What is the function of your (basic) equipment in Caving?

 For caving activities, good equipment is important to have and keep it comfortable for longer trips, especially if you do it more often.
Here we have listed the articles and their function.

  • Helmet - Essential protection for your head and where you mount your headlamp. Always wear a helmet during caving!
  • Headlamp - Essential for caving so you can see in all those dark places. Do not go underground without a flashlight or headlamp. Avoid headlamps with elastic headbands that can break. Instead, place the headlamp on your helmet.
  • Backup Headlamp / Helmet Lamp - Essential to place a spare light / headlamp and other light sources so that you don't get stuck underground in the dark.
  • Footwear - You will need sturdy caving boots with good rubber soles as you will encounter underground rock climbing areas, with the added excitement of darkness and wet, slippery and possibly muddy rock!
  • Undergarments - A good fleece undersuit will keep you warm and dry.
  • Wetsuit - Wear a wet suit if you are going underground for an extended period of time where it is damp.
  • Oversuit - A one-piece, hardwearing coverall is essential if you do a lot of crawling in tunnels and tight passages.
  • Belt - Carry a small waist belt or fanny pack for batteries, spare bulbs or other personal items.
  • Socks - Wear neoprene socks if you cave regularly, otherwise wool socks will suffice.
  • Head covers - Bring a thin balaclava to wear under your helmet.
  • Knee Pads - Essential when it's rocky.
  • Elbow Pads - Not essential, but they protect your oversuit elbows on long crawls.
  • Gloves - Wear rubber gloves when going into wet and slimy passageways.
  • Tackle Bag - Bring a PVC bag to keep equipment, first aid kit, camera and other items dry.
  • Harness / Caving Sit Harness - If you need a harness, buy a special caving harness that can be combined with a chest harness. Avoid using climbing harnesses; they are not made for caving.
  • Chest harness - A special caving harness that fits around your chest. In combination with your caving waist harness, it is essential to go up fixed ropes underground.
  • Ascenders - Use two climbers like the Petzl Croll, which are made for caving.
  • Descenders - Buy a special caving descent such as the Petzl Stop.
  • Lifelines (Cow's Tails) - Use two lanyards with carabiners to attach to anchors and ropes.
  • Food and Drink - Have some water or a hot drink and energy bars for a quick feed.

For an extensive overview with links to the relevant articles, see: Speleology (basic) material

Overview Knowledge base Caving / Potholing: Go back.

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