How to Pack for Caving

How to Pack for Caving
Caving, or spelunking, is a sport that shares some skills, gear and circumstances in common with mountain climbing. It shares many skills and articles of equipment in common with mountain and rock climbing, but going underground is a unique environment with its own special considerations. Remember that the sport is unsafe or impossible without a complete set of gear.  Even more so than with mountain climbing, the best sites require at least a day hike and camping. Hauling a complete kit of caving gear, plus anything else that might be needed for the trip requires some planning.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Helmet
  • Helmet lamp
  • Knee pads
  • Caving jump suit
  • Backup flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Glowsticks
  • Hammer
  • Climbing irons
  • Map
  • Ropes (optional)
  • Carabiners (optional)
  • Repelling harness (optional)
  • Water bottle
  • Snack or share of camping provisions
  • Tower backpack or rucksack
Step 1
Plan the division of carrying labor in advance. If your cave is some distance from roads and civilization, you will probably need to hike in and camp there. Furthermore, no one should ever cave alone, so there will be a party of at least two involved. Talk to your partner(s) and divide who is carrying what part of the camping kit.
Step 2
Decide with your partner(s) who will carry specific parts of the kit that only one, or at most two members of the group need to have. This part of the kit includes a hammer, climbing irons and a map of the cave (if one exists).
Step 3
Assemble your caving kit. This will consist of at least your helmet, helmet lamp, knee pads, caving jump suit, back-up flashlight, extra batteries and glowsticks. It may also include rock-climbing gear like ropes, carabiners and a repelling harness. The latter gear depends on the cave and the ambitions of the caving trip.
Step 4
Pack your tower backpack or rucksack. If this is a day caving trip, then all you need is your caving gear, a water bottle and a snack. A good plan in the event of a combined caving-camping trip is to pack your caving gear into the bottom of the pack. This equipment will not be needed until after camp is set, so it should be the last set of items you get to after arriving at the site.
Step 5
Weigh your pack. A seasoned trekker and caver ought to know how much he can carry on a trek. A novice should draw the line at 50 lbs.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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