Packing carefully is important for any adventure, but even more so when exploring the more remote areas of our planet. Below are some of the things that a caver will need to have in his pack for his adventures. Remember, never go caving without your gear!
This checklist serves as a general overview of items that should be taken along when undertaking a caving expedition that may last for a few hours or even a weekend. What you may decide to take into and in a cave depends on several factors and I like to know beforehand all of the details before I decide on what I really want to haul with me for what could end up being days. Find out the weather conditions, the status of the cave, the distance from the parking to the actual cave, and the amount of time that you physically be in the cave. Your list may be slightly different from mine and you are advised to tailor it to suit your own needs.
Change of clothes
Emergency contact numbers
Things to Bring Nearby the Cave
GPS info to and from cave site
An absolute must that must be taken with you on a cave expedition is a helmet to protect your head against any potential bumps or rocks underground. A good helmet should come with a chinstrap, be lightweight, and offer sizing adjustments. One that comes with an attachment for a headlamp gets bonus points. As a rule of thumb, I try to carry on me at least three different light sources that range from a lighter to a headlamp.
You may find that you easily get cold in caves and so you should consider an extra layer of clothing to protect you against chill and fatigue. Polypro underwear is suggested because they are made of synthetic materials that stay warm even when you are wet. For an added middle layer, choose between jogging pants or a shirt that is also synthetic. Try to avoid cotton, especially for inner layers and be sure to pack wool blend socks.
Before beginning your caving adventure, toenails should be trimmed, and proper hiking boots that have lug soles are suitable. If you have a pair of knee pads to use while in caves, even better as you can do some serious damage to your knees once inside in the form of bruises and scrapes that could take days to weeks to completely heal. A pair of synthetic gloves is also advisable to protect your hands and provide a little warmth as well.
Always have a couple of ziplock bags on hand when caving. You can use one to store your wallet, keys, cell phone, and any other valuables that you don’t want to get lost or damaged. AN absolute must is a small, premium flashlight that can be carried preferably around your neck.