When you’ve been into geocaching as long as I have, you realize that having as many tools as possible will help you retrieve even the hardest-to-get geocaches.
One of the best parts about geocaching is how challenging it can be. So let’s look at geocaching TOTT items (tools of the trade) and how they can help you step up your game!
What is TOTT in Geocaching?
Geocaching TOTT items are things like pens, magnets, flashlights, telescoping mirrors, UV lights, measuring tape, a ladder, and many more items. These tools will help you find challenging geocaches that require a little bit of extra equipment. T.O.T.T. stands for Tools Of The Trade.
One of the first challenging geocaches I came across was a bison (a type of geocache container) hanging from the top branch of a tree, about 8 ft high. I tried to climb the tree, but couldn’t get my arm high enough to grab it.
I wasn’t about to let this tall tree keep me from getting that smiley face, so I drove back home, grabbed a ladder, and up I went. I retrieved the geocache, signed the log, and claimed my glory. Without the ladder, it would have been impossible to get this cache. This is where the TOTT’s come into play.
Geocaching Starter TOTT Items
One of the biggest arguments I hear in geocaching communities is whether or not you are required to bring a pen. Some caches come with pens, others are too small for them to be any type of pen. The very first starter item you should carry with you is a pen.
If you cannot sign the log, technically, you are not supposed to be able to claim the find. However, there are some exceptions to that rule. Such as virtual caches, that may not have a log to sign.
Here are a few more geocaching starter TOTT items:
- Telescoping magnet
These are just some basic items that can make geocaching easier. Some caches will require a certain set of tools. The more complicated the cache, the more tools will be required to retrieve it.
Some caches require permanent markers, like for signing a log that may be made out of a sheet of metal, or it may need a retractable magnet to pull a metal container out of somewhere your hand can’t go.
You should always carry SWAG (stuff we all get/trinkets) if you plan on taking something from the cache. The rule is, if you take something, you must leave something of equal or greater value.
My two most important, but not always mentioned items, are mirrors, and an extended magnet. You can find both of those in the kit that I use here.
Advanced TOTT Equipment
Your basic cache is not going to need anything more than what we have already mentioned. However, depending on the difficulty level of the cache, you may need special equipment. These are things like tall ladders, climbing gear, snorkels for underwater.
You read it right, some caches are underwater! The difficulty of the cache is something that you need to consider. If the cache needs special equipment it will more than likely mention that in the description of the cache. Always read the description to find details.
Here is a short list of advanced equipment:
- UV light
- 10’ ladder
- Climbing gear
- Snorkeling gear
- Spray bottle
These types of caches are for diehards mostly. You should always look at the difficulty of the cache, the terrain, and what is in the description and decide if it is something that is in your wheelhouse.
To know more on Is Geocaching Safe? click here.
Geocaching Tools of the Trade List
We have mentioned most of the items that you may need for your TOTT set, however, let’s go with an ALMOST complete list of geocaching tools of the trade. (There’s always more.)
|BACKPACK||UV LIGHT||LENGTH OF WIRE||HIKING BOOTS|
|CARRYING CASE||MEASURING TAPE||CARABINERS||SCISSORS|
|CACHING BUDDY||SMALL STAPLER||MULTI-TOOL||WALKING STICK|
|SPACE PEN||STICK||DUCT TAPE||SUPER GLUE|
|PENCIL||MUCK BOOTS||ELECTRICAL TAPE||BUNGEE CORDS|
|PERMANENT MARKER||FIRST-AID KIT||CAMO TAPE||FLASHING LIGHT|
|RUBBER SIGNING STAMP||WORK GLOVES||WATER BOTTLE||SPARE LOGS|
|UV INVISIBLE INK MARKER||NOTEPAD||BANDANA||BUG SPRAY|
|TELESCOPING MAGNET||ZIP TIES||VARIOUS SIZE BAGS||COMPASS|
|NEEDLE-NOSE TWEEZERS||10-30 FOOT POLE||SUNGLASSES||BINOCULARS|
|MICRO NEEDLE-NOSE PLIERS||LENGTH OF 550 PARACORD||SAFETY VEST||SANITIZER|
|LOGSHEET ROLLER||LENGTH OF STRING||HIKING CLOTHES||SNORKELING GEAR|
Keeping a Box or Bag with Tools
When I geocache I keep a fishing tackle box full of swag, containers, pens, logs, and whatever else I think I need. Most of the essential starter TOTT items fit in this tackle box. However, some things are too large and need either their own box or bag or you need to have a space in your vehicle.
Ever since I needed that ladder, I carry at the very least a small step ladder in my vehicle, and just that one thing can help a ton. It’s even come in handy for non-geocaching-related things!
Do you have to have all of these TOTT items?
You do not have to have every item that I’ve mentioned on this list. While I have just about every item, there is no way I would carry them all with me all the time. Sometimes you will come across a cache that needs that one special thing that you do not have with you. Some planning ahead goes a long way!
What is the most important TOTT item?
I would have to say the most important TOTT item is the pen. You need to be able to sign the log to claim the find. Without a pen, you would need to use some other type of ink, such as blood (yes, even blood is allowed) but let’s not be that drastic, even some charcoal would work.