You're going to read only one book on caving it must be “Caving Basics; A Comprehensive Guide for Beginner Cavers” edited by G. Thomas Rea. There are other good books on caving, but this covers a wide verity of aspects and disciplines in caving and is written by experts in those fields. The topics are not only covered well but explained with the beginner in mind just getting interested in the subject.
This is a great book to use for the Cave Exploration Elective for the Venturing Ranger Award http://www.youcave.org/2009/10/part-3-program-cave-exploring-elective.html.
1 Carbide or Electric Lighting - Donald G. Davis
2 The Carbide Lamp - Donald G. Davis
3 Electric Lighting Systems for Caving - Tom Kaye
4 Cave Lamp Battery Charging - Ray Cole
5 Additional Light Sources - Jim Pisarowicz
6 Your Caving Helmet - Jim Pisarowicz
7 Cave Packs - Alan Williams
8 Caver’s Clothing and Insulation - Thomas Miller
9 The Selection, Use, and Care of Ropes for Caving - Kyle Isenhart
10 General Equipment for Each Caver - Ed LaRock
11 Caving Safely - Ray Cole
12 Driving to the Cave - Tom Rea
13 Moving Through a Cave - Roger W. Bruker
14 Fitness and Nutrition - Louise Hose
15 First Aid - Ellen Carol
16 Single Rope Techniques – Vertical Caving - William Storage
17 Cave Conservation - Mark Laing
18 Land Owner Relations - Bill Tozer
19 Risk Management for Cavers and Cave Owners - Joel Stevenson
20 Reading Cave Maps - Langford G. Brod, Jr.
21 Reading Topographical Maps - Tom Rea
22 Locating Caves on Topographical Maps - Tom Rea
23 Electronics in Caving - Frank Reid
24 Why You Should Join an Organized Caving Group - David McClurg
25 The Geology of Caves - John E. Mylroie and William B. White
26 An Introduction to Biospelology - William R. Wlliott
27 Archeology in Caves
This edition was last updated in 1992. The last 20 years has seen some fantastic advancement in technology that affects much of the equipment used by cavers. Clothing materials, electronics, batteries in particular, and an assortment of new devices used in current caving practices are not mentioned. It is due for an update and I’ve heard rumblings of one in the works, but that’s only rumors. I do hope this is updated soon to keep it on top of the list of “must reads” for cavers, both experienced and novice.
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