The Geocaching Blog


The Secret Double Lives of Geocaching Containers

Not all of these containers we specifically developed as geocaches.

Not all of these containers we specifically developed as geocaches.

Even though some geocache containers seem like they were handcrafted specifically for geocaching, most of them have been repurposed from something else. With things like Ammo cans, it’s pretty obvious what they used to be. For others, it requires a little bit of a deeper look into history:

A preform tube

A preform tube

 

Those Small, Clear Geocache Tubes aka Preform PET Tubes

These small, waterproof, durable containers are perfect for micro-sized geocaches. They can be attached to different camouflage and will last a long time. Plus, the larger tubes can hold both a logbook and a pencil. But their story isn’t just geocaching. In fact, you’ve probably used these hundreds of times and not even know it. Hint: There’s a key word in the heading to this section, “preform”. These small tubes are manufactured to be heated and expanded to form plastic bottles. Check out this video to see an animation of the process:

 

Nano Caches

An example of a similar LED light.

An example of a similar LED light.

Nano geocaches in Shop Geocaching

Nano geocaches in Shop Geocaching

Oft-maligned in the geocaching community, these smaller-than-small, magnetic geocaches are popular for high-muggle areas and urban geocaches. With so little room inside, it’s hard to believe that these geocaches were actually created for a reason other than geocaching. Mark Yvanovich, one of the early makers of these containers told us a little bit about the history, “These containers were originally LED blinking jewelry. The space where the log sheet is stored was where the button cell batteries went. They came with a separate rare earth magnet that could be used to attach it to clothing, etc…” Once these lights obtained new lives as geocaches, Mark and his wife made thousands of these, hand rolling all of the logbooks!

 

Bison Tubes

What did the buffalo say when he dropped his kid off at school? Bison. #dadjokes

What did the buffalo say when he dropped his kid off at school? Bison. #dadjokes

It’s no secret that these tubes look nothing like real bison. Not even close. So what’s the reason behind the name? These containers were originally created by a company named Bison Designs. The company originally made aluminum carabiners in multiple shapes, including dog bones, mouse ears and more. Seeking out new things to create out of aluminum, the need for a small, waterproof container to carry medicine in arose—and thus, the Bison Tube was born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you repurposed a container originally made for something else as a geocache? Tell us in the comments.

 

  • Stephen Pushak

    How about sawing a branch in half and drilling it to hold a dowel? Or dowel a tree branch that just pulls out revealing a nifty hole to hide a small micro in. A really great one was a nut that was drilled large enough to hold a disc magnet and then a length of bolt that threaded onto the nut. Then you stick it on a sign or post that has similar nuts and it looks great! Would never have spotted it if it hadn’t gotten rusty unlike the other bolts and nuts.

  • Stephen Pushak

    the nut and hollow bolt hide would work great on the back of street signs for urban caches!

  • Ben ergy

    Which hole are you speaking of? I’ve thought of making my own nanos y cutting down pens (about half an inch.) On one side of the pen is the cap that doesn’t get removed (like the right side of the pen in the picture above.) That side would get glued down. The left side is the one I have problems with. That is why the pen is in the Ziploc baggie. I am having trouble waterproofing the left side (the side you would pull out to reveal the log.) Any suggestions?

  • SELMaix

    I am using M14 cap nuts with their thread drilled out. With a flat 1×22 mm round neodyme magnet attached to the surface below (glued or fixed with double sided adhesive tape) it looks like a nut on a washer – and has more room than a blinkie for a self made log book :) . It is not all the way water tight but works pretty well for more than three years now.

    Happy hunting from Germany
    Stephan for Team SELMaix

  • binibooger

    Brilliant!

  • Ben ergy

    Is there any way you could post a photo of the tubes or give us the name of them? That would be great! :)


Copyright © 2000-2010 Groundspeak, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.