So somebody asked me to talk about whether or not geocaching is dying. People who have crunched numbers are finding that there are fewer active cachers at least in North America and Australia. Well, I haven’t been doing this as long as some people (only three months), but I’ve got a few ideas about it.
I think the the first thing to consider is the general economy. Caching, while fairly inexpensive in the greater sense, has a cost. Gas, tools, travel in general cost money. Free time is in short supply, especially when people lack paid time off or are scraping by in the gig economy. I’m sure there are some of you who are thinking “It’s not that expensive,” but that might not be everybody. A lack money and time may make caching difficult, possibly less attractive for someone who isn’t already invested in it.
The second is the ease of entry into the hobby. Now, you would think that this is a bonus, but I think it’s a bit of a liability. It used to be that you needed a GPS and a willingness to go to remote places. Now it’s as simple as downloading an app and wandering around the city. Which is great, but easy in also means, for lack of a better term, easy out. How many times have I seen years old log entries from finders with under 10 finds? A great many.
Thirdly, the plethora of other choices is mind boggling. Mobile games like Pokemon Go and Ingress are quite similar. Munzee is basically geocaching with QR codes and points. And then there are other things not mobile related: board games, RPGs, Netflix, and any number of activities and entertainments. That’s a lot of competition there.
Lastly, I think cache quality and saturation might be a bit of a problem. There are lots of them out there, but a great many are not very inspired. I’m not judging because my only current hide is a magnetic LPC. In all the caches I’ve found, I’ve probably only found about 10 that are truly memorable. Older cachers are more likely to make more memorable caches, but as they fall out, you get fewer great caches and the great ones eventually fall into archive, leaving tons of 1.5’s and micros in trees.
So that’s what I think is going on with geocaching right now. And next time I’m going to say what I think we can do about them.