Summer Letterboxing

Summer Letterboxes

Letterboxing is a fun international hobby that is fun and rewarding!  Letterboxing combines artistic ability with “treasure-hunting” in parks, forests and public spaces that the whole family can enjoy. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by following clues to their prize: a rubber stamp—often hand-carved—to stamp into one’s personal logbook.

Letterboxing has an International Online community with rules of conduct that can be found at  According to AtlasQuest, letterboxing began in Dartmoor, England in 1854 where the first letterbox was hidden near Cranmere Pool.  Since then, thousands of letterboxes have been hidden around the world- including several in Kenosha!

Letterboxing participants should always follow the 7 Leave No Trace principles.

So now let’s talk about how to get started!  You don’t really need much to start a rewarding hobby in letterboxing. To start finding your first letterboxes, you’ll want to carry the following items:

  • A logbook to record your finds. Something sturdy that can handle the rigors of being knocked around inside your pack is necessary. Use a logbook containing white, unruled, acid-free paper for best, long-lasting results. Most people prefer logbooks at least 5½"x8½" but no larger than 8½"x11½". 
  • An ink pad to stamp with. Ideally, the ink pad should have a raised surface so you can easily ink up stamps that are larger than the ink pad. Most letterboxers carry a variety of colors of small ink pads or markers, but if you choose to carry only one color, make it a dark one such as black. Bright colors such as yellow tend to fade over time when used with stamps that have had darker colors applied earlier. 
  • A pen or other writing implement to sign logbooks, take notes on or to write a unique journal entry.
  • A compass (optional). While not all letterboxes require the use of a compass, sometimes it’s difficult to follow your clues without one! For example, go North at the giant rock that looks like a bear.  If you’re not sure how to use one, check out a Compassing tutorial on Youtube.
  • A signature stamp to stamp into the letterboxes you find. You’ll want to select something that compliments your trail name. Most letterboxers usually start with a store-bought stamp, but when you get a chance, try carving your own rubber stamp. It’s easier than you might think, and you’ll end up with a unique, one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Keep your stamp as small as possible—not all logbooks you find will have a lot of room for a stamp image. 1"x1" is a good size. Generally, anything larger than 2"x2" will start causing you problems.
  • Printed or Digital Clues—you can’t find a letterbox without them!
  • Not required but helpful items include a backpack to hold all my letterbox supplies and any garbage I may produce.  Water.  Snacks.  Dog waste bags.

Once You have your personal supplies and clues, you can start hunting for your first letterbox!  Kenosha Public Library- Outreach Services has hidden 4 letterboxes for SUMMER 2024;  one in each branch so you will need to hunt during library business hours.  Use the clues to hunt down the letterboxes. Now let’s talk about what to do once you find it.

A letterbox will consist of the following things:

  • A waterproof container (the sizes of these vary widely, some are large, and some are tiny and called microboxes)
  • A logbook
  • A pen or pencil
  • A one of a kind or custom stamp unique to this letterbox

Summer Letterbox Clue 1, opens a new window

Summer Letterbox Clue 2, opens a new window

Summer Letterbox Clue 3

Summer Letterbox Clue 4, opens a new window

Once you have found a letterbox, you will collect that first stamp!  Here are things you will do:

  1. Leave your mark by sign/stamping, with the date, the logbook inside the letterbox.   If you carry a personal stamp, this is what you would use it for.  If you don’t have a personal just sign with your trail name or initials.  KPL will love to see how many hunters have found the box.
  2. Next up is capturing the unique stamp.  The letterbox will contain the unique stamp, and some but not all, may include an inkpad.  Hunters should carry their own ink pad or marker to stamp your own journal with the stamp you have found.  You may also like to write a journal entry with the date and name of the letterbox clue.
  3. Replace the stamp and any other contents into the waterproof letterbox container and rehide in the same location.  Unlike Geocaching, Letterboxes DO NOT contain trinkets or prizes for the finder beyond the stamp.  Capturing the stamp image is the prize, do not take the stamp, replace it for the next hunter.
  4. Once you find all 4 of the libraries hidden letterboxes and have caught treasure fever, visit to find MANY more treasure boxes hidden in Kenosha are neighboring counties.  If you really enjoy letterboxing, you can take your hobby worldwide!

Additional Resources:

Back to Top