DNF versus Needs Maintenance

(Originally published August 13, 2013)

DNF_NMSo what do you do when you are out in the field and cannot find a cache ??

Well, if you are out on your own or with others who have not found the cache, you should be logging the attempt as a DNF (Did not Find). The DNF is a tool that is used by the cache owner (CO) to help them to maintain their caches. Several DNFs in a row are a strong indicator that there is something amiss with a cache. Of course, the other possibility is that the cache is very well hidden and is just not being found. In either case, it is the cache owner’s responsibility to check on it and verify it is in place or fix it if it is not.

So how does a Needs Maintenance Log fit into the picture ??

The requirement for a Needs Maintenance log comes in a couple flavors … First is when a previous finder is present and can verify that the container is actually missing. In this case, it probably is missing and could use a verification by the CO before others go out and spend time looking for it.

The second case is when you actually find a cache and it is damaged or in need of some TLC. This case includes the hiding place may be compromised, the log is full or wet or maybe the container was found strewn all over the area. In this case it is visibly in need of CO intervention.

The bottom line, is that just because you cannot find a cache, does not mean it is not there …

Now, what can you do to help out ?? You can carry some simple cache maintenance things in your caching bag. These could include duct tape to try to patch cracked or broken containers, various size logs, and even some small or micro containers if you have the room.

One thing that is appreciated by almost all cache owners is when you carry spare logs in your caching bag to use as replacements for wet or full logs. By replacing or adding additional paper to the logs, you enable future finders to sign the log and it helps the CO to schedule a maintenance visit to verify that everything else is ok with the cache and placement.

These few tips and tricks are some of the things we can all do to make caching more fun for everyone. See you on the trails …


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