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S.W.A.G. - A Secret Ops Group
or Some Cool Trading Items?

It seems to be a fairly common acronym. S.W.A.G. stands for things from women's groups to wild guesses. In geocaching, it stands for one of two things:

  1. Souvenirs, Wearables, And Gifts
  2. Stuff We All Getthrift store spigots

It's pretty cool or downright silly stuff that is placed in geocaching containers for trading. When you find a cache with items for trade, you can take something and leave something. Always try to leave something as good as or better than the item you take. You can leave something without taking but never take without leaving or soon the cache will be empty :( When my daughter has found more than one thing in a cache trip that she wants and I'm out of s.w.a.g to trade, I'll drop some change (not pennies) or a dollar or two if it's a really cool trinket.

There are some really good ideas for swag and some really bad ones. Let's look at the bad ideas first.

Never place these items in a cache, EVER:

  • Food may seem like a good idea sometimes but the creatures and critters have better smellers than we do. They will find it first and the cache can be destroyed or hauled off to an animal den.
  • Nothing dangerous like knives, guns, needles, etc. for obvious reasons.
  • No drugs of any kind. Even if you got 100 bottles of tylenol on clearance for $.05 each. It just isn't a good idea.
  • Nothing illegal of course!
  • Nothing that could be deemed for adults only. You never know who or how old the next cacher will be.
  • Lighters, matches, or fuel. Again, do you want a 10-year-old with matches in the woods near your house?


These aren't banned but not preferred either:

  • Junk that no one wants, like parts off of other things.
  • Broken toys.
  • Stuff picked up on the trail on the way to the cache, like rocks.
  • Trash of any kind.
  • Dirty items because they get everything else in the cache dirty.
  • Flyers, business cards, etc. It's just not the place for it and it leaves a bad impression on those who find it.
  • Coupons are iffy... your regular run-of-the-mill comes-every-week stuff is not the best.

Some great ideas for s.w.a.g.:

used book store for swag
  • Foreign Coins
  • Erasers
  • Matchbox Cars
  • Neat Cookie Cutters
  • New Pens or Pencils
  • CDs
  • Flashlights
  • Mini Tools
  • Small Camping Gear
  • Books
  • Novelty Items
  • Costume Jewelry
  • Ornaments
  • Office Supplies
  • Small or Miniature Decorations
  • Collectibles
  • Gift Certificates or Coupons for Local Businesses
  • Tickets (local concerts, museums, events, etc. - not expired)
mini tools as geo swag The main thing is to think about the next cacher when you are picking out your swag to trade. The various dollar stores have some neat stuff and some junk so pick according to what you or your kids would want to find. Another great place to look is a goodwill or a thrift store. The hunt for great s.w.a.g. to trade can be just as much fun as the hunt for a swag-filled cache.