Geocapsuling Basics

(If you just want a one page review of all the steps in this process, skip over to our FAST TRACK page.)

Here is the condensed version of this entire web site:

1. Select the appropriate Geocapsule for a remote drop-site as detailed in these pages.

2. Protect your capsule items.

3. Identify an isolated, secure, hidden, and legal drop-site.iStock_000000262892XSmall

4. Place your capsule far away from traffic areas where it will never be accidentally found.

5. Accurately record and document the site with GPS coordinates and photos.

6. Write up the process and save it for your family.


This is NOT a difficult or complicated process. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid cutting corners when it comes to preserving your time capsule and its contents.


But wait. Let’s Deal with those pesky questions FIRST.


Where can I do this?

Our goal is to encourage the responsible enjoyment of wilderness lands through multiple generations. So this adventure is intended for the wide-open spaces of America (and other nations as well).

Many people in urban areas often have little understanding of how vast and remote our American backcountry is. The numerous photographs that appear throughout these pages reflect this country’s immense open spaces. These are the regions that lend themselves to family “Geocapsuling” adventures.



Placement on Public Lands: There is no single policy that applies to all public lands. Your public land options can be open or closed based on existing regulations, duration of placement, sensitive or prohibited regions, registration requirements, land manager discretion, etc. A good attempt to keep current with state-by-state policies can be found on our References page. Because we have had many international inquiries, we also note the wide variance of policies in other nations of the world when it comes to responsible placement of caches in remote areas.


Off Limits: Note that some federal lands in the United States should be considered off limits: National Wilderness Areas, National Parks and Monuments, National Wildlife Refuges, any place near heritage or archaeological sites, and ecologically sensitive areas. National Forests carry varied restrictions.

Existing precedents for the sport of geocaching come closest to defining the boundaries of time capsule placements. So you’ll want to be aware of special limitations placed on geocaching before starting out on any public lands.

Some Land Managers require that you apply for a permit, some have passive permission guidelines, and some have no rules at all but tolerate this activity. You can usually identify limitations by visiting web sites for specific lands.

Managers of different public properties usually have individual discretion for placement of above ground items like geocaches. Permission from these managers may be granted or denied based on many factors.

BLM Options: Our 258 million acres of United States BLM lands are generally open to geocaching activities. The Bureau of Land Management policy states that geocaching is an appropriate casual use of public land. Covering one eighth of the U.S. land area, BLM lands are primarily located in twelve western states. (See BLM Map here.)

Private Land Options: Also often overlooked are private land alternatives. With explicit permission, these properties can serve the unique adventure of time capsule placement. Please see the Time Capsules on Private Lands page for ideas that will help you pursue this option.



How Long is a Time Capsule Adventure?

How long is a string? While time capsules may typically define periods of fifty to a hundred or more years, the projections for our adventures are shorter. Mom-and-DaughterThey could take the form of a weekend scavenger hunt, or a long term experience spanning a few decades. There is no single format for charting these occasions. We simply give you the tools to to conduct your own family enterprise.
Because every time capsule experience is unique in terms of intent, duration, placement location, capsule housing, etc., you should weigh alternatives as outlined in these pages when deciding where you can legally and practically deposit your “Geocapsule”.

Your best time capsule options are those with the least environmental… but the most beneficial family…impact. Choose your options wisely. Please see our FAQs page for answers to many other questions.




Time Capsule: …an historic cache of goods and/or information, usually intended as a method of communication with people in the future.

Geocapsule: … hollow, above ground, structural-polyurethane simulated rocks (or simulated logs) that cover sealed stainless steel containers.


Geocapsuling: … another word for your time capsule adventure. It’s the process of assembling and placing your Geocapsule in isolated and remote areas for retrieval by a future generation…or possibly next month by a local Boy Scout troop. Geocapsuling is related to geocaching in that it also leaves a cache behind. But where geocaching has deposited hundreds of thousands of Tupperware containers and green ammo cans that attract recurrent foot traffic, Geocapsuling is the art of camouflaging a small cache, so nobody but a single intended recipient will ever find it.


Wilderness Regions: …used in these pages only in a generic sense, and never as it applies to our nation’s designated federal wilderness areas or national parks. National Wilderness Areas carry well intended restrictions within their boundaries. Our pages respect those restrictions. After any Geocapsuling adventure on public or private lands, it remains vitally important that… apart from your camouflaged time capsule… you Leave No Visible Trace Behind. That’s not just a cautionary phrase for what you are about to do. It’s a fundamental procedure we’ll follow while secreting our time capsules.




What Geocapsuling Is and Isn’t

You could always store a time capsule on a dusty shelf in your cellar. But what fun is that? If you’ve come this far, we know you’re not a dull person. Creating a wilderness adventure for future family members is not like aging wine. It’s doing something your friends and neighbors have never even thought of attempting.


Unlike the related sport of geocaching, your purpose will be to so perfectly camouflage and secure a remote location that it will be invisible over multiple months or years to anyone but the select few people who know the exact location.


If you were going to take time to prepare a time capsule either for your own family outing this summer or for your kids (or grandkids) to retrieve later, why would you risk discovery and loss of your small treasures with poor placement, inadequate security, or incorrect choice of container? You’ll find great solutions for all these issues in the pages that follow.


Plan Well: Geocapsuling isn’t an alternative to Safe Deposit Vault storage. This adventure requires thoughtful and purposeful planning. The focus isn’t on the items cached so much as the adventure of revisiting the placement site, weeks months or years into the future.


Again, the challenge will be to choose a drop-site that is so invisible, so remote, so impossible to accidentally locate and identify that the only people to open the container will be your intended recipients. This is your most important goal.




If you find the idea of a wilderness time capsule adventure intriguing, let’s continue!


Next Page: Selecting Your Time Capsule


Return to Top of Page