Things To Bring On Your Next Cave Exploring Trip
By: Jiro Sosh
Cave exploring, also known as caving, is becoming an increasingly popular sport. People explore caves not only for physical fitness but also for purposes of scientific study. While most caves in developed countries such as the United States are already well-explored and no longer dangerous, the use of the right gear is still important in preventing injury and ensuring an enjoyable experience during cave exploring.
Helmets A helmet is one of the most important pieces of equipment in cave exploring. Not only does it protect your head from falling objects and knocking against the top of the cave (or against objects suspended from the top of the cave), but it is also a good place to have a light source. Having a helmet light keeps the light near your eyes, where you need it most, and leaves your hands free. Be sure to bring extra batteries for your helmet light and to bring a backup light source to use in case your helmet light fails.
Gloves Gloves are also an important piece of equipment. They help keep you warm in cold caves, and they protect your fingers and palms from cuts or scratches, as well as from insect bites.
Knee pads and elbow pads Knee pads and elbow pads are optional because not all caves require you to crawl. Even in caves where you stay upright the whole time, knee pads and elbow pads can help protect your joints from scrapes, scratches, cuts, and other injuries.
Ropes Ropes are required for descent and ascent in pitches, or vertical spaces within caves, as well as for protection of the members of a cave exploring team. Be sure you know how to work properly with ropes before you explore a cave with pitches.
Appropriate clothing You should be dressed correctly for the kind of cave you're exploring. If you're exploring a cave in a cold area, you should be wearing several layers of clothing, with a bottom layer that will provide insulation even if it gets wet, and a top layer that is waterproof and hard-wearing. If you're exploring a cave in a warm area, you should wear clothing that is sturdy but light enough to help you stay cool. If you're exploring a wet cave, you should wear rubber boots and neoprene socks to keep your feet dry. If you're exploring a dry cave, you should wear hiking boots that will give your feet adequate protection.
Cave exploring can be very rewarding. Remember, you need to be properly prepared and equipped to make the most of your cave exploring experiences.
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