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Preform Caches


SPSFCaches
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1 hour ago, SPSFCaches said:

Micro or small size ?

 

Micro. 

 

A "preform" is the sturdy plastic tube of an uninflated soda bottle.  They are Micro size, can't hold much more than a rolled log sheet and a thin pencil, are "smaller than an apple", and you can't "fit a sandwich inside it":

https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=97&pgid=815

 

Preform-Geocache-Tube-e1488743947868.jpg

Edited by kunarion
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There are different kinds of preforms (in Germany we say "PETling" more often but I am sure we are referring to the same). For the normal ones (usually about 9 to 13 centimeters long and 2 centimeters wide) the others are totally correct: these are micro caches though many cachers list them as small.

But there are much bigger versions and the biggest may hold small trackables so if you use a big one as seen in the picture small should be correct.

 

grafik.png.fb4eed18264c6380dbb3dcd9422095cb.png

 

The picture is taken from a geocaching shop (no link, no advertisement, just google "XXL Petling" or "big PETling" or something like that). The container seen here has a width of about 4.5 centimeters and a length of 18 centimeters.

 

Jochen

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25 minutes ago, frostengel said:

There are different kinds of preforms (in Germany we say "PETling" more often but I am sure we are referring to the same). For the normal ones (usually about 9 to 13 centimeters long and 2 centimeters wide) the others are totally correct: these are micro caches though many cachers list them as small.

But there are much bigger versions and the biggest may hold small trackables so if you use a big one as seen in the picture small should be correct.

 

grafik.png.fb4eed18264c6380dbb3dcd9422095cb.png

 

The picture is taken from a geocaching shop (no link, no advertisement, just google "XXL Petling" or "big PETling" or something like that). The container seen here has a width of about 4.5 centimeters and a length of 18 centimeters.

 

Jochen

 

Those are nice, except for the cost. Someday I might find a great deal on those.  There are cool ways these could be used for caches.

 

I have a box of 500 50ml PET vials (centrifuge tubes), it was $100 US Dollars on ebay.  A size slightly larger than a film canister or match tube, but smaller than the pictured tube.  I assume those have an integral seal (ring or lip as part of the lid as opposed to a rubber or foam disc).  That's what the vials have, a decent seal, if you swap it out at times.  When the lid degrades, it's time to swap out the whole thing.  Since mine are placed as one-off caches (not 1000 cache trails) a box of vials is pretty much a "lifetime supply".

 

The issue I've seen is Geocachers can't figure out how to put a cap back on a tube.  They cross-thread it, or otherwise mess it up, so I always need the extra replacements on hand.  Just like how they can't manage to close an ammo box. Geocachers aren't very mechanically inclined. B)

 

Edited by kunarion
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29 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Those are nice, except for the cost. [...] I have a box of 500 50ml PET vials

 

Usually those kind of containers are expensive if you buy one and cheap if you buy several of them.

I found a (German shop's) offer at ebay selling 20 XXL PETlings with cap for 15,90 € which should be about 15 $. That's a good price for one but the question is if you need 20 of them. ;-))

 

A big advantage of the normal sized PETlings is that you'll get a new cap from the usual water bottles sold here. So if it is damaged you can simply replace it. It's harder to get the big one's caps.

 

I use the small ones only as stages of multi caches and I like those here. But they are not what I want to have as a final cache box - too small. :-)

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40 minutes ago, lee737 said:

We've deployed several of these - we list them as small, they'll hold small TBs and swag, notebook and pencil..... 

preform.jpg


I heard that’s illegal. :anicute:

 

Does a standard TB dog tag fit in there, I guess lengthwise?  With more than one, do they jam up in there?  I had a match tube that a path tag will fit into, but it’s tapered internally, so the item can get immediately stuck pretty good.

 

Maybe this will fit?  I designed it to be compact: 

 

E6662276-B029-4755-AED1-25BFB50BFBF1.jpeg
 

I can measure it if there’s a question about that.

 

Edited by kunarion
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5 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Does a standard TB dog tag fit in there, I guess lengthwise?  With more than one, do they jam up in there?  I had a match tube that a path tag will fit into, but it’s tapered internally, so the item can get immediately stuck pretty good.

Standard dog tag - no.... I've had some skinnier ones that do fit OK. Someone left a full sized (looked used too) comb in one of ours as 'swag'..... 

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9 minutes ago, kunarion said:

I heard that’s illegal. :anicute:

Funny - I had to get permission for a cache in a national park close by, and was going to use one of these, so took it over to the ranger's office, but she wasn't there - so I left it with the paperwork with the office staff.... when I spoke to her on the phone the next day she said 'I thought someone had left me a present!'..... and I never got the preform back! :D

 

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39 minutes ago, lee737 said:

Funny - I had to get permission for a cache in a national park close by, and was going to use one of these, so took it over to the ranger's office, but she wasn't there - so I left it with the paperwork with the office staff.... when I spoke to her on the phone the next day she said 'I thought someone had left me a present!'..... and I never got the preform back! :D

 

 

I guess I should add here that, for caches in NSW national parks, they're only allowed to have a logbook, pen/pencil, pencil sharpener and some educational information about the park, so what size trackables or swag will fit inside is irrelevant. Maybe I'm the odd one out, but for me it's pretty rare that I'm looking to leave something behind in a cache so the size rating is most useful in determining how big the thing is I'm looking for and what potential hiding places it could be in. Lee's ones definitely qualify as "small" on that count.

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Preforms are Micros. The question is not debatable. Their volume is within Groundspeak guidelines for Micros and they can't hold swag or trackables or a logbook (only a rolled logsheet).

 

Edit: I'm referring to typical preforms. Looks like some folks acquire larger versions.

Edited by JL_HSTRE
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30 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:
37 minutes ago, SPSFan said:

Why does the edit cache page state micro = about the size of a 35mm canister or smaller?  I am in the process of changing my standard size preforms from small to micros and this message keeps appearing.

Sounds helpful advice. Why is this a problem?

A film canister has a volume of 50ml or less. Containers with a volume between 50ml and 100ml should be listed as micro, but the "film canister or smaller" language implies that they should be listed as small instead.

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2 hours ago, SPSFan said:

Why does the edit cache page state micro = about the size of a 35mm canister or smaller?  I am in the process of changing my standard size preforms from small to micros and this message keeps appearing.

HQ do use different definitions here and there, at one stage even different names for the sizes….

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I'm not going to comment on "official", but I'm pretty sure those are almost always listed as smalls in my area, so that's kinda what I would expect. I guess when the cache is twice the width of my hand, it's hard for me to worry about the volume of liquid it can contain. But it's certainly near enough the line that I wouldn't be surprised about either size and would be open to finding that kind of container no matter which size the cache was listed as.

 

The criteria about TBs fitting in isn't much used in my area. After all, double the length of the preform, and it's big enough to be a small even though it's still can't hold a TB. (Although the more common example is a pill bottle with lots of room, but still an opening too small for most TBs. Yes, we all, quite rightly, hate those, but that doesn't matter when deciding its size.)

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12 hours ago, HHL said:

It's just wrong wording from HQ. The less than 100 ml rule is definitive.

 

Hans

I think HQ were just dumbing things down by referring to common objects, but just made it dumb instead. The volume criteria is simple and unambiguous. I showed my kids a 35mm film container, they didn't have a clue what it was!

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1 hour ago, lee737 said:

I think HQ were just dumbing things down by referring to common objects, but just made it dumb instead. The volume criteria is simple and unambiguous. I showed my kids a 35mm film container, they didn't have a clue what it was!


It’s rare in my area for any additional items to fit into a Small container.  There’s either to much stuff already, or a TB and its attachment, or even some swag I have on hand is too bulky and I don’t feel like taking anything.

 

But I sometimes use the visual of “you can fit a sandwich into a Small container” in my log.  Like, “if the CO can fit a sandwich into the space of this container, I hope to never be invited to lunch.” :cool:

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4 minutes ago, kunarion said:

It’s rare in my area for any additional items to fit into a Small container.  There’s either to much stuff already,

I'm always amused when people cram a huge notebook, good for 10 years of visits into a small container in a busy park - as if it will last more than 6 months! The size of the logbook generally ensures the lid won't be seated down properly in any case, and it will be wet in a month.... 

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6 minutes ago, lee737 said:

I'm always amused when people cram a huge notebook, good for 10 years of visits into a small container in a busy park - as if it will last more than 6 months! The size of the logbook generally ensures the lid won't be seated down properly in any case, and it will be wet in a month.... 

 

Guilty as charged :cute:.  I place a leetle tiny box and just happen to have this humongous log book that fits great.  Cause “this will probably last for years!”…

and it’s soaking wet next week…

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Theyre a small. Lets go to an extreme example using volume as a yardstick. I take a length of plastic tube, 5mm inside diameter, 5 metres long, and make a cache container out of it. Its internal volume is 98.17ml. Are you really going to try to convince me that a container 5 metres long is a micro? I would consider such a container a large. Size isnt everything, but in the same breath, size is everything. 

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42 minutes ago, kunarion said:

But I sometimes use the visual of “you can fit a sandwich into a Small container” in my log.  Like, “if the CO can fit a sandwich into the space of this container, I hope to never be invited to lunch.” 

 

The smallest "small" I've used is one of these decon containers that HQ sells. The volume is a smidgen over 100ml and it's big enough to hold a pencil and an actual logbook (not a folded-up sheet), although you probably wouldn't get much else in there.

 

CacheSize.jpg.34d3029d8bfa09a1c58a6b717c39c122.jpg

 

The marketing hype says the lid makes a waterproof seal but the cache I originally used it on had a bit of rainwater pooling in its hiding place and the contents soon got soaked. I put a Sistema there instead (no problems since) and the decon now lives deep inside a large cave where it's dry and snug.

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12 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

The marketing hype says the lid makes a waterproof seal

That is certainly marketing - we've deployed one, and have just made a replacement as it was wet (again), and others we've found in exposed areas are generally wet - they do need to be in caves.....

 

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1 hour ago, Bundyrumandcoke said:

Theyre a small. Lets go to an extreme example using volume as a yardstick. I take a length of plastic tube, 5mm inside diameter, 5 metres long, and make a cache container out of it. Its internal volume is 98.17ml. Are you really going to try to convince me that a container 5 metres long is a micro? I would consider such a container a large. Size isnt everything, but in the same breath, size is everything. 

The size model breaks down for flat containers and for long, skinny containers. The odd size that I've seen a few times is a gallon freezer ziplock on the back of a sign, held in place by flat magnets. Sure, the ziplock bag could hold a gallon (clearly in the volume range of a regular container), but that could compromise the hide, which relies on the container remaining flat, where it can't contain much more than a few sheets of paper (clearly a small or micro size).

 

For such situations, the size OTHER was invented.

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8 minutes ago, niraD said:

The size model breaks down for flat containers and for long, skinny containers. The odd size that I've seen a few times is a gallon freezer ziplock on the back of a sign, held in place by flat magnets. Sure, the ziplock bag could hold a gallon (clearly in the volume range of a regular container), but that could compromise the hide, which relies on the container remaining flat, where it can't contain much more than a few sheets of paper (clearly a small or micro size).

 

For such situations, the size OTHER was invented.

Thats a purely subjective opinion. I have attempted to use the Other size category for an extremely small container, far below the normal size of small, or micro, to have it thrown back in my face by the reviewer as incorrect usage. It seems everyones opinions are different, and even the guidelines placed by the game organisers, written in black and white, are open to interpretation. Are you suggesting that a 5 metre length of plastic hose, (to use my example above) isnt, as you say, long, skinny containers

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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

 

The smallest "small" I've used is one of these decon containers that HQ sells. The volume is a smidgen over 100ml and it's big enough to hold a pencil and an actual logbook (not a folded-up sheet), although you probably wouldn't get much else in there.

 

CacheSize.jpg.34d3029d8bfa09a1c58a6b717c39c122.jpg

 

The marketing hype says the lid makes a waterproof seal but the cache I originally used it on had a bit of rainwater pooling in its hiding place and the contents soon got soaked. I put a Sistema there instead (no problems since) and the decon now lives deep inside a large cave where it's dry and snug.


Those seem pretty cool, but I’ve never bought one.

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13 minutes ago, Bundyrumandcoke said:

Are you suggesting that a 5 metre length of plastic hose, (to use my example above) isnt, as you say, long, skinny containers

That sounds like a great use of OTHER to me. If you make the hose long enough, it might even hold 20L or more, making it a large. But I wouldn't label it as such.

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2 hours ago, Bundyrumandcoke said:

Theyre a small. Lets go to an extreme example using volume as a yardstick. I take a length of plastic tube, 5mm inside diameter, 5 metres long, and make a cache container out of it. Its internal volume is 98.17ml. Are you really going to try to convince me that a container 5 metres long is a micro? I would consider such a container a large. Size isnt everything, but in the same breath, size is everything. 

'Other'

It won't fit a TB, and calling it large is misleading. Many people with TBs to drop off are guided by the rating. If the inside of a cache doesn't match the outside, such as a bison tube up the rear of a big plastic spider, or used as the funnel of a plastic train (both my caches), I call them an 'Other'. It's less misleading. It could also be said (and a reviewer asked me to put this in the description of the train), the cache has the outside dimensions of a small, but the inside dimensions of a micro. Neither are just a standard box, or a micro shoved under a rock.

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3 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

'Other'

It won't fit a TB, and calling it large is misleading. Many people with TBs to drop off are guided by the rating. If the inside of a cache doesn't match the outside, such as a bison tube up the rear of a big plastic spider, or used as the funnel of a plastic train (both my caches), I call them an 'Other'. It's less misleading. It could also be said (and a reviewer asked me to put this in the description of the train), the cache has the outside dimensions of a small, but the inside dimensions of a micro. Neither are just a standard box, or a micro shoved under a rock.

Mate, sometimes thats all part of the fun of the game. I had a "small" that was a garden gnome that stood around 600mm high. The cache container was a film container, one of many, inside the much larger gnome. But the container itself was a small. 

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26 minutes ago, Bundyrumandcoke said:

Mate, sometimes thats all part of the fun of the game. I had a "small" that was a garden gnome that stood around 600mm high. The cache container was a film container, one of many, inside the much larger gnome. But the container itself was a small. 

Rather annoying though if, as happened to me, I brought a TB from the UK to Australia and then drove it 600km return to a place it wanted to go, to find most of the caches marked as 'small' would not fit a TB, as they were micros. I did a lot of driving about that suburb, getting more annoyed at each cache, hunting for a proper small sized cache, so I could fulfil the destination request of the TB owner, to go to their sister. At least if you do what you explained,  please write in the description, that it won't fit TBs.

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44 minutes ago, Bundyrumandcoke said:

Mate, sometimes thats all part of the fun of the game. I had a "small" that was a garden gnome that stood around 600mm high. The cache container was a film container, one of many, inside the much larger gnome. But the container itself was a small. 

That's sure not how I see it. The container is the film canister (a micro) you may have camouflaged it in something larger (a garden gnome) but the "container" is still a micro. The best cache type to select for these (if you don't want to say micro) is "other". IMHO  

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2 hours ago, MtnGoat50 said:

That's sure not how I see it. The container is the film canister (a micro) you may have camouflaged it in something larger (a garden gnome) but the "container" is still a micro. The best cache type to select for these (if you don't want to say micro) is "other". IMHO  

I have DNFed caches like that. I have spent so long searching every nook and micro sized gap in boulders, cliffs, tree bark, etc, because I thought I was looking for a micro sized container, I have given up. Once I know I am looking, not for a micro, but a larger object, I have returned for a quicker find. I like to give favourite points, but I would be very unlikely to give one to those caches, marked micro, when they are not. Annoying.

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13 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

I have DNFed caches like that. I have spent so long searching every nook and micro sized gap in boulders, cliffs, tree bark, etc, because I thought I was looking for a micro sized container, I have given up. Once I know I am looking, not for a micro, but a larger object, I have returned for a quicker find. I like to give favourite points, but I would be very unlikely to give one to those caches, marked micro, when they are not. Annoying.

I understand that. I own a few similar caches and I list them as "other". In the description I say that it's a micro hidden inside a larger object. That lets people know that there is no room for TBs and gives them an idea what they're looking for. Hiding a micro (bison, film can, whatever) in a larger object and calling it a small is equally annoying. 

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2 hours ago, MtnGoat50 said:

Hiding a micro (bison, film can, whatever) in a larger object and calling it a small is equally annoying.

 

What about further up the scale, like a regular-sized outer container enclosing a small-sized inner container?

 

hollow_wombat.jpg.6ce3adc4a383d1ae51a58ea57cdfcf36.jpg

 

This hollow wombat has a 380ml Sistema tucked inside it to protect the logbook from dirt and moisture, but I've listed it as a regular because that's the size of the thing people are looking for, and with the amount of undergrowth that's sprung up around GZ in the last couple of years, it's hard enough to spot even if you're just searching in places where a regular could lurk. It's also pretty remote with few finders (only one this year) and in the five years it's been there I don't think anyone's left a trackable in it, so I think it's more important, for this one at least, that the size rating reflects the size of the thing to look for rather than catering for some hypothetical cacher wanting to leave a TB there that won't fit in a small. Anyway they could always leave it inside the wombat but not in the Sistema as there's plenty of room in its belly.

 

More generally, there are some local cachers here that routinely use an outer container for the cache and a smaller inner container just for the logbook to provide extra protection for it. This one has three containers, an outer box, an inner field puzzle box and then a Sistema for the logbook and swag inside that:

 

Containers.jpg.6286b29c98fa7bf92167fc96cd427d2b.jpg

 

That one is listed as a regular.

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3 hours ago, MtnGoat50 said:

I understand that. I own a few similar caches and I list them as "other". In the description I say that it's a micro hidden inside a larger object. That lets people know that there is no room for TBs and gives them an idea what they're looking for. Hiding a micro (bison, film can, whatever) in a larger object and calling it a small is equally annoying. 

A micro in a bigger object I call 'other'. This for instance is listed as an 'other'. A bison tube in the spider.

768539628_RedHillcache.thumb.jpg.c2c96e3c3f0757cb7f9f3e1e0af4e831.jpg

 

Once a cache is big enough to hold trackables I think the rating becomes less important (within reason). It's the caches that can't hold trackables that really do need correct ratings. If it can hold TBs, if it's listed as a small, regular or other is not so important in that case.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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2 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

in the five years it's been there I don't think anyone's left a trackable in it

Maybe they are like me. One of the criterias for me which cache to leave a trackable in, is enough visitors. I would see one visitor a year and not leave a trackable. If I saw only one visitor every three months, I also wouldn't leave a trackable. Still not enough visitors.

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1 minute ago, Goldenwattle said:

Maybe they are like me. One of the criterias for me which cache to leave a trackable in, is enough visitors. I would see one visitor a year and not leave a trackable. If I saw only one visitor every three months, I also wouldn't leave a trackable. Still not enough visitors.

 

A few weeks ago I paid a visit to one of my more remote caches (GC6JMDK). Someone left a trackable there in May 2020, it had another visitor in October 2020 but they didn't take the TB, so I thought I'd better go out there and move it along before its owner wrote it off as missing. I'd actually intended to do that in mid winter, which is my preferred time for visiting that cache, but the lockdown intervened.

 

That cache is also one with a regular-sized novelty outer container and a much smaller inner container just for the logbook. The TBs that have been left there have been placed in the outer container (the locomotive's cab) rather than in the inner box.

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1 minute ago, barefootjeff said:

The TBs that have been left there have been placed in the outer container (the locomotive's cab) rather than in the inner box.

I found a cache in a small country town that was in a hollow in the wooden surrounds of a sculpture. I found a TB outside the cache box, and only because I got down low and shone a torch in. Otherwise, it might still be there and eventually marked as missing, as someone sooner or later might have said it wasn't in the cache. I have a place in my garden if that sculpture is ever looking for a new home. I have always liked it.

1242288067_DragonLockhartNSW.thumb.jpg.f4ecdd13751b9fae1b2c28f43267e95b.jpg

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