Skip to Content

What is the rarest geocache?

Geocaching is a recreational activity where participants use a GPS device to hide and find containers called “geocaches” or “caches” anywhere in the world. There are over 3 million active geocaches worldwide, ranging from small containers in urban areas to larger containers in parks and wilderness. As geocaching has grown in popularity over the past two decades, some truly rare and unique geocaches have been hidden and found. But what exactly makes a geocache rare, and which caches are the rarest of them all?

What Makes a Geocache Rare?

There are a few key factors that contribute to a geocache being considered rare:

Difficulty of the terrain

Geocaches placed in remote, hard-to-access locations are rarer finds. These include caches on remote islands, in rugged mountain wilderness, deep underground, or even underwater. The difficulty of the terrain limits the number of geocachers who will attempt to find these caches.

Difficulty of the search

Some geocache containers are placed in incredibly sneaky, well-camouflaged spots that require sharp eyes or clever solving of clues and puzzles. While a regular geocache may be hidden under a bush or rock, a rare cache may be magnetically stuck under a park bench, camouflaged to look like a sprinkler head, or buried underground.

Age of the geocache

Since geocaching was first conceived in 2000, some of the earliest placed geocaches are themselves rare finds simply due to their age. Over 20+ years, many early caches have gone missing or been permanently disabled. Being able to find an original cache from the first years of geocaching is a rare opportunity.

Unusual or one-of-a-kind container

While most geocaches are simple plastic containers, special rare caches may use an unusual vessel like a fake rock, a military ammo box, or a tiny nano-cache smaller than a dime. One-of-a-kind handmade cache containers also add to a cache’s rarity.

Curated by geocaching celebrity

Geocaches published by famous or notorious figures in the worldwide geocaching community like the CacheManiacs also have an air of rarity about them. Finding a cache curated by geocaching pioneers adds to the prestige.

The Rarest Geocaches in the World

Now that we’ve covered what attributes make for a rare geocache, what are some record-holding examples of the rarest geocaches ever hidden? Here are 5 of the rarest geocache finds in the world:

The International Space Station Geocache – GC1BE91

This cache currently orbiting over 200 miles above Earth is undoubtedly one of the rarest geocache finds, with only souvenirs available to claim rather than a physical logbook. With the nearest cacher over 200 miles straight up, the extreme remoteness guarantees its spot as one of the rarest caches. It’s the epitome of a location-based rare find.

Base Camp Ruapehu GeoTours Cache – GC8RXXQ

Hidden near the summit crater of Mount Ruapehu volcano in New Zealand, this cache has only been found 15 times since being hidden in 2018 due to the extreme alpine mountaineering required to reach the cache at an elevation of over 2,500 meters. The combination of remote wilderness location and difficult terrain makes for an extremely rare find.

Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station Geocache – GC69QZT

Located at the South Pole in Antarctica, this cache is one of the most remote geocaches on earth. The frigid temperatures, remote Antarctic location, and difficulty of transport to the South Pole makes this cache supremely inaccessible to all but an elite few intrepid cachers every year during the brief research season at the South Pole Station.

Aogashima Island Geocache – GC1VXX2

Situated on a remote volcanic island hundreds of kilometers south of Japan, this geocache requires chartering a boat or helicopter for access. First placed in 2005, only 30 geocachers have logged the find in almost 20 years. The remote island location and difficulty of access makes this an extremely rare cache find.

Cache in Trash Out Event Cache – GC6QTQH

This unique event cache combines extreme underwater difficulty with unusual requirements. Hidden in the depths off the Florida Keys, cachers must scuba dive over 60 feet and locate trash underwater before signing the logbook in a waterproof case. With specialized gear and skills required, only 16 have found it since 2013.

The Rarest Geocache Containers

In additional to rare locations, the container or vessel used for a geocache can also make it a uniquely rare find. Here are 5 examples of some of the rarest geocache containers found in the wild:

Nano Caches

Extremely tiny containers under 0.3 inches wide, nano caches may be magnetically stuck or wedged into urban hiding spaces. Their tiny size makes them extremely difficult to spot, adding to their rarity.

Underwater Caches

Special watertight containers placed fully underwater require diving gear to locate and sign. Being underwater already makes them rare, but ocean currents can also sweep them away entirely.

Phase of the Moon Caches

Special containers with a rotating moon phase opening mean the geocache is only accessible and able to be signed on certain lunar dates when the moons phase matches and opens the small container hatch.

Transparent Caches

Made fully out of transparent plastic, these sneaky caches are camouflaged amongst their environment and nearly invisible to the eye. This ultra-stealthy container makes for extra tricky searching.

Fool Caches

Inherently one-of-a-kind, fool caches are disguised to look exactly like everyday objects. Creative examples include fake sprinkler heads, electrical boxes, or even dog droppings – perfect camouflage!

Statistics on Rare Geocaches

Geocache Name Location Hidden Date Number of Finds
International Space Station Geocache Low Earth Orbit July 29, 2014 0 finds (souvenirs only)
Base Camp Ruapehu GeoTours Cache Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand April 15, 2018 15 finds
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station Geocache South Pole, Antarctica January 1, 2007 167 finds
Aogashima Island Geocache Aogashima Island, Japan March 3, 2005 30 finds
Cache In Trash Out Event Cache Florida Keys August 3, 2013 16 finds

To visualize and compare the rarity of these geocaches, this table summarizes the location, hide date, and number of successful finds for 5 record-holding rare geocaches.

Key takeaways:

– The International Space Station cache understandably has the fewest finds due to its orbital location.

– Although hidden most recently, the Ruapehu cache has very few finds due to the mountaineering skills required.

– The South Pole cache has the highest find count, but is still very rare given the Antarctic access challenges.

– The Aogashima Island cache has remained very rarely found in the almost 20 years since it was hidden.

– Despite being underwater, the Florida Keys cache has attracted the most finds of these rare caches thanks to its event-based nature.

Difficulty Rating of Rare Geocaches

Geocache Name Physical Difficulty Rating Terrain Difficulty Rating
International Space Station Geocache N/A N/A
Base Camp Ruapehu GeoTours Cache 5/5 5/5
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station Geocache 3/5 5/5
Aogashima Island Geocache 2/5 5/5
Cache In Trash Out Event Cache 4/5 3/5

Geocache listings are rated on a 1-5 difficulty scale for physical and terrain difficulty. Here are the published ratings for these rare geocaches:

– The Space Station cache has no ratings due to its unique orbital nature.

– The Ruapehu cache has the maximum 5/5 difficulty on both scales due to the mountaineering challenge.

– The South Pole cache rates high on terrain but only moderate on physical difficulty.

– Aogashima is terrain-limited but fairly straightforward physically.

– The underwater Florida cache rates high physically but only moderate for terrain.

These ratings reflect how each cache earns its rarity – whether through remote or tricky terrain, physical activity, or obscure location.

Common Attributes of Rare Geocaches

While every rare geocache is uniquely challenging, they tend to share some common attributes that contribute to their extreme rarity:

– Located in extremely remote or hard-to-access locations

– Require expert-level activity like mountaineering, diving, boating etc.

– Have well-hidden or camouflaged containers

– Logistically complex and/or expensive to attempt reaching

– Hidden by geocaching celebrities or pioneers

– Listed for a long time period, accumulating rarity

– Have a very small container size or unusual vessel

– Need special tools or skills beyond basic geocaching

– Located in areas with extreme weather conditions or temperatures

– Have strict seasonal, tidal, or other temporal access limitations

– Offer little to no margin for error in finding the cache

By combining multiple rarity factors like tricky container, seasoned hide date, remote terrain, and singular location, the rarest geocaches present once-in-a-lifetime finds to dedicated geocachers.

Why Seek Rare Geocaches?

With the geocaching activity focused on the thrill of the hide and find, why do cachers specifically seek out rare and difficult caches?

For the Challenge

Rare caches let geocachers push the activity to its limits in terms of terrain, puzzles, stealth, and persistence. The added challenge and work required is satisfying.

To Add to Statistics

Finding a rare cache adds mileage to total geocaching stats and counting achievements. It also increases the variety of cache types found.

For Boasting Rights

Finding well-known rare caches brings real prestige and gives geocachers signature finds to boast about amongst the community.

To Explore New Destinations

Rare caches motivate travel to new locations someone may never explore otherwise. They serve as geographical incentives.

For the Thrill of the Search

Hunting down a tricky rare find provides a huge adrenaline rush and sense of real accomplishment when the cache is found.

Although difficult, the joys of finding a rare geocache make them worthy long-term goals for dedicated geocachers to work towards. It brings out the spirit of adventure in the activity.

Geocaching Ethics About Rare Caches

With rare caches often located in sensitive or dangerous areas, geocachers must uphold site-specific rules and ethics:

– Cache only with proper skill level for the terrain

– Follow all access rules and permits for remote areas

– Minimize environment impact at wilderness sites

– Research tide/weather concerns before ocean caches

– Pack out all trash and gear; Leave No Trace

– Obey seasonal and time-of-day restrictions

– Use stealth around Muggle-heavy zones

As role models, geocaching celebrities and pioneers must promote safety and responsible caching practices when placing rare caches. Eco-friendly geocaching preserves the future of the activity.

Conclusion

While every geocache has merit, the most rare caches take finding to an elite level. Blending legendary locations with extreme terrain and clever containers, the rarest geocaches become true once-in-a-lifetime experiences for those bold enough to undertake the challenge. As geocaching continues to thrive worldwide, these rare caches will represent the pinnacle of the activity and inspire adventure for generations to come. Just remember to always cache responsibly!