Ok folks, it’s springtime! You know what that means. Spring cleaning…oh joy…and cache first aid. For the geocache. First Aid for the human geocachers will be another post. Yes, it’s time to check on your caches to make sure they fared well through the winter, and to make sure they are ready to be found by a new group of eager geocachers. I’ve already provided a little first aid for some caches I’ve come upon in the past few weeks. They were exhibiting typical signs of post-hibernation wear: spider webs, water damage, mold, ants, torn baggies, full logs, and occasionally a few other unpleasant discoveries. To combat those little hindrances, I keep a Cache First Aid Kit in my GeoBag. It’s handy for performing those little random acts of geokindness that give one the warm fuzzies, and because it’s just nice to do nice things for others. Karma, and all that.
Start with a small bag or container. Then just add the things you’re most likely to need for performing a little cache first aid or some minor repairs. Some large and small ziplock bags are essential. IBB’s (Itty Bitty Baggies) can be found at craft stores, such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, and are great for keeping small logs protected from the elements. Carry several sizes of replacement logs in your bag. These can be found online and printed from several sites. Geocacher University’s site has a page devoted to Downloads and Printables, where one can print logs for a variety of containers, as well as FTF certificates, stash notes, geocaching brochures, and more. Another good resource is MadCacher. They include links to most sizes as well as options for logs in color or black and white.
A multi-tool is essential for caching in general, but it also helps for things like prying open rusted containers, getting stuck things unstuck, cutting things to fit, sizing tape, etc. I keep small pencils (grab a couple extra when you play mini-golf) and a knife can be a great pencil sharpener in a pinch. It’s not a great idea to keep ink pens in caches because they don’t fare well with the elements. They dry up or worse, leak or explode on the logs. Mix that with some moisture, and it’s a recipe for disaster, not to mention unreadable and forever ruined log sheets. So, small pencils work best. It’s quick and easy to sharpen them and return them to their cache.
Super glue is almost a must these days. It works great for reapplying velcro tape to cache containers and works really fast. I keep a couple strips of velcro for replacements purposes as well, along with a couple of magnets, rubber bands, craft wire (for rehanging containers on branches if their wire has been twisted one time too many), and a black sharpie marker. I also try to keep a couple of small O-rings, in case I come across a cache that has lost it’s “waterproofness” because of a lost or worn out O-ring. A quick replacement fixes it, and keeps the log dry again.
Duct tape goes without saying. It is the one thing I would have if I didn’t have anything else. Now that it comes in so many colors and patterns, we don’t have to stick with basic grey. I generally have some black 1″ tape along with the standard 3″ camoflauge pattern. Both are great for quick and easy repairs, to cover containers, seal leaks, and can even be twisted to “hang” an item if needed. What would we do without duct tape? ;)
Once I’ve provided a little love to the cache, I write a note on the cache’s listing page and submit it so the CO (cache owner) will see what was done. Sometimes, there have already been a couple of “needs maintenance” notes submitted, and doing a few little things like replacing a log or an O-ring will save the CO a trip. That’s really all there is to it. Did I leave anything out that you do for spring cleaning? What other equipment do you keep in your Cache Maintenance kit? Keep on caching!