My response covers other qualities of cache containers and hides as I have trouble separating out just size.
Firstly, there’s no such thing as a bad cache; and I just want to say thanks to all the teams out there who have put in the time, effort, and often expense, to hide treasures for the rest of us to find!
Having said that, in my opinion, some of the best hides take reconnoitering to plan the cache container. This also helps avoid the hastily placed cache that may not last. Ourselves, we haven’t placed any “spur-of-the-moment” caches – but for me, part of the enjoyment is planning the hide. If you're away from home, you may not want to make multiple trips to plan a cache. In which case, having multiple sized containers is a great idea. You should be fairly confident that the cache will last without maintenance though.
I believe that generally, cachers like to find a cache with room for trade items. There’s something about hunting for potential treasure (especially for junior cachers) , or perhaps taking away a memoir. And what Mike Buschele and 1queenand4jokers say is absolutely true, place as big a cache as reasonable. If nothing else, it opens up options for what trade items and TBs may be left behind. We don’t always trade either, but still like looking through the cache contents.
We’ve certainly learned a lot through the process of placing a few caches. We placed a small cache outside of the city and very quickly received feedback that cachers expected a bigger container (we’ve since replaced it). We’re also big fans of the Lock-n-Lock; there’s a size and shape for just about any occasion! We’ve hidden ammo boxes that we know will stand the test of time, but they’re fairly large and limit hiding options. There’re plenty of regular and large caches hidden in the forest under a pile of branches (ours included).
I think of greater importance than size, is planning for cache longevity. Making sure the contents stay dry and doing your best to ensure it doesn’t get muggled or taken away by Mother Nature should be the first consideration. Of course you can’t plan for everything – just do your best!
Also the hide itself is important; finding the cache should be both challenging and fun – not an ordeal. I’ve lost plenty of blood reaching through conifers and some locations have broken glass hazards. The ironic part is that often these locations have a much nicer hiding spot close by, and we wonder why the cache hider didn’t pick the nicer spot. I can appreciate that sometimes it’s difficult for the hider to see these hazards after focusing on finding the perfect hiding place; so step back and look at the site again to see what hazards exist and if it realty is a good place to send cachers to.
There is a place for micros (multi-caches are certainly a good use for micros), and a micro still beats a virtual! However, my opinion is there should be a reason to use a micro. If the location is historically significant (perhaps a monument or religious site) the cache doesn’t need to be placed right on the object. Even if the cache is hidden a short distance away, the cache hider is still bringing attention to the object and the cache stands a better chance of surviving muggles. Having said that, there are certainly some clever hides of micros on monuments that we enjoyed finding.
Cache variety is good. Cachers cache for different reasons, and will appreciate different cache containers for different reasons. For some it’s all about the location – a nice park, view, trail, etc. For us, after a hike, we appreciate sitting down and enjoying a cache with a logbook and a few treasures in it – it too tells a story. Other times, the fun is in solving a puzzle to come to the cache location – but still, after the accomplishment of solving the puzzle, we like to be rewarded with a few trade items. A very clever hide puts a smile on our faces. For some (myself included), sometimes it doesn’t matter if the cache is a micro buried in a pile of broken glass – as long as it’s got a FTF Certificate in it! There are times when a cacher is just looking for a quick cache-n-grab when they’ve got a little time to kill or on a road trip, but still, enjoy finding trade items. Some cachers will also enjoy the challenge of trying to retrieve a cache in a high-muggle area, and micros may be suitable for these types of caches.
-- Edited by TurdleEggs at 10:29, 2005-10-12