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Resources include the Geocaching merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Geocaching merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 2010
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 145
Requirements revision: 2019
Latest pamphlet revision: 2016


The word geocache is a combination of "geo," which means "earth," and "cache," which means "a hiding place." Geocaching describes a hiding place on planet Earth - a hiding place you can find using a GPS unit. A GPS (Global Positioning System) unit is an electronic tool that shows you where to go based on information it gets from satellites in space.

Geocaching merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in geocaching activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    b. Discuss first aid and prevention for the types of injuries or illnesses that could occur while participating in geocaching activities, including cuts, scrapes, snakebite, insect stings, tick bites, exposure to poisonous plants, heat and cold reactions (sunburn, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, hypothermia), and dehydration.
    c. Discuss how to properly plan an activity that uses GPS, including using the buddy system, sharing your plan with others, and considering the weather, route, and proper attire.
  2. Discuss the following with your counselor:
    a. Why you should never bury a cache.
    b. How to use proper geocaching etiquette when hiding or seeking a cache, and how to properly hide, post, maintain, and dismantle a geocache.
    c. The principles of Leave No Trace as they apply to geocaching.
  3. Explain the following terms used in geocaching: waypoint, log, cache, accuracy, difficulty and terrain ratings, attributes, trackable. Choose five additional terms to explain to your counselor.
  4. Explain how the Global Positioning System (GPS) works. Then, using Scouting's Teaching EDGE, demonstrate the use of a GPS unit to your counselor. Include marking and editing a waypoint, changing field functions, and changing the coordinate system in the unit.
  5. Do the following:
    a. Show you know how to use a map and compass and explain why this is important for geocaching.
    b. Explain the similarities and differences between GPS navigation and standard map reading skills and describe the benefits of each.
  6. Describe the four steps to finding your first cache to your counselor. Then mark and edit a waypoint.
  7. With your parent’s permission[1], go to Type in your city and state to locate public geocaches in your area. Share the posted information about three of those geocaches with your counselor. Then, pick one of the three and find the cache.
  8. Do ONE of the following:
    a. If a Cache to Eagle® series exists in your council, visit at least three of the 12 locations in the series. Describe the projects that each cache you visit highlights, and explain how the Cache to Eagle® program helps share our Scouting service with the public.
    b. Create a Scouting-related Travel Bug® that promotes one of the values of Scouting. "Release" your Travel Bug into a public geocache and, with your parent’s permission, monitor its progress at for 30 days. Keep a log, and share this with your counselor at the end of the 30-day period.
    c. Set up and hide a public geocache, following the guidelines in the Geocaching merit badge pamphlet. Before doing so, share with your counselor a three-month maintenance plan for the geocache where you are personally responsible for those three months. After setting up the geocache, with your parent’s permission, follow the logs online for 30 days and share them with your counselor. You must archive the geocache when you are no longer maintaining it.
    d. Explain what Cache In Trash Out (CITO) means, and describe how you have practiced CITO at public geocaches or at a CITO event. Then, either create CITO containers to leave at public caches, or host a CITO event for your unit or for the public.
  9. Plan a geohunt for a youth group such as your troop or a neighboring pack, at school, or your place of worship. Choose a theme, set up a course with at least four waypoints, teach the players how to use a GPS unit, and play the game. Tell your counselor about your experience, and share the materials you used and developed for this event.


  1. To fulfill this requirement, you will need to set up a free user account with Before doing so, ask your parent for permission and help.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Scouts BSA Requirements, 2019 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #648914)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Geocaching is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Geocaching requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Geocaching merit badge requires prior parent approval for requirement(s) #7, 8c.
Geocaching merit badge is an option for the National Outdoor Badge for Hiking.
The Geocaching merit badge is an option for the Harris Bronze Supernova, and Edison Silver Supernova STEM Nova Awards.

Requirement resources

GPS Introduction:
1.a. Geocaching hazards
1.b. cuts  •  scrapes  •  snakebite  •  insect stings  •  tick bites  •  exposure to poisonous plants  •  heat and cold reactions (sunburn  •  heatstroke  •  heat exhaustion  •  hypothermia)  •  dehydration
1.c. Buddy system
2.a. Geocaching Etiquette: Never bury a cache: The Basics « Geocaching 101
2.b. Geocaching etiquette:
2.c. Leave No Trace
3. Glossary of Terms:
Examples of additional terms are included above such as Muggle, ROT13 Code, etc.
4. How GPS Receivers work:
5.a. Map and compass
5.b. See links above: Map and compass  •  GPS
5.c. Universal Transverse Mercator:
5.d. Plot a UTM:
6. Four steps to finding your first cache:
8.a. Cache to Eagle
8.b. Travel Bug:  •
8.c. Hiding Your First Geocache:
8.d. Cache In Trash Out:  •  •
9. Sample Geohunt (Geocaching scavenger hunt) with multiple waypoints:

Related awards

Outdoor-related awards
Sports-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools