Official Geocaching merit badge requirements released

You won’t need your GPS unit to find the Geocaching merit badge requirements. We’ve got them right here.

The merit badge pamphlet is not yet available, but the Boy Scouts of America wanted to get the official requirements in the hands of Scouts and Scouters as soon as possible. The BSA knows that troops, districts, and councils will be planning spring and summer activities around this newest merit badge.

Here are a few highlights of what Scouts will learn while earning Geocaching merit badge:

  • Precautions necessary to have a safe time while searching for geocaches
  • Geocaching etiquette and how the principles of Leave No Trace apply
  • Geocaching terms
  • How GPS technology works
  • Steps for finding and logging a cache
  • How to use, the official online home of geocaching

But it isn’t all “classroom work.” The majority of the merit badge involves Scouts searching for geocaches. They’ll also have the opportunity to create and hide their own caches.

Click here for the PDF of the final, official requirements.

The timing of this merit badge’s release in the 100th Anniversary year couldn’t be better. The BSA’s Get in the Game! geocaching program is in full swing. Scouting magazine’s May-June cover story spotlights how one council used Get in the Game! to get boys fired up for Scouting. Look for the newest issue of Scouting in your mailbox by April 22.


  1. It may just be my personal gripe, but I wish this MB wasn’t specific to a single geocaching listing service (Groundspeak’s There are other geocaching sites such as and
    Can anyone tell me if there are any other MB’s that require the use of a particular commercial entity?
    I know BSA and Grounspeak have been working on special projects this year, but I wish the MB would have been neutral.
    I just hope the actual badge isn’t a version of the Groundspeak logo.

    • It does seem odd that it’s so specific, but you don’t HAVE to spend any money with to use it.
      The badge can be seen on the cover of the pamphlet and has just a log and a GPSr.

  2. Sorry Dave I disagree. I am glad the MB is tied to Groundspeak’s as they are the only ones that have rules and guidelines for placing a cache as well as a review process before a cache is published. There is no cost to join and a premium membership is available to those that want to pay for extra benefits but it is not required.

  3. I’m not in the least concerned that is the only entity for the MB but I’m curious why Dave is opposed to it. I don’t at all understand what the other sites add to the sport/hobby/activity that doesn’t.

  4. I don’t have any concerns about the relationship with either. Primarily for the reasons articulated by “Just A Cacher.” What I’d like to know is what/where is the geocache identified in the photo?

  5. I’m just glad the requirements are out – now how about the merit badge book and the cloth circle badge(what the heck will it look like?) – my scouts are ready to play this new “outdoor video game” as I trick them into physical activity with an electronic gadget – what a win/win!

  6. I’m very excited this merit badge has been released and hope to sign up as a counselor. I very much dislike the picture used because it isn’t representative of geocaching. Was that box buried beneath the turf tiles on the field? While it is a sport of “high tech treasure hunting” the treasures – PER THE RULES should not be buried – just concealed, covered, disguised, etc. Let’s not mislead those new to geocaching that they’ll be digging up treasures all over – remember Geocaching is very closely tied to LEAVE NO TRACE.

  7. “LEAVE NO TRACE”, well it might be policy, but like many reasons for rules, because of a small number of geocachers ruining it for others, this is why physical geocachers are banned from such agencies as NPS, Cal State Parks and San Diego County Parks. These geocachers will take the shortest path possible to the cache, disregarding the vegetation and whatever else stands in their way. These geocachers have given geocaching a BAD name.

  8. unlike terracaching you have to have a sponsor to join then. is open to all and is an easier fit to scouting merit badge use and the navicache site i just looked into it and there is all of 12 caches listed and they are duplicates to the geocaching site and half are caches that have gone defunk and no longer exist i feel the geocaching site is the best fit for this mb
    i have been caching for 3 years and enjoy using

  9. I am extremely thrilled about this new merit badge. For the last several years, it has consistently been the favorite activity for the boys in my troops on campouts. By the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the cache in the picture. It actually looks very clever and fun. It is not buried, it is “just concealed, covered, disguised, etc.” in an irrigation box under a square plastic piece of fake turf completely within the rules. This is the type where your “geosenses” really have to kick in. Two thumbs up for the cache owner as well as the scouts who found it.

  10. I think this is a great idea to keep up with
    the ever changing technology available to our youth and what a better way to get them outside and MOVING instead of sitting inside in front of a machine for hours and hours! I have found very user friendly and it’s free.
    Several families in our unit are already geocaching and are ready and waiting for the MB!
    Way to go BSA…you have stepped into the 21st century!

  11. I too think the new badge is great! I would encourage scout leaders to also teach how to use a map and compass to find the caches. Coming from a poorer back ground and area not all scouts can afford the technology but they should alread have a map and compass. I was very grateful to the people who introduced Geocaching to me, that they taught me how to find the cache both ways. It helped me get going while I saved for my GPS unit. It would also improve map skills in case that GPS’s batteries died. Always teach low tech first is my moto, it can’t run out of batteries. Way to go BSA.

  12. can anyone do a cache to eagle series? I am an Eagle scout myself and a avid geocacher with 1000+ caches under my belt and would love to start the series in my area. I am not registered with the council or the BSA (I lost touch about 5 years back).

  13. I love that Boy Scouts is keeping up with the times and including geocaching in the Merit Badge program. Really using a GPS and going on adventures, hikes is just like grabbing the compass and a map and hitting the trail. So koodos to the Boy Scouts for keeping it up to date.

  14. Wondering where Dave is from that he find Terracaching or Navicaching websites to be of any value. For someone new it might appear there is nothing to find in their state on either of those sites. is the industry standard. I am a little disappointed that a Scout doesn;t actually have to FIND a cache to earn the badge, and I agree that the picture shown here is wrong on so many levels both in geocaching and uniforming

  15. Guys, it’s like VHS versus Beta, CD’s versus Microdisc or Taco Bell versus Taco Bueno.
    There were options and even though one may be better than the other, the operators decided that VHS, CD’s and Taco Bueno is better even though they aren’t.
    The same holds true with It is the website for the hobby. I do think however, that if they had better sponsor some BSA or GSA events in order to secure that honor…just me sayin’.

  16. What is the official release date on this Merit Badge? This is an email I got from Troopmaster.
    “BSA is releasing 4 new Meritbadges this year. They are releasing 1 badge each quarter Geocaching doesn’t get released until the 3rd quarter and should not be worked on until then. Below is a link which is BSA’s website it does not list this badge. You will notice that scouting heritage and inventing merit badges are listed because they have been released.

  17. My son just got back from Jamboree 2010 and worked on most of the requirements for this MB there. So I guess is is “officially” released now. We are very excited as we have been geocaching for some time. I am not sure I like all the requirements…but it is a good start!

  18. Just called my Scoutshop here in San Diego and no books yet. I was pretty frustrated when the MB was announced for release and held back for the Jamboree. Now the Jamboree is over, but no books.
    I’ve been a Geocacher for several years now and am in the mid-3K range right now. I too was disappointed to see that you didn’t have to find one or place one. A lot of the intericacies are from having to follow the rules, and knowing saturation limits and other safety precautions (vicinity to RR tracks, etc.).

  19. My son also earned 6 of the 9 requirements at Jamboree, but the badge hasn’t been finalized yet – the scouts who took the MB got to vote for their favorite design out of 3 possible ones.

  20. My son also earned 6 of the 9 requirements at Jamboree, but the badge hasn’t been finalized yet – the scouts who took the MB got to vote for their favorite design out of 3 possible ones.

  21. My son also earned 6 of the 9 requirements at Jamboree, but the badge hasn’t been finalized yet – the scouts who took the MB got to vote for their favorite design out of 3 possible ones.

  22. My son also earned 6 of the 9 requirements at Jamboree, but the badge hasn’t been finalized yet – the scouts who took the MB got to vote for their favorite design out of 3 possible ones.

  23. I agree that the badge is long overdue and I am happy to see BSA keeping up with the times. I could changing the requirement to say something like “with parent’s permission, go to an on-line geocaching information site such as“, for those who don’t care for the endorsement. I have to agree, though, that is pretty much the industry standard and you can get a lot out of it for free, so I don’t really see any problem with BSA endorsing such a great site.

  24. Not sure if the rev changed or not, but Requirement 7 states: “With your parent’s permission*, go to Type in your zip code 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.”
    Like many, I ‘m glad this one came out and I’m sure the boys will enjoy completing these requirements.

  25. I like the badge overall. I don’t like all the stuff on UTM though. Most geocachers NEVER use it. I teach earth Science and UTM is never taught. I think just a description of lat/long would be a better requirement.
    I like the design of the badge–it has all the essentials in one package.
    I would have preferred if all of the options would have been required since all are a part of the game. It’s like playing baseball where you have an option of batting or catching or throwing for the game.
    I hope the GC reviewers are kind to the scouts. Many seem to have a chip on their shoulder each time a Cache to Eagle or a Get in the Game event is posted.

  26. It would be a better badge if there were requirements related to the NGS survey markers. These little critters are in every US scout’s neighborhood and in many cases can inject some local history and color. -CTH

  27. When I first started caching I knew geocaching was a perfectly natural fit with scouting; it just wasn’t that well known by the BSA powers. I even used geocaching as the basis of a Wood Badge ticket item. As for UTM, it ties in “old school” map and compass techniques, and mapping methods. I’m just glad BSA now has the merit badge.

  28. Since the first “leaked” version of the requirements for this badge I have been patiently waiting. We have been Geocaching as a troop during hikes and camping for years now. Is there any clear/official information about when this badge will be available?? My boys are chomping at the bit to pass it off.

    • I posted a blog about Geocatching Globally, and had a great response. When I found out it was now a merit badge, I pursued earning it. The digital network of any kind can tend to be scary. Many of my friends and especially leaders do not understand what it is about. Educating and perseverance should help more scouts to understand. Any suggestions or helpful advice are appreciated.

  29. I know that lots of the work for such things is done by volunteers, but we have not seen any movement on the Geocaching Merit Badge for months. We have boys who earned this badge, by what I hope are the real requirements, and have yet to receive recognition for their efforts. They are getting tired of the answer to just wait. And I, as a Geocaching Merit Badge counselor for our Troop, have stopped promoting and teaching it, because of the lack of apparent movement on the issue. If you have any information I would appreciate it.
    Thank you, Stephen ASM & Geocaching Premium Member

  30. Wondering where Dave is from that he find Terracaching or Navicaching websites to be of any value. For someone new it might appear there is nothing to find in their state on either of those sites.

  31. I came across what looked like an official hunter orange ammo-box BSA geocache this afternoon.

    I am simply *shocked* that an organization that promotes a “Leave No Trace” wilderness ethic would condone and promote leaving these things in the wilderness.

    Why not carve your initials into the trees and spraypaint the rocks while you are at it?

  32. I am a geocacher (shelbyclimber), who is also a parent of a geocacher (my son)! I have read ALL of the previous comments and feel compelled to share some thoughts. Most of our geocaching friends are true examples of ‘ideal’ cachers. Folks who practice appropriate search and finds of placed caches. They are also supportive of getting off the couch, getting out of the house, all while involving their families or close friends. This activity has given our family more chances to see parts of our community in a much larger sense. In addition, we have explored our hometown cities in a deeper way than ever before. As we plan vacations, this is often how we find the most amazing places ever. Sure, we have seen folks who are after the chase, being so competitive that all that matters is getting the cache to increase their personal numbers while leaving chaos in the path. But……what I usually see is the next cacher… up, making repairs, being a good ‘cache-citizen’ and usually addressing many of the values we hold near to scouting principles. In closing, this is a great life game and activity that might be tarnished by others…..but will be moved forward others who quietly lead and love the game and many of its ideals.

  33. Hi I just started as the MB leader for Geocaching for my troop. The one area that I find difficult to explain is the section on Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Grid. Any pointers or tips?

  34. I am an avid cacher in my area and attend a lot of the events. I disagree with the the requirements for the UTM. It is never used. I feel that should be covered under compass and maps not geocaching. It is hard to explain it to young scouts who know how to geocache when I do not use it myself. They should take that away and add a few more requirements that actually exist in the geocaching world. I think they should make it to where all scouts working on it have to hide a cache, find the different types of caches like earth, mystery, multi, basic & mailbox

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