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New to caving - what to buy/loan list ??

Geoff R

New member
For those completely new to caving, how about this as a starting point of what to buy or loan in some order of progressive importance, after getting advise from your local caving shop and trip leader .......

Do others agree ?
What's missing ?


Helmet (pref with strap) with helmet attached light
Spare light (eg small hand torch)
Spare batteries
Wellington boots (or old stout boots with ankle support)
Small old bag to carry drink, snacks, spare batteries etc
Old clothes (full length arms and legs) or boilersuit 
Old waterproofs (if advised by leader) 
Change of clothes !

Cheap knee pads
Cheap gloves  (eg gardening gloves)

Helmet - definitely now with proper chin strap
Proper helmut mounted lighting system
Survival bag (type that fits in top of helmet - not silver space blanket)
Candle and matches in waterproof container. 
cheap DIY  knife and plastic whistle on lanyard
Battery (belay) belt
HMS type karabiner

Long sling and
another karabiner. 

Then caving oversuit, long wet socks etc ....



so what's missing from this hurriedly made list  ??
 

ttxela

New member
Cheers, I now have a shopping list  (y)

Got everything in the first section already so I am a properly equipped beginner :)
 
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darkplaces

Guest
the helmet sometimes really has to be sold to the beginner. Builders hat or even bike helmet should be acceptable to start - get them used to wearing something then that progresses to a proper helmet. Its the hardest thing to worn sometimes. Anything is better then nothing you can progress with something.
 

Peter Burgess

New member
To sell the idea of a helmet, show them your own, and how scratched it is. Ask them to imagine what their head might look like without one.
 

Geoff R

New member
Peter, very true
You well know I can only find my way out by following my yellow helmet scrape marks on the roof    ;)

tried it once without a helmet - im not going bald, its a BIG scar  :(   

 

cap n chris

Well-known member
Given that it's October soon and winter shortly thereafter, my advice to a newcomer to caving at the moment would be to make sure you're going to be comfy/warm underground. Therefore you should look to get yourself kitted up with wet socks (neoprene), knee pads (elbow pads are an additional option and worthwhile IMHO), neofleece (or fleece suit as a minimum), rubber gloves. You should be able to borrow/find/pick up an old non-cloth overall from an armchair caver or outdoor pursuit centre for next to nothing (or buy a new one!).

The other "caving" kit can be borrowed until you're absolutely certain you're going to do a fair amount of caving so don't spend out on helmet/light just yet and see what others are using and make your own mind up. Remember, it's the 21st Century so don't waste time fannying about with obsolete carbide (`cos there's loads of caves you won't be allowed in, for starters). Don't get a site helmet - the chin strap is unsuitable and they often have a peak/lip; a lightweight multipurpose helmet, preferably one which has a lamp attachment fitted as standard (or nowadays you can get super bright LED lamps which are held in place by in-built tabs on the helmet: check out Petzl helmets/lights online).

Your trip leader(s) have a duty of care towards you and so they should oversee what you're going caving in/with and they will be able to provide/hire/loan harness, rope, ladder etc.. for you.

Budget for your kit: somewhere in the region of £200 in your first year should see you kitted up very well with modern reliable and suitable equipment. If you expect to "do caving" on a budget of nothing then expect to have some epics in miserable conditions with hypothermia/exposure guaranteed.

Strongly consider getting some training*BEFORE purchasing climbing hardware: not only will you then know the pros and cons but you'll also know how to use it, the limitations and get free good advice from your trainer about your next best steps....

* From a competent person; ask if they've ever had an accident/needed rescuing. If they have, consider finding someone else to train you.


 
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andymorgan

Guest
I suppose It depends what type of caves you start in. If you are doing Goatchurch Rods Pot etc, a boiler suit and old clothes are adequate.

In reply to Geoff R's earlier post I don't carry spare batteries (but I do have a seperate lighting system), a knife or whistle. Gaffer tape is a useful addition for first aid.
 
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darkplaces

Guest
A recent like minded duscussion we held on c**tplaces.co.uk in the end kit ideal for mine exploring and goatchurch for example was brought all for £40. Some people just want to try it out after a few goes they dont like give up so you cant spent much at all to start.
 

Geoff R

New member
A recent like minded duscussion we held on c**tplaces.co.uk in the end kit ideal for mine exploring and goatchurch for example was brought all for £40. Some people just want to try it out after a few goes they dont like give up so you cant spent much at all to start.

Totally agree  -  I tried to make the first part of the list the cheapy bit, assuming that once tried a couple of times, move to the more expensive kit.  I also assumed first trips would be "boiler suit" type and that oversuits were a big investment initially and could be left til later (depending on type of caving of course and the person)

 
 
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wormster

Guest
[quote author=Geoff R]Totally agree  -  I tried to make the first part of the list the cheapy bit, assuming that once tried a couple of times, move to the more expensive kit.  I also assumed first trips would be "boiler suit" type and that oversuits were a big investment initially and could be left til later (depending on type of caving of course and the person)
[/quote]

Am now at this stage, tried SRT a few times, bought a decent helmet/light combo and now have serious funds available to blow on kit.
 

paul

Moderator
c**tplaces said:
the helmet sometimes really has to be sold to the beginner. Builders hat or even bike helmet should be acceptable to start - get them used to wearing something then that progresses to a proper helmet. Its the hardest thing to worn sometimes. Anything is better then nothing you can progress with something.

To be honest, if you are wearing a helmet in order to protect yourself from the odd bump on the head and/or as a convenient point to mount a light - then a builders helmet is suitable.

If on the other hand you want to protect your head in the event of a fall (and paramedics treat a fall of 2m or over as "life threatening"...) - then get a decent helmet.

 

whitelackington

New member
This year, like a complete novice I fell down the concrete entrance shaft of Upper Flood Swallet, two metres, landing on my spine, it hurt a lot and put me in shock, didn't bang my head though.
I am not sure what my point is, maybe that you can be fully equiped, fairly experienced, familiar with the cave (perhaps too familiar) and still have an accident.
Two metres, I can confirm is a long fall to walk away from! :mad:
 

Hammy

Member
I reckon the critical thing in this list is the helmet/lamp arrangement. Most people have access to warm clothes, waterproof jackets and trousers and wellies.

Certainally in the Dales the gear retailers will hire out excellent helmets and lamps at a low cost - £2 per set.

I don't really think that the merits of builders helmets/bike helmets should be brought into this discussion - clearly less than suitable.

I always think of boiler suits as being cotton type things - also not really suitable underground and in previous years the source of many a cave epic (cold etc.) Surely nobody uses these these things any more....??
 
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emgee

Guest
Hammy said:
I reckon the critical thing in this list is the helmet/lamp arrangement. Most people have access to warm clothes, waterproof jackets and trousers and wellies.

Certainally in the Dales the gear retailers will hire out excellent helmets and lamps at a low cost - £2 per set.

I don't really think that the merits of builders helmets/bike helmets should be brought into this discussion - clearly less than suitable.

I always think of boiler suits as being cotton type things - also not really suitable underground and in previous years the source of many a cave epic (cold etc.) Surely nobody uses these these things any more....??

One of my early trips was in a set of army surplus overalls which would have been entirely suitable had I managed to avoid falling face down into a peat bog on the way to the entrance.
There are lots of good places to take beginners where they wont get particularly wet.
 
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andymorgan

Guest
Hammy said:
I always think of boiler suits as being cotton type things - also not really suitable underground and in previous years the source of many a cave epic (cold etc.) Surely nobody uses these these things any more....??

In a warm dry cave down south we still use boiler suits occasionally, for example Goatchurch. It all gets a bit hot in a fleece and oversuit. It seems stranger to see people in PVC suits or wetsuits in some caves.
  I know some of the orignial explorers of Ogof Draenen used to use an oversuit to negotiate the wet entrance series then change into a boiler suit, as the majority of the cave is very dry and hot, with hours of crawling and walking.
 

Peter Burgess

New member
I suspect we've all been down similar roads. We start with some caution - what do we need to be comfortable and safe without forking out a fortune for something we are just trying out? When we find we are hooked, we start buying the expensive gear, as clearly the stuff we started with was OK for a few trips but soon wore out or showed up certain inadequacies.

As our first trips are unlikely to be into physically demanding sites or those with extreme conditions of wetness or constrictions, we can get by with cheap stuff like boilersuits and cheap lighting.

Once we take the game seriously, we find out what we really need.

It is offputting for most people to be told they need to spend a fortune from day one, unless they have money to burn.

Its all very well pontificating about the merits of this or that, but it is sometimes more helpful to just look at how we did it, and asking if a similar approach is appropriate for someone else.
 

Peter Burgess

New member
Here's me in 1979 (!) on an early underground trip into an easy mine - boilersuit, site helmet, walking boots and stinky!

earlypmb.jpg
 
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