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Building a Cache to Last a Long Time


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Hey all,

 

I've always found it really special when I find a very old cache and I see that the original container and logbook are still there and in good condition. So to create that same experience for others in the far future, I'm trying to design a geocache to last a very long time. My goal is to have it last for 20 years without maintenance and still be in decent condition thereafter. 

 

I want to gather the community's input on how to make a cache last as long as possible. Rather than consider the longevity of one specific cache, I'll write this as a general guide to making caches last as long as possible. I'll list the dimensions by which a cache or its log can become damaged or missing, and provide a number of solutions for each. I'd love to have help in adding to the list, both by thinking of other issues and by adding to the solutions.

 

I'll continuously edit the first post as people make suggestions, so that this thread both helps me with my hide, and serves as a living guide for those looking for tips on how to make their caches last.

 

In rough order of importance:

 

Rain:

Keep caches and logs dry by:

-Using waterproof containers (ammo cans, lock & locks, jars with twist tops, instrument cases)

-Use layers (i.e. have the log book in a lock & lock which itself is inside of an ammo can)

-Use waterproof paper (stone paper, rite in the rain)

 

Getting Muggled:

Prevent caches from getting muggled by:

-Keeping it out of sight (this could mean easy for a Geocacher, but extremely unlikely that someone will accidentally stumble upon it)

-Writing "Official Game Piece Do Not Remove" on the outside and include a note inside

-Chaining or tying the container to an immovable object (may also entice muggles if they see, works best out of sight)

-Hiding it deep enough in the wilderness that no one will even want to carry it out

 

Being Moved by Nature:

Prevent caches from being moved by nature by:

-Not hiding caches too close to waterways

-Not hiding caches near cliffs or on steep inclines

-Chaining or tying the container to an immovable object

-Not hiding caches where they can fall

 

Wildfires:

Prevent caches from being destroyed in a wildfire by:

-Using a container made from fire-resistant material (metal is better than plastic, but won't prevent contents from melting if it gets hot enough)

-Not hiding a cache near too much fuel

 

General Wear and Tear:

Safeguard caches from general wear and tear by:

-Using sturdy containers

-Hiding the cache in a location that won't see too many finds

 

 

Would love to hear your suggestions to add to this list!

 

Special thanks to these cachers for contributing:

Harry Dolphin

barefootjeff

niraD

NanCycle

 

 

-Bobby (garretslarrity)

Edited by garretslarrity
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My only argument is silica gel.  It's only  meant for a sealed container, and discarded when the container is opened.  It absorbs  water, but only a  small amount, and releases it with heat.

My oldest cache will be 18 next month.  83 finds.  And still in good condition.  Ammo cache in the watershed.  Hiking permit required.  About a mile in on the trail with a fairly steep climb to the top of the ridge overlooking the reservoir.  Great view.  About 80 from the trail in a rock field.  Meets most of your specs.

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In January's Top Ten Cache Owner Resolutions blog post that kicked off the Year of the Hide (which seems to have lasted about two months), it was suggested that COs should visit their caches every two months to keep them well maintained, but I think with a bit of foresight and careful design it might be possible to create a cache that lasts a little longer than that. I've always aspired to create caches that won't require any maintenance; sometimes it's worked better than expected and sometimes not, but it remains an ongoing experiment that I'm still keen to pursue.

 

The most important factor I've found is the match between the hiding place and the container choice. A cache inside a dry cave doesn't have to be waterproof, in fact it may benefit from being able to breathe if the humidity is likely to be high, so caves and other rocky places protected from the elements are always my first choice of hiding place. For caches that are exposed to the weather, though, it's really a matter of horses for courses. An ammo can is often a good choice but they don't last long if exposed to constant sea spray. Conversely, plastic containers don't do too well if they're exposed to sunlight.

 

For logbooks, of late I've been using "stone paper" notepads sold here under the Tradie brand. The paper is made from crushed rock held together with polymer and works well with pencils and pens of all types. The only problems I've observed is that water-based pen ink will run and bleed through if it gets wet and the notebook covers are made of standard heavy cardboard which doesn't do too well if the container fills up with water. Following this year's multiple deluges and floods, I've been experimenting with applying a waterproof spray to the covers to see how that goes, time will tell.

 

The general purpose go-to container in these parts is the Sistema Klip-It range (made in New Zealand). They're similar in style to the American Lock'n'lock except they have proper hinged tabs and, as long as they're not exposed to sun and don't get any dirt stuck in the seal, they do surprisingly well. I've found quite a few original Sistemas in caches placed in the early 2000s that are in virtually mint condition. But I've found the seal isn't quite perfect and if the container is fully submerged for some length of time, such as in a flood, a bit of moisture can get in. I have a troublesome cache that's in what I thought was a dry hiding place but in very heavy rain it turns into an underground watercourse. My original choice of container, a steel cashbox, ended up full of water, so my next attempt was a Sistema but it got a bit damp inside during the almost constant heavy rain we had during March and April. I've since replaced it with a Duratech instrument case and it survived this month's floods without so much as a drop of water getting inside.

 

DuratechContainer.jpg.6f80f338c216fbe2744a1fbd1b5ee1b4.jpg

 

One of my older surviving caches is this one, GC61HCN which I placed in 2015. It's hidden in the honeycombed roof of a small cave and after seven years it's still pretty much pristine. Even the pencil is still the original and hasn't needed sharpening. I took this photo just last week:

 

July2022.jpg.c0903381f031388daf2ab0b5da8bcd2e.jpg

 

So far none of my caches has had to withstand fire, as the bushland around here was spared the 2019 Black Summer fires that devastated much of the state. I think this one, a stainless steel cookpot tucked deep inside a cave and well away from any vegetation, might be okay (not sure about its contents though), but plastic containers would likely melt from the ambient heat even if not directly exposed to flame.

 

Montage.jpg.ea6b6236fbbc9786453c663a29df9c22.jpg

 

As for general wear and tear, one of my earliest hides, a Sistema placed in 2014, had just over 300 finds before it was muggled and I archived it, but apart from a bit of scratching on the lid from its covering rock, it was still quite servicable and its original logbook was still only a little over half full. But that one was an exception, most of my hides struggle to get more than a dozen or two finds so wear and tear is unlikely to be an issue. But there are some pretty sturdy containers to be found if one goes beyond the supermarket shelves, like this one that one of my friends used for a cache:

 

Container.jpg.e3afb03fd0d5657f463bde1faf7e0a61.jpg

 

So those are my thoughts on this subject.

Edited by barefootjeff
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35 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

plastic containers would likely melt from the ambient heat even if not directly exposed to flame.

I came upon a cache like that. The outside was a tin, but inside was a plastic container and log. The plastic had melted and the log was glued to the inside of the tin by a layer of melted plastic, and the log couldn't be unstuck. The tin survived okay.

Maybe a steel thermos with its insulation layer, would survive a fire.

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You've already gotten some great advice. I've got just a few comments.

 

6 hours ago, garretslarrity said:

Rain:

Keep caches and logs dry by:

-Using waterproof containers (ammo cans, lock & locks, jars with twist tops, [ADD MORE])

-Use layers (i.e. have the log book in a lock & lock which itself is inside of an ammo can)

-Use waterproof paper ([WHAT IS THE BEST KIND?])

-Put silica gel with the log (silica gel will do nothing is your cache is not properly sealed, but can help to extend the log's life by removing excess water or humidity that gets in when it is opened)

As has been mentioned, silica desiccant packets are useless for geocaches. My wife and I have used them for seed saving, to keep refrigerated seeds dry in the refrigerator. They work only with a sealed container, so the smallest bit of dirt compromising the seal would make them useless. And they need to be recharged (baked at low temperatures for a long time) after the container has been opened a few times.

 

As has been mentioned, sometimes a container that breathes, but which is in a sheltered location works better than a perfectly watertight, airtight container. Several of the caches I've found that have been in the best condition fall into this category. So I would emphasize choosing a sheltered location as part of your protection from weather.

 

Layers are useful. I've found boat caches that used a heavy outer container made from PVC pipe for physical protection, with an inner container to protect the log from water. They were in great shape.

 

One issue with waterproof or weatherproof paper is that some kinds are hard to write on with different writing sticks. Some don't work with ink, and others don't work with pencil. I haven't kept up on the details though. I print the extra log sheets that I carry on Rite in the Rain weatherproof paper, but I haven't done a comparison.

 

Waterproof containers don't work if geocachers (especially new geocachers) can't close them properly. This is the big problem with decon boxes. Back when they were being used regularly, I found more of them partially open than I found fully closed. And I've seen newbies struggle to close ammo cans; heaven help them if the top actually comes off.

 

6 hours ago, garretslarrity said:

-Chaining or tying the container to an immovable object

Sometimes a chain/lock just tells muggles that there's something valuable, something worth chaining/locking up. That might actually provide incentive for them to take your cache, rather than leaving it alone. A tether does help make sure the cache is replaced in the correct spot, but such a tether doesn't have to be a security device.

 

Keep in mind that not only does the cache need to be camouflaged so muggles don't spot it when it's in its hiding place, but geocachers have to be able to find, retrieve, and replace the cache without drawing undue attention to it. That's why micros survive in urban/suburban locations; larger caches are harder to retrieve and replace without nearby muggles noticing.

 

6 hours ago, garretslarrity said:

Wildfires:

Prevent caches from being destroyed in a wildfire by:

-Using a container made from fire-resistant material [IS METAL THE BEST FOR THIS?]

-Not hiding a cache near too much fuel

-[IS THERE ANY SUCH THING AS FIRE-RESISTANT PAINT?]

-Definitely need more help with this section

I'm not sure there is much you can do in the event of a wildfire, other than put the cache in a sheltered location away from anything that can burn. If it's actually in the wildfire, even if the container is fireproof, the contents will melt and/or turn to charcoal.

 

6 hours ago, garretslarrity said:

General Wear and Tear:

Safeguard caches from general wear and tear by:

-Using sturdy containers

-Hiding the cache in a location that won't see too many finds

Multi-caches and mystery/puzzle caches have less traffic, which reduces the wear and tear further.

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My best long lasting and maintenance free cache is inside a library.  And it's not a book cache, it's something pretty special that I set up with the library staff.  I have a puzzle in a magnetic keyholder outside the library that points to where the cache is in the library, as you need an outdoor component to geocaches.  I admit the keyholder goes missing sometimes, but not the cache.  

 

With 68 favorite points (70%) it's pretty well received as well.

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15 minutes ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

My best long lasting and maintenance free cache is inside a library.  And it's not a book cache, it's something pretty special that I set up with the library staff.  I have a puzzle in a magnetic keyholder outside the library that points to where the cache is in the library, as you need an outdoor component to geocaches.  I admit the keyholder goes missing sometimes, but not the cache.  

 

With 68 favorite points (70%) it's pretty well received as well.

 

 

No guarantees in life.

 

https://coord.info/GC7WY26

 

A Library Cache here in Pleasant Valley, New York. The building AND it's Library Cache burnt to the ground.

 

I'm not sure what the point is supposed to be here, but I'm bored at work and this seemed to fit into the theme of protecting caches from fire & the like. Didn't work.

 

Sorry for the distraction.

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13 hours ago, niraD said:

As has been mentioned, sometimes a container that breathes, but which is in a sheltered location works better than a perfectly watertight, airtight container.

 

What's the advantage of a container that breaths?

Edited by garretslarrity
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39 minutes ago, garretslarrity said:

 

What's the advantage of a container that breaths?

 

Water may evaporate, especially after cachers opened it in a downpour.  But there are so many factors in play, there might be little advantage of an airtight container over an unsealed one.  I have an ammo can hide that was left slightly open by finders several times.  Once, bugs and even snails were inside the can.  A couple times, everything was soaked.  And a couple times, everything became nice and dry, better than ever before.

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1 hour ago, garretslarrity said:

 

What's the advantage of a container that breaths?

 

For two months straight during autumn, we had humidity levels well above 90% the whole time, so with a perfectly sealed container, if anyone opened it during that time the air inside would have held that level of moisture which would then condense out when the temperature dropped. I saw this happen on a few of my well-sealed caches with mould starting to grow in the logbooks even though the interior of the container appeared to be dry. This didn't happen with my breathable containers like the steel cashboxes I've used in some of my cave caches.

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5 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

For two months straight during autumn, we had humidity levels well above 90% the whole time, so with a perfectly sealed container, if anyone opened it during that time the air inside would have held that level of moisture which would then condense out when the temperature dropped. I saw this happen on a few of my well-sealed caches with mould starting to grow in the logbooks even though the interior of the container appeared to be dry. This didn't happen with my breathable containers like the steel cashboxes I've used in some of my cave caches.

 

Now that makes sense! But does this advantage apply in a dry climate? I live in California and am considering a desert hide

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Start with a watertight container and then check on it occasionally. In your cache write-up encourage finders to report on the condition of the cache.   Many good watertight containers end up with a wet mess inside because the seal was compromised in some way.

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1 hour ago, L0ne.R said:

Start with a watertight container and then check on it occasionally. In your cache write-up encourage finders to report on the condition of the cache.   Many good watertight containers end up with a wet mess inside because the seal was compromised in some way.

 

Boat boxes.  I bought a couple before I found out they are terrible about collecting debris in the seal.  Plus they cost more than twice as much as other containers that have the same swag capacity.  And I handed one to a friend once, and he struggled to unlatch it, pulling and prying as hard as he could, from the hinge side of the latch. :rolleyes:

 

My main plan is to check my caches more often that I'd expect I'd have to.  Even if it seems rock-solid, and even if it's an ideal container and well-designed and should always be perfectly fine.  Because of the one time when cachers leave it open in the rain and it fills up with water.  But if I can get there and close my ammo box properly before it becomes a mess (did you know that Geocachers cannot figure out how to do that?  The more you know...), I can prevent needing to clean it all out and reset it.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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Just curious how many of the commenters in this thread actually own a cache whose original container has lasted over 15 years? 

 

I do.

 

I have two that reached their 20th birthdays this year, and another one that will hit that age this October.  All three are ammo cans.  I have never had to perform maintenance on the oldest two, while the one with the birthday in October I had to move from its initial hide right in the middle of poison oak, but has never needed anything else.

 

Using a good (metal, not plastic of any kind) container and a difficult-to-reach hiding spot is quite effective.  All the nonsense about frequent visits is only required if you don't do both of those things.

Edited by fizzymagic
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1 hour ago, fizzymagic said:

Just curious how many of the commenters in this thread actually own a cache whose original container has lasted over 15 years? 

 

I do.

 

I have two that reached their 20th birthdays this year, and another one that will hit that age this October.  All three are ammo cans.  I have never had to perform maintenance on the oldest two, while the one with the birthday in October I had to move from its initial hide right in the middle of poison oak, but has never needed anything else.

 

Using a good (metal, not plastic of any kind) container and a difficult-to-reach hiding spot is quite effective.  All the nonsense about frequent visits is only required if you don't do both of those things.

 

 

Two of mine turned 15 this year.

“It's a Geocache Linus” GC11C6D is doing fine, and has its original camo (which will likely outlast the metal container). It's laying flat on a slope, and seems to stay there OK.  The original owner was performing maintenance to dry things out by 2008.  But that's back when it was found frequently.  It's a very quiet cache now.  These other two are found slightly more often.

“The Easter Beagle” GC16T0B is in place, but lost its paracord tether. It also lost all its natural camo over the years, down to the original RTV silicone rubber, so I renovated it two years ago.

 

“Horton Soul” GC1Z0DE is only 13 years old. It survived ant colonies, rain storms, and a Georgia tornado.

 

All 3 are the original 30 cal ammo cans. Two lie flat. Although I've had trouble with water ingress with another lie-flat hide, these are OK unless someone leaves them unlatched and then it rains. All 3 had log books replaced. Around the Atlanta area, the air is humid, so a big container at least develops condensation. I'm checking on my caches. It's no bother.

 

Edited by kunarion
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1 hour ago, fizzymagic said:

Just curious how many of the commenters in this thread actually own a cache whose original container has lasted over 15 years? 

 

I do.

 

I have two that reached their 20th birthdays this year, and another one that will hit that age this October.  All three are ammo cans.  I have never had to perform maintenance on the oldest two, while the one with the birthday in October I had to move from its initial hide right in the middle of poison oak, but has never needed anything else.

 

Using a good (metal, not plastic of any kind) container and a difficult-to-reach hiding spot is quite effective.  All the nonsense about frequent visits is only required if you don't do both of those things.

 

I went into this assuming ammo cans were the best kind of container. Doesn't seem like a coincidence that so many of the 20+ year old caches are ammo cans. But I've also wondered how much of that is because ammo cans were more common hides in general back then. Does anyone have a good sense of this?

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1 hour ago, fizzymagic said:

Just curious how many of the commenters in this thread actually own a cache whose original container has lasted over 15 years? 

 

I do.

 

I have two that reached their 20th birthdays this year, and another one that will hit that age this October.  All three are ammo cans.  I have never had to perform maintenance on the oldest two, while the one with the birthday in October I had to move from its initial hide right in the middle of poison oak, but has never needed anything else.

 

Using a good (metal, not plastic of any kind) container and a difficult-to-reach hiding spot is quite effective.  All the nonsense about frequent visits is only required if you don't do both of those things.

 

I only started caching in 2013 but a few years back I adopted a cache that had been hidden in 2005, which would make it 17 years old. It's an ammo can tucked under a rock ledge and everything is still original including the logbook. The only maintenance I've had to do since adopting it was to mark a couple of trackables missing that were in the inventory but no longer there. There's a little bit of surface rust as its hiding place is only a few dozen metres away from seawater but it's still structurally sound:

 

20201030_124903.jpg.802a7dbae8507e53eb0d8879ed469c3b.jpg

 

My oldest surviving hide of my own making is GC4ZQTF which I placed in March 2014. It's had 94 finds and is still the original container and logbook, with the only required maintenance being replacement of a missing pencil:

 

20210822_144011.jpg.915ade0c81648b0f78ad796542ad7359.jpg

 

In this part of the world, there doesn't seem to be much difference in longevity between metal and plastic containers. The plastic Sistemas do quite well in the long term if they're protected from sunlight and not exposed to fire, whereas the steel ones need to be kept well away from seawater and salt spray.

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2 hours ago, garretslarrity said:

 

I went into this assuming ammo cans were the best kind of container. Doesn't seem like a coincidence that so many of the 20+ year old caches are ammo cans. But I've also wondered how much of that is because ammo cans were more common hides in general back then. Does anyone have a good sense of this?

 

An ammo can has a uniquely forgiving and protected compression seal. It can't be over-tightened. There is just one latch. Sure, it seems to be a tricky latch for some people to understand. But the whole thing can work for years before there are problems (such as dry rot of the seal or rust). And these are a surplus thing, so you can get a lot of bang for the buck. It makes a durable cache container. Plus it's easy to paint or add camo to.  And you can find the same box from 20 years ago still being made today.

 

But because an ammo can needs a big hiding spot, I often use plastic Lock and Locks or boxes very similar.  The plastic boxes very well protected (inside fake bird houses or whatever) might last 15 years.  Not the ones in the elements.

 

Edited by kunarion
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1 hour ago, garretslarrity said:

I went into this assuming ammo cans were the best kind of container. Doesn't seem like a coincidence that so many of the 20+ year old caches are ammo cans.

In the kind of remote "difficult-to-reach hiding spot" that fizzymagic described, sure.

 

But I've seen multiple ammo cans in urban/suburban locations that lasted much, much less than 20 years.

 

For the 20+ year old caches, it's a combination of a location that won't get muggled, and a container that will survive the elements in that location.

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On 7/29/2022 at 8:39 PM, niraD said:

For the 20+ year old caches, it's a combination of a location that won't get muggled, and a container that will survive the elements in that location.

 

Isn't that supposed to be the standard for all caches?  I freely admit that not all my hides are as robust, but it's what I try for with every hide.

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7 hours ago, fizzymagic said:
On 7/29/2022 at 11:39 PM, niraD said:

For the 20+ year old caches, it's a combination of a location that won't get muggled, and a container that will survive the elements in that location.

 

Isn't that supposed to be the standard for all caches?

 

I agree that that is the ideal that everyone should aspire to, but it can be difficult to assess both of those criteria. I thought my first cache was camouflaged well enough to be safe from muggling, but I didn't realize how much abuse the location took from skateboarders. They weren't trying to find my geocache, but their activities eventually knocked the cache out of place, and then its camouflage was ineffective.

 

As for containers, there are a lot of bad geocache containers out there, and monkey-see-monkey-do leads to more bad geocache containers. But even if someone wants to place a better container, there are a lot of containers that work well indoors in household situations, but which do not hold up to the elements when used as a geocache outdoors.

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What "kills" most caches are water and sunlight and not being closed.  An easy to close waterproof container, placed in a "sheltered from the elements" location and not in direct contact with the ground is your best bet for longevity.  Any placement that gravity can affect benefits from a tether.  Hiding well off the beaten path where possible is the best defense against muggle discovery.  No guarantee, but higher terrain placements increase the chances that finds will be made by folks who are more likely to actually close the container properly.  As noted: ammo cans, plastic boxes with sturdy gaskets and latches, and lock& locks are some of the best containers.  I've also had pretty good luck with lock&locks loosely wrapped up in piece of plastic tarp:  the tarp sheds water and snow and keeps out the sunlight while the lock and lock keeps stuff dry.  Most folks can open and close a lock&lock and rewrap a piece of tarp...

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My caches are about 14 years old, in good shape. They are ammo cans or brand Lock n Locks. One ammo can was in a flood--but when I found it, it was bone dry inside. On occasion the LnLs need a wipe out but are still in good shape (not broken). I can't speak to fireproof. I do regular maintenance. 

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Everything has the possibility to be destroyed. You can make the odds ever in your favor but there is always that chance.

I tried a military grade pelican style box, chained shut and chained to the fence with permission in some bushes of a lesser used public park at the edge of town. Someone was able to barely open the lid and leave it open, event though they couldn't get to anything inside. Then the nearby sprinkler system destroyed the board game library of swag I had inside. This container has been muggled 10+ times and someone eventually took bolt cutters to it. 

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The first one is up: https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCA0FT7_built-to-last-i

 

The container: A 50cal ammo can. Inside, is a lock & lock which holds the log. The ammo can was an easy choice. Their record of being such a dominant share of the the oldest living containers is unbeatable. And here in inland Southern California, we get very little rain and a lot of intense sun. The intense sun weakens the case for the container being plastic, as I have seen so many plastic containers around here whither away to the sun drying and breaking them apart. And the lack of rain strengthens the case for a metal container as rust is much less of a concern here. While the ammo can should hold up extremely well in this environment, a cache with this name shouldn't contain a single point of failure, so I added the second layer of protection for the log by placing inside it the lock & lock. Personally it warms my heart when I see a clean, beautiful, original log on a very old cache and I had this in mind.

The location: The cache is on Blue Mountain, which few people know about or even know how to get to. Its main purpose is to host a cell tower, and it's in an unnamed area of land. All in all, few people come here. You can tell because the nearest cache right off the main trail is over 10 years old and only has 33 finds. And mine is off a side-trail followed by a bit of climb and bushwhack. In fact, what drove me to this area was the existence of older caches: 4 2006 caches and 1 2008 cache, all in their original containers.

The hide: Underneath a large rock. Shade certainly helps protect from the harsh SoCal sun. In addition, this cache is in a spot where rain water will flow away from it, but not one where the cache would fall down the hill. Hid well with smaller rocks, I hope the finders rehide it well.

If I really wanted to set records, I would have hidden it much deeper in the wild. But I figured that this was sufficient since I've decided to make this a series instead of it being one cache. I do promise that later caches in the series will be further from civilization. But nonetheless I am quite confident that this one will last a very long time. 

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34 minutes ago, garretslarrity said:

And here in inland Southern California, we get very little rain and a lot of intense sun. The intense sun weakens the case for the container being plastic, as I have seen so many plastic containers around here whither away to the sun drying and breaking them apart.

I have been told that black/dark plastic containers stand the sun better than white containers and last longer. Recently in outback Australia (gets sunny there too, and hot), I came upon an example to back that up. The plastic base was black and was in great condition, but the white top was a crumbling mess, The cache was under rocks, so had some protection. An ammo tin is better though. In the Northern Territory here, I have found many metal caches, but I presume that is also for fire protection. They get a lot of grass fires.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.9ee332d5760bc4df5067437e2bee8656.jpeg

 

image.thumb.jpeg.19c43354874468db7fe060f0f7f01591.jpeg

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1 hour ago, lee737 said:

This might be due to UV blocking properties of the pigment in the plastic base material....

Some do have pigments added to increase the life of the plastic in sunlight, but I have been told it's also the darkness as well. I can't explain this, but someone with a scientific background likely could.

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On 7/28/2022 at 3:37 AM, garretslarrity said:

Wildfires:

Prevent caches from being destroyed in a wildfire by:

-Using a container made from fire-resistant material (metal is better than plastic, but won't prevent contents from melting if it gets hot enough)

-Not hiding a cache near too much fuel

 

I think the second point is more helpful than the first.

 

Even though a metal container won't burn, it won't protect the contents of a cache from fire if the cache is too close to a fuel source, like a tree stump. See below example. The white slip is what we added; the cache contents were otherwise charred and melted, including the rubber gasket that normally keeps water out.

 

3fc56331-a8db-4bbf-8281-87a9c13657c7.jpg

 

Ammo cans are still my favorite, most robust type of hide for a bigger cache. They're just not going to stop a fire. That said, not much else will, either, apart from, again, not putting it around fuel.

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3 minutes ago, hzoi said:

That said, not much else will, either, apart from, again, not putting it around fuel.

I'm in favour of bulletproof containers, but as far as fires go, all bets are off! I've found ammo tins with 'lightly singed' contents from brief grass fires/flashovers I guess, but if the fire gets established in a zone, you have charcoal contents.

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On 7/28/2022 at 5:37 PM, garretslarrity said:

Rain:

Keep caches and logs dry by:

-Using waterproof containers (ammo cans, lock & locks, jars with twist tops, instrument cases)

-Use layers (i.e. have the log book in a lock & lock which itself is inside of an ammo can)

-Use waterproof paper (stone paper, rite in the rain)

Rain has destroyed more containers (logs) than anything I think. I rely on your points to keep our cache contents dry, and for the most part it works well. The most important thing IMO is layers - anywhere possible, have 2 waterproof containers nestled. I don't hang bison tubes anymore, but use a 3D-printed 'cocoon' hanger around the bison to shield it, and results have been great - we've had a *very* wet 2.5 years around here, and none of our doubled containers have had any water ingress.

 

These compression/seal fitted polycarbonate containers are the closest thing I've seen to an ammo tin (maybe better for waterproofness) - this one was under a riverine flood not long ago, I suspect it had at least 2 metres of water over it for days. Our local hardward used to stock them for <$10 each, now they seem unavailable, I wish I had bought 50 of them!

 

A video of the opening (10 seconds)....   https://youtu.be/GT2y6eb9pu4

 

IMG_7072.thumb.jpeg.8072b2ba597c1f916df53b79e5cfcf09.jpeg


 

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39 minutes ago, lee737 said:

Our local hardward used to stock them for <$10 each, now they seem unavailable, I wish I had bought 50 of them!

 

The Duratech ABS boxes from Jaycar look to be a similar construction, although for twice the price. They come in three sizes, this is the smallest:

 

CacheContentsSmall.jpg.87caa3f461d05ddf74ab713ec0eab934.jpg

 

I've been trying these on a couple of my caches where Sistemas have let a bit of moisture in during the recent la Nina deluges with excellent results so far. There's another waterside Sistema I checked on recently that, while in reasonable condition (just slightly damp inside), will be one I'll swap over next time we get a suitable day for kayaking.

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20 hours ago, lee737 said:

These compression/seal fitted polycarbonate containers are the closest thing I've seen to an ammo tin (maybe better for waterproofness)

 

Looks like a Plano Stowaway to me.  It's getting harder to find them with an open interior.  In testing we found they were the only plastic easily available here that's comparable to ammo cans.

Flambeau makes one similar, some still with open compartments, and maybe we'll test one this Winter. 

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On 10/6/2022 at 8:00 AM, barefootjeff said:

I've been trying these on a couple of my caches where Sistemas have let a bit of moisture in during the recent la Nina deluges with excellent results so far. There's another waterside Sistema I checked on recently that, while in reasonable condition (just slightly damp inside), will be one I'll swap over next time we get a suitable day for kayaking.

 

I went out to check on one of those Duratech ABS boxes after another week of substantial rain. This was the cache I originally used a steel cashbox on as I thought the hiding place would be dry in under a rock ledge, but water comes through there in heavy rain and after the first downpour I found it full of water. I replaced it with a Sistema but it let a bit of water in during the April deluges, resulting in mould growth on the inside logbook covers, so in June I replaced it with the Duratech. This is how it looked this morning:

 

Check25102022.thumb.jpg.f0d888caee7e6b7879407d2698eab7ae.jpg

 

Not a skerrick of moisture inside or on the logbook so I'm really pleased with how it's going. Fingers crossed it'll stay that way in the long term.

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On 10/3/2022 at 11:23 PM, garretslarrity said:

If I really wanted to set records, I would have hidden it much deeper in the wild. But I figured that this was sufficient since I've decided to make this a series instead of it being one cache. I do promise that later caches in the series will be further from civilization.

 

Update: I've made good on that promise with the second: https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCA2DC3_built-to-last-ii

This one is a much more significant hike than the first. Its longevity will indeed benefit from less wear and tear on the container, as evident by the fact that I hid and had it published on Thanksgiving, and still today no one has claimed the FTF!

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