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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Altoid Geocaches - Love'm or Not So Much

Found this guy today. Not too many around here anymore and there is a reason.

If you have ever found an Altoids container that is a year old or so and you will immediately know why most people dislike finding them. Sure in theory they are this seemingly air tight container that easily can be converted into a nice small geocache. Heck it might even be considered recycling because you are re-using it. Sadly, what happens most of the time is you find a rusting, damp hunk of metal that is usually very difficult to open and immediately makes you feel like getting a tetanus shot after handling. They are not water tight no matter how much you paint the outside and they become a maintenance nightmare after a very short amount of time. So if you take advice from one who finds them - don't use them. There are alternatives that work a whole lot better and you don't have to worry about a child or adult for that matter getting cut on the rusty edges.

While we are at it lets discuss pill bottles. Great idea at the time - okay it's a bad idea. You heard it here first, bad, bad, bad and bad. They are screen doors in a submarine at best and unless you really like your log books extra soggy don't turn them loose on the geocaching world. We would really appreciate it.


The geocaching community at large.


Erika Jean said...

I guess it is the climate... There are a lot of Altoids type tins here in AZ, they don't tend to rust that much in out climate... They are actually better than any plastic container - I've put out two plastic ones and the pack rats seem to think my caches are a snack :-(

...as for pill bottles... I haven't found a soggy one yet ;-) though i haven't been caching during monsoon season yet!

HeadHardHat said...

Now there you go. I did not even think about climates that would not get a lot of rain and how they might do better there. Did not know about the pack rat problem and plastic. That's why I am putting together how everybody geocaches all over the place. Great way to learn stuff!

Anonymous said...

I have seen Altoids tins that survive for more than a year. Climate definitely makes a difference with this, alongside what the tin is made out of (some rust easier than others). See a great example of how they can be bad at my recent post.

One way to help make pill bottles a bit more tolerable is remembering to put the log in a baggie. You can find small baggies for just such a purpose if you go to arts & crafts stores, or an arts & crafts section in a store like Wal-mart. Just look near the beads. You can get a 100 baggies for about $1 - $2 depending on the size.

At the same time, I have seen plastic go bad too. I had a brand new lock-n-lock that cracked after about two weeks. It wasn't in a spot likely to get damaged, but it did endure a back and forth range of temps going from -13 to 50's/60's. The drastic changes ended up damaging the plastic and it cracked.

You can usually find pro's and con's for a variety of different containers. A lot of it depends on location, location, location.

Erika Jean said...

Here is a pack rat example:http://www.erikajean.com/2009/02/destroyed.html

Just John said...

I'm not crazy about them, but I don't mind them either (as long as they are well maintained). I think they are the ideal size and shape for certain hides, but the material certainly is less than ideal for a damp climate.

I think it takes a very dedicated cache owner to keep one up and running where it rains frequently.

Bob (obxnomad) said...

You can add Rubbermaid containers to the list as well. They are NOT waterproof and generally won't even seal properly, especially if overfilled at all. Film cannisters aren't much better.