Personal Caving Equipment – Cave Exploring Elective for the Ranger Award – Change of Clothing

One of the elements for the Caving Elective requires you to know what equipment you will need for caving.

There are some very basic pieces of equipment that every caver should have when entering a cave. This is equipment that must be in good working condition and every one must have their own without sharing. Each issue will discuss one or two items in more detail so you get an idea of why each item is important and where to find what you need cheap. I’ll later go into optional equipment that is a very good idea to have and WNS decontamination procedures for those who face that challenge.

Here’s you basic list:
Helmet Mounted Light Source
Two sets of fresh batteries
Two additional Light Sources
Sturdy Boots
Sturdy Work Gloves
Old rugged Clothing
Thermal Layering Underwear
Synthetic Socks
Small pack w/
Small First Aid Kit
Plastic Trash Bags
Change of Clothing

Change of Clothing

We mentioned in another issue about plastic bags and storing your muddy caving cloths. When you are done caving you should be prepared with a complete change of clothing. Not just your outer garments. There’s a very good possibility that you will get dirt, mud, sweet, and water in every layer of cloths, right down to your underwear and socks. The person you drove to the cave with could rightly so get very upset with you if you tried to get into their car with cave mud on you.

Decontamination of caving gear, whether your in a WNS area or not, is a very good idea. After scraping off as much mud as possible, put all your cave gear into a sealed plastic bag. Use some antibacterial lotion like Purell on exposed skin before you enter the vehicle is important to help reduce the possibility of transmitting any bacteria or fungus from one cave to another. For the most current decontamination procedures, please visit the National Speleological Society’s White Nose Syndrome web pages for links to what is current and new.


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