Discovering Trackables

Although geocaching has traditionally been about finding a container, signing the log, and then moving on to the next one, there’s always been side activities that have fascinated many of us. One of those side activities is the world of trackable items.


For those who are not in the know, trackable items refer to a specific geocaching “item” that has been tagged with a trackable ID tag. This 6 character code allows you to look up the particular item and learn of where it has been to. It shows the complete history of each person who has had the trackable item in their possession to the specific caches it has resided in. Yes, trackable items do move from one container (or event) to another in an effort to try and accomplish their “mission”. In many cases, those missions could be simply to get to a specific spot, or perhaps race other travelers around the world somewhere.

Now from this side activity, there’s also another subset of the travel bug/geocoin community: discovering. Although bugs and coins are meant to travel, for many individuals, it’s not so much about getting them to move, but discovering them. The idea with discovering them is that you simply use the trackable code to indicate that you have “discovered” or seen the trackable item.

These discoverable trackables can be found all over the place. People have them on ID tags, bumper stickers, window clings, dog tags, and even tatoos. There are all over the place. It also seems that the art of discovering is even more popular than the idea of moving trackables around. At mega events, people will have entire tables filled with codes that people can discover so they can add that extra trackable icon to their profile. I even have a magnetic trackable bug on the back of my minivan.

I find it incredibly fascinating how many people are truly into the entire “discover” thing. it’s something that I have never been able to get into, nor have I understood why people are so excited about discovering new bugs and coins. But therein lies the beauty of this game. For those who may not be able to get out and cache as much as they did at one time, perhaps discovering is something that helps keep them in the game.

Do you discover? If so, why? What is it about this unique side activity that fascinates you? Share your thoughts below.

Lastly, if you are into discovers, feel free to track my van:




I am Zor. The creator of protoculture. Otherwise known as a geeky father of two, husband to an awesome wife, and a hardcore geek.

3 thoughts on “Discovering Trackables

  • avatar
    April 14, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    To quote ZOR “…nor have I understood why people are so excited about discovering new bugs and coins. But therein lies the beauty of this game.” I fully agree with this. We don’t discover and don’t understand it but it is great to have such a diversity of interests in this great game.

    We grab most trackables that we see and we take them on trips and bring back a ton from our many trips. We love to make them travel.

    Here are some of my observations about discovering.

      *I find it interesting at MEGA’s to watch cachers taking photos of all the trackables on vehicles. We do not do that.

      *We have a trackable code on one vehicle and we are looking for one for the other vehicle. We love to be identified as geocachers and we look for trackables on vehicles on the highway so we can identify cachers.

      *Discovering is very popular in Europe, especially Germany. They exchange list of codes and discover trackables that they have never seen. They have discovered some of our trackables that have never left our hands.

      *If discovering has to do with logging trackables that you have seen, why do people pass around lists of trackable numbers at events without seeing the items.

      *Cachers have shown us their trackable tattoos and we apologized and said that we do not discover.

      *I understand that people would want to discover trackables at events as it does not affect the travel of the item, but I don’t understand why a cacher would discover a trackable in a cache and leave it there.

      *On a similar note, we got in trouble with the owner of a TB hotel because we took all the trackables. The main reason seemed to be that he and the local cachers would make regular trips to the cache to discover the trackables in there.

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  • avatar
    April 15, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    In the Czech Republic, a big Trackables count is as much, if not more important than the Find count. They love discovering. They even share lists of their owned trackables with other cachers, and enthusiastically ask to please discover.
    Their profiles often show a trackables count in the four digits.
    I brought roughly 35 trackables to my event in Prague, and the cachers there ‘devoured’ the travellers. Many of their Attended logs mentioned the “good amount of trackables to discover at the event”.

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  • avatar
    April 19, 2014 at 2:57 am

    In March I read an item on the QC forum from a cacher who wondered how people can be discovering a TB that she had grabbed and was in her possession at the time of the discovery. A discussion ensued where comments were made about people trying to increase their trackable totals and how people were so obsessed with numbers.

    I looked at her profile and discovered that she had the TB in her possession since July 2013. She obtained it from a cache where she traded for a TB that she had in her possession since September 2011, that is 22 months. I mentioned those points in the discussion and there has been no reaction from her as she still has the TB in her possession (9 months)

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