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A Letterboxing Community

Help: Recent Additions & Changes

  1. How do I add a letterbox?
  2. I made an error while entering a letterbox—how do I fix it?
  3. What are P-club and F-club restrictions?
  4. How do I edit the name of my letterbox?
  5. How do I add a box to a series?
  6. What do the subtypes in an LTC tracker represent?
  7. How do I make a planter’s pouch?
  8. What do the icons next to a member's trailname mean?
  9. How do I add a custom trip?
  10. How can I restrict my trips?
  11. How do I pick a color?
  12. How do I list a bonus box?
  13. What is a reserved box?
  14. What do the subtypes on trips represent?
  15. What are the tracker status options?
  16. What do the attributes for a traditional box represent?
  17. What do the hike type icons on traditional boxes represent?
  18. What do the subtype icons on custom themes mean?
  19. How do you go about planting and listing a letterbox?
  20. How do I change the box type if I made an error?
  21. How do I host a clue on Atlas Quest?
  22. Can I list a letterbox whose clue is hosted on another website?
  23. What do the icons on an LTC represent?
  24. What do the subtypes on an LTC represent?
  25. What do the attributes for hitchhikers, cooties and fleas represent?
  26. What are the different subtypes of hitchhikers, cooties and fleas?
  27. What do the icons on a hitchhiker/cootie/flea represent?
  28. What are the different types of letterboxes?
  29. What do the icons for stamp types represent?
  30. What do the icons on an event stamp represent?
  31. What do the attributes on an event stamp represent?
  32. What do the attributes of a personal traveler represent?
  33. What do the attributes on a postal represent?
  34. What do the attributes mean on an LTC?
  35. What do the subtypes in a traditional tracker represent?
  36. What do the attributes for LTC trackers mean?
  37. What do the attributes stand for in a postal tracker?
  38. What do the subtypes in a postal tracker represent?
  39. What do the subtypes on a blog represent?
  40. What do the attributes on trips represent?
  41. What do the attribute icons stand for in an event listing?
  42. What do the subtype icons stand for in an event listing?
  43. What do the attribute icons on custom themes mean?
  44. What are the differences between group types?
  45. How do I narrow down the hundreds of boxes available?
  46. Why should I register?
  47. What are keywords?
  48. How do I delete a find in my logbook?
  49. Should I get permission before hiding a letterbox?
  50. Pennsylvania State Parks

How do I add a letterbox?

Use the Add Letterbox link found under the Letterboxes menubar option.

You will be required to specify a name and type for the letterbox—the absolute minimum information required in order to list a letterbox—then you will reach the main editing page that shows all options that can be edited on the listing including the location, attributes and clues.

We also have a nifty video tutorial to show you the ropes:

I made an error while entering a letterbox—how do I fix it?

From the box details page, click the Edit Box button. That allows you to edit almost everything you entered about the letterbox—the location, the attributes, the name, the status, and whatever options are available.

What are P-club and F-club restrictions?

You can restrict your letterboxes to only AQ members with a specified number of plants and/or finds. Keep in mind, these restrictions are based on official AQ counts so members who do not record their plants or finds on this site may not be able to access your clues. AQ will not allow you to exceed a P-count restriction of 250 or an F-count restriction beyond 1000.

How do I edit the name of my letterbox?

Make sure you are logged into Atlas Quest, pull up the box details or clue for your box, then click the 'Edit Box' button in the panel of buttons.

Once you are on the main editing page, you can click the "edit pencil" icon () in the "Name" section to change the name of the box.

How do I add a box to a series?

Use the Edit Box button found in the panel of buttons. Then, in the "Series Details" section of the main editing page, fill out the "add box" form to add a new box to the series.

What do the subtypes in an LTC tracker represent?

SubtypeDescription
A singleton is a single LTC card that the tracker owner has available for distribution. Only the tracker's owner can add cards to the tracker.
An LTC swap is an efficient way to trade many cards with many people. Each participant in the tracker provides enough cards for everyone else in the tracker. The cards are usually sent to the tracker owner, who redistributes the cards and mails them back, making sure each person receives one of everyone else's card. Everyone in the tracker is expected to add their own LTC to the tracker.
No subtype is the wild, wild west of LTC trackers. It's not a singleton nor a swap, which are the most common organizations, but what it is is anyone's guess. There may be strange and unusual rules involved, so read the description of the tracker closely to see if it's something you want to get involved with. Anyone can add their own boxes to such a tracker.

How do I make a planter’s pouch?

A planter’s pouch is a thin letterbox that can easily be tucked into cracks and crevices in urban locations that often are otherwise difficult to hide. To create one, follow mstrwndl’s helpful tutorial:
# Description Sample Photograph
1. The first thing you are going to need is Duct Tape. Big Lots (this is not an endorsement) has duct tape for $2.49 a roll. I have seen rolls half the size at other stores for $6.00. Next you are going to need a 2 qt. Ziplock freezer bag. The double seal bags work the best.
2. If you have a cutting board and an X-acto knife, we are ready to start. Take a black Sharpie marker and make a mark 7 inches from the edge of the cutting board, and then another at 9 inches.
3. Next measure two pieces of tape out onto the cutting board, one at 7” and one at 9”. The marks are so that you don’t have to grab a ruler every time you make a pouch.
4. With the X-acto knife, split the 7” piece lengthwise and leave it where it is. It won’t be in the way. You will come back to it and use both pieces, later.
5. With the 9” piece, measure 1” from the end and ½” up from the bottom. Make a slice straight down to the edge. I know this sounds confusing but check out the pictures. Do this on both ends and fold the center up in the back.
6. Rotate the 9” piece over 180º and do the same thing on the other edge. The next picture will show you what you should end up with. This will end up being the strap. Set it aside and don’t let the sticky tabs on each end get messed up.
7. Now look at a Ziplock bag. On one side there is writing. This side is about 1/8 inch shorter than the other side. We will call the side with the writing (the short side) the front. The other side (the long side) is naturally the back. You will notice this length at the place where the ink pen is pointing in the photo.
8. Lay the baggie front side down and cover it with duct tape. You want the tape to hang off the bottom of the bag at least ½ inch. You want the tape to hang off the sides about 1 inch. It would be great if the tape hung off the top between 4 and 5 inches. This will be the flap. Overlap the pieces about ¾ of an inch with each strip of tape applied. It should take 6 or 7 pieces of tape to cover the bag. (see photo) The ink pen and knife are only to show the bag edges. This should give you an indication of how much overlap you will have.
9. Now, peel the whole thing up and flip it over. At the bottom corners of the baggie make a slice all the way straight down making sure not to cut the baggie, and fold the middle up as indicated in the next photo.
10. You are looking at the front side of the baggie, now. Look at the point where the difference in length occurs and make a cut from the edge of the baggie to the edge of the tape on both sides.
11. When you get this done, fold the sides over and then fold those little end tabs to the back. Don’t cut them off as they serve to reinforce the corners.
12. Now that you are this far along you need to turn the bottom of the bag away from you and the sticky flap toward you. Take a piece of duct-tape and cover it crossways, making sure to cover the 1/8 inch difference in the back of the bag. (see photo, and disregard the little pile of PZ flakes on the left. They make great ice cream toppings.)
13. Now cover the front of the bag the same way you did the back of the bag making sure that you don’t overlap on the top. You want to go up to the edge of the bag and not off the bag at all. Look at where my left hand is in the next photo. You should get the idea. My finger is barely holding the tape down.
14. Now that the front is covered make the same cuts at the bottom to fold and tuck that you made on the other side. If you don’t remember what you did, look back a step or two. The photos haven’t gone anywhere. While you are trimming the bottom, go ahead and fold the sides over as well. Now, somewhere, you should have two 7” strips that are narrow, where you cut the 7” strip earlier. You want to take one of them and place it half way on and halfway off (length wise) the tape edges on the front of the bag.
15. Then go ahead and fold it over to hide the overlapped, exposed edge of the front of the bag.
16. There! No, wait... we’re not finished. Grab the 9” piece that you cut and folded while ago, to make the strap. Place your finger on the front of the bag and find where the seal is. You can feel it. Now that you have found it drop down about ½ inch and place the strap on evenly and fold the sticky tabs around to the back.
17. Turn the bag over to the back side and place a piece of tape down both sides halfway on and halfway off, running the length of the bag from the flap to the bottom. Turn the bag back over and make two cuts on each piece of tape where you can fold it to the front without constricting the strap. My left hand in the photo is on the front strap and I am cutting with my right hand, but look at where the cuts are. One on either side of the strap. This way you can fold the entire piece of tape over the side to the front and the strap is still functional. At this point you can trim any that overlapped the bottom with your knife, but DON’T CUT THE BAGGIE!
18. Place a piece of tape on the bottom halfway on and halfway off. Fold it over to reinforce the bottom, and trim it off with your knife, but DON’T CUT THE BAGGIE! Now all that’s left is the flap. Line up one edge of your new pouch with the edge of the cutting board. Using the board to measure (not the pouch) measure over 1 inch as shown by where the knife is and cut a diagonal piece out of the flap from the bag opening to the end of the flap.
19. Then turn the pouch over and do the same thing on the other side.
20. If you remember the way you trimmed out the bottom by adding a piece of duct tape and folding it over, then trimming it with your knife, that is what you are going to do here on the diagonal sides of the flap. Finally take the other 7inch strip from earlier and trim out the very top, or the end of the flap with it, fold it over and trim off the edges. What you should end up with is something like this...

Safari Man has an additional method that does not require the use of a ZipLock bag, and those directions can be found in this photo album.

What do the icons next to a member's trailname mean?

IconMeaning
View Profile Allows you to view this member's profile.
Contact Member Allows you to contact this member.
View Logbook Allows you to view this member's online logbook.
Add Note Read Note View and/or edit any notes you've taken about this member. If the notepad is blank, you haven't added any notes for this member yet. If the notepad has writing on it, then there are notes to read.
Planted 1 letterbox Planted 20-39 letterboxes Planted 300-399 letterboxes Trophies represent the number of planted letterboxes. Bronze trophies display your exact number of plants from 1 to 9. Silver trophies represent between 10 and 99 planted boxes (the number on the trophy is rounded down to the nearest 10), while gold trophies represent between 100 and 999 plants (the number on the trophy is rounded down to the nearest 100).
Found 1 letterbox Found 20-29 letterboxes Found 300-399 letterboxes Found 4,000-4,999 letterboxes Found 50,000-59,999 letterboxes Ribbons represent the number of found letterboxes. The ribbon gets an extra "point" at the bottom for every zero that follows the first digit. The ribbons are color-coded to the first digit roughly in a rainbow pattern from 1 to 9: 1 = red, 2 = orange, 3 = yellow, 4 = green, 5 = cyan, 6 = blue, 7 = magenta, 8 = purple and 9 = silver/grey.
1 message posted 20-29 messages posted 300-399 messages posted 4,000-4,999 messages posted 50,000-59,999 messages posted 600,000-699,999 message posted Stars represent the number of messages the member has posted to the Atlas Quest message boards. The number of stars or the size of the star increases as the count number increases. Each small star is worth one digit, and each big star is worth three digits. For example, two small stars = 10-99. One large star and one small star = 3 + 1 = 1,000-9,999. The biggest stars are color-coded to the first digit in roughly a rainbow pattern: 1 = red, 2 = orange, 3 = yellow, 4 = green, 5 = cyan, 6 = blue, 7 = magenta, 8 = purple and 9 = silver/grey. (If there are small and large stars, the color on the small star means nothing.)
New member since November 11, 2011 The stroller indicates that the user is new to Atlas Quest and will appear for the first two weeks from the time they signed up.
Profile updated November 11, 2011 Means that member has updated their profile within the last seven days. It may be nothing more exciting than adding a favorite food to the profile, or it may be they have filled out their interview!
Last Login: > 1 month Last Login: > 3 month Last Login: > 1 year The green, yellow and red battery indicators represent the last time the member logged into Atlas Quest. Green and still mostly full means they haven't logged in for at least 1 month. Yellow and half empty means that they haven't logged in for at least 1 quarter (3 months). Red and empty means that they haven't logged in for at least 1 full year.
Happy Anniversary! The picture of a cake means this user is celebrating an anniversary—the anniversary of the date they signed up on Atlas Quest!
Resting in Peace This is one icon you will never see next to your name, and you would probably prefer if others did not see it next to your name either since it means you have died. We won't delete your account if we find out about your death, but it lets other people know why you are no longer replying to AQ mail or maintaining your letterboxes. It also means there is a tribute section for you in the letterboxer obituaries.
Those with premium memberships at Atlas Quest get a feather in the cap to recognize their important contribution in helping to fund Atlas Quest. There are a few dozen hats available for premium members to choose, but you'll see a red or yellow feather in their hat regardless of the type they've selected. Additionally, as premium members, they get access to special features not accessible with a free membership. Learn more about the benefits of premium membership and how you can become one too!
Coffee Cup This icon is a premium member perk that indicates you've done an exchange with the person.

P-Count Icon Sequence

Bronze trophies (1-9 plants):
Silver trophies (10-99 plants):
Gold trophies (100-999 plants):
Winner's podium (1,000+ plants):

F-Count Icon Sequence

0-point ribbons (1-9 finds):
1-point ribbons (10-99 finds):
2-point ribbons (100-999 finds):
3-point ribbons (1,000-9,999 finds):
4-point ribbons (10,000-99,999 finds):

Message-Count Icon Sequence

1 small star (1-9 posts):
2 small stars (10-99 posts):
3 small stars (100-999 posts):
1 large star, 1 small star (1,000-9,999 posts):
1 large star, 2 small stars (10,000-99,999 posts):
1 large star, 3 small stars (100,000-999,999 posts):

How do I add a custom trip?

Check out Green Tortuga's video tutorial about creating a custom trip with the trip planner:

How can I restrict my trips?

By default, any trips you create will be private—only you will be able to see them. If it's a route that you think others might be interested in using, however, contact an admin and we might make it available for others.

As a general rule of thumb, the only routes that are made public for everyone are major roads that are intended for cross-country travel. In the United States, that includes the Interstate system. In Canada, it includes the Trans-Canada Highway system. Other routes, even long ones that do span much of the country, probably won't be added.

How do I pick a color?

The color-picker—that is an official term for the control—on most modern browsers will display a solid block in the currently selected color. To edit it, you can either click directly on it with a mouse, tap it with your finger if your screen can detect taps or tab over to it until it has the focus. The full color options will pop-up and you pick from, quite literally, any color that your monitor supports. Exactly how this box looks and how it works varies by browser and device so there is no one set of directions that would be applicable to everyone, but it is typically easy to figure out just by playing around with it.

The following image is a screenshot of a color picker from the Firefox browser on a Windows machine. You may see something different, but it will work similarly.
Sample color picker

If you are using an older browser or one of the few that do not support a color picker, you will see an ugly text box with numbers and letters that might look something like #ffffff or #ff0080. These are hexadecimal numbers that computers use to represent colors and unless you are a computer programmer, they will probably look completely foreign to you. Computer programmers will know what to do, but for the rest of the you, the easiest thing to do is look up the color you need on a color chart. Just copy the hexadecimal number (including the # sign) into text box and save.

How do I list a bonus box?

Use the Add Letterbox page like you normally would. The only thing that makes a bonus box special is that people have to find another box first before they can find your bonus box—usually because the clue is located in other box.

So to turn your regular box into a bonus box, edit the “Dependency” section of the “Restrictions” section. Let AQ know which box your bonus box is dependent on, and then it will automatically add the bonus box icon to your listing.

When AQ knows about this dependency, it will also hide your bonus box from search results unless the person doing the search has found the dependent box already.


What is a reserved box?

Some people like to pre-list their boxes. Some people want a box ID number they can list in their logbooks. Some people want to try listing a box to see how it works. And some people want to tweak their clues until things are just right before making their box live. And that’s what a ‘reserved’ box allows you to do—list a box before it becomes live for the rest of the world to see.

It’ll be assigned a box ID number just like any other letterbox, but it won't show up in searches or in your logbook. (You will see an option to view “reserved” boxes in your logbook, but only you can see your own reserved boxes. Nobody else will be able to.)

When the box is ready to publish for the world to see, use the “Activate” button on the box details page or edit page to officially launch your box. There is no undo once the box goes live—this conversion is permanent!

What do the subtypes on trips represent?

AttributeDescription
The route represents a driving route. (The vast majority of routes are driving routes!)
The route represents a walking route. Obviously, this applies to long-distance trails such as the Appalachian Trail, but it can also represent walking routes through cities and involve road walks.
The route represents a bicycling route.
The path follows a route that can be taken via public transit—as far as Google can determine.

What are the tracker status options?

openThe tracker is open and accepting new members. Just join—no permissions needed!
limitedThe tracker is accepting new members, but you must contact the owner of the tracker and ask to be added.
closedThe tracker is no longer open to new members but is currently in progress.
retiredThe tracker is done and over. Not only will it not accept new members, but even those who signed up for the tracker are done iwth it.

What do the attributes for a traditional box represent?

AttributeDescription
A Word of Mouth (WOM) box. The clues are distributed somewhere other than online, such as via e-mail, postal mail, or delivered in person.
A snow friendly box is rather a squishy concept. Some people might consider a box that requires several miles of cross-country travel using snow shoes or skies as snow 'friendly,' while other may not. Other boxes might be quite findable if there's an inch or two of snow on the ground but may no longer be easily found if there's a foot or two of snow on the ground. In theory, though, a snow friendly box is one in which important landmarks in the clue would not be covered, nor will digging through layers of snow be required to find the box.
A pet friendly letterbox is located in an area that allows pets to roam, usually with a leash requirement.
This image marks letterboxes that require a compass in order to find. The lack of this picture means the clue doesn't require a compass OR that the creator of the letterbox did not specify a compass requirement. It's generally a good idea to always carry a compass in your letterboxing kit, though, so you'll always be prepared.
A bike friendly letterbox is located in an area where bicycles or mountain bikes are permitted and have plenty of room to roam. For instance, while it is legal to ride ones bicycle on busy city streets, it is not considered bike friendly if there are no designated bike lanes available for use near the letterbox. And while many trails may be accessible to mountain bike, it is not considered bike friendly if the trail is for hikers only.
An urban letterbox, as defined here, is located in an area where one is unlikely to experience “The Great Outdoors.” Like in a big city, such as New York city. A rest area in the middle of nowhere is an urban box. A large city park with trees and hiking trails is not an urban box. The 'setting' for the letterbox is urban, not necessarily the location, if that makes any sense.
The trail or path to the letterbox should be accessible by wheelchairs or strollers the entire way. However, the letterbox itself may not be reachable from a wheelchair or stroller, and those using them may need assistance from others to actually acquire the box. The letterbox may be planted too high or low for someone in a wheelchair to physically reach, or too far off from the main trail for a wheelchair, but as long as an assistant can retrieve the box and bring it back for the wheelchair-bound person, it's considered wheelchair accessible.
The finder will be expected to use their head on this one in order to decipher the clue. The code might be easy or hard—but it definitely won’t be straight-forward.
This letterbox requires payment of some sort of fee-probably a parking or entrance fee. The lack of this picture does not necessarily mean no fees are required. The creator may not have specified fees, or perhaps fees were added since the box was planted. It's always a good idea to carry a few extra dollars in case of an unexpected fee or two.
This letterbox is available only for a limited time. A limited time letterbox is either a box that is planted for only part of the year or a box that you intend to retire within the next three months. Letterboxes planted in regions that are covered in snow for nine months of the year or in stores that require a visit during store hours do not count as limited time boxes.
A box that requires some sort of special or unusual equipment like for scuba diving or rock climbing, or even something as simple as a ladder. A compass is not considered “special” equipment for letterboxers!
Those who plant letterboxes are able to point out their favorite plants by assigning them the Planter’s Choice Award. They might do this because they consider it one of their best boxes, or perhaps it has sentimental value. Whatever the reason, the planter wants you to notice this box.

What do the hike type icons on traditional boxes represent?

Hike typeDescription
This letterbox is located indoors -- perfect for those cold, wet days when you really do not want to go outside.
A drive-by letterbox, as defined on this website, is a letterbox that requires perhaps 5 to 10 minutes to nab from the time you park your car. A drive-by letterbox will be hidden within eyesight of where one parks, or at least so close that if it were raining, the person would take the box to their car to stamp in.
A stroll is something that's less than a mile round-trip of walking, which would take most people less than 30 minutes to complete (find and return to their starting point) but still too far out to be considered a drive by.
A walk is something that requires 1 to 2 miles round-trip of walking/hiking, which would take most people between 30 to 60 minutes to complete.
A hike is a box that requires 2 to 4 miles round-trip of hiking, which would take most people between 1 to 2 hours to complete.
A trek is 4 to 8 miles round-trip of hiking, and will typically take most people anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to complete.
A backpack is 8 to 15 miles round-trip of hiking, and will typically take most people anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to complete.
A thru-hike requires 15 or more miles round-trip of hiking, and will typically take most people a minimum of 8 hours to complete.

Note: Use a little common sense with these icons. A flat, paved, 1-mile trail would be a stroll. A rugged 1-mile trail that climbs 1,000 feet in elevation gain would be a walk. Even though both trails are one mile long, they would each fall into different categories since the difficulty level is very different. There are no hard or fast rules regarding this-just use a little common sense. A typical hiking trail that's two miles long would normally be a walk, but if the walk requires an extreme climb going up thousands of feet on a rarely maintained trail, mark it as a hike.

What do the subtype icons on custom themes mean?

SubtypeDescription
A holiday-themed event. Examples include Christmas, Valentine's Day, Veteran's Day, Columbus Day, etc. (But you don't have to limit yourself strictly to U.S. holidays.)
These are themes that celebrate a specific event in the past such as the anniversary of the first moon landing or the Golden Spike ceremony marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. These themes tend to be historic, but they don't have to be.
These themes commemorate regularly occurring events. Usually the events are annual such as the summer solstice or Talk Like a Pirate Day, but it can also include events that happen less often (e.g. the Olympics or the total solar eclipse) or more often (e.g. time changes or Friday the 13th themes).
This theme is based on a movie, TV show, music, stage, or other artistic endeavors.
Themes honoring a specific person.
Themes about a specific place or location.
Usability themes are designed to make someone's experience on Atlas Quest better or easier rather than cosmetic. All of the other subtypes are largely cosmetic in nature, but this category will hide features, move them around, or do whatever is necessary to make a better experience for others.

How do you go about planting and listing a letterbox?

Before planting letterboxes of your own, it’s usually a good idea to find a few first to get a sense of what’s out there and what people are expecting in a letterbox. That does not mean you have to do things exactly like others do—but it’s at least good to know where you might be doing things different from the standards in your area.

When you do finally plant a letterbox, use the Add Letterbox page (always found under the Letterboxes menubar option) to list your box on Atlas Quest. Fill in the blanks provided. Many help pages are available by clicking the Help icon if you aren’t sure what is expected in a particular blank.

How do I change the box type if I made an error?

If your box does not yet have any finds recorded on it, you can edit the listing and change the type of box directly.

If the box already has finds on it, you can contact an administrator who can change the box type manually.

If you reuse a stamp for a different box type, you should retire the old listing and create a new listing with the new type so people can record the type of box they actually found.

How do I host a clue on Atlas Quest?

Begin with the Add Letterbox option (found under the Letterboxes menubar option). You’ll first be required to type in the name of your box and the type, so go ahead and do that.

By default, your box will not have a clue but once you are into the main editing page, you can select the "Add AQ-hosted clue" link in the "Clue Details" section and fill in the clue information.

Be sure to click the Save button of the main editing page for the your changes to go live!

Can I list a letterbox whose clue is hosted on another website?

Definitely!

When adding a letterbox, the clue section will initially be empty and ask for the type of clue. If the clue is hosted on the Letterboxing North American (LbNA) website, select Add LbNA-hosted as the clue type. You’ll then be asked to enter the box number for the listing on LbNA. The box number can be found on the clue page there, or in the URL.

If the box is hosted on some other website—any website other than LbNA or Atlas Quest—select the Add Remotely-hosted option. You’ll then be asked to provide the full URL to the clue.

What do the icons on an LTC represent?

Stamp Types

AttributeDescription
The creator promises you'll find a genuine, 100% hand-carved stamp in the letterbox and not a store-bought or custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a unique, custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a store-bought stamp rather than a hand-carved or custom-made stamp.

Subtypes

AttributeDescription
The card is an undersized card (inchies, twinchies, quisps, etc.).
The card is a standard sized LTC.
The card is an oversized card (bookmarks, postcards, etc.).

Attributes

AttributeDescription
The stamp used for the LTC has been previously used in some other box, and not necessarily another LTC.
You must solve some sort of puzzle or other challenge in order to 'earn' this LTC.

What do the subtypes on an LTC represent?

AttributeDescription
The card is an undersized card (inchies, twinchies, quisps, etc.).
The card is a standard sized LTC.
The card is an oversized card (bookmarks, postcards, etc.).

What do the attributes for hitchhikers, cooties and fleas represent?

AttributeDescription
The original cootie required the use of a thumbprint signature where you stamp a thumb (or finger) rather than your signature stamp, and draw a face (or something) onto it to turn it into a picture. Such as this example:

What are the different subtypes of hitchhikers, cooties and fleas?

AttributeDescription
A box without a permanent home, hopping from box to box, hitching rides from passing letterboxers.
Why go out and find a box when you can plant one on other people? That’s what a cootie is for—hiding on other letterboxers, or at least among their possessions.
Can’t decide between a hitchhiker or a cootie? A flea combines the best of both worlds! Hide it in a box or on letterboxer, and you can’t go wrong!

What do the icons on a hitchhiker/cootie/flea represent?

Subtypes

AttributeDescription
The original box without a permanent home, hopping from box to box, hitching rides from passing letterboxers.
Why go out and find a box when you can plant one on other people? That's what a cootie is for--hiding on other letterboxers, or at least among their possessions.
Can't decide between a hitchhiker or a cootie? A flea combines the best of both worlds! Hide it in a box or on letterboxer, and you can't go wrong!

Attributes

AttributeDescription
The original cootie required the use of a thumbprint signature where you stamp a thumb (or finger) rather than your signature stamp, and draw a face (or something) onto it to turn it into a picture.

Stamp Types

AttributeDescription
The creator promises you'll find a genuine, 100% hand-carved stamp in the letterbox and not a store-bought or custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a unique, custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a store-bought stamp rather than a hand-carved or custom-made stamp.

What are the different types of letterboxes?

TypeDescription
Traditional: A traditional box is the standard, run-of-the-mill letterbox with a rubber stamp, a logbook and requires clues to find.
Hitchhiker: The original spinoff, hitchhikers have a rubber stamp and a logbook and travel from box to box, hitching rides between boxes from the letterboxers who find it. It is okay to leave a hitchhiker behind if you do not feel like carrying the hitchhiker to a different letterbox. The category has been extended to also include cooties and fleas (which can travel from person-to-person).
Postal: A postal is a rubber stamp and the logbook that’s mailed from one letterboxer to another, usually through the USPS.
Personal Traveler: A stamp that a letterboxer carries that can be ‘found’—usually by answering questions or doing something for that person. The clues will state what the requirements are to get the traveler.
LTC: Short for Letterboxer Trading Cards, an LTC is like a baseball card that can be swapped and traded. They are handmade by letterboxers and should include some sort of stamp in the image. A standard LTC has a fixed 2.5" x 3.5" dimensions, but a growing number of non-standard sizes and shapes are now being included in this category including inchies, quisps, postcards and bookmarks.
Event Box: A box whose sole purpose is to be present at an event or gathering for other people to stamp into. Typically, they’re readily available on tabletops, in ice chests, and otherwise hanging around waiting for your observant eye to stumble onto them and usually don’t require clues to find. Some event boxes might have clues. For example, if they’re locked in a container and the clue is needed for the combination. (Not to be confused with a traditional box since the box itself isn’t hidden and out of sight—it’s just inaccessible until the combination is figured out.)
Other: For anything else that doesn’t quite fit into any other category, it can be labeled as an “other” box. Usually it involves a rubber stamp, but in a context that none of the other terms conveys.

What do the icons for stamp types represent?

AttributeDescription
The creator promises you’ll find a genuine, 100% hand-carved stamp in the letterbox and not a store-bought or custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a unique, custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a store-bought stamp rather than a hand-carved or custom-made stamp.

What do the icons on an event stamp represent?

Stamp Types
AttributeDescription
The creator promises you'll find a genuine, 100% hand-carved stamp in the letterbox and not a store-bought or custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a unique, custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a store-bought stamp rather than a hand-carved or custom-made stamp.

Attributes
AttributeDescription
A traveling event stamp goes from event to event, making multiple appearances.
A table top box is often located on the tables where letterboxers gather at an event, sometimes in disguise and sometimes in plain view, but it also includes any stamp that is located there only for the duration of the event anywhere near the point of the gathering. While most are located on tables, they may also be found in ice chests, on the ground, and sometimes very clever locations.
Hidden In Plain Sight (HIPS) are boxes that are laying around at an event, but aren't obviously a box. Clues aren't needed in order to find these—just be alert and observant of your surroundings. Maybe it's hidden in a salt shaker. Or maybe it's disguised as a soda can. Or maybe....

What do the attributes on an event stamp represent?

AttributeDescription
A traveling event stamp goes from event to event, making multiple appearances.
A table top box is often located on the tables where letterboxers gather at an event, sometimes in disguise and sometimes in plain view, but it also includes any stamp that is located there only for the duration of the event anywhere near the point of the gathering. While most are located on tables, they may also be found in ice chests, on the ground, and sometimes very clever locations.
Hidden In Plain Sight (HIPS) are boxes that are laying around at an event, but aren’t obviously a box. Clues aren’t needed in order to find these—just be alert and observant of your surroundings. Maybe it’s hidden in a salt shaker. Or maybe it’s disguised as a soda can. Or maybe....

What do the attributes of a personal traveler represent?

AttributeDescription
A trail-only personal traveler means you must find the owner while on the trail in order to nab the stamp.
A limited time traveler means you better get the stamp soon, because it won't be around much longer!
The brain icon represents a mental challenge which may require research or solving a tricky puzzle.
The impersonal traveler is much like the personal traveler in which it travels from place to place with a letterboxer, but it's often left unattended for other letterboxers to acquire such as at a campsite or on their vehicle.

What do the attributes on a postal represent?

AttributeDescription
If a postal weighs more than 13 ounces (the maximum weight for large first-class envelopes and parcels), the price of shipping goes up quite a bit—so use this option to let people knowthat it might cost a bit more to mail.

What do the attributes mean on an LTC?

AttributeDescription
The stamp used for the LTC has been previously used in some other box, and not necessarily another LTC.
You must solve some sort of puzzle or other challenge in order to earn this LTC.

What do the subtypes in a traditional tracker represent?

SubtypeDescription
There are two kinds of series of boxes—those that are physically placed near each other and most people would get in a single outing. Then there are these—a series of boxes related to each other but spread out across large distances that letterboxers might search for in any order and on different outings.
These are a series of boxes planted in close proximity to each other but are typically planted by lots of different people. It might make sense to get all of the boxes in one outing because they’re all in the same park. These trackers are created to help people sort through the confusion.

What do the attributes for LTC trackers mean?

AttributeDescription
A swap with no restrictions regarding what sort of theme can be done, and most likely, will have a wide variety of unexpected topics!
The opposite of a potpouri—these swaps have rules that require you to create cards based on a specific theme. (e.g. favorite books, Harry Potter, Christmas, etc.)
You can reuse old LTCs you've created in the past.
These swaps are intended to put the trade into Letterboxer Trading Cards. If you have duplicate cards or want to trade cards you've collected from other people with other people, these are the swaps to look for!

What do the attributes stand for in a postal tracker?

AttributeDescription
The postals in these trackers have a movie attached! Stamp into the box, then watch the movie!
The postals in these trackers have music attached. Stamp into the box while listing to the CD included with it!
Surely you know where this is going, right? There's a book to read with these postals. These trackers will probably move a lot slower than most if participants actually choose to read the included book.
These trackers include an altered book with the postal.
The postal in these trackers can be anything under the sun—whatever floats your boat, and who knows what others might do.
These trackers have a theme that everyone is expected to follow.
It's okay to reuse an old postal for these singles or rings.

What do the subtypes in a postal tracker represent?

SubtypeDescription
A postal single is a single postal box that will be mailed to a group of people, one at a time. Only the owner of the tracker may add boxes—everyone else is just along for the ride.
A postal ring is a concept where each person who joins the ring contributes a postal to be mailed in a circular fashion. Person A mails a postal to Person B who mails to Person C, and eventually returns to them from Person Z. All members of a postal ring can add boxes, but they can only add postals that have them as the listed owner. The ring leader may add postals from anyone.
No subtype is the wild, wild west of postal trackers. It's not a single nor a ring, which are the most common organizations, but what it is is anyone's guess. Any participant can add postals they own, and the tracker's owner can add any postal they need to, much like a postal ring, but the organization of who mails what to whom may not follow conventional rules of rings.

What do the subtypes on a blog represent?

Icon Description
The blog is a personal blog about all things letterboxing—finding them, planting them, solving or writing clues, attending events, carving stamps and whatever other letterboxing-related activities the owner wants to talk about.
A personal blog that’s usually about stuff that’s not related to letterboxing.
A blog that is by someone who, most likely, isn’t a letterboxer and has nothing to do with Atlas Quest, but that some people might be interested in following such as the blog for Cake Wrecks in which you can’t reasonably expect the actual owner of the blog to list themselves on Atlas Quest.

What do the attributes on trips represent?

AttributeDescription
There are rest areas along the route. They may not necessarily be a lot of them, but there are at least a few along the way! The term 'rest area' can be used liberally for walking and bicycling routes. Perhaps a trail with shelters, or a convenience store along a bicycling route.
A historic route, typically famous (or infamous!) for one reason or another.
An actual hiking trail that hikers, pilgrims and other adventurers follow.

What do the attribute icons stand for in an event listing?

AttributeDescription
The event is a potluck—bring some food, drinks or eating utensils and prepare to eat!
The venue allows letterboxing opportunities.
Pets are allowed at the event.
There is an entrance fee, parking fee, or some sort of expense associated with this event.
The date and time of the event is a mystery and must be figured out from clues.
The location of the event is a mystery and must be figured out from clues.
A raffle will be held at the event and there’s a good chance that the organizers of the event will need raffle prizes if you have anything available.

What do the subtype icons stand for in an event listing?

The event will be held outdoors such as at a park, perhaps with a pavilion or other facilities available.
The event will be held indoors at a restaurant or similar location where food or drinks may be available for purchase.
A multi-day event where letterboxers are encouraged to spend the night together at a campground.
Events held at libraries, museums, schools and other places of learning.
Tag sale, birthdays, weddings, and other non-letterboxing events that letterboxers are welcome to attend.
The event will be held at a pub or other adult-only type of event.
An online event such as a Zoom meeting or often times a “call-to-action” such as Plant-a-Letterbox Day.
An unspecified subtype, or anything that does not fit the categories listed above.

What do the attribute icons on custom themes mean?

AttributeDescription
This is a theme that generally only changes the colors and images, and is the kind that often changes from day-to-day on Atlas Quest. Examples include Christmas, Independence Day, Easter, etc.
A 'structural' theme changes where elements on the page are found or how they work. For instance, changing to the vertical menubar from the usual horizontal one found at the top of the page. This isn't used very often, but it's an option!
Most of these themes were created when a new feature was developed for Atlas Quest and one or more persons didn't like the change. By using the CSS "display:none", the features magically "disappear." Or, technically, they're just hidden from view. You can get rid of the emotion buttons on the message boards, you can get rid of the bottom menu bar, get rid of the AQ logo showing up everywhere, etc. By enabling this attribute, you're warning that functionality on Atlas Quest will be removed.
It's useful to format pages a little differently when they're being printed. Get rid of those unnecessary menubars and images. AQ applies a lot of these print-friendly features automatically, but you can re-enable them or hide information you aren't interested in, or change the font size or any other number of tweaks to make your printed pages more useful to you. This attribute lets people know that they may not see any visible changes if they use the theme, but it could affect pages printed from Atlas Quest.

What are the differences between group types?

TypeDescription
A public group is visible to everyone, and anyone can join or leave the group at any time.
Protected groups are hidden from everyone except members of it. Restrictions apply to the group, message boards on the group, as well as boxes, trackers and events restricted to the group. Any member of a protected group can invite non-members into the group.
A private group is almost identical to the protected group, except only group admins are able to invite new members to the group.

How do I narrow down the hundreds of boxes available?

There are several ways to more effectively search through many box listings to find the ones that you would like the most:

  • Learn Atlas Quest's Advanced Search feature. This feature allows you to sort by hike length, by specific planters, only for hand carved, pet friendly, etc. If you change the search type to "area" you can even search for all the mysteries in a particular state. By changing the search type to "trip," that enables the trip planner search which allows you to search stretches along major highways and trails such as Interstates or the Appalachian Trail.
  • Look for boxes that others have rated highly with Blue Diamonds icons.
  • Look for boxes that planters have rated highly (of their own boxes) with Planter's Choice icons
  • Do a search on that city and when it pulls up all the listings, hit the "map results" button in the upper right hand corner. It will give you a map of the locations of the boxes that are listed IF the planter gave the address.
  • Contact a local boxer. Out of all the choices above, a local boxer is going to be the most knowledgeable. You can do this privately in an e-mail (you may notice a lot of boxes in an area planted by the same person) or publicly on the state message boards. Some areas also have developed clue guides with tips and boxes for specific frequently visited places in their area.

Why should I register?

There’s the usual assortment of reasons for creating an account such as giving you the ability to list a letterbox, record a find, contacting other Atlas Quest members, participating on the message boards, and so forth.

The best reason to register, however, is that you can personalize much of this site especially for you. Even a simple search for letterboxes can be optimized when Atlas Quest knows who is doing the search. For instance, if you want to find a letterbox, you probably don’t need to see letterboxes you planted or ones you’ve already found, so Atlas Quest can remove those boxes from the search results. Members of Atlas Quest can also save their favorite searches instead of having to enter them in over and over again—and even be notified when a new letterbox is listed that matches their specific search!

Here are some other member-only privileges available:
  • Creating a personal profile, and be able to read other members’ profile
  • Being able to communicate with other Atlas Quest members
  • Saving your favorite message boards and your place in each of them
  • Create an online logbook of all your planted and found letterboxes
  • Save your preferences
  • Become part of the Atlas Quest community, one of the best online communities on the Internet

And registering is absolutely free. You can upgrade to a Premium Membership at a later time if you choose to, but almost everything on Atlas Quest is freely accessible to everyone.

If you're concerned about your privacy, rest assured that your privacy is very important here. There’s a detailed Privacy Policy if you want to learn more about what information may be tracked or how it may be used, but we will not sell or give out your personal information.

Register Now

What are keywords?

Many times, people want to search for letterboxes that match specific criteria that Atlas Quest simply does not support. Usually, requests come in the form of attributes-such as, "Can we have a cemetery attribute" to search on? The answer, invariably, is always no. There are an infinite number of special-case attributes that could be created, and a list with hundreds of possible attributes isn't particularly helpful when most of them are of no interest to most people. Searching the clues for specific keywords, such as cemetery helps, but it's not perfect either. Many times, the word is spelled incorrectly or the clue uses common variations of the word (cemeteries, graveyard, etc.)

So support for keywords has been created. In a lot of ways, it's like a member-created attribute. People will be able to search for your keywords, and it won't get mixed up with false positives that a clue search might generate. Four keywords have already been defined:
Keyword Meaning
cemetery The letterbox is located in or near a cemetery.
historical A vague term that means something interesting happened where this letterbox was planted, not including the fact that a letterbox was hidden in this location.
nightbox A box that should be found at night. Not that it can be found at night, but rather that it's designed to be found at night. In daylight, the box may be difficult or impossible to find.
restarea The letterbox is located at a rest area, rest stop, truck stop, travel plaza, or whatever you want to call them along a major road. Ideal for nabbing while on a long drive to get out an stretch one's legs.

A valid keyword must have between 3 and 15 alphanumeric characters in it, and must not use any spaces since spaces are used to separate multiple keywords. (This is why the keywords reststop and nightbox are one word.) If certain keywords start becoming popularly used, they may be added as a designed pre-defined keyword in the future. Keywords are not case-sensitive, so feel free to capitalize keywords if that makes sense or helps readability.

A full list of all keywords used by everyone can be found at http://www.atlasquest.com/boxes/actions/viewkeywords.html.

The following keywords are suggested by boxers, with guidelines on how the keywords are intended to be used:
Keyword Meaning
airport The letterbox is within easy walking distance of an airport so that a private pilot may find it without having to secure ground transportation.
artworkThe letterbox is located at or near a work of art (sculpture, mural, etc.), planted to call attention to that work of art.
hauntedThe letterbox is located at or near a location reported as haunted or where some sort of paranormal occurrence is supposed to have happened.
horseA good place to bring a horse.
InterstateA quick find along an interstate or similar limited-access highway, either in a rest area or within a couple of blocks of an exit. If the stop takes longer than a potty break, it doesn't qualify!
library The letterbox is located in or around a library.
mountainbikeA designated ATB trail. Don't use this keyword for paved bike trails; mountain bikers who would enjoy paved trails can use the keyword "roadbike".
picnicA good place to stop for a picnic.
restaurantThe letterbox is located in or around a recommended restaurant.
roadBikeA good place to bring a road bicycle. This generally means there is a good place to ride a bike, and it's paved. It usually means a good place for rollerblades, too.
scenicrouteThe letterbox is located on or near a scenic highway.
touristThe letterbox is located at a place recommended for tourists to visit. The clues can be followed by anyone without local knowledge, although they may require some google research ahead of time. If they do require google research, they have the Mental Puzzle attribute as well.
trail namesJust type in the name of any hiking trail, such as appalachiantrail or pacificcresttrail. Remember to omit spaces. As a general guideline, the box doesn't have to be directly on the trail, but it should be close enough that a thru-hiker would want to hunt for it.
TransCanadaThe letterbox is located somewhere along the TransCanada Highway which stretches from St. John's Newfoundland to Victoria, BC, either in a rest area or within a couple of blocks of an exit. If the stop takes longer than a potty break, it doesn't qualify!
tributeA box that is planted in tribute to a person or group of people. This is not intended for tributes to historical personages — we can use historical for that—rather, for boxes like the ones planted for weddings, loved ones who have died, special teachers, etc.
wildlifeThe letterbox is in a location where animals may be observed.

One keyword that is remarkably popular but not suggested is "park." The problem with this keyword is that it tells you absolutely nothing. A city park host to a child's jungle gym, a national park, a car park, and a ball park are all very different places, but without a qualifier, it's meaningless, you have no idea what it means. In many instances, people are trying to use multi-word keywords such as "state park"-but AQ treats those as two distinct and separate keywords. "State" by itself is as useless as "park," but "statepark" might be a legitimately useful keyword, along with nationalpark, countypark, citypark, ballpark, etc.

The following multi-word keywords are commonly misused by boxers. If multi-word keywords are used, do not insert spaces or hyphenate words.
Incorrect format Correct keyword
parking lotparkinglot
picnic areasee picnic
ice cream or ice-creamicecream
city parkcitypark
boy scouts or girl scoutsboyscouts or girlscouts
kid-friendly, family-friendly, child-friendly Remove the hyphen; ie. kidfriendly
boat requiredboatrequired
open spaceopenspace
post officepostoffice
nature trailnaturetrail
I-70, I-94, etc.AQ treats these hyphenated interstates as two distinct keywords, "I" and "70"/"94", etc. Use the keyword interstate and list the Interstate number in the synopsis, if necessary.

How do I delete a find in my logbook?

Go to your logbook and change to the page with your find by adjusting the Action and Box Type drop down menus as needed.

Then click the delete icon () and confirm your deletion.

If you want to delete someone else's find on one of your boxes, there is no way to do that except to ask the finder to remove their find.

Should I get permission before hiding a letterbox?

If you want to be politically correct, yes. But if you ask, there's a real possibility they'll say no. The beauty in not asking is that they can't tell you no. And heaven forbid, if others have already placed letterboxes in the area and you let the owners of wherever the place may be know about letterboxing, they might not only tell you no, but they might even pull all the existing boxes! In any case, to be politically correct, you should ask permission. I know for a fact that most people do not, and what you do is ultimately up to you. Many places don't mind letterboxes, as long as they're placed where others can't harm the environment, which is a good thing to keep in mind while placing any letterbox.

Do not, however, ever plant letterboxes where they are known not to be allowed. If the land managers require permits or other hoops to jump through, follow their rules or find somewhere else to plant. We don't want to give letterboxing a bad name. And while asking for permission is not common, it's not okay to deliberately plant illegally either.

Pennsylvania State Parks

Pennsylvania does have a permit process for state parks and forests.

Geocaching in Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests
Guidelines for Placing Geocaches (and letterboxes)

It is the geocaching form, but it has a checkbox for letterboxes as well. Simply attach your clues and also a map marking where you plan to place your boxes and turn it into the park manager. It should take about a week or two for them to approve or deny the permit. If approved you will be given a sticker to place on the box to mark it has been permitted. The permit is good for three years.