Not if you take the precautions we outline. Remember, there is a strong adventure incentive attached to this…along with a degree of risk. You could cache the same small items in a cardboard box in your attic for a few decades, but your younger family members would never experience the fun of retrieving it. Frankly, searching in a remote area of the American back-woods to find an exact location your parents or grandparents may have visited in the past can be a very uplifting moment in your life. Finding a few insignificant pieces of memories placed in that remote and secret location…just for you…can elevate the experience to priceless.
Yes, there are.
Do we support those laws? Yes, we do. National Parks, National Wilderness Areas, and Wildlife Preserves, and archaeological regions should be off-limits among many other regulated areas. National Forest lands also have limitations. Your job will be to find regions that are less…or non…restrictive. See our References page for helpful links.
The remaining federal, state, county, or municipal lands have wide latitudes of regulatory controls from “yes” to “no” to “haven’t thought about that yet”…much too varied for us to detail here. Virtually all of these lands have different governing factors and have Land Managers with different agendas. So please do your own responsible research. Land Managers across the country already have their hands full dealing with vandals, all-terrain vehicles, poachers, and firebugs. We don’t want to deter them from managing those substantial threats to our nation’s wilderness. So please follow our guidelines to keep this unique adventure low-profile, responsible, and non-threatening.
Read more about this topic on the Basics page.
It’s always your primary job to make your drop site compact, clean, virtually unchanged, and utterly undetectable, either from close up or far away. If you don’t leave your site totally undetectable, you risk the failure of your entire project. Our own wilderness time capsules have been located in exceptionally isolated public (and private or municipal) regions (but not Nationally in designated Wilderness Areas.).
Your above-ground drop site must blend perfectly with its surroundings. All your work and good-will can go unrewarded if you neglect to ensure an undisturbed natural state.
Er…none. But if you, 1) select a very remote, stable, and undetectable location, 2) accurately record your GPS coordinates and placement data, 3) provide backup photos and written descriptive information, 4) prepare copies of a Retrieval Folder, and 5) register your site coordinates with the International Time Capsule Society, among many other listed protections, then your project will be a success. Your lazy descendants will have a lifetime (or a few months) in which to motivate themselves to retrieve these small treasures.
Much of the enjoyment from this adventure is collecting and placing the concealed time capsule yourself! Do it right, and you may be remembered. Do it wrong, and you’re history.
You mean you think this could bore them? Hmm. We don’t think there is the remotest chance of that. BUT, we have even planned for that eventuality. If your deadbeat progeny are jailed, lazy, or ex-patriots or whatever, then a “fail-safe relative” will decide to give the information to someone else in the family who will likely relish this challenge. We’re just offering an opportunity for our descendants to enrich their lives. We’d even be happy to return to our drop site locations with them. They might ask other more adventurous friends or relatives to reclaim their containers if they are practicing sloths. Honestly, though, they’d have to have the brain of a speed bump to ignore this curious opportunity. Someone at least will gain from experience…as we have.
Few things in life are without exceptions. That’s why we suggest you be realistic about caching irreplaceable items, whether for your own family or municipality. Camouflaged time capsules are not meant as an alternative to safety deposit boxes. While our above ground retrieval projections are generally for a few years, we prepare those capsules so they can easily survive several decades. Nevertheless, Great Grandma’s set of prized linen doilies should not be on your list.
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. A GPS device is a hand-held satellite-based navigation system that provides precise latitude and longitudinal position through a palm-size device. “Precise” to about 3 to 5 yards of where you are standing. You can find links and recommendations on our References page. GPS receivers require an unobstructed view of the sky, and they may not perform well under a heavy forest canopy. But as long as there is an unobstructed view of the sky, the readings will be amazingly accurate…within several yards of the drop-site. That accuracy will be the same today as it will be for centuries into the future.
We don’t put any limits on the retrieval of our own time capsules. Better to feed the enthusiasm when it strikes. So our treasure hunters are free to search them out anytime after they are planted and recorded…or whenever their wanderlust kicks in.
This certainly has elements from the sport of geocaching. But this mission can have a long-lasting and deeply personal meaning for adventurous families. Capsules are environmentally camouflaged and secretly hidden…not to be revisited by recurrent groups of people as in geocaching. The time capsule retrieval is for one person. One visit. Once. The concealed time capsule is uniquely camouflaged, not makeshift, or often so visible that anyone may stumble upon them. But both geocaching and our camouflaged capsules are wonderful adventures that can combine athletics, the outdoors, and environmental appreciation.
Scan our Fast Track page before you head out. If you take care to follow our recommendations for containers, internal and external preservation, drop site placement, and sealing, your chances for success will be near perfect.
What are the biggest environmental dangers?
For above-ground time capsules over long periods, probably oxygen or moisture entering through a poorly sealed container. Over time, this could impact the internal items. Possible flood, mud, or rock falls could move or cover your capsule if poorly placed. A time capsule could conceivably become flooded then freeze, creating a crack in the hard polyurethane housing of a fake-rock or vacuum container. But even that is unlikely if basic drop site preparations and good foresight are used. Freezing would not affect the separate stainless capsule itself. Hollow logs and rocks have undergone exterior testing for over 20 years (and counting) in harsh weather and sunlight extremes. (Nevertheless, we highly recommend finding protective environmental shade and cover for your capsule.)
Other hazards? Bears eating your shorts on the trail is a big threat. Having too much fun. Things of that nature.
While we don’t sell any products, you can find this sport’s elements on our Retailers page.
The Retailers page will detail prices. If you simply want an artificial rock housing (without capsule and preservation materials) as a container for the sport of geocaching, or even for a short term time capsule wilderness adventure, prices start at about $25.00. Stainless steel time capsules with Preservation Kits cost from $50 to $100.
Unless you are stashing items to be retrieved within a relatively short period, like a year or two, stainless steel remains the best security option for you. PVC pipe emits harmful chemicals over time that break down organic materials inside the container. Even shielded by a hollow rock, any above-ground placement would also leave the plastic exposed to freezing and cracking.