Geocaching has created a hidden world, full of words and terms that are exclusive to those who play the game. Those who are not in the know, are called muggles. This may be a fun play on the Harry Potter world, but it is also an extremely important distinction.
What Does a Muggle Mean in Geocaching?
In Geocaching, muggles are people who do not know what the game is. They can be strangers, law enforcement, pretty much anyone. When geocaching, it is best to avoid muggles because they may see your activity as suspicious-looking.
Most of us have been here more than once. There’s a geocache that you have been wanting to get for a while, but there are way too many people around. You know that you should wait for them to clear out because they are MUGGLES.
There are plenty of good reasons to want to avoid them as well. We’re going to go over a few of those reasons, and how you can avoid dealing with muggles when geocaching.
See our article for What is Geocaching here.
What is Muggle Activity?
Muggle activity is the movement of muggles (non-geocachers) in an area where a cache is placed. This could be in a shopping center, a neighborhood park, or a parking lot. If the cache is located in a busy area, there is going to be a lot of muggle activity.
When someone shopping comes out to the parking lot, to find you, lifting up the base of a light post and pulling out a pill container, you may get some unwanted attention. This type of muggle activity is the type of activity that you want to avoid.
Even if you wanted to explain to them what you were doing, someone may have seen it without you knowing and called the police. Geocaching is a legal activity, however, even the police can be muggles. You’re in luck though, geocaching is a lawful activity and we are going to tell you what to do in that type of situation.
Those Who Do Not Support Geocaching
You are always going to come across a small percentage of people who will be against geocaching. The best thing we can do, as geocachers, is educate people, on why this is such a great hobby.
If they are interested, share the details of the game with them, let them know how awesome the geocaching community is, and be open to answering any questions they may have. They may be muggles, but even muggles can be converted, (more later on that.)
Geocaching How To Avoid Muggles
Avoiding muggles is a good practice. If you can, the best thing to do is return later when there is less muggle activity.
Here are some tips for avoiding muggles:
Try to blend in and act normal. There are some fearless geocachers out there who can just blend in. Some people have even gone as far as to wear bright-colored utility vests, to look like someone who has the authority to be in the area.
You can always decide to not do the cache. If you come to a place that is just a hotspot for muggles, no matter what time of the day you come, then consider just not doing it. Not every cache has to have that smiley face.
Backroads are always fun. There are way more muggles in the city, try going on a backroad geocaching adventure. There are tons of geocaches even in rural areas. Some of my favorite caches are on backroads.
The best part about geocaching is that there are usually no rules for day or night. Most caches do not have open and closed hours, so as we have mentioned, you can always leave a geocache with too much muggle activity, and return to it later.
Always be aware though, that some caches may have special requests or rules, such as hours. It is usually posted somewhere in the description. Also, be aware of hours that public places keep, some parks are only open a set amount of hours per day.
Geocaching Muggles at Night
I have come across many caches that say, “do not attempt at night.” Just recently, days before Halloween, I attempted a cache at a cemetery at night, had no luck finding it, only to read the description further and find that they suggest not doing the cache at night! That would have saved me a ton of time, found it the next day, no problem.
I have also gone on night geocaching adventures, however, you should always keep safety in mind. Doing caches at night takes some stealthiness and avoiding muggles is even more important. Some challenging caches, even suggest completing them at night.
Consider Muggle Activity When Hiding Geocaches
Being aware of muggles is not only important for those finding caches, but also for those who hide geocaches. If you are new to geocaching or will be hiding your first geocache, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.
- Busy locations may get more visits to your cache, but it could also bring more muggles to it.
- Making an easy park and grab could be better in a busy area. Don’t make a cache in a busy area too hard.
- Replacing caches after muggles destroy them is not fun when it happens multiple times.
- Camouflaging your geocache can be helpful, to keep muggles from seeing it in wide-open areas.
There are so many possible geocache hiding places out there, finding the right place that doesn’t get a lot of muggle activity can be hard, but worth it in the long run. Multiple times a day I will drive past somewhere and think “Ah, yes, I would put a geocache there.”
Geocaching Muggle Cards
There are geocaching muggle cards or printable geocaching muggle cards that can be printed out, handed out to muggles, or placed inside of a cache that a muggle might find. These can be a great way to show the muggle who finds your geocache, that this is a fun, family-friendly hobby, and not to disturb the cache.
The geocaching website has a printable page, that explains the game, what the cache is, and how to get started caching. With an option for more information, if they want to know more about why it is there. You can get that here.
What To Do if a Muggle Approaches You
This is one of the biggest questions that I get. You are geocaching with friends, in a spot where muggles are inevitable, and someone comes up to you to ask what it is you are doing. They may just be interested, or they may be concerned.
The best thing you can do is explain to them what the game is and that it’s a fun hobby. It may help to just say it’s some phone app game, that way it will be lingo that they understand. You can give them a printed muggle card, as we mentioned before, or direct them to the website as well.
The official Geocaching website also has a page for law enforcement and parks departments, that encourages them to get to know the game and the community. You can find that here.
Here is the fun part. Muggles can be easily converted! Geocaching is one of my favorite hobbies. Whenever I tell someone about what it is, they seem a little confused but interested.
Once a muggle figures out there is a secret game that everyone is playing except for them, they will get on board! I always like to geocache with friends, so I educate them, invite them, and if they like it, cool, if they don’t then that’s cool too.
Knowing what a muggle is, is just part of the battle. Be diligent and stay safe while geocaching. Try not to anger anyone, be respectful, and move on when the cache is found. This is a great game/experience and the community is even better.