Caving gear

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The caving gear chosen is important to safe, ethical caving. One of the most important things a caver wants to do is live to cave another day. Since caving is an inherently dangerous activity, even the simplest of caving trips should never be regarded as routine. A caver should be prepared as if it was the first time to visit the cave.

Horizontal caves

The minimum recommended gear required to make a non-vertical day trip includes:

  • Helmet – A helmet protects our head from ceiling hits, falling rocks, and banging it on the floor or wall in the event of a fall. It should have a working chin strap so that it will stay on your head.
  • Helmet mounted light – A light mounted on the helmet is a must. It frees up the hands and points light in the direction you are facing. Try to avoid your standard hardware store style lights and use a light designed for caving. Your life may depend on it.
  • Two extra light sources – Caves are dark. The last thing you want to end up with is no light. Carry two extra light sources in case the unexpected shows up. Extra light sources can include:
    • Small Flash lights
    • Mini-Mag
    • LED light
    • Glow sticks
  • Extra Batteries & Light Bulbs – These should work with the light sources you are counting on.
  • Elbow pads – You want something that will not shred and fall apart in the cave. Caving vendors make good, strong, quality elbow pads.
  • Knee pads – You want something that will not shred and fall apart in the cave. Caving vendors make good, strong, quality knee pads.
  • Hiking boots –Its personal preference here. A high boot provides a little extra ankle support.
  • Pack – A good quality caving pack should be used. They are built to hold up to the rigors of caving and generally do not leave threads and pieces of the pack behind. The pack should close securely and have the ability to be strapped to your back.
  • Gloves – Leather gloves work great.
  • Pee bottle – Do not pee on the cave floor, pee in a bottle and pack it out.
  • Burrito kit – All solid waste must be removed from the cave. A basic burrito kits includes:
    • Gallon sized zip lock bag to poop in
    • Toilet paper to wipe your rear end
    • Aluminum foil to wrap it all up in after you are through
  • Food & Water – Pack enough for the “Expected” trip and a little extra in case of an emergency.
  • Extra shirt – If the caving environment is cold, an extra shirt is good to have when taking a break. The rocks you sit on will suck the heat out of your body quickly.
  • Map of the cave – It never hurt to familiarize yourself with the cave prior to your trip. Taking the map into the cave with you is a good idea in the event that you get turned around.
  • Personal First-aid Kit
    • Large trash bag – Climb into it in case of an unexpected stay in a cave
    • Band-aids – For small cuts or abrasions
    • Disinfectants – Clean wounds
    • Pain killers – Provides comfort and relief

Wet caves

If the cave environment is wet

  • Cave Suit – Should be water resistant and resilient to abrasions and tearing.

If visiting a cave with delicate areas that require aqua socks

  • Need non-marking foot wear. Examples include:
    • Sneakers – Light colored soles work best
    • Water shoes – Light and compact but usually not very rugged
  • Change of clothing is sometimes required. Examples include:
    • Extra set of clothing
    • Overalls
    • Smocks

Vertical caves

The following additional items are required if the cave is vertical.

  • Static Rope
  • Rope pads
  • A set of vertical for each person is required. Do not share vertical gear on a trip.
    • Seat harness
    • Descending equipment
    • Ascending equipment
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