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Micro Containers - Quality?

Zac Young

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Hi Zack, thanx for asking. The following should be considered as nothing more than my personal views on the topic. Take them with a grain of salt.

Azimov's Third Law of Geocaching declares, "Film Canisters Suck... Always".

However, it's been my experience that this is not entirely true. I've encountered two common types of film canisters in the wild, and their performance is as different as night and day. The black film cans with the grey lids are universally crappy. The purpose of a cache, (again, just my opinion), is to protect its contents. It doesn't matter if said contents are a scrap of paper or high end swag. If the container won't protect the contents from the elements, it sucks. If you've got an annual average humidity of more than 1%, you should avoid the black & grey film cans like the plague. Many cachers will opine that putting a scrap of paper into a baggie, and shoving this into a film can makes them serviceable, however I would counter that needing a baggie is proof that the container failed in its mission. I would also remind you that paper cuts baggies fairly easily. The repeated removal and replacement of a logsheet into a baggie will soon render it no longer waterproof.


On a positive note, the clear, (opaque?), film cans whose lids snap inside the base make fairly good containers. However, these are not as common as the crappy ones. I've got a grocery bag full of about 100 film cans which are going to be used as CITO containers. Of these, maybe 10% are the clear kind. Perhaps because locating these clear ones requires a bit more effort than obtaining the crappy ones is the reason so many couch potato cachers avoid them?


If your goal is to place a quality micro, might I suggest a waterproof match container? Wally World typically has them for less than $1, and they out perform both types of film cans. Another quality micro container are soda bottle preforms.


Good luck!



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Film canisters can be fine cache containers.


What you want to do is take a critical look at where the cache is being hidden to determine whether any specific container would be acceptable. For some placement, film cans are great. For others, film cans are not acceptable. Also, as CR noted, some film can designs are better than others. While you would imagine that the kind with the caps that snap over the top of the container would keep water out better, you'd be wrong.

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My plan is to use on for a first step in a puzzle cache.

Kewl! I love multis. Wish I lived in your neck of the woods. So long as you get a clear one, instead of the uber-crappy black & grey ones, you should be fine.

Or, you could fork out $0.88 cents for a container with a proven track record, rather than risk using the poster child of lame cache containers.

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Thanks for your consideration guys! My plan is to use on for a first step in a puzzle cache. I will for sure test it out in the local weather conditions before listing the cache. :laughing:


Although they're a bit more expensive than a film container I've found some nice metal pill containers that are about the same size at Rite Aid. They resemble a bison tube but are a bit larger. They have a rubber right around the lid that should make them pretty waterproof and a loop on the top of the lid that could be used to attach the container to something else with some metal wire.

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Laminating the waypoints might be a good idea. I hate mushy, illegible clues in intermediate stages! Diabetic test strip containers are a bit smaller, and they are waterproof! I've got one out as an intermediate stage, and no complaints (outside of finding the sucker...)


I write the coordinates (for stages) on a piece of wooden dowling and put it inside a film cannister. Use a permanent marker like a Sharpie. This eliminates the issue with soggy paper.

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I've rarely found a dry logbook in any film canister, black w/grey lid or clear.


If you are hiding them where they will not be exposed to rain and snow they will work but that can be said for any container.


Consider waterproof match boxes. Inexpensive and watertight.

Amen to that!

With digital photography, I cannot wait until film canisters are obsolete then maybe all of those lamp posts and guard rails will return to normal! :D

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Thanks for your consideration guys! My plan is to use on for a first step in a puzzle cache. I will for sure test it out in the local weather conditions before listing the cache. :D


I did a multi this past summer where the first step was a film canister with the coords for the next part written on a piece of paper inside a Ziploc bag. The canister and bag had both leaked, and the paper was mush with the coords unreadable. Very disappointing, especially since I had to crawl about 3 feet inside a blackberry bush to get to the container. Make VERY sure that your container is up to the task. The way I tested my hide was to leave it underwater for a week, and since it stayed dry inside, I called it good for my hide. Of course, that may be a little extreme, but my hide is underwater. Maybe put what you plan on hiding underwater for an hour and see how it fairs. Or just get a better container. A cheap container on he first stage of a puzzle or multi can ruin the whole thing, as I found out.

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Although I don't have much experience on the topic...

I use small containers ment to hold matches and keep them dry as a replacement for film canisters. They work very well, considering their intended purpose is to keep the objects inside dry. They are slightly longer then film canasters, and I was able to find them for $2 each at a surplus/outdoor store (along with some camo tape and some great amo cans :D )


I recently placed a cache using one of these containers- Wrapped it in camo tape, did some...uh....other secrect stuff to camo it, and placed it under a pine tree. My second cache placement!


- ClanBlakley #3

Edited by ClanBlakley
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I find that the little black plastic containers that diabetic test strips come in are great. They are made to be totally waterproof which I tested by leaving it underwater for an hour and they usually have some dessicant under the top lid. They work great in Vancouver on the wet coast and their black color makes them tough to find in most situations.

If you know a diabetic or works somewhere like a medical clinic that tests diabetics, ask for them. The lid has a larger lip as well which makes them easier to open.

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