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February 27, 2014 06:04 PM CST


Article by Mister Greenthumb

Author: NL_Admin. 252 Reads
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 This was a tough winter for Wisconsin geocachers. No matter where you live in the state there were not very many new caches to hunt. You either had to dig out the older ones or wait until spring. Now that spring is finally here everyone will be itching to get out and look for caches and some of you will finally be able to place those new hides that you have thinking about all winter. But how much time did you spend thinking about the quality of the container for your cache?  

 During the past seven years I have placed almost 500 caches. Some of the original containers are still out there after more than 5 years and some didn't make the grade after even a few months. While I'm not going to claim to be an expert I am going to share with you what I have learned as a cache hider.

 A good container will help reduce the amount of potential problems and make the experience more enjoyable for those finding your cache. This is Wisconsin of course so you will always have to contend with all of the problems that can be caused by the rain, snow and cold.

 The simplest and most common containers are pill bottles. Don't use the ones with the reversable caps. Neither way has a seal. Bottles with the type of cap that you have to push down on usually have a soft seal inside. Don't use the pill bottles with an opening smaller than the diameter of the bottle. The log will be difficult to remove and cachers will be mumbling things in the field about you that you don't want to hear. If you are going to hang a pill bottle hang it with the cap up. If you hang it with the cap down water will accumulate in the cap and the container will get wet inside.

 If you are going to use film cans use the clear or white ones. They have a better cap than the grey or black ones. If you are hanging the film can the same is true as for the pill bottle - cap up.

 Bison tubes come in many sizes and price ranges. In general the more you spend tends to mean a better quality. Before placing a bison tube in the field go to a hardware store and buy a couple of replacement o-rings. Keep them in a small baggie marked with the cache name for future use if the o-ring fails.

 For any small container that you hang avoid using the very thin craft wire. My favorite things for hanging are duck decoy cord and fishing leaders. For wire hangers I use insulated copper electrical wire.

 Moving on now to small containers most will be some type of plastic. Avoid using metal containers for any size container as most will leak and eventually rust. Ammo cans of course would be an exception. Opinions vary on using containers from grocery stores that once containes food, but I have a hard time throwing them away. Always run them through the dishwasher before using them. If they don't hold up to the heat from the dishwasher don't use them. I have successfully used peanut butter jars and Miracle Whip jars. The biggest drawbacks of these two types of containers is that they will usually be laying on their sides if hidden on the ground. They may get wet inside during winter when they are buried in snow. I like plastic jars that are as wide or wider than they are high. They will usually be returned to their hiding spots in an upright position which will help them stay dry inside. Try to only use plastic jars with screw on lids. The ones with pry off lids will often crack after the first winter. They also start to lose their sealing ability after being pryed off a few dozen times.

 A big step up from plastic jars are lock n lock containers. These are not to be confused with the cheap flimsy food storage containers like the ones made by Glad. That type will leak after a just a few rains and will never hold up in a Wisconsin winter.  Look for lock n lock containers with a sealing gasket in the cover. Also make sure they are freezer rated. You can buy this type of container individually or in sets. Sets will run in the $10 - $20 range and are usually a little cheaper than buying individual containers. The sets may also have assorted sizes and styles in a set. I buy them at Walmart or Fleet Farm.  There are more expensive brands available, but you may not want to invest the $5 - $10 that they will cost you each.

 Regular size containers can be ammo cans, larger plastic jars and larger lock n locks. Other regular size containers are often unusual or interesting things that you may find around the house or at garage sales. Use the same principles that I mentioned for the smaller containers when deciding if a regular size container will work satisfactorally. All will work well when their size is matched properly to the hiding spot.

 When selecting a log sheet for your container make sure it matches the size of the container. Don't put one in that will hold more than about 80 signatures. Anything with more space will become worn out at about that number. You should be doing a maintenance visit before that amount of finds and can replace it at that time. Logbooks too should not be too large especially for small containers. I cut logbooks in half or thirds before using.

 One last tip can be found on your cache page. In the area for "personal cache note" record your container type and size and how it was hidden. It will be helpful when doing maintenance or for refreshing your memory if someone has a question about your hide.


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Category: 2014 Spring Newsletter
Tags: Geocache Containers
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