What do you take with you?

LadyMud

Member
Oooh, I'm so looking forward to my first club trip this weekend! My new oversuit, and new wellies, and new SRT kit and helmet with new lamp are all packed - but what else do folks normally take underground with them? And how do you carry it?

Presumably I can rely on the trip leader to carry a first aid kit, and phone. Should I take any emergency food/drink? I can put my car key inside my bra, but maybe not chocolate! So what should I be carrying, and where should I stow it?
 

tomferry

Active member
Oooh, I'm so looking forward to my first club trip this weekend! My new oversuit, and new wellies, and new SRT kit and helmet with new lamp are all packed - but what else do folks normally take underground with them? And how do you carry it?

Presumably I can rely on
Oooh, I'm so looking forward to my first club trip this weekend! My new oversuit, and new wellies, and new SRT kit and helmet with new lamp are all packed - but what else do folks normally take underground with them? And how do you carry it?

Presumably I can rely on the trip leader to carry a first aid kit, and phone. Should I take any emergency food/drink? I can put my car key inside my bra, but maybe not chocolate! So what should I be carrying, and where should I stow it?
If your doing srt underground I would hope to assume people have been through a lot of this with you ? It’s very varied depending on the trip but taking emergency provisions is certainly a good idea .
 

LadyMud

Member
"I would hope to assume people have been through a lot of this with you ?"

I've done some excellent above-ground SRT training (inc re-belays and deviations, etc) - but I'm asking more about "being underground".
Obviously I'll ask other people about this on the day . . . but I'm trying to work out what else I might need to take.
 

LadyMud

Member
Ah yes, knee pads - thank you. They're packed, but I forgot to mention them.

(I've also packed my clothing, inc fleece onesie and sealskinz socks.)
 

PeteHall

Moderator
As Mike says, it depends entirely where you're going, but it also depends on you. Some people always take chocolate/ food underground, others (myself generally included) prefer to carry as little as possible. So if I were you, I'd ask the trip leader, as they will know where you are going and you can discuss your own requirements.

As a minimum, I'd bring a spare light. My recommendation is for this to be separate to your helmet, so if for any reason you loose your helmet (it can happen), you still have light. I keep a Petzl Pixa around my neck, pretty much all the time. Other's have other ideas, see here for some thought: https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?threads/backup-light.27442/

Other things to think about:
  • How long is the walk to the cave?
    On a hot day it's can be worth bringing a water bottle for the walk to/ from the cave.

  • Is there water in the cave and is it safe to drink?
    If not, consider bringing water.

  • How long will you be underground?
    If it's only a few hours, you may decide not to take anything, if it's a 16 hour epic, you might want a bit more. This could include food, water, flask of coffee, camping stove, first aid kit, shelter, knife, pulley.

  • How awkward is the cave/ how much kit are you already carrying?
    If the cave's pretty easy going, then you might not worry about carrying a bit of extra kit. If it's a really awkward trip, you may want to keep things to a minimum.
    If you're already carrying 6 bags of rope or camera equipment, carrying a bit of food won't add much, but if you don't need any kit at all, carrying a bag just for food will slow you down.
    Don't bring a banana if you're expecting a lot of flat out crawling. Tiffin or flapjack is pretty robust. Same applies to KitKat vs Double Decker...

  • Are you going in and out the same way?
    If yes, you can leave car keys etc at the entrance (maybe put them in a bag to keep them dry). If you're doing a through trip best not do that!

  • Is the cave pretty?
    Maybe bring a camera. For underground photography (speaking as a total amateur), I find a mini tripod makes a huge difference.

  • What's the best way to carry your spare stuff?
    Most oversuits have a pocket or two, but stuff in chest pockets can be a problem in a narrow cave...
    If you're already brining a bag, a lot have a small pocket inside suitable for a snack.
    A small tackle bag can be a good option and can be clipped toy your belt (Warmbac make a variety of sizes that you can buy from any good caving shop)
    For longer/ wetter trips, you might want to carry things in a plastic drum. I'm a fan of the "BDH" chemical container, but they are pretty hard to find. More readily available from any decent caving shop, or 2nd hand online is the "Daren Drum" that comes in 2 convenient sizes. If you're feeling flush, or carrying expensive kit, Peli cases are worth their weight in gold.
    I'd avoid putting anything in your bra, as it will probably be quite uncomfortable if the cave gets narrow, but I have no experience in this department!
    Depending on your helmet, you may be able to stash a space blanket or bag of pork scratchings in the cradle.
    A mini dry-bag can be a good addition, especially if you're bringing flapjack.

  • Do you smoke?
    Possibly a slightly contentious one, but it depends where you are and who you are with. I'm not a smoker, but I cave with smokers and have no problem if they spark up underground, so long as there is a decent draught and it's blowing away from me. Make sure to keep them dry though!
Finally, it's a good idea to bring a watch!
 

Roger W

Well-known member
I can put my car key inside my bra, but maybe not chocolate! So what should I be carrying, and where should I stow it?
An interesting idea, but will your key be safe in there? Being a mere fella, I've never had the opportunity to try that one. But knowing how things can drop, jump or fall out of pockets and other supposedly secure places, I would recommend clipping or tying it in...
 

AR

Well-known member
I usually have my phone, wallet and car keys in a small drybag (ortlieb) on a waist-belt worn under the oversuit - I usually have it in front but it can easily be pushed into the small of my back when flat-out grovelling.
For longer stints underground, I'd usually take some flapjack and a small stainless flask of sweetened milky coffee. These would be stowed in a plastic rocket tube, but these army surplus items are hard to find nowadays.
 

Loki

Active member
You bought all that without having been caving before? Still, some helpful tips for newbies there.
 

Loki

Active member
Second the small bag clipped to belt as it keeps your hands free and let’s you carry the main tacklebag as required.. a rigging bag just big enough to hold a 500ml pop bottle, foil blanket balaclava and a flapjack is ideal.
If you don’t want to stash your key in the car bumper or in a drystone wall/under a rock put it in a bag or tub and take it to the entrance and leave it there. There’s so many stories of people losing the car keys in the cave!
 

Loki

Active member
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caving_fox

Member
I always carry a personal bag with me. In it I have some food - personal preference Drak Chocolate Bounty bars, but flapjacks etc sometimes - well sealed! And drink - at least 1 500ml resealable. I don't always eat/drink them, but even 'short' trips can become arduous and draining if pushing something difficult. Often I'll take a couple of slings and Karabiner too - very useful for odd climbs and free-hang rebelays. Emergency bag and whistle in pocket.

Spare light is attached to my helmet.
Most importantly I always have with me my sense of adventure and having fun!
 
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