Saturday, August 29, 2009

Caching with Trash or Treasure

The truly neat thing about Geocaching is that after the initial investment for the GPS there is not a lot more you need to purchase. But you can.
Part of the fun in Geocaching is placing caches out for others to find. That is one of the big reasons I like to share my hobby with others. I want them to place caches too. There are some rules and guidelines on placing caches. Geocaching.com has a nice section on it and you local reviewer will point out any problems that he is aware of when you post your cache placement.
What is a cache? I mean physically what is it? What am I looking for? These are common questions from someone new to the sport. The simple answer is that it is anything that can contain a logbook as that is the only requirement for the cache itself. The idea is to have a container that blends in with the environment well so that you would be unlikely to spot it unless you are looking for it. Some folks take this very much to heart and the term ‘hidden in plain sight’ becomes the bane of my existence at times.
Common urban and suburban caches containers are fairly small. Often you find a well camouflaged Altoids tin or 35mm film canister as a container. I have seen drilled out pieces of wood and pinecones used as well. Local hardware stores provide a treasure trove of container ideas. Spare key holders are popular. They might be a small magnetic metal box with a slide lid or something like a rock that is often used for a house key hidden in landscape. Good selections of heavy duty plastic boxes are often available and paint or colored duct tape for camouflage. Be sure to check out the aisle with magnets. These attached to your container gives countless hiding possibilities.
The Army Navy Store sells Ammunition boxes. These are virtually indestructible, watertight and already painted a dark green. These boxes are great in some of the more naturally landscapes parks under fallen stumps. An assortment of other camouflaged boxes are available too as you scan the aisles.
The grocery store can be a place for your imagination to go wild. There is the section with plastic boxes. Spend a little more and get ones that will stand up to the weather. Sometimes the boxes can be free because they contain your favorite foods and a cache container is better than the trash bin for the container. Peanut butter jars, plastic cocoa mix boxes and seasonally there are nut, cookie and candy tins ready for you to use. Sometimes there are large lidded buckets for the asking at the bakery department (frosting comes in them.) Some plastic juice bottles and frosting tubs are possible containers. My check on these common containers is the dishwasher test. You need to make sure that the container and lid are really clean so that bugs and critters dints get into your cache. The containers need to be sturdy. I figure if you can put them in the dishwasher and if they come out still able to seal tight and in the original shape, they are worth a try as a cache container.
The favorite hobbies of your friends and families will lead you to find other unique containers. There are mail order places for geocachers to find great containers and I will talk about them in a future post. Remember that occasionally a container must be replaced so be sure to have several alternatives on hand.

1 comment:

-TwoCs- said...

I highly recommend that when you buy an ammo can to place, you should paint it so as to cover up original printing that says the box contains ammo. In fact, I do a base coat and then I use a stencil that says "Geocache". If a non-cacher (ie the police) find the box they 1. won't be freaked out as much to find an ammo can that says it has ammo in it and 2. it'll be identified as a Geocache.