Ever wonder why some letterboxes disappear after just a few days and others last for years? Well, this article attempts to answer that question and offers some suggestions for increasing letterbox longevity. Just be aware that no matter how well you hide a box, it is only as good as the last finder left it, so always try to leave boxes better hidden than you found them.
There are many factors that affect how long a letterbox will remain hidden, but perhaps the greatest one is how well it avoids the notice of non-boxers (noxers), who will invariably remove or damage it. The best way to keep a box hidden from noxers is to place it away from an area they normally go. This can be accomplished by hiding the box well off a trail (several steps), far down a trail (several miles) or in a place nobody would normally look. When hiding a box by a tree, make sure to hide it on the side not visible from the trail so if it is not covered well it still will be hidden from view. If you have to hide a box in plain sight, consider putting it inside a homemade rock or painting with camouflage color (Krylon Fusion). Sometimes hiding a box far off trail actually works against you because kids will go there to be alone, so be sure to look for signs of human activity (bottles, trash) before placing the box. Unfortunately, you could find the perfect spot to hide a box and still have a problem with Geocachers. If a Geocache is hidden nearby, your box will eventually be found by them and the stamp will get taken. Writing “don’t take” on the stamp might help, but there isn’t much else you can do.
Another major factor affecting letterboxes is Mother Nature. When possible you should hide boxes a few feet above ground to avoid flood damage (e.g. in a rock ledge, hanging from a tree or in crotch of tree). If placed on the ground, try to find a place higher than surrounding area and put rocks on top of the box to keep it from being swept away by water or damaged by animals. Sometimes the box is not damaged but landmarks leading to it are, so try to include multiple landmarks in clues so box can still be found even if a tree falls or a stump rots away.