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Ban the Bag!


geocacher_coza
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Please don't hang me again for this one! :D

Question: Who and why do you use a black plastic bag to wrap your cache in when you hide it?

To me a black plastic bag is to put rubbish inside. It belongs on a rubbish dump and not in nature around a cache!

If you spend a bit of money and use good containers you will never need a bag to try and keep your cache dry.

I don’t get it. You spend a lot of money on a GPS, lot of money on petrol to get to the cache and all the nice swag etc. and then you use a second hand 2L Ice cream container that is not water tight and that needs a black bag to keep out the water! Does not make sense!

Lets ban all black bags from caches! :D CITO Keep your area clean :D

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You touched on something that was in my mind for a while. I also placed mine in a plastic bag because this is what most cachers do. But yet I found a couple of caches with no plastic bag and bone dry.

 

A while ago I visited a cache where the plastic bag disintegrated. I could not place it back – too many plastic pieces around. While I battled to get hold of all the pieces I was really wondering if I should not remove the bag from my caches. I planted one without the bag to see if it will hold – 2 months later I found it inside a plastic bag. I left it – maybe this was the correct way.

 

I am sure that some cachers experimented with this before; I would love to see their comments. I came across several camouflaged bags – I must say it appears that they are doing well. I know FishEagle uses them in several places and they look good. If I can get my wife to do this then I would also used this technique.

 

The other thing that worries me is to get the cache out of the bag. I am always wondering if there is not a nasty hiding in it. I would love to hear the comments from the other cachers and their experience.

 

Gerhard

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I never use a plastic bag for my caches. I camo the container and stencil all the info on the outside.

This camo bags sounds good, where can I get some?

Some of my caches have a hand made Hessian bag that is has a bit of camo sprayed on it. My daughter made some bags out of Hessian for me.

Another problem I have with bags is that when it gets wet and wet inside it really stuffs up the cache.

A while ago I visited a cache where the plastic bag disintegrated.

The owner most properly used a biodegradable bag!

IMHO, we should try and use as little as possible plastic in nature. Anyway in our environment black stands out like a sore thumb.

My cache boxes look liks this so no bag needed!

471fef08-f157-45fa-874d-740c46317c74.jpg

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This is an interesting debate that has unfolded here. I personally do NOT like finding a cache that is wrapped in a plastic bag. I recently had the pleasure of caching in South Africa in a number of provinces. I found caches IN bags and caches WITHOUT bags. Nowhere did I come across WET caches - with or without plastic bags! However, when a ccahe was wrapped in a black garbage bag the bag was generally soaking wet on the INSIDE and 9 times out of 10 full of ants and/or other critters. What does this tell me? The bags don't seem to make a difference at all apart from the nuisance value of unravelling a wet inside of the black bag to access the wet container that would probably have been dry without the use of the bag.. So South Africans, why are they being used?

 

I agree with Fish Eagle's sentiments. I have cached in Europe an did not find any caches in plastic bags, except for the odd micro that might have been in a ziploc as the container itself was not waterproof. What I did notice though, was that many logbooks are inside ziploc bags. This way the logbook can be protected in case there is ingress of moisture. I personally think that this is a much better way to address the plastic bag issue.

 

I like the idea the geocacher_coza puts forward, albeit a rather costly and time consuming way - but a very professional way nonetheless. In Australia a novel way of "camoflage" is used. They will take ordinary either PVA paint or cold glue and paint/smeer the container. They will then roll the container in either leaves, grass, sand, etc - depending on the immediate area where the cache is placed. This way the container gets "natural" camoflage attached to it. At the end of the day your imagination is the the limit.

 

In summary then, there are arguments against using black plastic garbage bags - or the Pick-'n-Pay/Checkers bags - and probably a few for their use. There are also alternative ways to disguising our containers in the environment. I support the "no bag" way as it is a lot more environmentally friendly anyway. If you have a container that is watertight then no bags are necessary at all.

 

Here in the Middle East we have another problem. We do not have to worry about our caches getting waterlogged at all. We have the sun to contend with. Any form of plastic container does not last too long. The sun makes short work of them. The majority of my caches that were in plastic containers have needed replacement after less than a year due to the sun giving them a once over! :o I have replaced most with either tins [biscuits and Quality Street type tins] or glass bottles [coffee or horlicks bottles and fish paste for the smaller caches]. The only plastic containers that have survived longer than a year are ones that are hidden inside places that has no sunshine.

 

So, wherever one lives there are different challenges involved with cache containers.

 

Happy caching and lets do it environmentally friendly. [i'm sure Carbon Hunter would approve!] :ph34r:

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Nifty containers is one of my weak points of being a geocacher.

I can come up with creative cache ideas , but getting all fancy with camo bags and spraying containers I just cant do! I sure wish I had those skills !

Although for a nifty cache container, be sure to find "I love geocaching", even though the container is in a ziploc bag.

 

I have used plastic bags on about 3 or so of my caches, but i generally hate them, as they tend to get wetter than without the bags, and they always tend to full of cockroaches :ph34r:

 

uggghhhh!!!!!!

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I would agree. I think much of this is a hang-up from the past when LnL and similar wasn’t readily available and most containers were ice-cream containers or cheap plastic-ware. In most cases a container will actually remain cleaner if it isn’t covered, whereas the bag will get all mucky and soggy.

 

Ages ago I employed my MIL to create bags from various test materials, most being quite water resistant to one which was rated as waterproof. These worked great against the weather elements and provided great camouflage, and even held up against a veld fire. The material however isn’t cheap and unfortunately is not rodent resistant (what is?). Why cover it at all? Well these provided better camouflage and do protect the container and keep it clean. Unlike the plastic bags, they don’t get grubby, and assuming that cachers followed the closing instructions the one material provides an almost waterproof bag.

 

Even LnL is not waterproof. I’ve found a few that have had a good litre of water in them. But they are the best “affordable” close to water proof containers one can get, and if the cache is well positioned in its placement all should be good. All those that were filled were poorly positioned in relation to the surrounding elements, regardless of the container.

 

A clever paintjob on LnL does wonders for camo too. But the oils in the plastic and paint don’t bond very well. As irritating as a soggy bag is, that peeling paint job that sticks to one’s hand like crazy is just as annoying if not more so.

 

Some tricks on painting plastic I gleaned from various threads is to free the oils with some gentle heating from a blowtorch (do this outside as the fumes are toxic and quite severe) and practice on some cheap stuff first and handle with care. There’s a fine line between releasing the oils and ending up with melted plastic. It’s dangerous and should be done with extreme caution. There’s also mention of some folks doing this in the oven.... but I wouldn’t go there. Another method is to roughen it up by sanding it or using some abrasive before painting it. I’ve tried both methods and they seem to be holding up quite well.

 

A decent container with dry contents goes a long way to a happy caching experience. I’m certainly looking at replacing one or two of my older caches that have survived for years in their good old ice-cream containers. Some of those creative containers can cost a bomb though, and that's not even taking the manhours into account, but hey, it's rewarding when it works and finders appreciate them.

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Please don't hang me again for this one! :unsure:

Question: Who and why do you use a black plastic bag to wrap your cache in when you hide it?

To me a black plastic bag is to put rubbish inside. It belongs on a rubbish dump and not in nature around a cache!

 

My point excatly. I even posted a discussion on this topic a while ago. The black plastic bag invariably does more harm than good. More damp and nunus are trapped inside than are kept out, and it makes the cache look shoddy.

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And so it comes yo past that I go and replace one of my containers in the berg with a LnL and what do I do... I remove the old container from two ziplocks and a Spar bag. The outer bag is a muddy grimy mess, the inner ziplock as a bit of cammo from the outer bags rips and tears and the spar bag is er, OK. Put the contents of the cache into the LnL and then put the LnL into the bags.... Why? Well the common thing is Bags round the container seems to get water in, so I wanna see if the LnL is waterproof... LOL.

 

Ultimately I now have two LnL's under rocks on mountains... One at 2100 m and the other in the Drakensberg at 2970 + meters. Now we know what the weather can be like up there. There is no ziplock in the cache and probably will not be visited too often. It would be interesting to see how it holds out. Icy cold winters and very hot and wet summers.... Put em to the test.

 

My very first cache is infact in my sons lunch tin that broke open in two halves, there is no tight fit on it and it is probably terrible if submerged in water. But it is wrapped up tightly in a checkers bag and has on every visit been dry inside.It beats me as to how this one can hold out but it does.

 

But I agree that a black bag is a definite no no. They don't help and definitely hold way too much water in. Although it can make an interesting cammo take a look at the cache at Windy Corner in Van Reenens pass. here we have a wind shredded Black Bag wrapped around a 2 liter Ice Cream container and I have never seen a bit of moisture in that cache.... And the shredded bag helps to cammo the cache quite well....

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I will definately try the idea of camouflaging the solid container at my home cache!

 

Just to add a note; I always try to put Silica Gel sachet's to absorb the moisture. You can obtain them at all Pharmacies, as they come out pill containers. Give it a go...

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A plastic bag, for us, is a poor excuse for everything, for several reasons:

 

- Even if you think wrapping a plastic bag on your container will prevent it from getting wet. That "protection" will only last and be effective until it tears apart or get holes in it. That usually happens when placing the cache or after the first few visits. So, that so called protection will last for a few days... If that's protection at all, of course.

 

- A bag won't prevent moist. Actually it will hold it for several days inside. That's a fact.

 

- If you think a plastic bag is a great camo, then I'm afraid you're not that talented. The right spray paint or appropriate container will do most of the job. Get your hands to it.

 

- If you think you need a plastic bag so humidity and water won't get inside the container, then you need to spend another buck or two and get a decent box. I'm not talking about ultra-tight ammo boxes. A plastic lock & lock container type is very, very affordable. If you're spending $10 to drive to the place, then you can afford spending $3~$5 on a decent box.

 

- A plastic bag, even if its biodegradable, will only be dissolved by the environment in years/decade. So, don't feel less guilty if your biodegradable is torn apart on the trail.

 

- So, you spend some time in printing a cache note. That's aimed, essentially, to non-geocachers. But, if you're wrapping your cache on a plastic bag, do you really expect a muggler to unwrap the plastic bag and check things out? That happens, very rarely. It's way more common to see situations where mugglers do find a container, even log it, and set it on the same place they find it. With a plastic bag, the most common end is the bag and the container in trash.

 

- Why put your efforts in labeling a container when it's wrapped in a black plastic bag? The previous principle applies.

 

Bottom line:

 

If you're using a plastic bag (black or not) you're doing it wrong.

Edited by SUp3rFM & Cruella
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But the oils in the plastic and paint don’t bond very well.

You get a plastic primer that you spray on first. It works well and the paint seem to stick-- anyway it does for me!

I will be having LnL containers with camo and stencil with some goodies inside forsale on the geoshop soon. Like a starter pack thing. Sameas a lot of the US geoshops sell.

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As a Saffer wading around in the UK mud I must say that plastic bags suck big time! Even here with the rain and mud, most caches that are setup properly remain dry. There are enough plastic bags "growing" on the trees and fences around SA. Surely us Cachers have enough brain power to find a solution... Boer maak 'n plan (and all that)!

 

Rank over!

 

PS I hope to be back in SA soon to extend enjoy some sunny caching!

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I will definately try the idea of camouflaging the solid container at my home cache!

 

Just to add a note; I always try to put Silica Gel sachet's to absorb the moisture. You can obtain them at all Pharmacies, as they come out pill containers. Give it a go...

 

O jislaaik +2721 - the silica gel issue is worthy of a topic of it's own. I have been very fired up about the gel sachets and am the proud owner of a whole brown paper bag full, but the advantages therof is a debateable issue. There was a topic on this http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=196883]subject in the UK forums recently [/url] (which i managed to find after a bit of searching)

 

This might substantiate various points:

 

1. Experience by past cachers has determined gel sachets do not work.

2. My memory still works (that I could actually find the relevant topic)

3. That I must get a life and stop browsing the forums!

 

Edited to add:

That link does not appear according to plan - that might be for various reasons

1. The website or website changes are not working correctly.

2. I might have done something wrong.

Edited by the pooks
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Beautiful Fish Eagle!

 

Where did you source the Ammo boxes from? My visit to Army Supply store ended with the worst case rusted Ammo box, broken hinges for ZAR150,00 !! Turned around and left without a word spoken. :mad:

They came from the States - a gift from a very special person, and VERY much appreciated. :ph34r::ph34r:;)

 

Now we've got to find mega-secure locations - it would be a crime if they got muggled......

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. Experience by past cachers has determined gel sachets do not work.

 

Silica Gel sachet's only work for a while and then it needs maintenance as well. On rigs we use silica gel in a lot of equipment and the only way to keep it affective is to "bake" them when you see the effectiveness go down. We do this by literary putting them in a oven and warm them up for a few hours

!

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. Experience by past cachers has determined gel sachets do not work.

 

Silica Gel sachet's only work for a while and then it needs maintenance as well. On rigs we use silica gel in a lot of equipment and the only way to keep it affective is to "bake" them when you see the effectiveness go down. We do this by literary putting them in a oven and warm them up for a few hours

!

 

It will be interesting to know how much moisture a given quantity of silica gel will absorb. I have thought of doing some experiments to attempt to determine their effectiveness. My feeling is that the small bags that I got from a camera store are only meant to keep an already dry container "perfectly" dry, and not able to be effective with the sorts of conditions that geocaches are typically found in.

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A short write up on Silica Gel. Seems like it is not really the correct thing for what we want to use it as I'm sure that the temperature gets more than a 100 deg F (37.7 deg C) in the containers.

Silica gel is silicon dioxide (SiO2). It is a naturally occurring mineral that is purified and processed into either granular or beaded form. As a desiccant, it has an average pore size of 24 angstroms and has a strong affinity for moisture molecules. The silica gel will pull in moisture at temperatures up to 220°F (105°C). As temperature goes above 100°F, the rate of moisture pickup will slow down but the silica gel will still work.

Silica gel performs best at room temperatures (70° to 90°F) and high humidity (60 to 90% RH) and will drop the relative humidity in a container down to around 40% RH.

Edited by geocacher_coza
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Hello South Africa waving_smiley.gif

 

I was just having a World wander and saw this Topic. The use of plastic bin bags for wrapping caches was a hotly debated subject in our UK Forum a couple of years ago. The overwhelming majority decision was that they are "a bad thing" and the Geocaching Association of Great Britain Guidelines now state "Cache containers should not be placed inside a polythene bag". I think this message has now got through to most geocachers in UK although occasionally you still come across nasty, disintegrating, slug-encrusted bags.

 

Often we simply loosely wrap a piece of camo material over our caches. It seems to work well - you don't even need to sew it into a proper bag.

 

MrsB :unsure:

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The overwhelming majority decision was that they are "a bad thing" and the Geocaching Association of Great Britain Guidelines now state "Cache containers should not be placed inside a polythene bag". I think this message has now got through to most geocachers in UK although occasionally you still come across nasty, disintegrating, slug-encrusted bags.

 

That was very wise. Wish we had that decision taken in Portugal.

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You get a plastic primer that you spray on first. It works well and the paint seem to stick-- anyway it does for me!

 

Care to share the product that is available in South Africa... I've seen primer products listed on US sites and specialist stuff sold in automotive shops (expensive) but the request at a hardware store here has so far been met with a "huh". Also one get's different primers for different types of plastics, which one have you used that works?

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Hello South Africa waving_smiley.gif

<snip>

Cyfarchion Cymru waving_smiley.gif

Great to see you active on our local forum Mrs B, and saying all the "right" things too!! :unsure:

We really need to get a geocaching association off the ground here, so that we can take such "decisions" in a more formal way.

 

Love your little smiley waving guy - never seen him before :ph34r:

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Care to share the product that is available in South Africa

Will do so when I get home! I'm in Singapore at the moment. Cannot remember the name of the spray paint, but I got it in our local hardware shop. It is a clear primer.

I know about the diffirent primers for the diffirent plastics but the one I buy seems to work for all the containers. All I do is clean my container well and then let is sit out there for a day or two. Then I spray it with this primer, let it dry and them spray the diffirent colours-- Easy

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You get a plastic primer that you spray on first. It works well and the paint seem to stick-- anyway it does for me!

 

Care to share the product that is available in South Africa... I've seen primer products listed on US sites and specialist stuff sold in automotive shops (expensive) but the request at a hardware store here has so far been met with a "huh". Also one get's different primers for different types of plastics, which one have you used that works?

 

On the can it is marked as plastic primer. It is called "Spray Mate"

Made by: EGAPAK

016 3655120 (tel)

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Myself have a few caches rapped in plastic. And what is weird about it is that I hate caches in garbage bags as well.

 

Thanks for the other info supra. It seems that I will have to do some maintenance..

 

You will be pleased to hear that armchair discussions in the forums have effect out there on rain washed caches. On reading this thread, and with one of my caches wrapped in a bag being reported as damp, I have done cache maintenance on two of my caches, removing the bags and changing the containers to lock + lock types. As a back up (I have helped with maintenance of a lock + lock, with no bag, that was repeatedly partially flooded) I put all the contents into individual ziplocks.

Your voices are being heard.

Edited by CapeDoc
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We hid this cache as an experiment almost a year ago -

it's fully exposed to the elements, and the hide will flood after heavy rains, and (I guess) the container floats on the pooled water, until it drains or evaporates.....

 

The listing says -

The cache is a 300ml lock-n-lock without any bag. This hide is a trial to see how it withstands the elements. We found many caches in the UK that were hidden in this manner, and we're curious to see what happens. Please report the condition of the cache in your logs.

After 11 months, we've never checked on it, and it's still 100% per the logs.....

Crocodile Tree

 

Polythene bags - never again!!! :laughing:

We still have some hides in those horrible things - which we will discard with extreme predjudice when we revisit those caches.

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.

Just found a recently replaced ice cream container cache meticulously wrapped in 2 plastic bags. Durable double thick ones. And I really do mean well wrapped. Cache was totally flooded! :laughing:

 

875dc802-6244-4081-92a8-1c5efbd697e6.jpg

 

 

Amazingly even a perfectly sealed Ziploc inside the cache was also flooded. :(

 

5e6f526e-ac3f-4cf9-a59f-276ccacbe34d.jpg

 

Only the log book in its own Ziploc was ok! :)

 

I thought that the cache could do no worse without the bags than with them, so they were removed. (Owner informed). Interested to see next log as we have had plenty of rain since my visit.

 

.

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I never use a plastic bag for my caches. I camo the container and stencil all the info on the outside.

This camo bags sounds good, where can I get some?

Some of my caches have a hand made Hessian bag that is has a bit of camo sprayed on it. My daughter made some bags out of Hessian for me.

Another problem I have with bags is that when it gets wet and wet inside it really stuffs up the cache.

A while ago I visited a cache where the plastic bag disintegrated.

The owner most properly used a biodegradable bag!

IMHO, we should try and use as little as possible plastic in nature. Anyway in our environment black stands out like a sore thumb.

My cache boxes look liks this so no bag needed!

471fef08-f157-45fa-874d-740c46317c74.jpg

 

I'm busy putting together my first caches (I will not being using bags) and plan on spraying them in a similar manner to these. I have found the "Spray Mate" plastic primer but I can't find any matt spray paint in colours other than black and white.

 

Does anyone know a specific product I can get colours in matt or do you just use the gloss paint. Any tips are greatly appreciated.

 

On a slightly different note, what is the etiquette with regard to removing bags from caches, particularly worn out tatty ones?

Edited by MnCo
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:ph34r:Ban the Bag! ;)

 

With some creativity one can come up with the ideal cache container. :P As an experiment I have used the perfect camo; using the same sand from the area + super strength contact glue + tupperware container, and mayby a small pebble or two.

 

A container like this looks in place and does not draw any attention and can withstand all the elements.

 

Have a look at my cache SKUNK-WORKS GC1H8RK and see all the logs and comments about the container.

 

I have never found a simular cache container as yet, so I claim it as my signature for all my future caches :huh: . Next container is already in the process of being made.

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I made a point of it to remove all the bags from my caches and only place containers that are watertight anyway.

 

I also removed plastic bags from other caches that were in tatters and of no use. The owners of those cache will not complain (if they are real GEOcachers) and if they do, tuffies. Then they should have seen to it that their caches were better maintained and the containers were of a better kind.

 

I do like the comments of those cachers supra and will implement some of the container ideas.

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:P You aint seen nothing until you've seen the new container for our 'Lugner, Lugner' cache. :P

 

:ph34r: This container was almost two months in the making and we have had cachers walk right up to it and lift it to try and find the cache underneath. ;):P

 

Sorry I can't put a photo of it here as I don't have any and seeing as the camo is so good I don't know if I would even find it again... HAHAHA!!! :huh:

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