Just the FAQs M’am
Is leaving a time capsule above ground risking the contents?
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.
Are there restrictions to leaving camouflaged hollow rocks or hollow logs on some public lands?
Yes there are.
Do we support those laws? Yes we do. National Parks, National Wilderness Areas and Wildlife Preserves, archaeological regions, among many other regulated areas should be off limits. 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 ecologically 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 designated Wilderness Areas.).
It’s imperative that your above-ground drop site blend perfectly with its surroundings. All your work and good-will can go unrewarded if you neglect to ensure an undisturbed natural state.
What guarantee is there that the drop site may not be found accidentally by someone else or the project may not work out as you intend?
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.
What happens if the kids have no interest in retrieving them?
You mean you think this could bore them? Hmmm. Don’t think there is the remotest chance of that. BUT, we have even planned for that eventuality. If your dead-beat progeny are jailed, or lazy, or ex-patriots or whatever, then a “fail-safe relative” will make a decision 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 the experience…as we have.
Will an air-tight stainless steel container guarantee pristine survival of the contents?
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.
What do the initials GPS stand for?
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.
Are there software applications that will produce a map of my GPS coodinates?
Do you place any age or time limit on retrieval of the time capsules?
We don’t put any limits on 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. But it’s better to encourage retrieval sooner than later, to ensure a successful recovery.
How is this different from geocaching?
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 revisted 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.
But will the time capsule survive?
Scan our Fast Track page before you head out, to review the entire process. 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. 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 log and rocks have undergone exterior testing over 10 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.
Where can I purchase fake logs or rocks, time capsules and preservation kits?
While we don’t sell any products, you can find the elements of this sport on our Retailers page.
What are the costs of materials?
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 $22.00 plus shipping. Stainless steel time capsules with Preservation Kits cost from $45 to $60.
Why not use PVC pipe or another plastic container?
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. Any above ground placement, even shielded by a hollow rock, would also leave the plastic exposed to freezing and cracking.