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Letterboxing Glossary: B

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base plate

The clear, rectangular plate that the housing for an orienteering compass is mounted on.

baby wipes
Baby wipes

Frequently used by letterboxers to clean a stamp of ink residue from previous stampings.


A direction in compass degrees.

Bind-It-All (BIA)
Zutter Bind-It-All
George and Marjorie have trouble working the handle of the Bind-It-All

One of the most popular devices for binding logbooks from the folks at Zutter. Relatively cheap and easy to use. For details, check out their website at You'll also find resources about the Bind-It-Alls here on Atlas Quest including Bind-It-All tutorial and Bind-It-All message board to swap tips and ask questions.

White Blaze
The white blaze next to this plaque marks the first white blaze at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail

Typically a six inch tall, two inch wide rectangle splotch of paint on a tree to mark a trail. If trees are scarce, they may also be painted onto rock or posts stuck in the ground. The size and color can vary from trail to trail, but are usually spaced out on trees so you can always see at least one blaze ahead of you on the trail and one blaze behind you. Blazed trails are far more common in the eastern United States, the most famous being the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail.

blue diamond

An often controversial concept where AQ attempts to mark some of the best letterboxes on Atlas Quest with a special icon called the blue diamond. The blue diamonds are calculated from the feedback by those who have found the letterbox. Learn more about how blue diamonds are calculated, or rate the boxes you've already found.

Blue Diamond
bonus box

Similar to a regular letterbox, except that the clue is planted in another nearby letterbox. Most letterboxers call it a bonus box only if the clue does not move from box to box, such as the cuckoo clue. It's considered bad form to tell others where the clue for a bonus box is.

book crossing

At there's an interesting group of people who feel that books should be "freed" all over the world—in parks, restaurants, or other public places for others to find and enjoy. And anyone that finds the book and log into the website to track its movements around the world and see what others thought about the book. What does that have to do with letterboxing? Not much, really, but it's the type of thing a lot of letterboxers would enjoy.

boxing buddy

A boxing buddy is a small mascot, usually a small stuffed animal, complete with its own signature stamp and logbook, to travel with you and share in your letterboxing adventures.

Box Of the Month (BOM)

A box of the month, or often abbreviated as BOM, is a letterbox where the stamp inside is replaced with a new one each month. They usually last for one year, but there's no required timeframe. Technically, you don't even have to replace the stamp once per month, but it's a convenient timespan to work with.

Since there is no support for a specific type of box called a Box Of the Month, the recommended way of listing it is to start with a single box listing like you normally would. Each time you replace the stamp, add a new box to the series then retire the previous box in the series. If you ever replace it with a stamp that's already been in the box, such a special Christmas-themed stamp each December, re-active the previous listing rather than add it as a new box to the series.

Note that it is important to add boxes to the series when you replace the stamp and don't pre-list them at all once. Each time you add a new stamp to the series, notifications will be sent out about the new stamp to interested parties. If you pre-list all of the boxes at once, they will not be notified when you later update the status of the letterbox.

It might also be useful to add BOM as a keyword for the box and include BOM as part of the name of the box so people know what they're dealing with.


Making your way through terrain without following an established trail. Usually, this involves trampling bushes or branches and therefore is frowned upon by letterboxers. Stay on the trail!