Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

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Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 28, 2008 3:23 pm

We are thinking over Christmas break to do a 2 day survey trip

My question is, what do you guys take when you do similar trips? I know that some pepole in here have probably camped out in caves over night. We of course have to make sure there is no rain in the forecast, becuase this cave is a major underground river drain for the area.

I have several seal line drybags to take stuff in that have to stay dry, such as dry clothes, towel, one of my down sleeping bags (collapses very small) and one of my thermorest sleeping pads. Other stuff would be a tarp to sleep on, as well as food, water, sterno, first aid, heat pads, etc. What else?

I dont want to get in there and be like, jee, wish we would have brought "xxx" with us. And no I dont mean porn. ;)

We are really excited that we now have a dry area in the cave. Please give me your advice, I'd appreciate it.
Last edited by Chads93GT on Oct 29, 2008 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Oct 28, 2008 6:12 pm

Off the top of my head:
Water filter
lightweight compact stove and fuel for same
freeze dried foods (you can eat out of the same bag)
extra clean water for said foods
powdered drink mix or tea and a cup for it.
lexan or disposable utensils
travel size hand sanitizer
kitchen size trash bag (maybe 2 to handle the stress of compacting all that garbage down or even 3 with one to handle the wet clothes )
compressionable sleeping bag (40 degree bag should be warm enough in a cave)
small 4X6 ground tarp
no slip pad between the bag and the tarp
a small area light (those flashlights that can convert to area lights are good) so you don't use up your headlamp batteries
camp towel to help dry off your body better before changing into dry clothes... it'll help make the sleeping bag more comfy too.
deck of cards to stave off boredom
your usual caving stuff...
pee bottles (for overnighters the 1 liter soda or water bottles are pretty good) burrito bags as well.

Others might have additonal things or better ideas than mine.
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby fuzzy-hair-man » Oct 28, 2008 7:12 pm

There's a section on camping, food and equipment in chapter 8 of Vertical, here's the link to the pdf:
http://www.cavediggers.com/vertical/8ORG.pdf
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Dwight Livingston » Oct 28, 2008 8:08 pm

I wouldn't take a down bag. Too likely to get damp and useless. I take a light synthetic bag and a fleece suit just for sleeping. Nice also to have an oversize ground cloth.

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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 28, 2008 8:51 pm

Well. I have a synthetic bag that I would use in the cave, as i have a brand new big agnes 15 degree bag and matress ($300) that I use for camping. Anyway its light and it compacts SMALL. I also have my thermorest 1.5" pad that i also use. I was going to haul my dry clothes, bag, pad, etc, into the cave in my seal line 115 bag. The cave is extremely wet. there are a few 4"-6" ear dippers to swim under, and about 1500 feet of water crawling . It sucks.

I figured it would be just like camping, so most of what you listed didnt suprise me.

The only thing I wonder about is taking my hiking water filter in. Granted its a river cave, but im not sure about filtering the river water, only if we have to of course. Its a Katadyn system, says it gets bacteria, protozoa, and giardia, but what about ecoli? Granted we would have a ton of water already at the camp, so it would only have to be used as a last resort.

do you guys ever bother taking tents in?
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Oct 28, 2008 9:07 pm

Chads93GT wrote:Well. I have a synthetic bag that I would use in the cave, as i have a brand new big agnes 15 degree bag and matress ($300) that I use for camping. Anyway its light and it compacts SMALL. I also have my thermorest 1.5" pad that i also use. I was going to haul my dry clothes, bag, pad, etc, into the cave in my seal line 115 bag. The cave is extremely wet. there are a few 4"-6" ear dippers to swim under, and about 1500 feet of water crawling . It sucks.

I figured it would be just like camping, so most of what you listed didnt suprise me.

The only thing I wonder about is taking my hiking water filter in. Granted its a river cave, but im not sure about filtering the river water, only if we have to of course. Its a Katadyn system, says it gets bacteria, protozoa, and giardia, but what about ecoli? Granted we would have a ton of water already at the camp, so it would only have to be used as a last resort.

do you guys ever bother taking tents in?

Tents? Por Que? You got a roof over your heads already and mosquitoes don't travel in that far (at least not in my experience anyway)... a tent would be too much. But if it's a drippy ceiling then perhaps a goretex bivvy sac will suit. That can pack down small as well.
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 28, 2008 9:32 pm

Well the camp site is 2 mile upstream and we saw a ton of bats sunday when we found the spot, they were squaking at us pretty good, lol. I just dont want bat shit in my mouth while sleeping. To me its an unnecessary piece of gear to haul 2 miles up a crappy river cave, even if it is floating in my dry bag. Thanks for the input everyone!
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby HKalnitz » Oct 29, 2008 6:13 am

Chad,
If you saw a ton of bats at this time of year, you might want to think about whether this cave is a hibernaculum.
Camping for 2 days in December in a cave with hibernating bats is probably a bad idea.
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 29, 2008 6:24 am

Ooh good idea. We actually only saw 2 of them. One was hanging and squaking, and a 2nd was flying around and kept landing on it. Not sure if they were mating or what they were doing. They were really small. Ill definately run it by the guys though.
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Oct 29, 2008 9:17 am

Chads93GT wrote:Well the camp site is 2 mile upstream and we saw a ton of bats sunday when we found the spot, they were squaking at us pretty good, lol. I just dont want bat shit in my mouth while sleeping. To me its an unnecessary piece of gear to haul 2 miles up a crappy river cave, even if it is floating in my dry bag. Thanks for the input everyone!

I think it would be a remarkable coincidence that a piece of guano falls into your open mouth while sleeping. The odds of it happening are probably incalculable. It's doubtful that you'll get a mischievous bat that will tell the others... hey guys... watch this.. then he flies around for a bit finding the right spot just above your face and lands on the ceiling directly above you and waits for you to open your mouth and nnnnggghh .... BULLSEYE! :bananabat: :laughing:
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Aaron Addison » Oct 29, 2008 10:49 am

Gunao in your mouth while sleeping under roosting bats is the least of your worries. I would think that it might be a scene from Fear Factor, when you wake up to 1000s of bugs, beetles and gnats feasting on you.

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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Teresa » Oct 29, 2008 4:35 pm

Chad,
If you are going in Perry County, FORGET the water filter, and haul a gallon of potable water in a platypus or something. That water in those caves is *nasty*. and I wouldn't trust any filter to get the germs &floaty bits out of it. Seriously. I've known people to get mysterious rashes, and other illnesses from just caving in that water.
You may laugh at this, but take a knit synthetic cap, like a Navy watch cap, extra synthetic or wool dry socks and if you have them, a pair of thin woolly knit winter gloves. Double bag these in ziplocks with a man's soft cotton handkerchief--comes in handy for a dozen things. And a space blanket or a thick mil dry trash bags you can wear as a heat tent.
Just sitting around camp making dinner, playing cards, or shooting the breeze before sleep can get you much colder than you would normally have thought possible. Wear the knit hat and socks then, and sleeping to keep you toasty warm. The gloves may or may not be used-- they weigh next to nothing, and if you have them it is so much better. Another idea is some aqua sox or sandals able to be worn with socks. Your cave boots are going to be sopping wet, and there is nothing worse than 36 hours of wet feet.
DUCT TAPE! Do not cave or camp without it.
Take and leave snow gear in your car, but have it with you...you never know what you'll find when you come out of a cave in December.
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 29, 2008 5:51 pm

Yeah I definately wont drink any water in the caves in this area. Ive heard that groundwater contamination is pretty bad, besides my own house dumps into a sink hole, just like about every other house in this town (brewer) and most of the country houses. There are no known caves pointed out on the maps immediately around brewer but still............probably flows into berome lol
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby mgmills » Oct 29, 2008 7:22 pm

Chads93GT wrote:W

I dont want to get in there and be like, jee, wish we would have brought "xxx" with us. And no I dont mean porn. ;)

Please give me your advice, I'd appreciate it.


I've only camped in a cave once. It was a photo trip deep into a cave and we camped so we could get to the "photo shoot" area and not be exhausted from caving hours to get there. I wished I'd brought ear plugs. It was amazing to me how loud someone turning over under a tarp (or space blanket) could be. It seemd that if anyone got up during the night or even moved in their sleep I heard them. You may be a sound sleeper but if I ever camp in a cave again I will take ear plugs.
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Re: Camping out in a cave, for a long survey

Postby Lost » Oct 30, 2008 3:30 pm

Chads93GT wrote:Yeah I definately wont drink any water in the caves in this area. Ive heard that groundwater contamination is pretty bad, besides my own house dumps into a sink hole, just like about every other house in this town (brewer) and most of the country houses. There are no known caves pointed out on the maps immediately around brewer but still............probably flows into berome lol
Dumps what? :yikes: :yikes: :yikes:
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