Preferred pack for lava tubes?

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Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby Aaron Addison » Jul 7, 2011 3:23 pm

hello,

We are looking for thoughts on usability for different packs on bare lava in caves. More specifically, looking for actual field reports of happy/unhappy and whether or not you would recommend that pack to someone else for lava tube use.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Cheers,

AA
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Re: Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby NZcaver » Jul 7, 2011 4:49 pm

Good question. I've participated in several lava tube survey expeditions in Hawaii, using a Swaygo and a Lost Creek. The one time I used my Swaygo Sink pack, I quickly regretted it. The experience resulted in some unsightly scratches/gouges in the material. I also I found the rubber material to be clammy and less than comfortable for wearing in a warm, humid environment. To its credit the Swaygo didn't lose any waterproof integrity and I still find it very practical and ergonomic for most caving, especially in wet caves.

I much prefer my Lost Creek Monster TAG pack for lava tubes, and also for dry caves in the southwest. The nylon/Cordura material has resisted abrasion really well. I have an older version of the pack, and I sewed a pocket inside to hold a piece of closed-cell foam against my back for comfort. The foam doubles as a seat pad if I need it.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby Scott McCrea » Jul 7, 2011 8:33 pm

I have gotten feedback from several lava tube cavers that were pleased with their Swaygo Packs. Which ever pack you choose, lining it with padding will help protect it.
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Re: Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby NZcaver » Jul 7, 2011 9:29 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:I have gotten feedback from several lava tube cavers that were pleased with their Swaygo Packs. Which ever pack you choose, lining it with padding will help protect it.

I should clarify that I was referring to Hawaiian lava tubes, which generally contain rock surfaces that are noticeably sharper and nastier than most older lava tubes on the north American continent. And I agree lining your caving pack with padding is a smart idea, Swaygo or not.
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Re: Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby Aaron Addison » Jul 9, 2011 8:23 pm

These caves are in Galapagos, which if anything, have more bare lava than Hawaii.

I used my Swaygo on the last trip which did have some significant scratches, but did fine. I did find myself being a bit careful with it after several days. Afterall you are caving on cracked glass part of the time....

AA
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Re: Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby Scott McCrea » Jul 10, 2011 8:22 am

Upon further reflection, a bleach bottle or anti-freeze bottle pig would probably work well. Something hard sided, that would slide over pack-scratchers. Any soft sided pack is either going to scratch, snag or rip.
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Re: Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby NZcaver » Jul 10, 2011 12:51 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:Upon further reflection, a bleach bottle or anti-freeze bottle pig would probably work well. Something hard sided, that would slide over pack-scratchers. Any soft sided pack is either going to scratch, snag or rip.

That's a blast from the past. Does anybody use those any more? I tried one years ago, but found it didn't hold enough and was cumbersome, uncomfortable, and unreliable (had to tape the two halves together to stop it falling apart).

Despite my liking for your beloved Swaygo in many situations, my Lost Creek pack hasn't encountered any real problems with scratching, snagging or ripping over the course of several month-long Hawaiian cave survey expeditions. :shrug:
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Re: Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby chac » Jul 10, 2011 4:31 pm

Actually, yes - but not taped-up bleach bottles.

Darren Barrels can be quite useful. Line the interior of the barrel with a thin neoprene sheet, it will take all your survey gear that is best to keep dryish. Many (Point and Shoot) cameras will fit in these barrels, a small snack, more sources of light, 30' webbing hand-line, whatever. Bumps, small drops, water, mud etc. are no problem to the overall package. As for the rest of your kit, stage it in and/or have your group bring in the extras (bring water, food).

Use your imagination with these containers, they can be very useful in the right conditions. If the integrity of the pack is suspect, the barrel will take reasonable abuse. You can submerge these barrels briefly with no effect. YMMV once these go underwater.

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Re: Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby NZcaver » Jul 10, 2011 6:10 pm

I've borrowed Darren Drums before, but always used them inside a pack not as a pack. They work well for keeping camp supplies dry. My camera equipment might be difficult to squeeze in, but that's why I drag a Seahorse hard case with me.
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Re: Preferred pack for lava tubes?

Postby Aaron Addison » Jul 10, 2011 8:43 pm

I do have three drums, but never considered them for packs. I carry my camera in one religiously though.

AA
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