Skip to Content
Register · Login
About Theme

A Letterboxing Community

Atlas Quest

Help: Recent Additions & Changes

  1. What should I write on an LTC?
  2. What is a postal?
  3. How do you report on the website that you’ve found a letterbox?
  4. What features can I use to find boxes while travelling?
  5. How do I link to clues hosted on LbNA?
  6. Can I get other people to carve stamps for me?
  7. How to get clues for retired letterboxes?
  8. National Wildlife Refuges
  9. What are GPS end points?
  10. What is a ‘tagged’ letterbox?
  11. What is a ‘watched’ letterbox?
  12. How do I search by location?
  13. How do I list coordinates?
  14. How does a location-based search work?
  15. How do hitchhikers work?
  16. How does mail get sorted?
  17. How do you remove a registered box from an event?
  18. How do I add a box to a tracker?
  19. How can I find out rules and etiquette for hitchhiker boxes? I looked for it under hitchhiker in glossary and link sent me to forbidden page
  20. How to do the settings for My Page work?
  21. Why is a column missing from My Page?
  22. What are Treasure Hikers?
  23. How to search for series boxes?
  24. How do I edit clues?
  25. How do I register a box to an event?
  26. Why is there red X next to my comment after my found box?
  27. Long Creek Cemetery, Sunnyvale, TX
  28. How does the Basic Search work?
  29. How do I search the message boards?
  30. How should I package PLBs for mailing?
  31. What are Best Practices for MicroPlbing?
  32. Are there any general postal guidelines for anyone new to postals?
  33. We found a hitchhiker without a logbook—should we add a new one?
  34. How to reply to an AQ mail to include cc:
  35. What do the icons on a postal represent?
  36. How can I delete bookmarks
  37. What do I do when I find one?
  38. What are “blue diamond” boxes?
  39. How do I put a candle icon on my Mom’s page?
  40. What is an LTC?
  41. What do the icons stand for in a traditional letterbox?
  42. How do I make a chat room?
  43. What is an F-Summary (Find Summary)?
  44. What do the icons next to a member's trailname mean?
  45. How do I change the theme?
  46. I can no longer participate in a postal ring, who can I contact for financial support?
  47. How do you keep track of Postal Trackers you are participating in?
  48. How do you set up a Postal Tracker?
  49. How do I delete a tracker once a postal tracker is closed?
  50. What's a postal tracker?

What should I write on an LTC?

Generally speaking, to make the card easy to log and easy for the tracker host to keep track of, the back of the card should include:

  • Name of tracker
  • Name of card
  • AQ# of card
  • Maker's trail stamp
  • Some LTC makers also like to include the general date of when they were made as well.

What is a postal?

There are three (3) different types of Postal Letterbox (PLB). They are Heavyweight, Standard, and Micro. All Postal Letterboxes contain a stamp and logbook sent from person to person in the mail. The stamp is usually hand carved and the logbook, often handmade, can be simple or very ornate. Sometimes, the creators of a postal include extra items.

A Heavyweight PLB (Anything over 13 oz.) can include items such as CDs, DVDs, books, and even jigsaw puzzles. They can be mailed in any type of suitable packaging. Some creators use Padded Flat Rate envelopes free from USPS. Postage to the next destination is paid for at each stop and usually requires a trip to the Post Office as the price is based on weight and destination.

A Standard PLB (Under 13oz., varies a lot) usually contains a traditional size stamp and a handmade logbook and perhaps a few optional lightweight items such as stickers, or quisps. They are usually mailed in a 6x9 padded envelope. Envelopes are reinforced packaging PLBs for mailing by the creator to be reusable from destination to destination. Keep in mind, the more weight you add to the box, the more expensive it becomes to ship. Many Standard postal participants strive to keep the weight reasonable so that shipping is affordable to all recipients. At current rates a Standard 6x9 padded envelope can be $5.00+ to mail (it depends on weight and distance to recipient). Generally, if a box is heavier and more expensive to mail, it's a good idea to let potential recipients know that information before they sign up and to mark the heavy attribute when listing the postal. As with "Heavy" Postals, postage to the next destination is payed for at each stop and usually requires a trip to the Post Office.

A Micro PLB (1oz.* = 1 Forever stamp) is mailed in a #10 regular business envelope (9-1/2" x 4-3/8") which contains a small stamp that has been shaved down to a thickness of less than <1/4". The accompanying logbook can be as simple as a folded sheet of paper or a rather ornate decorated folder with pockets. The objective is for it to be lightweight, one ounce or less, fit into a regular business size envelope; and meet certain other PO requirements such as being flexible, not having lumpy items inside that can shift during processing AND cannot be over 1/4" thick total. A fresh envelope is used at each stop. Nothing is added that could increase the weight or thickness, but sometimes the outer envelopes are decorated.

*If a Micro PLB weighs more than 1 oz., but still meets the other requirements, the box owner is required to supply sufficient postage to cover the extra weight for each stop. The recipient is only required to furnish one 1st Class Forever Stamp. Each additional 1 oz., or fraction of an ounce, requires more postage. The Post Office sells Extra Ounce Forever Stamps

How do you report on the website that you’ve found a letterbox?

Use the Record Find link, found under the Letterboxes menubar option. Type in the name of the box you found, and if Atlas Quest will display all matches it finds. Click the name of the box, fill out the blanks, and save.

If you found a letterbox that is not listed on Atlas Quest, you may not be able to record a find for it. You can read all the details about how to record finds for unlisted boxes in How do I add finds for unlisted boxes?

What features can I use to find boxes while travelling?

Here are some trip planning features on AQ that make box-hunting (near or far) easier:

  • Trip planner - saves you hours of time planning, searching, finding counties, etc.
  • Select multiple boxes and print them all together
  • Save multiple searches
  • Whenever you create a search, you can map the results through Google Maps.
  • Select a U.S. state for letterbox clues
  • Use the letterbox directory to do a broad country search. Example - selecting Canada gives you a further breakdown by province.
  • You can sort through boxes based on a multitude of factors including trail length, wheelchair accessibility, drive-bys, etc. You can even store your favorite searches and be e-mailed automatically when a new box is added that fits one your favorite searches!

How do I link to clues hosted on LbNA?

When you Add a letterbox at Atlas Quest, make sure you have the URL that points directly at the clue page for your specific letterbox. If you use https://www.letterboxing.org/ others will have to take additional steps to find your clues. The URL should look something like https://www.letterboxing.org/boxes/view.php?boxId=13279.

If your objective is to list your letterbox on both sites, another alternative is to host the clues on AQ and then link to AQ from LbNA. Post the clues on AQ first, and then go to the Box Details page for the box and copy the entire URL. Then go to LbNA, select Add Letterbox, type in the appropriate information, and paste the URL into the link field. You don't have to write anything in the clue field at all. You will need to know the county the box is in.

Can I get other people to carve stamps for me?

Definitely! Some people enjoy carving stamps so much that they carve far more than they can plant themselves. Or sometimes people have old stamps that they no longer have a good use for and would be willing to send them to you to give them a new life.

First, go to the Stamp Exchange. The link for it can always be found under the Toolbox menubar option. Go ahead and peruse the stamps already being offered, but be sure to check the option for notifications of new stamp offers to make sure you learn about any newly listed offers each day.

You will also want to follow the link to the Stamp Swap board. Some people post requests to this board, and if you have any questions about requesting a stamp carving, this is a good place to ask. You can mark the board as a favorite by clicking the red heart in the title next to the board name. If there is a checkmark in the heart, then the board is a favorite. You do not have to ‘swap’ one stamp for another—many carvers are willing just to let you have them.

How to get clues for retired letterboxes?

By default, most searches on AQ do not include retired boxes, but you can always edit a search to add that option. For instance, at the bottom of every page of search results, you'll see a list of filters that were used in the search. If the "retired" option is not checked, you can check it and run the search again.

Use can also use the "edit search" link at the top of the search results which take you to the Advanced Search page which allows you to add retired boxes to the search as well.

National Wildlife Refuges

Letterboxes are prohibited on national wildlife refuges, and they will cite you for Abandonment of property.

What are GPS end points?

This is a place where you can mark the specific GPS coordinate of a given box. It will record latitude and longitude coordinates to 6 digits after the decimal, which should be sufficient to mark the location of a box within a few inches or centimeters. Commercial GPS devices are typically only accurate to within several feet.

Only the administrators for a box (owners and planters primarily, but that also includes AQ admins since AQ admins are de-facto admins for all boxes on AQ) can see the GPS end points. Searchers for the box will not be able to see them. It is a useful tool to help locate your own boxes if the landmarks in your clues change or if a searcher looks for a box and reports the location where they searched, you can check if they were actually looking in the right area or not.

It's meant as an administrative tool, and is entirely optional.

What is a ‘tagged’ letterbox?

A tagged letterbox is one that you want to identify with a certain characteristic later. When you run a letterbox search or view a letterbox, a small, colored icon shows up next to the box name of all boxes you‘ve thus identified, a nice reminder for whatever it is you wanted to be reminded of. For example, you might tag a list of boxes that you think look particularly interesting so in later letterbox searches, you won‘t accidentally overlook them. Or another tag could mark mystery boxes that you've solved.

Using the Advanced Search page, found under the Letterboxes menubar option, you can even perform searches that will return only letterboxes you‘ve tagged (or haven‘t tagged) with a specific color/shape.

Premium members have up to eight different tags (each with a different color) that they can use. Without a premium membership, you‘ll only be able to make use of four of them. You can tag an individual box from the box details page, tag multiple boxes from a search directly from the search results page, to set the tags while recording a find on a letterbox.

You can set the text for each tag option wherever you can add or remove tags from a box such as on the box details page by clicking the pencil next to the submit button. That‘s the edit button for text.

As for why you may want to tag letterboxes, that's up to you. Many people use it for different reasons, but here are some common ones:
  • Tag letterboxes you plan to find soon
  • Tag letterboxes that look particularly noteworthy
  • Tag letterboxes you‘ve already attempted
  • Tag letterboxes from a specific event that you plan to attend
  • Tag letterboxes along the route you plan to follow on your next vacation
  • Tag letterboxes based on what part of your city they are located in
  • Tag mystery letterboxes you have solved but have yet to look for

Related Questions

How do I tag and untag letterboxes?
How do I remove all tags of a certain color from all of my boxes?

What is a ‘watched’ letterbox?

Premium Members have the option of putting a watch on specific letterboxes. When a letterbox is on your watch list, Atlas Quest will notify you through AQ mail whenever the status or clues for the letterbox have been updated. So if a letterbox has been pulled for maintenance and the status changed to “unavailable” or when the owner replaces the box and changes the status to “active,” you'll get a notification to let you know about the update.

As for updated clues, the watch only works properly when the clue is hosted on Atlas Quest. We'll try to give you clue updates for remotely-hosted clues, but we can only tell that something on the page has changed. Maybe the last found date was changed, but it‘ll still count as a clue change because Atlas Quest doesn‘t know any better!

You can run a search to include just your watched boxes from the Advanced Search page.



A box you have a watch on will have a small icon of an eye by it, like this one. (Except smaller!)

How do I search by location?

The “location” search can take various forms:

  • Leave the option blank: (All locations search) If you don’t include any location information then all locations will be returned.
  • City, State/Country: (Location-based search) If you search from a specific point such as a city, park, address or zip code, all locations within the specified distance will be included in the search results. If the distance is zero, all boxes within the specified park, city, or specified address will be included and no others. This little trick does not work for zip codes, however—it will include all boxes within the city that the zip code matches instead. For more details about what sorts of locations can be used and the proper format for entering them, check out How does a location based search work?
  • Latitude, Longitude: (Location-based search) If you use a GPS and want to search based on latitude and longitude coordinates, not a problem! Go for it!
  • City, County, State, or Country: (Area search) If your search radius is smaller than the location being searched, AQ will generate an “area” search that includes all locations within that area. For instance, a “10 mile search for all boxes in California” doesn’t really make a lot of sense—California is HUGE!—so AQ assumes you want to run a search for all boxes in California. On the other hand, a “100 mile search for all boxes in Rhode Island” has its own paradox since Rhode Island has a much smaller radius than 100 miles. Atlas Quest perceives this request as a search for all boxes in Rhode Island along with neighboring boxes in bordering states. So specifically, it is the radius of your search compared to the radius of the location being search that determines if the search is a location-based search or an area search. If you keep the default search radius at 15 miles, any location larger than 15 miles becomes an area search while any location smaller than 15 miles becomes a location-based search.
  • Home: (Location-based or area search) If you are logged into an AQ account and have set your location in the Account Info page, a search for “home” will run a search with your personal location as the focus of the search. If the location is a coordinate, address, street intersection or city, it will run as a normal location-based search. If the location is a county, state or country, the search will run as an area search as long as the radius is smaller than the specified area.
  • BETWEEN Location AND Location: (Rectangle search) If you run a search for all objects (boxes, events, trackers or whatever) between Point A and Point B, AQ will run a “rectangle” search. The two points mark opposite corners of a rectangle, and any objects within that rectangle will be returned. The distance, if specified, will be ignored.
  • FROM Location TO Location: (Linear search) If you run a search that specifies a location to another location, AQ will run a linear search between those two points, and the distances will include both the distance along that path from the first location and the distance off the linear path that the object (box, event, tracker, etc.) is listed.
  • ALONG Route FROM Location TO Location: (Trip planner search) This will run a search from Point A to Point B following one of the predefined routes—mostly Interstates and popular long-distance paths. If Atlas Quest cannot find the requested route, the search will be converted into a linear search and the ALONG part will be ignored.

Search Options

  • Use Exact Locations: This option is particularly useful for area searches when you want to run a search for mystery boxes within a specified area.
  • Use Original Locations: Premium members can override the location of letterboxes, event and trackers, and when AQ runs a search, it will use these custom locations by default if they are available. By checking this option, you can force AQ to use the original locations specified by the owner and ignore your custom locations. Since custom locations are a premium member perk, only premium members will see this option.

“Use Exact Locations” Option

The Use Exact Locations option seems relatively straight-forward, but it is actually trickier than you might expect. For instance, what if there is a mystery box whose location is listed as “somewhere in Northern California”? If you run a search for mystery boxes in California, even if you “use exact locations,” you will usually still want it to return boxes somewhere in “Northern California.” People expect AQ to sort boxes into certain levels—address, city, county, state, and country. Any box that doesn’t fit neatly into a category (such as “Northern California”) can be problematic, and for searching purposes, AQ will “upgrade” Northern California into a “California” level, allowing it to show when you run an “exact” location for boxes in California. Otherwise, you might miss such a letterbox completely.

Another example where “exact” can be a little fuzzy is park names and addresses. What if one person lists the location of their box as “Lincoln Park, 2323 Elm Grove Road” but you run an “exact” search for “Lincoln Park”? Most people would expect this to match even though, technically speaking, it is not really exact. Close enough, though!

So that “Use Exact Locations” option is not accurate in the strictest sense of the word. It is possible, however, to force AQ to run an exact search in the very strictest sense of the word, you can set the radius of your search to 0. It is somewhat of a hack and most people should never need this option, but it is there if it’s ever needed.

How do I list coordinates?

The coordinates of a location should, roughly speaking, mark the center point of the location with latitude and longitude coordinates. If you fail to include coordinates, AQ will attempt to make a best guess at it—perhaps using the city center of your location rather than the specific park.

Coordinates can be specified in a variety of formats including:

  • 50.3 -120.5
  • 50.3, -120.5
  • -120.5 50.3
  • 50.3 N 120.5 W
  • N 50.3 W 120.5
  • 120.5W 50.3N
  • 50 18 0 -120 30 0
  • 50 18 0N 120 30 0W
  • 50°18'0", -120°30'0"

Regardless of which format you enter coordinates, AQ will always reformat it to display the “50.3, -120.5” format, and that is the preferred format for use on AQ.

NOTE: One of the most common errors while entering coordinates is not using the negative sign for longitude coordinates. Most members on Atlas Quest live in the western hemisphere at a negative longitude, and forgetting the negative will put your location into the eastern hemisphere—usually in Europe or Asia somewhere.

Related Questions

How do I find a GPS coordinate for a location?

How does a location-based search work?

You can run location-based searches in a wide variety of formats: by zip codes, addresses, street intersections, park names, airport codes, and even well known monuments. If all else fails, you can even search based on specific latitude and longitude coordinates. Examples might help make all of your options more clear. The following list includes some valid searches that can be run using the location based search:


Additionally, the names of a business tend to fail miserably. So searching for Joe's Taco Stand or Madonna Inn will usually not work. Use their addresses or a nearby street intersection instead.

How do hitchhikers work?

Hitchhikers are letterboxes that travel from box to box with no permanent home of their own. They're also known as parasites in some circles, though in the United States the term hitchhiker is the standard. A hitchhiker includes the same basic components as a letterbox: a rubber stamp and a logbook either in a very small container or bag. It is found inside a host letterbox.

Stamp your personal signature stamp and the stamp of the host letterbox in the hitchhiker's logbook. Stamp the hitchhiker in your logbook and the host letterbox's logbook. The finder typically takes the hitchhiker and plants it in another letterbox.

Hitchhiker Etiquette Tips
  • When planting a hitchhiker, make the stamp, container, and logbook small so it will fit well in a letterbox.
  • When moving a hitchhiker to another letterbox, don't cram it in the letterbox. Wait until you find a container big enough for it to fit.
  • When logging in to a small hitchhiker logbook, try to minimize the number of pages used. Consider stamping in only a portion of the stamps and try to squeeze images on as few pages as possible.
  • If you know you won't have an opportunity to replant the hitchhiker in another location, don't take it. Leave it for the next finder to move it along. The goal is to move the hitchhiker along, not to have it sit in someone's bag at home.

[Source: Silent Doug's articles on hitchhikers that had been at letterboxing.info.]

Added 10/2017: Some people who plant hitchhikers intend for them to be a pleasant surprise for the finder. Hence, it is considered bad form to disclose where you have dropped off a hitchhiker -- unless it's your own, which you can announce to the world if you so choose. It's also considered bad form to leave someone else's hitchhiker in a hitchhiker hostel (HHH) unless the owner stipulates that doing so is acceptable; there's no surprise to finding a hitchhiker in a hitchhiker hostel.

Added 12/2007: Hitchhikers have now started to travel in postals. As with all HHs, if you question if it is only to travel in one type of box, contact the owner prior to changing box types. Many postal HHs stay with the ring they start in (And sometimes do not have their own logbook), while others jump from postal box to postal box (These have separate logbooks). They may also jump from postals into traditional letterboxes if the owner allows this. A good rule of thumb, "When in doubt, ask the box owner."

If you're considering launching a hitchhiker, you may want to consider making it a flea instead. A flea is much like a hitchhiker except there are more possible ways to move it, including just slipping it into some other letterboxer's pocket while he's not looking.

How does mail get sorted?

Here's a quick video with comments following from Quiet Place who actually works at a mail sorting facility.

https://youtu.be/gB7QOK1bd3U

The following is quoted from a Postal Board message 1014656 by Quiet Place dated June 20, 2022

"Those images in the video aren't in the right order and the explanation of what is happening is somewhat lacking.

"The first machine dumping the mail will cull out letters that can't run on the Advanced Facer Canceler System (AFCS) machine where letters are faced and cancelled. But the AFCS machine is not friendly to unsealed envelopes, which is one of the main reasons for damaged mail in that location.

"Next, the machinable letters will be ran on a Delivery Bar-code Sorter (DBCS) or Delivery Barcode Sorter Input/Output Subsystem (DIOSS) to sort it to cities or to the next in-office run. We dedicate 3 machines for this.
DBCS or DIOSS will then be used to put the local mail in delivery point sequence for the carriers. We have 17 of those machines in my facility. Each will Delivery Point Sequence (DPS) about 100,000 pieces of mail every night. That mail will need to be run twice in a specific order to get it into sequence for the carrier. Every machine has at least two separate DPS runs which must both be complete by 4:45 a.m., and out of all that processing there might be a dozen letters that rip when a jam occurs.

"Considering how long it would take to sort all that by hand, ...the machines are well worth the risk. And besides, I find running these machines to be very satisfying work.

"If an envelope is intended to be hand-sorted, it should be thick enough so the machine will cull it. The most problematic mail is very narrow at the edges and contains a fat lump of mystery item in the middle. The narrow part will begin to feed into the machine and the lump will get caught on a gate or between two rollers.

"Even if you are sending the shaved stamp and want it to be machinable for cheaper postage, there are things you can do to help prevent causing a jam. The stamp should be housed between two pieces of cardstock inside the envelope to create tapering and to add sturdiness. Try to get the stamp to stay in the center of the envelope, maybe by putting it inside a small, thin plastic baggie and taping that to the center of the cardstock. Note that I'm advising cardstock and not thick cardboard... you have to be able to bend it somewhat or it will jam in the rollers. I would also add a piece of packaging tape that goes all the way around the length of it, but leave space at the bottom for the barcode. This tape should have no ripples or loose ends that don't stick well or other letters will get stuck to yours and now we're going to have mis-sorts AND maybe a jam. Summary: taper, sturdy but flexible, lump in the center, plastic (tape) is harder to rip than paper."

The following applies mostly to Standard Postals, not Micros:

"The post office has parcel sorting machines as well... In terms of package safety, all tape should be secured. If the edges of the tape come up, the package could tape itself to another package just long enough to end up in the wrong place."

On Standard or Heavy Postals, the common practice of covering "the entire postal package with tape...is best. Taping over labels prevents water from smearing it if it comes into contact with rain soaked packages. If you don't want your package to bend, put thick cardboard around it so that you yourself can't easily bend it. Putting something in a regular envelope and writing instructions on the outside will do nearly nothing once it gets into a processing plant."

(A little paraphrasing here) The machines can read the name AND the address. The machine, right from the beginning, will know if a letter needs to be forwarded or returned. At (local) facility it is kicked out into a different tray on every DBCS and then when the tray is full it gets put in a container and sent to a larger facility where it is processed with those yellow stickers that will forward it, return it, or send it back for the carrier to verify if there is a real problem or not. This process can cause errors. There is a set of names that belong at an address, so any name which doesn't belong may then be returned unable to forward.

"Machines can read cursive and even if the machine can't read it, letters get hand sorted when the machine rejects them."

How do you remove a registered box from an event?

From the event page, you can do this from the same page where boxes are registered. Instead of clicking the boxes you want to register with the event, however, you uncheck the boxes that you want to remove from the event.

If you want to remove a single box from an event, you can also go to the box’s details page. In the “Events Attended” section, you can click the edit button for the event that you want to remove it from, uncheck the fact that it attended the event, and save your changes.

How do I add a box to a tracker?

  1. List your letterbox to get an AQ #.
  2. Join the tracker. If a tracker is “open” just use the “Join Tracker” option. If it is “Limited” you can request to join by sending an AQ mail to the owner.
  3. Go to the tracker listing and there will be an option to “Add Box” in the upper left. Follow the prompts. You can type in the AQ # or the name of the box, confirm it is the correct box and submit it.

NOTE: The box type must be the same as the tracker type. You can’t, for instance, recycle an old LTC carve and add it to a postal tracker without relisting it as a postal box first.

How can I find out rules and etiquette for hitchhiker boxes? I looked for it under hitchhiker in glossary and link sent me to forbidden page

No answer provided... yet!

How to do the settings for My Page work?

The My Page settings are mostly self-evident, but here's a detailed description of each item:

Number of columns

The number of columns to align widgets on My Page. The default number is 3, which looks handsome on desktops and laptops, but may require some horizontal scrolling on mobile devices. If you primarily use a desktop when using Atlas Quest, you may want even more columns. If you primarily work through a mobile device, you may prefer just two or possibly even one column. If you use both more-or-less evenly, three columns is a nice compromise.

Minimum and Maximum Column Widths

The minimum and maximum size (in em units) that the columns will have when they are laid out. An em-unit is a technical one that many websites use, and is roughly the width of the letter M.

The default minimum width is 20, which is just enough space for all of the widgets to fit in comfortably in most situations. You can decrease the minimum to as low as 10, but the lower it goes, the more widgets will not fit comfortably into the allowed width and you may have to horizontally scroll individual widgets to see all of the information in it. Most people hate this, so it is probably best to keep it to 20ems or above.

The default maximum width is 50, or 50ems to be precise, but it can be raised as high as 99. Allowing such a large maximum won't really cause any problems—it just looks really weird with a tons of empty space left over in most widgets. Realistically, the only time this might come into play is if you keep a small number of columns since you usually use AQ on a mobile device but don't want to see them stretched out ridiculously wide the occasional time you do use the site from a desktop or laptop.

Initial Scale

This setting is a bit more complicated to describe. First, it only really matters with mobile devices. On a desktop or laptop, you won't see anything different no matter what you set the value to. This is a mobile-device setting, first and foremost.

It essentially works as a “zoom setting” telling the website how much you would like My Page to be zoomed in or out when it loads. The default setting is 100, which is normal. Almost every page on AQ uses a normal initial scale—including this one you are reading now!

The problem with My Page is that you can only see one column of widgets at a time on My Page. You can scroll the widgets left and right to see the other columns, but many people do not like this and would rather have all columns displayed at once with a smaller text that they can then manually zoom into to read or click buttons and link as needed. That's what this setting handles.

Smaller numbers zoom out more, while larger numbers zoom in more. You probably do not want to zoom in more. You can double the size of all the text by setting this value to 200, but then you'd only be able to see half a column at a time without scrolling!

On the other hand, if you cut the setting in half to 50, you can usually see two full columns without any horizontal scrolling at all.

Most people seem to prefer settings between 50-75, which will get two columns into the screen but still keep the text large enough to read without zooming in, but you might need to zoom in more to accurately click the correct button or link.

As a general rule of thumb, you can see any number of columns onto a mobile screen by taking the number 100 and dividing it by the number of columns you want to see.

So if you have a two-column layout and want both to show up without zooming on mobile devices, 100÷2 = 50.

If you have a three-column layout and want all three to show up: 100÷3 = 33

Or a four-column layout with all four showing up: 100÷4 = 25

You get the idea. As noted earlier, however, this is a rule of thumb. Depending on the size of your device and the minimum width of your columns, your mileage may vary. Use these sorts of calculations as a starting point, then tweak the settings as needed from there.

Another rules of thumb: Numbers smaller than about 50 tend to be very difficult if not impossible to read without zooming because the text is so small. While you can set the value smaller than 50, it's not really recommended. Most people find a value between 50-75 ideal since it has the right tradeoff between text legibility and getting more widgets onto a screen with the least amount of scrolling.

Why is a column missing from My Page?

There could be several reasons why a column appears to be missing. First, check the obvious: Make your browser wider. The columns need a certain amount of space to work with, and if you shrink your browser's width, they won't be able to fit into the available space.

If your browser is at its widest and all of the columns still do not show up, check your My Page settings. Make sure it's using the expected number of columns, and make sure the minimum width of the columns is small enough to fit that many columns. For mobile devices, make sure the initial scale value is roughly 100 divided by the number of columns to be displayed. (That is a rule of thumb, but generally works pretty well as a starting point. Additional tweaking may be necessary.)

What are Treasure Hikers?

Yep. We're all treasure hikers in the general sense of the word... each little piece of art set free in the world is a treasure to plant and find.
But there is a larger game afoot to encourage more boxes on longer distance trails and paths, and that game is Treasure Hikers!
Mama Fox, of the Little Foxes, came up with the original idea and it wasn't long before other states wanted to kick up their hiking heels as well.


Treasure Hiking is a fun way to set hiking goals while letterboxing and earn cool pathtags or other accessories!

Guidelines

Here's the only rule: One point for each mile hiked while letterboxing, either finding or planting, on hikes of 1 mile or longer round trip.

If you have a question about whether something fits the Rule, use your own judgment, bearing in mind that we are operating on the honor system when you report your points. If you need clarification, read through the Suggestions and Footnotes below. The FAQ list is found below the table showing participating states and state coordinators. If you have questions about the program in one of the participating states, please contact the coordinator for that state.

Friendly Suggestions:
  • Each hike must be a minimum of one (1) mile in length round trip.
  • Maintenance should not count -- you will be doing maintenance anyway ;-))
  • Boxes and plants should only be counted once for the purposes of "hiking while letterboxing". So if you hike out to a box you have already found with a friend or for maintenance, enjoy the walk, but don't count the points. Or take a new box with you to plant.
  • The true Treasure Hiker Spirit is about hiking while letterboxing, and reporting is on the honor system, so let's all try to play fair and have fun. If you "cheat", you are only denying yourself boxes you haven't found, miles you haven't hiked, and beautiful places you haven't seen!

Other Footnotes:
  • Refer to your state's hiking motivator to find out when the start date for the program is.
  • Keep track of your hikes and boxes found, maybe like this or just add the Treasure Hiker Widget. When you earn enough points for a new pathtag, email your list to the state motivator and you will receive your tag!! List should include date, mileage, boxes found.
  • All hikes must be done IN the state you are requesting a tag from -- but ANY letterboxer is eligible- you don't have to be a resident of that state to participate. Trail miles earned in each participating state count toward that state's particular pathtag.
  • Refer to your state's hiking motivator for the cost of the tag (most are around $3 - $3.50). The cost is to recoup the upfront costs and shipping-- like state patches, no profit is made off of these.

If you are interested in starting a program for your state, contact one of the state representatives listed below:
Participating stateWho to contactHow to contactStarting DatePathtags Available
Alaska KnottyKnitterDirtMonkeyAQ Mail1/29/201425, 49
CaliforniaTurtlegirl 19AQ Mail4/1/2009
ColoradoThe3DTsAQ Mail1/1/2010
ConnecticutKit Kat 61 or The QuackersAQ Mail6/1/2009 25, 50, 75, 100, 250
FloridaMonkey Wrangler AQ Mail5/1/2009
Georgia Buttercup, Hawkeye AQ Mail3/20/2009
IllinoisNitrocatAQ Mail4/24/2009
KentuckyEeny Meany Miney MoeAQ Mail3/1/2009
MaineAiphidAQ Mail5/1/2009 25, 50, 100
MassachusettsMATreasureHiking (aka ladybugsmom)AQ Mail to MATreasureHiking4/25/2009 50, 100, 150, 200
Michiganthe hicks from the sticks, koalacatAQ Mail5/22/2009
New HampshireBubbaloo MagooAQ Mail5/21/2009
North CarolinaThe Little Foxes, The Wolf family, Knit WitAQ Mail3/1/200925, 50, 100
Ohio Mn8X AQ Mail3/1/2009
OregonMystic DreamerAQ Mail3/20/2009
Rhode IslandSouthpawAQ Mail6/30/2012 25, 50
South CarolinaGreycrazyAQ Mail3/1/2009 25
TennesseeScouttrekkieAQ Mail3/4/200925
Virginiawee3AQ Mail6/1/2009
WashingtonCampFireLadyAQ Mail3/20/2009

There are other similar hiking incentive programs. Contact the organizer(s) listed for the program.
Program nameWho to contactHow to contactStarting Date
New York Letterbox Hiking ChallengeJackbear, Scout, or SahalieAQ e-mail4/2/09
NC Mountain ChallengeDixie or The Little FoxesAQ e-mailin planning stages

Frequently Asked Questions
Really the program is on the honor system, and we prefer that you have fun in the spirit of the game and count your points using your own conscience.
However, some questions get asked regularly so, for the sake of consistent answers (and the sanity of the moderators), this section was added.

What if the box is a one mile hike but I get lost and travel for 3 miles? How many points would that be? Only one. No extra points for being directionally challenged.
Can I go get 10 drivebys at .1 mile each and say that's one mile? No. None of these are qualifying boxes. A qualifying box must be a one mile hike (round trip).
Can I use a bike instead of hiking? No. The program is for hiking. There's nothing stopping you from making your own Treasure Biking program, though.
Do attempts count? No. They don't count as finds and they don't count toward points in this program either. However, if you take a box with you and plant it at one mile or more you could get a point for that.
What if I start a 6 mile hike but I don't finish it? I only do 3 miles one day, then next week I go back for the farthest boxes and do 6 miles? Do I count 9 miles total or only 6? You should count 9 miles total. You did 3 miles one day and 6 miles another day. Just because the boxes happened to be in a series does not change that you hiked 9 miles total on 2 separate days to qualifying boxes.
Can my dog get a pathtag? If your dog walked the distance with you, go ahead and order one for his collar too!
What if I walk a mile to get to a driveby box? Then can I count it? No. A qualifying box is one that is one mile in hike length for anyone to get to. You can't make it a qualifying box by just setting your own starting point.
If I am in a park where there are several separate letterboxes listed and I can find them all by stringing them together to make a hike greater than one mile, can I receive pathtag points? The Treasure Hikers program was originally envisioned as a way to encourage planting boxes on longer hikes in areas where the tendency seemed to be planting drivebys. While many of the coordinators still adhere to the idea that the box you are seeking should require a hike of one mile or more, we also recognize that there are some areas where finding a mile-long trail may be a challenge. Follow your conscience. If you live in such an area, consider planting an urban box that might incorporate a mile-long "sightseeing tour" of your city in the clues.
I heard New York was doing things a little different, what's the deal with that? The New York organizers were inspired by the original Treasure Hikers group, but being New Yorkers, wanted to put a little different spin on it. A Challenge Patch is available for different miles accomplished, 25,50, 75, and 100 instead of a pathtag. They also honor attempts and maintenance, and any other excuse you have to get out and letterbox. As with the Treasure Hikers, the New York Letterbox Hiking Challenge encourages participants to challenge themselves to go on longer hikes. For more information on the NY guidelines, go to:NY Letterbox Hiking Challenge Patch Guidelines
What about partial miles? If we hike 3.5 miles round trip can we round our points up to 4? Rounding up from the halfway point is technically taking credit for mileage that you didn't really hike. Most of the members are rounding down to the whole if the fraction is under a half and rounding down to the half if it is over the halfway point. The beauty of the tracking widget designed by Wassa is that you can input exact mileage without rounding at all. If you truly want credit for that partial mile, use the widget tracker. :-) In addition, as stated above, each individual hike must be at least one mile round trip to begin with. No hiking .7 miles one week and .3 the next and adding them together for one mile.

How to search for series boxes?

Premium members will have an option on the Advanced Search page to search based on the number of boxes within a series.

It is, however, a premium member perk. If you are not a premium member, there is no such option, although you can still run a search and scan through the results looking for the number in parenthesis after the box name which shows how many boxes in the series match your search.

It is not necessarily the number of boxes in the series—just the number of boxes in the series that match your search. If you want that number to show the number of boxes in the series, you can’t use any search options that would match some boxes in a series but not others.

For instance, a series might have some boxes missing, so a box for active boxes in a series would cause the number to show something smaller than the actual number of boxes in the entire series.

How do I edit clues?

From the box details page:

  1. Click the “Edit box” button in the button panel near the top of the page.
  2. Click the Edit link in the “Clue details” section or in the “Clue preview” section.
  3. Edit clues as desired.
  4. Click the “Continue” button to continue modifying your box as needed.
  5. Click the “Publish” or (if your box is not yet published) the “Save” button.

You’re done! Clue has been edited.

How do I register a box to an event?

Assuming both the event and box are already listed on Atlas Quest, there are two ways to go about doing this:

Method 1: Adding Boxes To An Event

Go to the event listing and click the button to "Register Boxes for Event".

On that page, you'll be able to search for the box you wish to add by the box name, owner and/or box type. Just click which box(es) should be added.

Please note that you can only add your own boxes (including sub-accounts) to an event unless you are one of the event admins who have the power to add anyone’s box to the event.

Method 2: Adding Events To A Box

Alternatively, you can add an event to the box by going to the box listing and clicking the "Add to event" option in the button panel near the top of the page.

You will then be able to search events by name or host that should be linked with the box. Only upcoming and recent events will be shown. Events that occurred more than one month earlier will not be shown.

Then confirm which matching event the box should be added to.

Why is there red X next to my comment after my found box?

You can click the red X to delete your comment, if you so choose to.

Long Creek Cemetery, Sunnyvale, TX

The President of a community cemetery association for Long Creek Cemetery in Sunnyvale, TX, wants everyone to know that letterbox "is against our rules." Furthermore—and this is a direct quote: "Please let your members know not to place their letterboxes in cemeteries. If we do find or witness geocaching on the grounds, law enforcement will be called, and that person will be trespassed."

How does the Basic Search work?

Stopwords are common words that usually aren't very useful for searching—words such as 'the' or 'and'. Those words will be stripped from your search, and the rest of the words that are left will be used as part of the search. The search will return all letterboxes that match any one of the terms you specify, however, they will be sorted with the best matches listed first—usually the boxes that match all of your search terms.

Technically, it's a bit more complicated because people felt the results were "unexpected" when it worked this way, but if you need to know the nitty-gritty details, the + modifier is automatically added to the first half of the words being searched if no modifiers are present in the search. (More about the + modifier later.)

A word in one's search term is more-or-less any sequence of characters that are letters and numbers. Two exceptions are the underscore (_) and apostrophe (') which will count as part of the word. So a search for "self-help" would actually perform a search for the words "self" and "help" rather than the one word "self-help." Searches for "turtle's," however, will count as a single word. Additionally, a search for "turtles" and a search for "turtle's" are two completely different searches with no overlap. (This is how the database works, but for box names, tracker names, and other "titles," AQ internally strips the apostrophes when it's stored in the database so that the database will appear to find the match in those types of searches, but that's actually an AQ feature, not a database one, and you shouldn't always rely on it.)

If you want to search for only boxes that include all of the words then precede each of the words with a plus sign. So, to search for any boxes that include both "self" and "help" you would enter "+self +help". If you want to search for exactly "self help" that occur in that order then put "self help" in the search box, including the quotation marks. (Stopwords, however, are still ignored.)

And finally, sometimes you may want to search for the exact name of a letterbox—especially when the name of a box is a single word that would otherwise match a lot of other boxes. You can do this—sort of—by starting your search with the ^ symbol which tells AQ that it must match the beginning of the name. For instance, a search for "honor" would match a box named Badge of Honor but a search for "^honor" would not since Badge of Honor doesn't begin with the word "honor". And on the other side of the coin, a search for "honor" would not match Honorary Mayor since the word "honor" does not show up in it all, but it would match a search for "^honor" since the name of the box does start with "honor". Even in this type of search, the words THE, A, and AN are still ignored, however, so a search for "^honor" would still match a box called An honor.

Stopwords

There is a list of words, called stopwords, that are not indexed as being too common and generally useless as far as searches go. If one is used in a search, it will be ignored. The latest version of the stoplist Atlas Quest uses is: a, ain't, all, am, an, and, any, aq, are, aren't, as, at, be, became, because, been, being, box, boxed, boxes, boxing, but, by, came, can, can't, cannot, cant, co, com, could, couldn't, did, didn't, do, does, doesn't, doing, don't, each, edu, eg, either, else, et, etc, even, ever, every, ex, far, few, for, further, get, gets, getting, given, gives, go, goes, got, had, hadn't, has, hasn't, have, haven't, having, he, he's, her, here, here's, hers, herself, hi, him, himself, his, how, however, i, i'd, i'll, i'm, i've, ie, if, in, inc, into, is, isn't, it, it'd, it'll, it's, its, let, let's, letterbox, letterboxed, letterboxer, letterboxers, letterboxes, letterboxing, many, may, maybe, me, mean, might, much, must, my, myself, no, non, none, nor, not, now, of, oh, ok, okay, on, only, onto, or, our, ours, park, per, re, really, seem, seemed, seeming, seems, seen, series, she, should, shouldn't, since, so, sub, sup, th, than, thank, thanks, thanx, that, that's, thats, the, their, theirs, them, then, there, there's, theres, these, they, they'd, they'll, they're, they've, this, those, though, thus, to, too, trail, un, up, us, value, very, via, was, wasn't, way, we, we'd, we'll, we're, we've, were, weren't, whether, which, while, why, with, won't, would, wouldn't, yes, yet, you, you'd, you'll, you're, you've, your, yours, yourself, yourselves

Some examples might make this more clear:
Search Term Search For Will Match Results Will Not Match Results
flowers Will search for all boxes that have the word flowers in it. Will find Flowers for Algernon, Pick Some Flowers, and The Flowers Wrath Will not match The Flower or Baking Flour.
War and Peace Will find all boxes that have the words war or peace in it. It will ignore the word and since that is a stopword. Will match War and Peace, Make Peace, Not War, and Peace Monument Will not match Buy an AQ Patch today.
Georgia on my Mind Will search for boxes with the words Georgia and Mind. The words on and my will be ignored since they are stopwords. Will find Georgia on my Mind, Georgia Peaches, Mind Your Manners, and Mind Over Matter. Box names that use both words will rank higher than names that use one word or the other. Will not find Maine on my Brain or The Oregon Files.
turtle's Will search for all boxes that have the word turtle's in it. Will find A Turtle's Shell. Will not match The turtles are a menace!
the least of your worries Will search for boxes the word worries in the name. The words least and your are stopwords and are therefore ignored. Will find My Worries and Don't Worry. Will not find Least of All or Your Birthday Present.
^honor Will search for boxes that begin with the word honor—after ignoring words like THE, A, and AN. Will find An Honor and Honorable Man. Will not find Badge of Honor or On my Honor.

The author search requires an exact match to the trail name of the person who carved, authored, planted, or owns the letterbox, or leave it blank if you do not wish to search by author.

The box type is self explanatory, but for search results with the most detailed information, it helps to be specific about what type of letterbox you are looking for. The default "all" type strips out many useful details from the search results since it displays for the lowest common denominator.

Special Cases

If you type in a number and only a number, AQ will return the box with that box ID. Everything else will be ignored. So, for instance, if you search for a box with the "name" 181707, AQ will direct you immediately to The Skateboard Kid letterbox.

Additionally, if you know a box is listed on AQ but the clue is hosted on LbNA and so you only printed the LbNA ID number, you can look up a box based on the LbNA ID number by typing the name as "LbNA ID" (where ID is the ID number assigned by LbNA). For example, searching with the "name" as LbNA 4311 will automatically redirect you to Snoopy, which has an AQ ID of 127, but an LbNA ID of 4311.

How do I search the message boards?

The simplest, quickest, and most common search you'll likely run on the message boards is to look for posts with a specific keyword or phrase within the message. You can run this type of search from most any message board page just by entering the keyword in the search box in the upper-right corner of the page. For more advanced search options such as searching for posts by specific members, on specific boards, during a specific timespan, and more, use the dedicated Search Messages page.

A few things to know about keywords searches. First, searches are case-insensitive, so capitalization will not matter. Second, some common words are automatically ignored such as and, then, don't, etc. These are called stopwords, and the full list of stopwords used are:

a, ain't, all, am, an, and, any, aq, are, aren't, as, at, be, became, because, been, being, box, boxed, boxes, boxing, but, by, came, can, can't, cannot, cant, co, com, could, couldn't, did, didn't, do, does, doesn't, doing, don't, each, edu, eg, either, else, et, etc, even, ever, every, ex, far, few, for, further, get, gets, getting, given, gives, go, goes, got, had, hadn't, has, hasn't, have, haven't, having, he, he's, her, here, here's, hers, herself, hi, him, himself, his, how, however, i, i'd, i'll, i'm, i've, ie, if, in, inc, into, is, isn't, it, it'd, it'll, it's, its, let, let's, letterbox, letterboxed, letterboxer, letterboxers, letterboxes, letterboxing, many, may, maybe, me, mean, might, much, must, my, myself, no, non, none, nor, not, now, of, oh, ok, okay, on, only, onto, or, our, ours, park, per, re, really, seem, seemed, seeming, seems, seen, series, she, should, shouldn't, since, so, sub, sup, th, than, thank, thanks, thanx, that, that's, thats, the, their, theirs, them, then, there, there's, theres, these, they, they'd, they'll, they're, they've, this, those, though, thus, to, too, trail, un, up, us, value, very, via, was, wasn't, way, we, we'd, we'll, we're, we've, were, weren't, whether, which, while, why, with, won't, would, wouldn't, yes, yet, you, you'd, you'll, you're, you've, your, yours, yourself, yourselves

Any word you attempt to search for in this list will be ignored.

Search Operators

By default, Atlas Quest will return all searches that include one or more of the keywords you specify. You can, however, change that behavior through the use of operators. Supported operators include:
Operator Result
+ A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in every post returned.
- A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any post returned.
( ) Parentheses are used to group words into subexpressions
* An asterisk is the truncation operator. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word, not prepended.
" A phrase that is enclosed in double quotes matches only posts that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.
@distance Tests tests whether two or more words all start within a specified distance from each other, measured in words. Specify the search words within a double-quoted string immediately before the @distance operator.
<> These two operators are used to change a word's contribution to the relevance value that is assigned to a row. The > operator increases the contribution and the < operator decreases it.

Examples

Search Results
apple banana find posts that contain at least one of these words
+apple +juice find posts that contain both words
+apple -macintosh find posts that contain the word “apple” but not “macintosh”
+(apple banana) -macintosh find posts that contain “apple” or “banana”, but not “machintosh”
apple* find posts that contain “apple”, “apples”, “applesauce”, “applet”, etc.
"some words" find posts that contain “some words of wisdom”, but not “some noise words”
"word1 word2 word3" @8 finds posts that contain the words “word1”, “word2” and “word3”—BUT only if all three words are located within 8 words of each other.
+apple +(>turnover <strudel) Find rows that contain the words “apple” and “turnover”, or “apple” and “strudel” (in any order), but rank “apple turnover” higher than “apple strudel”.

How should I package PLBs for mailing?

Once you have created your PLB, you will want to package it in a way that will help ensure that its components stay together and that it eventually returns safely to you. Expectations and requirements will vary, but here are some general guidelines:

Always refer to the Tracker host’s specifications for their requirements when preparing a Postal for mailing.

You can also refer to the Post Office for current guidelines for mailing packages or letters.

Important Note:If your envelope has postage stamps and weighs more than 10 oz or is thicker than 1/2", you can't put it in a collection box; you have to give it to an employee at a Post Office location.

Internal Packaging (applies to Standard and Heavy PLBs): The stamp should be contained within something that will absorb residue ink. This is often a piece of felt or cloth simply wrapped around the stamp or tied with a ribbon or string. Be aware that a string or band around a stamp can cause a divot in the carving. Others make or purchase decorative pouches for their stamps, while some incorporate the stamp holder into the logbook itself. The logbook and stamp (with its container) may then be put into a baggie. Write the name of the Letterbox, your name and address, and the AQ number on the bag on each baggie. This will help keep the contents together and identifies them if they get separated.

If you include additional items (explanation pages, CDs, DVDs, etc., in separate bags), all of these items should be placed within a larger overall bag. In these cases, it is a good idea to make a list of the contents and tape it to the plastic bag.

Internal Packaging (applies to Micro PLBs): Packaging of Micro PLBs is very important for meeting Post Office requirements. The entire finished piece needs to easily slide through a space/slot that is 1/4" wide. Items inside need to be spaced out and anchored in some way to avoid shifting. Example: if a logbook and stamp are free to move about they may end up on top of each other can cause the whole postal to get eaten by a hungry automated postal machine. The stamp needs to be thin enough to be flexible and not cause the entire Postal to be over 1/4" in thickness.
The logbook can be the same thickness and flexibility as the stamp, or it can be a folder that holds everything else in place for the recipients to stamp their sig stamps.

External Packaging (applies to Standard and Heavy PLBs): Boxes and Envelopes are intended to be reusable from stop to stop. The usual envelope size for Standard PLBs is 6x9, but this will vary according to the size of the PLB, Heavy PLBs can be any size and shape. The bubble mailer envelopes hold up longer under repeated use, and add a cushion of protection for the contents, so most people prefer them. When using bubble mailer envelopes, it is helpful to cover the areas that are likely to be used the most with clear packing tape. People who use paper envelopes which work well, but are less costly, often cover the entire surface of their envelopes with clear packing tape so they will be sturdier. Never cover postage stamps with tape as this will invalidate them.

The PLB's owner's return address should remain on the envelope/box throughout its travels. Do not cover the owner's return address when you are mailing PLBs that you have received. If you see that the owner's return address has been covered at some point or is missing, it is a nice idea to contact the owner privately and ask if they would like you to restore the proper address.

Most people write an abbreviated description of the box's title someplace on the outside of the envelope. This will help when mailing several at one time.

External Packaging (applies to Micro PLBs): Micro PLBs use a fresh (new) #10 regular business envelope at each stop. The envelope the Postal arrived in is not reused. Trying to create a reusable mailer for a Micro PLB (by covering with clear tape) causes problems as the automatic sorting equipment kicks them out when the printed barcode information gets smeared. This can delay delivery as these need to be hand sorted and require a non-machinable surcharge.

Most participants will include a set of return address labels to put in the upper left corner. They are either sticky labels, or a simple printed Word Doc of multiple address labels that can be cut apart and glued or taped on as needed. See General Guidelines for Addressing below.

Sealing Reusable Envelope (Standard and Heavy): Do not use the envelope's adhesive strip to seal the envelope. This damages the envelopes quite a bit, particularly with the bubble mailer envelopes. Instead, use clear packing tape to cover the adhesive strip so that it cannot be removed and also to seal the envelope. When you are repackaging a PLB that you have received, never reuse pre-existing tape, because it is likely to pop open in transit. Always use fresh tape! If possible, peel the tape to open the package. Try to avoid cutting the tape, but at times this is unavoidable.

General Guidelines--Addressing for Automation (Applies mostly to Micro PLBs): The Post Office uses automated equipment to facilitate speedy and cost effective handling of the US Mail (no comments please). In order for your mail to make the most efficient use of this system, it is best to use white envelopes or labels with black ink. Print carefully or type in all uppercase, use abbreviations where appropriate and no punctuation. Remember, the address needs to do the job of getting read by a machine, if a person needs to sort it out, it will take longer.

This is copied directly from USPS.com: Step 2: Address Your Mail
Print addresses neatly in capital letters.
Use a pen or permanent marker.
Do not use commas or periods.
Include the ZIP+4 Code whenever possible.

Security Precautions: Particularly since 9/11, the post office is much more concerned about matters relating to security. Just like you should not plant a letterbox that might be mistaken for a bomb, do not mail postals that might be mistaken for a bomb or weapon. Things that might cause a security scare can include (but are not limited to) not having enough postage, using only a person's trail name instead of their real name, well-worn packaging, and not using a proper return address label.

What are Best Practices for MicroPlbing?

  • Please DO NOT mail before the start date. This can cause bunching and delays--it is much nicer to receive one box at a time from a ring every 4 or 5 days than two or three at a time.
  • Do log your find at atlasquest.com. It is appreciated to leave a nice comment.
  • Do stamp your signature stamp in any available space and include the date and place (city, state). Again, it is appreciated to leave a comment in the logbook as well as on-line.
  • Extra stamp-ins are welcome if the box’s owner says it’s OK. Please conserve space.
  • Do stamp the image into your logbook. Clean by blotting excess ink off stamp.
  • DO NOT USE METALLIC INK on someone else’s stamp.
  • Do not over-ink a stamp, a gentle tap-tap-tap with the inkpad will do.
  • These stamps are thin and can easily gum up with ink.
  • If this PLB is part of a tracker, mail to the person below you on the tracker.
  • Do check your mail-to person’s status by looking at the tracker grid to make sure they are logging what you have sent to them.
  • If this PLB is a Singleton, you will need to contact the person below you on the tracker for their mailing address and to make sure they are ready to receive.
  • Do discard the envelope it came in. Write or affix a label with the address of the next recipient on a fresh/new #10 business envelope.
  • Use the return address label provided or write the name and return address of the owner on the new envelope--the return address should always be the owner’s.
  • Use YOUR own Forever Stamp. If the envelope is over 1 oz. an extra ounce stamp should be provided. You still need to use your own Forever stamp.
  • Put everything in the new envelope, making sure contents cannot shift around.
  • Make sure the envelope is securely sealed. Add a small amount of tape to secure the flap and edges.
  • Do not put anything in the new envelope that wasn’t in the old one.
  • Weight is very important, it is easy to exceed the 1 oz. threshold.
  • Drop the Micro in any mailbox for USPS pick-up.

Are there any general postal guidelines for anyone new to postals?

  • Your Postals should always include a logbook and hand-carved stamp unless specified otherwise.
  • You should always use a suitable mailer based on the type of postal you are creating. Try not to crowd the package which can make it difficult for others to repack properly.
  • Please DO NOT mail before the start date. This can cause delays and bunching--it is much nicer to receive one box at a time from a ring every 4 or 5 days than two or three at a time.
  • For Postals (other than the Micro version) put packing tape on all the appropriate places so the envelope can be used multiple times. (Over your return address, on the spot where the to: label goes, the corner where postage goes, the flap of the envelope and the section you are sealing the flap to.) Some types of mailers (i.e. paper) will only survive if they are completely covered with clear tape.
  • The more you can do to help the recipient efficiently remove existing labels and tape the more you will be appreciated. Folding over small corners of tape for easily removal is one such thing.
  • Remember: Never put tape over postage stamps as it will invalidate the postage!
  • For Micro Postals a fresh envelope is used each time. Small pieces of tape that do not increase the weight can be used to help seal the flap, reinforce the sides, and also protect the to: and from: address labels. It is not a good idea to cover the whole envelope with packing tape as this can cause the barcode that the PO imprints to smear and delay processing.
  • Always send your Postals to the same person in a ring unless otherwise asked.
  • Put all of the contents back into the correct envelope when you are done stamping in. (reseal bags, etc.)
  • If more that one member of a family or group makes stamps for a ring, please include all stamps and logbooks for that ring from that family or group in the same mailer.
  • Please don't use metallic ink on anyone else's stamps unless they specify it's OK.
  • If something comes up (vacation, sickness, etc.), let someone know so no one panics when they haven't heard from a stamp in a week.
  • Most people are very understanding if you let them know when there's a problem.
  • Please remember to log your finds. People like to keep track of their stamps.
  • Lastly, please know that comments are very much appreciated in both logging on-line and in logbooks. You can use the same comment for both, and they will always bring a smile.

We found a hitchhiker without a logbook—should we add a new one?

We found either a hitchhiker or a flea with no logbook and no identifying information, no name or owner...would love to log it by name! Any ideas on finding the name or the owner? I do have a photo of the stamp.

How to reply to an AQ mail to include cc:

AQ mail is not email. There is no "cc:" option, but there's nothing to prevent one from adding additional people to the "from" field with each trailname separated by a comma (or semicolon).

What do the icons on a postal 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.

Types of Postals

AttributeDescription
If a postal weighs more than 13 oz., it gets this icon so people realize it will cost more to mail. They mail as First Class Parcel or Priority Mail. For approx. 13oz. cost is $7.65 which includes tracking. (2022)
A Standard PLB weighs less than 13 oz. and is usually mailed in a 6x9 reusable envelope. They mail as First Class Parcel. Starting at about $5.00 for up to 3 oz. includes tracking. (2022)
MicroPLBA Micro PLB weighs 1 oz. or less and fits into a business envelope and meets other PO requirements. They mail for one Forever Stamp. They can weigh over 1 oz. but the creator has to furnish sufficient postage to cover it for each stop. Extra ounce +20¢, non-machinable +30¢ (2022). No tracking is available for Micros

How can I delete bookmarks

Click the bookmark button (bookmark) once to bookmark a post, then clicking it a second time will remove the bookmark and it'll be greyed out.

What do I do when I find one?

Use the stamp inside of the letterbox to stamp your own logbook, then use your signature stamp—if you have one—to stamp the logbook of the box you found.

Afterwards, return the box where you found it, well-hidden from view so other people can look for it as well.

What are “blue diamond” boxes?

Blue diamond letterboxes are the highest ranked letterboxes based on anonymous votes cast by people who've found letterboxes.

Obviously, not all letterboxes can be blue diamond boxes. First, the brutal truth: Some letterboxes are better than others. Most letterboxes, by definition, are average. There is no shame in this—even the most average letterboxes are delightful to find. But to give recognition to those that create particularly memorable letterboxes and help those in unfamiliar territory to narrow down an often bewildering number of boxes in an area, Atlas Quest picks out the top 5% of boxes—based on the anonymous votes—and highlights them by including a blue diamond as one of the attributes.

It's not a precise science, and boxes with no finds (and therefore no votes) won't have blue diamonds no matter how good they are. Letterboxes with very few votes may be skewed if the people who found it judge a box differently from you. Or, it might be that your idea of the “perfect” letterbox is very different than the normal person on Atlas Quest, and thus the blue diamonds end up on all the wrong boxes from your point of view.

To help prevent a lot hurt feelings, you will not be able to see who nor how people voted and rated your own letterboxes. The only thing you will ever know about how the votes might have gone is based on whether a blue diamond shows up next to your letterbox or not, and there's no shame if you do not receive the blue diamond—95% of the letterboxes listed on Atlas Quest will not have them.

How do I put a candle icon on my Mom’s page?

Contact an administrator. They can set up a loved one’s tribute page, make sure you can access of of their boxes and make sure the candle icon shows up next to their name.

What is an LTC?

LTCs or Letterboxer Trading Cards are a variation of ATCs or Artist Trading Cards--small pieces of artwork (2 ½ ” x 3 ½”) created for the purpose of trading with other artists. The distinguishing feature of an LTC is that it must include one or more hand-carved and hand-stamped images, and usually as part of the design, not just the signature stamp on the back to identify the artist.

LTCs usually begin with a base made of archival (acid-free) card stock or similar heavyweight material, measuring 2 ½ " by 3 ½ ". Any art/craft medium or combination of media is encouraged to showcase the stamped image as long as the materials are secured to the card, toxic-free and legal to mail since swaps are hosted via the USPS. The back of each card is stamped with:
  • the letterboxer’s trail stamp,
  • date created and
  • AQ box #.

LTCs are created for swapping with other letterboxers but is not limited to that as LTCs have also been used in ATC swaps. LTCs are a fun way to do more with a hand-carved stamp before that stamp is planted as a traditional.

History: LTCs were suggested on the Atlas Quest discussion boards as early as 2007. The name—letterbox trading card-- was first suggested by Shadohart, and the first LTC swap-- LTC: Maiden Voyage-- was hosted by Mama Cache in Feb, 2007. (It was listed as a postal tracker.)

To receive a LTC welcome packet which includes a set of example LTCs to start your collection, contact Linden Leaf.

The most current LTC activity is happening now at:
LTC Trades and Trackers
Letterbox Trading Cards.
LTC Fanatics.

Blogs about LTCS and stamp carving:

What do the icons stand for in a traditional letterbox?

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
The creator does not specify the location of the nearest city for this letterbox. They may have specified the state or country of its location, but you're expected to discover the actual starting point for the hunt yourself. From a technical standpoint, a location is considered a mystery box if the location has no name, address, and city. If the location spans less than one mile, it is not a mystery. And if a location is "somewhere within a city," the owner of the box can specify if it's a mystery location or not. And finally, just because you solve a mystery and add a custom location, the letterbox is still considered a mystery box-adding a specific custom location will not remove this icon.
This picture represents a bonus box, where the clue for the box will be found (usually) in a pre-existing nearby letterbox. Premium Member Perk!
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. Premium Member Perk!
Premium members might see this icon, which means you've done an exchange with the owner of this letterbox. Premium Member Perk!
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.
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 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 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.
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.
You'll be expected to use your head on this one in order to decipher the clue. The code might be easy or hard-this image promises nothing on that count-the only thing it does promise is that the clue won't be straight-forward as most.
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! Premium Member Perk!
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.
Premium members can search for boxes that do not have the compass attribute. Premium Member Perk!
This letterbox requires payment of some sort of fee-probably a parking or entrance fee-in order to find. 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.
Premium members can search for boxes that do not have the fee-area icon. Premium Member Perk!
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. Premium Member Perk!
The blue diamond marks letterboxes that are highly recommended by other letterboxers. If your time is limited, you might want to focus on finding a Blue Diamond letterbox. Premium Member Perk!
Each week, the highest rated box on Atlas Quest is designated the Box of the Week. Use this to search for boxes that have reached such lofty heights. Premium Member Perk!
Some sort of first aid is needed for the box. Perhaps the Ziplocks are torn and need replacing or the logbook is wet type of thing. Try to come prepared and what what you can to help!
Some people like to find boxes that are 'historic,' and using this option in one's search can help narrow down the possibilities. A historic box, in this case, is any letterbox that was planted at least ten years ago and has been listed on Atlas Quest for at least five years. Premium Member Perk!
Some letterboxers want to find that elusive box few people ever find or even search for. Searching for 'rare finds,' in this case, will return all boxes that have not had a recorded find for at least one full year. Premium Member Perk!

Premium Member Perk! = Search options that are only available to premium members.

Hike Types

AttributeDescription
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.

How do I make a chat room?

There are no options for creating private chat rooms. They come as part of already existing member groups. You can see which chat rooms you have access to and can use at https://www.atlasquest.com/chat/ or by using the Chat Room widget on My Page.

What is an F-Summary (Find Summary)?

Clue pages now include a summary of the finds (and attempted finds) of each letterbox which is called an F-summary for short. For instance, you might see a box with an F-summary of ffffFfffxxxffXx. These are the last 15 finds and attempts made on the letterbox. Each F represents a find while each x represents a failed find (i.e. an attempt). A capital letter means it was a planter who recorded the find or attempt, so those should hold more weight. Additionall, the attempts, marked with x's, grow as the attempter's confidence about the box being missing increases.

In this example, there were 8 finds, then 3 attempts, then 2 finds, then 2 more attempts. One of the finds and attempts was by the planter of the box. Perhaps the box went missing, then it was replaced, then it went missing again. Or maybe those 3 successive attempts were people who just couldn't find the box because it had been replaced in the wrong location and the 4th person who looked for it realized it was behind the wrong tree. Or maybe the 3 attempts were a single group of people looking for a box and failed to find it so they all marked it as an attempt.

The point is, there are a lot of ways to interpret this data, but sometimes it's useful just to see what sort of patterns they make. A lot of attempts interspersed with finds might suggest the box is particularly tricky to find. A long series of finds followed by a long series of attempts probably means the box is missing.

These help pages don't allow the use of colors or different-sized text, so the sample above isn't really complete without them. But you can see a better sample in the glossary, including colors and different confident levels of attempts.

If someone has chosen to hide the finds or attempts on one of their letterboxes, no F-summary will be displayed.

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.
Silver Coin This member has found (or attempted to find) somewhere between 1 and 4 challenging boxes.
Gold Coin This member has found (or attempted to find) somewhere between 5 and 19 challenging boxes.
Coin Stacks This member has found (or attempted to find) somewhere between 20 and 49 challenging boxes.
Coin Pile This member has found (or attempted to find) somewhere between 50 and 99 challenging boxes.
Bills and Coins This member has found (or attempted to find) somewhere between 100 and 249 challenging boxes.
Bag of Coins This member has found (or attempted to find) somewhere between 250 and 499 challenging boxes.
Safe with Coins This member has found (or attempted to find) 500+ challenging boxes!

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 change the theme?

No answer provided... yet!

I can no longer participate in a postal ring, who can I contact for financial support?

Financial support is usually not an issue anymore since the advent and popularity of MicroPLBs. When there were dozens of Standard Postal Trackers available, some enthusiastic postal Letterboxers would get way overextended and drop-out mid-ring taking many boxes with them and becoming what is known as a Black Hole.

When you have concerns about a Tracker, you are encouraged to contact the host of that tracker. Also remember that paper trail and Jabber are always happy to help. Communication is the key if you are unable to continue due to "life" getting in the way or if you have concerns about how the Tracker is progressing. This is supposed to be a fun hobby, not add more stress to life.

How do you keep track of Postal Trackers you are participating in?

Doing a lot of Postal Trackers can become overwhelming. Keeping track of start dates, mailing lists, etc. Theoretically you could have four different types of Postal Trackers to keep track of and multiples of each one all at the same time. This level of involvement is not recommended for newbies. The four types are: Singles you list that others sign up for, Singles you sign up for that others list, Rings you list that others join, and Rings that others list that you join.

You can pick and label a tab for each of these 4 kinds of Postals. On the Tag chart that automatically shows up on each Tracker’s page, you can change the wording and assign a category for each type of Tracker you are in. Premium members have more options for tagging.

When you sign-up for a tracker it automatically goes to UNTAGGED category. From there you check on a defined tag and it only shows up under that category. You always have to remember to click on “Save Changes” once you’ve assigned a tag to make the assigned tab stick.

Label your tabs like this:
SINGLES I LISTED
SINGLES INCOMING from OTHERS
RINGS I STARTED
RINGS I've JOINED

Also consider tabs labeled (remember Premium Members have more options):
COMPLETED (Stop Sign)
NAUGHTY LIST
Something has gone wrong and there is a short delay
BLACKHOLED (8 Ball)
Something has gone horribly wrong and I will never see this again.

So when a tracker is done, completed successfully and you no longer need to keep track of it, check the COMPLETED tag and make sure to uncheck the original tag it was listed as. Save the changes and that listing will go into an archive of all your completed trackers.

You can also use the tags to label trackers for LTCs to do and LTCs done and sent; and Traditional Trackers you’ve signed up for stamp donations.

There is a Countdown Widgetyou can add on your home page where you can add items with due dates and keep an eye on upcoming deadlines. There is also a Calendar Widget that automatically puts things you've signed up for on a calendar grid, including events, all types of boxes, LTCs etc. It puts a little icon on the date that you can hover over and read what's happening on that day.

How do you set up a Postal Tracker?

From your home page go to the my "My Page" tab upper right and go down to "Trackers". At the top of that page there are three options, click on Create Tracker. Then you need to fill in the blanks and click the appropriate buttons. Clicking the yellow pencil will open up the areas where you can add or change information.

Name it and Click "Postal" for "Type".

Pick a "Start Date" and and if it's going to be a Ring, make sure it's far enough in the future so others have time to complete their boxes (4-6 weeks). Since all Postal Ring Boxes should start on the same date, pick "send by date" for that option. If you're listing a Singleton, as soon as your box is ready you can mail it. You just need to put it far enough in the future to allow for maximum sign-ups.

Of course you'll need to pick a theme, or make it a potpourri--whatever you want. A theme should be something that there are several carve-able images available that others could choose from. You don't have to supply ideas, but some hots will include links to lists or suggestions.

At the next screen just ignore "Location" and move to "Max Signups." START SMALL seriously! Ten to 12 is a good place to start, it takes an average of one week per stop, so that equates to 3 months. A lot can happen in 3 months to cause life issues to impact a smooth running of a ring, especially during times when people are gone on vacation, or there's a pandemic.

"Status" click the pencil and your options come up. The default is "Open" which means anybody can sign up, but some will chose "Limited" and expect boxers to ask to join or solve a puzzle.

"Subtypes" chose "Ring" or “Singleton” depending on your preference as defined above.

"Attributes" pick whatever you decide to do that's on the list. You can pick more than one.

"Owner" will default to your name. "Admins" you can pick somebody who's helping you or leave blank.

"Restrictions" are only based on PFX numbers from traditional in-the-wild LBs. So if you set a restriction that limits to only those with 50 plants or finds, even though they have done 100s of Postals, they will not be able to see the listing and sign up for your box if they don't do much Traditional Boxing. A "Whitelist" is used by some to limit the number of boxers who can see the listing so only they can join--kind of the opposite of a blacklist. You can add or delete members as you wish.

"Description" this is like the clue. Basic rules you want joiners to follow, etc. You can look at some other listed Postal Trackers to get an idea of what others include.

When you're all done click "Publish" and it will show up on the website.

If you need to make a change just call up the listing and click on the yellow pencil, it is your friend. Warning: If you pick the wrong type, i.e. Traditional instead of Postal, you cannot change it after publishing. You will have to delete the tracker and start over.

How do I delete a tracker once a postal tracker is closed?

There is no need to delete a tracker that has been completed. If you are the owner or admin of a tracker, you can retire it from the tracker details page when the postals have run their course. Trackers can be deleted by the owner or an admin of the tracker, but unless it should never have been listed in the first place*, it's usually best just to retire the tracker to preserve its history for those who were a part of it.

*Note: If you list a Tracker with the wrong Type chosen by accident (i.e. Traditional instead of Postal), it cannot be changed once it's published. In this case you delete the tracker and start over.

What's a postal tracker?

A postal tracker is a listing of boxes and people. It is used for rings and for singletons. Postal trackers make it easier to see all of the boxes and participants in a ring and they’re for making it easier to log finds and keep track of how the boxes are progressing around the ring.

The host listing a Tracker will set up the parameters for size, mail date, and theme so those wishing to sign up will know what’s expected of them. Generally the Tracker host will order the tracker geographically, but not always. Each participant will mail their box, and all subsequent boxes they receive in the ring, to the person below them on the tracker.

It is important for all tracker participants to periodically check the status of the tracker to make sure the boxes are moving. Some things to look for: Boxes are getting stuck at one stop, the person you mail to hasn’t mailed on the boxes you have sent to them, or the person above you on the tracker has not mailed boxes on to you that they have logged.

If you have any concerns, contact the host of the Tracker.