Basic Equipment List
The following is a copy of the list of equipment we expect participants to
have before they go on an educational cave trip sponsored and led by RASS.
We require each person to have all the items on this list. Every caver, novice
or experienced, should carry at least this list of equipment on every trip
they take. Of course, it should be modified to suit your particular lighting
source needs (carbide, odd-sized lamps, etc.), but the basics stay the same.
DISCLAIMER: This list is not intended to substitute
for proper training in caving techniques. Caving can be a dangerous sport
if accepted safety rules and procedures are not followed. Always seek complete
training from a competent source before heading underground on a caving trip.
BASIC CAVING EQUIPMENT
for Novice and Educational Trips
RASS provides UIAA-approved helmets and a helmet-mounted lighting system.
These items are considered essential for safe caving. Any helmet should be
an UIAA- or CE-approved climbing style helmet, with a four-point chinstrap.
The suspension system should be in good condition, there should be no cracks
or deep scratches, and the straps should adjust so that the helmet fits snugly
on the head. The lighting system can be electric or carbide, and it should
be checked to be sure it works properly before heading underground. Each participant
should have a working knowledge of how their lighting system works, and should
be able to affect minor repairs underground.
In order for you to have a safe and enjoyable trip, there is certain basic
equipment that you must have with you on this adventure. If you have any questions,
do not hesitate to ask the person conducting your orientation.
You will need eight (8) NEW alkaline batteries for the helmet/head lamp you
will be supplied (your leader will tell you whether you need "D"
or "C" or "AA" cells). Eveready Energizers, Ray-O-Vac
Alkalines, or Duracell Coppertops are suitable. This is an absolute requirement,
even if you read no further and show up in your birthday suit! (This applies
to RASS-supplied helmets and lighting systems.)
CLOTHING: Wear layers. Caves are cool (55) and
damp (90-100% relative humidity). Long underwear, or sweat pants under sturdy
trousers such as jeans are good. Wear a sweatshirt or flannel shirt to keep
warm. An old pair of coveralls is ideal to wear over other layers for warmth
and to keep your inner layers a little cleaner. Caving is a dirty sport, and
the dirt may not wash completely out of your clothes.
Ankle support and traction are important. Hiking or work boots are preferable.
High-top tennis shoes (fully laced and tied) are o.k. Regular tennis shoes
are barely acceptable, but should not be worn if you are prone to twisted
ankles. Wear a pair of wool socks. They will keep your feet warm even if they
get wet (which is likely). A pair of polypro, Thermax, or other synthetic
liner socks are good to wear under the wool, but are not absolutely necessary.
4. Other clothing ACCOUTERMENTS: Gloves are
a necessity. Standard
cotton work gloves (about $1/pair at a discount store) are perfectly adequate.
Knee pads will make your trip much more enjoyable. Most caves do not have
long passages of walking passage. Elbow pads are also nice, though not really
essential. A bandanna will help keep mud out of your hair and sweat out of
5. A small fanny or day PACK will be needed
to carry the following items:
- a. Small. leakproof container of water. Up
to a quart in size unless you're really a guzzler. Nalgene containers are
best, and aluminum works well, too. NO GLASS OR CANS of soda!
- b. Crushproof container of snacks. GORP,
or trail mix (raisins, peanuts, M&M's, dried fruits, etc.) is a good choice.
So are slices of hard cheese and summer sausage or beef jerky. Granola bars
are another good choice. Candy is o.k. for a quick pick-me-up, but will
not sustain you for very long.
Small flashlight with NEW batteries and a WORKING
bulb for a spare light source. Minimags or their equivalent are good.
d. Large garbage bag. You can cover up with
it if you get cold, then put your dirty caving clothes in it after you get
out of the cave. It can also be used to carry trash that we'll invariably
find in the cave.
- e. Lighter, Bic, 1 each.
Whistle, in case you get separated from the
group. DON'T GET SEPARATED FROM THE GROUP, but bring the whistle, anyway.
- g. Small camera, if you wish. Pack it in
a zip-loc bag. Plan on wiping the lens before you shoot (it will fog up),
and stay within six feet of your subject (the flash won't be effective at
6. Generally, unless told otherwise, it's nice to have a bag
lunch to eat before heading underground.
7. A complete change of clothes to change into
after exiting the cave. Bring a towel, too. (Ladies take note: you may wish
to wear a bathing suit as the layer closest to your skin in order to preserve
modesty while changing on the side of a road). Include underwear, socks and
shoes. These will be left in the vehicles you travel in.
8. If you are planning to stop for dinner, (cavers know all the best places
to eat in the middle of nowhere), bring money for dinner.
Here are some Basic Caving Techniques...
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