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Puzzling Container Flaw

This Little Piggy geocache containerAll winter long we  puzzling over a problem that has afflicted a series of small caches we placed last fall called the This Little Piggy series. We placed several of the caches in a camouflaged plastic spice bottles that we then suspended upside down from tree branches. We strung a wire through a small hole in the bottom of the container and sealed the hole with hot glue. To us,the seal looked airtight. Nevertheless,searchers repeatedly told us that the log books were soaking wet,and when we arrived to check them we found that they were absolutely right.

The puzzle was that we could find nothing wrong with the containers. The hot glue seal was sound and there were no holes in the bottle. Yet still the log books emerged soaking wet after the first good rain storm.

The last time we checked on of these misbehaved containers,we took a closer look and discovered what the problem was. Can you figure it out? Look at the photo (click to enlarge) and see if you can tell why the container was leaking even though the seals were sound.

Answer:The problem wasn’t in the seal but in the wire itself. If you look closely,you’ll see that the wire we chose is threaded picture-hanging wire. Even when the wire is wound tight,capillary action sucks rainwater down the threads and into the container. Even though the glue sealed the area around the wire,it couldn’t seal the tiny spaces in between the threads. We replaced hangers with single-strand wire and the problem went away.

2 comments to Puzzling Container Flaw

  • DE_Cryptoman

    Here in Texas,we use a lot of decon containers and some folks are hung up on film canisters. They almost always end up with wet logs. Seems that the cache heats up in the daytime,air bleeds out because it expands. At night the dew settles,the air in the container contracts and water wicks into the container. A few days and nights and you end up with a reasonable amount of water in a cache in the middle of a drought. Baggies help a little.

  • Great example! I would have been out there looking for holes in the container and never have guessed such a thing.

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