Please Note: These are guidelines. Please check with the trip leader for specific requirments for the particular trip you will be taking. Remember: "Cave Softly!"
Most caves in Kentucky/Indiana have a temperature of 55 degrees fahrenheit, and very high humidity. Cave conditions are the same year round. Geologically "Live" caves will be wet. This might simply be dripping water, or it might be running water that you will have to walk/crawl/swim through. Any equipment that you take into a cave will get dirty or muddy unless you take special precautions. The dirt that is found in caves mud is very fine, and tends to get in everything(!).
- Helmet and Headlamp. These are available in the gear room, but you must supply your own batteries.
- Spare batteries and bulb for your headlamp. Make sure that a spare bulb comes with the headlamp.
- One or more independent backup light sources. A small flashlight works well.
- Warm Clothing (see details below).
- Dinking water in nalgene bottle that cannot be crushed
- Food. Anything you take into a cave should be resistant to crushing. Energy bars are great for caves
- Durable clothing. It will get very dirty and worn. Thrift store clothing is a good choice. Coveralls are great if you have them, otherwise jeans & a sweat-shirt will do (with proper underwear, see below).
- Long underwear. Polypropolene top or some other synthetic fabric. NO cotton.
- Suitable shoes with some ankle support and good tread. They will get very dirty and wet. Don't use your good hiking boots.
- Wool or other synthetic socks. Caves are usually wet, and it can be hard to keep your feet dry.
- Knee pads. Caving usually requires some amount of crawling. The UCMC has a few sets available in the gear room.
- Cave pack or other durable small pack. (available in the gear room)
- Cotton gloves (unlined) to protect your hands. Inexpensive gardening gloves are fine. It's good to bring a second pair in case the first gets worn out. You can often get these in gas stations for less than two dollars per pair.
- Clean dry clothes to wear after leaving the cave. Don't forget clean shoes.
- A towel and a plasic bag for your dirty clothes.
- A clean hankerchief in a plastic bag.
- Contact lenses. Glasses fog easily in a cave.
- A short section of webbing/5mm rope and a carabiner.
A Gear Room Checklist
- Helmet and Headlamp, plus a spare bulb
- Cave Pack
- Knee Pads