Caving Day-Trip



1 to 1.5 upper+insulating+layers (non-cotton)
An upper insulating layer covers the torso and both arms. 1 layer is the equivalent of a heavy sweater or jacket. A half layer could be polypropylene or wool long underwear (midweight to heavy). AVOID COTTON , as cotton offers no insulation when wet. For caving, the thin materials like polypro work best. Avoid "puffy" jackets.
.5 to 1 lower+insulating+layers (non-cotton)
A lower insulating layer covers the legs with the equivalent of a wool sweater in thickness. Examples: expedition-weight polypropylene long underwear (1); mid-weight long underwear (1/2) and wool pants (1/2).
Cave boots
Lightweight+hiking+boots that can be abused by mud, rocks, water, etc. I tend to prefer the nylon/leather lightweight hybrids, with lots of waterproofing (not that it helps much). Nylon takes the abrasion better than leather, but can be cut by sharp rock. Must have good, high-traction soles - no tennies!
1 pair nylon gaiters (optional)
1 pair cheap cave overalls or old long-sleeved / full leg clothes that can be beat up (jeans, long sleeved T-shirt)
1 pair knee pads
1 pair elbow pads (optional)
1 pair lightweight gloves (optional)


Brain Bucket (helmet)
These must attach securely to the helmet, but also should be removable for hand-held operation in tight crawls.
Extra batteries (two sets) for headlamp
Second lightsource & extra batteries
Third lightsource
This one should be of a different type than the first two. If first two are electric, this one should be chemical, and vice-versa.
Cave bag
A grimey canvas shoulder-bag or small beat-up day+pack with waterproof liner for carrying your goods. Beware any nylon except cordura - it'll get trashed
Food - ongoing munchies lunch.
Try to avoid trail food which you might litter on the cave floor in the dark. Make sure it's in watertight packaging!
Water bottle (full!)
Cave map & compass

Group gear

First Aid kit(s)
Pee bottle(s)
For those folks who just can't hold it. One quart for every 3 people, depending on the length of the trip. Ladies will need an adapter.
Route flagging hi-glo tape
Used to mark route to injured party if necessary

Vertical gear

Rope & rope bag
Anchor webbing and 'biners
Rappel rack or device (1 per person)
Cave ropes get muddy, wet, and slick. Rappel racks with variable friction are recommended.
Ascending rig (1 per person)
Ascending rigs should be fit to the person & obviously trained on in daylight. Standard setup is one ascender on each leg with a backup on a chest harness.