile hike cache. I find this preferable: I'd rather see my trackable hit infrequently, but stay in the game for a long time, then to get a couple hits and then disappear in the span of a few weeks. I imagine many cachers share this sentiment. Remember, geocaching is a long game, played on the scale of months and years, not that of days and weeks.

On that note, I also like to bring the value back in trackables. Just like the topic of "quality caches" that often comes up on cachecrazy, I like trackables to be something you earn, something worth the difficulty of venturing out and grabbing that challenging cache. By making trackables not a commonplace toy that shows up in every cache, but travelers that only grace the highest quality of cache, they'll remain an interesting, high quality, and (hopefully best of all) a permanent and non-disappearing part of the game.

But, off my soapbox. What is your opinion on trackables? Have any cool experiences? Let me know in the comments!

7 comments:

BLOODHOUNDED said...

The good Doctor's in the house!
Very interesting, trackables have never been my thing beyond admiring then in the cache when found. I tuck them back in and move on. Many times I'll update the inventory when I can remember but should probably be doing if all the time.
Good to hear from you DctrSpott and thanks for sharing you're BEEF with us. I'm sure you are not alone here.

smithie23 said...

I'm a fan of trackables, as well. As a finder, I try to move them along when possible, or at very least, log that I've stumbled upon one when I see it in a cache. The only complaint I have about trackables, as a finder, is when the owner doesn't attach the mission. Not everyone caches with a smartphone, and the mission isn't always obvious in the field. There's nothing worse than grabbing a TB and realizing, once you get home, you can't help further it's mission. It almost becomes a burden, at that point, to get it somewhere near where it needs to be.

I've placed two travel bugs in the field so far, both have gone missing in action. I'm not to keen on placing another one out there. If I do, I want to make it a memorable one.

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

I love TB's! I did a post on them a couple weeks ago:
http://snugharborbay.blogspot.com/2011/08/i-like-travel-bugs.html

I like to move other peoples' TB's and I usually go to the TB page and read about where its all been. Its interesting to see how they've moved around. I just wish there were some way to keep them from going missing - that's the worst part.

BigAl said...

I love TBs/GCs too. I love finding them and I love moving them. If you want to use the GCs I suggest you get the Proxys that are available through Fox and the Hound. They are really neat. I have two of them. Yes I have had a few TBs taken, but I still continue to set them free. It's neat tracking them and seeing where they have gone. Thanks Smithie for the reminder. I want to start including my TB/GCs page with each one I send out. Great article.

Anonymous said...

interesting view point. but have you considered that some cachers are not members due to cost. this is a great activity on the cheap. and not all cachers are physicaly able to get to the hard finds. I understand your point of view just somethings for you to consider.

Heather Cook (Lady-Magpie) said...

Lady Magpie is back !!!

Well you have come up with one of my grips, trackables, how many have I lost over the years, the answer is too many. It got to the point that I now carry 2 of my favourites around with me (including the one presented to me by CachCrazy) and they just visit the caches I go to.

No disrespect to my fellow Cachers over there in America, but there does seem to be a bigger black hole there than in other countries. Why also do people pick these trackables up in August one year and then don't drop them off for 8 to 9 months. If your not intending to go out again either don't pick it up or just log it into your nearest cache, even if you have been there before.

I have found one way to help my trackables move on. If you see anyone pick it up then I send them a quick email thanking them for all their good efforts in helping it move. They then seem more obliged to drop it off again. So a complement seems to be the answer to some of the problems.

I'll stop rattling on now so happy caching friends.

Heather.

CrazyCris said...

Trackables are FUN! I found a Geocoin in my first ever find and was really excited! Then forgot to drop it off in another cache for the longest time... woops! Now I'm wandering around with another one I picked up at an event, dipping it in and out of caches in Alicante to show it the sites. I'll drop it off soon so it can continue its journey.

I like the idea of watching them travel along, and one of these days I'll probably release a few of my own. Who was it here who had the alien race? That was a blast! :o)

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments, you mean a lot to us at CacheCrazy.Com!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...