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Archive for November 25th, 2006

Ammo boxes versus Lock ‘n’ Locks

November 25, 2006 @ 21:42 By: gordon Category: Geocaching

notoammoboxes.pngA lot of geocachers feel that an ammo box is the pinacle of perfection in terms of geocaching containers. Basically, they are metal boxes that come in a variety of sizes depending on the type of ammunition they were designed to hold with a mechanism that requires more than strength and dexterity than your average raccoon has to open. Most of them have some sort of gasket that makes them very waterproof when sealed. They are usually already painted in a drab olive colour, meaning they tend to blend in with the vegetation.

On the other hand, Lock ‘n’ Lock containers are plastic containers that come in a variety of sizes, though usually smaller than your typical ammo box. They have locking mechanisms and gaskets that make them very waterproof. While not painted olive green, they can have cammo jobs applied and they’re usually easier to hide than ammo boxes because of their size.

The prices are comparable, so why would you pick one over the other, particularly if size isn’t a big concern? Well, ammo boxes also tend to have all sorts of markings on them describing the type of ammunition they held and some even have warnings about explosives on them, sometimes on bright orange stickers. Responsible geocachers ensure that these markings aren’t visible, but I have come across ammo boxes used as cache containers that have all the markings intact. If they’re found by non-geocachers, they can easily be mistaken for something much more dangerous than the trinkets found in your average geocache. In some cases, people who have stumbled across them have reported them to the police who in turn have deployed their bomb squads to neutralize the danger. This results in the public being unduly scared, the waste of police resources and bad publicity for geocachers.

If cache containers are transparent then it’s very easy to see that the contents do not pose a threat. Even if an ammo box has had all the military markings removed and the words “geocache – not a bomb” (yes, I actually saw that on a cache container), the overall shape is still identifiable as being an ammo box and you can’t see what’s in it without opening it.

What we really need is a Lock ‘n’ Lock-style container that’s made like an ammo box, with a lever-action locking mechanism, lots of space and a gasket to make it waterproof. If the walls are a bit thicker than the average Lock ‘n’ Lock, then it should be just as durable as the metal ammo boxes, though I haven’t had any durability issues with the Lock ‘n’ Lock containers I’ve placed.