newbie questions - keeping dry

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newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby CaveGurl » Aug 10, 2011 3:24 pm

Hi there :waving:
Just joined the forum and am fairly new to caving.
One main think I'm not real sure how to do is keep dry - specifically my feet.
Being fairly new at this and not yet willing to dump a TON of money on gear, I am currently using hiking boots, hiking socks (smart wool), carpenter type overalls that i sewed knee pads its (very helpful), and a tshirt or long sleeve shirt.
I also have a pack with water bladder, elios helmet, headlamp, and all the normal stuff that goes in the pack.
I am in the east TN area. Right now just doing horizontal, but will eventually be moving on to vertical caving.
Some of our caves are dry, some not as much.
I don't plan on using a completely waterproof caving suit or anything like that, as I wont be in the water THAT much.
Mostly what we have is water up to the ankle and sometimes water up to the knees.
What is the best way to keep dry? I found some cheap thin vinyl waders that are very light weight and can quickly be slipped over everything - boot and all. They problem with that route is that they are not durable, and they cover up the traction of the boots.
There are of course the kinds of waders that you use without your boots. I found some that are light, kind of bulky but doable, however that requires you to take off your boots when you get to that really wet spot and thats just a pain.
So am I missing something? Does everyone just wear thigh high boots? Do you just deal with the water in your boots? (I find it annoying and difficult to hike any long distances after my boots have been completely filled with water.
What do you do about water just high enough to go over the tops of your boots vs knee high water vs waist high water? :shrug:
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby boogercaver71 » Aug 10, 2011 6:03 pm

I would rather have wet feet than be poring water out of my boots. If my feet are in water constantly, I use aqua socks which keep my feet warm.
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby Chads93GT » Aug 10, 2011 7:43 pm

Ive never been on a cave trip where my feet didn't get wet. I refuse to use those knee high rubber boots which offer no ankle support what so ever. What do I do in all types of water? I get wet and dont worry about it. I wear wool or neoprene socks depending if the cave is a river cave or not, but I am not worried about it. Friends of mine that wear the knee high boots simply kick their foot up to their ass and grab their ankle to drain the water out. NO sense in taking your boots completely off.

My advice? Don't be afraid of getting wet. If you are, you are definately in the wrong hobby. ;)
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby wyandottecaver » Aug 10, 2011 8:15 pm

cavegurl,

The short answer, as others said, is you don't stay dry. Water or sweat, take your pick.

The REAL question you should have asked is how to stay warm after your wet. polypro long johns are the usual answer. Your smartwool socks should be fine. get rid of any cotton clothing and replace with nylon or polyester based stuff. A spare dry shirt carried in a gaallon ziplock in your pack is nice to change into.

I should add...I buy my cavin boots at goodwill, I go through a lot.
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby Chads93GT » Aug 10, 2011 8:35 pm

I use the brahma $30 boots from walmart. i shoe goo the toes when new and they never wear out. The rest of the boot falls apart first and it usually takes a year or so to trash them out due to dry rot in the leather, but for $30 a pop i could care less about keeping the leather conditioned with mink oil ;)
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby Marduke » Aug 10, 2011 10:02 pm

I never use waterproof boots, because they are waterproof in both directions. I always use boots that drain and don't worry about my feet getting wet. In TAG you are guaranteed to get wet caving.
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby Amocholes » Aug 11, 2011 4:01 am

I always thought that was half the fun! Where else can a man my age (51) have an excuse to get wet and muddy?
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby Scott McCrea » Aug 11, 2011 5:08 am

The easy answer is use what the cavers in your area already use. In east TN, you'll probably find lots of rubber boots. Either calf-high wellies or Joop boot style.

The hard answer is it depends. If the water is shallow, wellie style works great. If you are swimming, you want something that won't hold too much water.

Waders will not work. They will be destroyed after one trip.
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby JR-Orion » Aug 11, 2011 9:03 am

Depends on the conditions and your preferences, but here's some things that have worked for me-

If you just want to embrace the wetness, but still have warm feet, I've used neoprene dive / wetsuit socks (from scuba.com) inside my normal caving boots.

If I plan on walking in water all day- anke deep or deeper- I've gone with some dive boots. You can find some with really rugged soles. Like so-

http://www.scuba.com/scuba-gear-13/Boot ... Water.html
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby CaveGurl » Aug 11, 2011 11:39 am

alrighty. looks like eventually ill get some tall boots (wellies, etc) .
Do they have socks that are actually waterproof?
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby wyandottecaver » Aug 11, 2011 4:46 pm

they do. They also make your feet sweat. So your wet either way. Of course sweat is a lot warmer than 52 deg cave water :) I use SealSkinz socks when I neeed to keep my feet toasty underwater.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby Caver John » Aug 11, 2011 5:06 pm

I where my sticky vasque hiking boots. However, after nearly having a heartattack from the shock of going mid calf in VERY COLD water I plan on getting the sealskin waterproof socks. I should say though my feet are prone to getting frost nip after a previous exposure.

Also, good waterproof gaters can do well keeping water out momentarily
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby Chads93GT » Aug 11, 2011 7:07 pm

JR-Orion wrote:Depends on the conditions and your preferences, but here's some things that have worked for me-

If you just want to embrace the wetness, but still have warm feet, I've used neoprene dive / wetsuit socks (from scuba.com) inside my normal caving boots.

If I plan on walking in water all day- anke deep or deeper- I've gone with some dive boots. You can find some with really rugged soles. Like so-

http://www.scuba.com/scuba-gear-13/Boot ... Water.html

Those boots look like aqua socks with high heels. no ankle support. they also look like ankle bashers, lol. Had a guy show up for a 5 mile river cave trip once with aqua socks. He thought by river cave it was literally a river and we would be swimming. WE said "Are you going to swim 5 miles?" He promptly put on a regular pair of boots and noprene socks. lol
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby Jon » Aug 12, 2011 2:15 am

Wanna stay dry? Cave in Arizona!!!! Sorry I just had to do that. No Moisture to speak of :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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Re: newbie questions - keeping dry

Postby DeanWiseman » Aug 12, 2011 9:15 am

CaveGurl wrote:Hi there :waving:
Mostly what we have is water up to the ankle and sometimes water up to the knees.
What is the best way to keep dry? I found some cheap thin vinyl waders that are very light weight and can quickly be slipped over everything - boot and all. They problem with that route is that they are not durable, and they cover up the traction of the boots.
There are of course the kinds of waders that you use without your boots. I found some that are light, kind of bulky but doable, however that requires you to take off your boots when you get to that really wet spot and thats just a pain.
So am I missing something? Does everyone just wear thigh high boots? Do you just deal with the water in your boots? (I find it annoying and difficult to hike any long distances after my boots have been completely filled with water.


Forget the waders... they are a waste of time and will fail. Even if they don't fail immediately, they won't breathe, and you'll have as much condensation as water inflow. I've also tried the neoprene and gore-tex socks with either mixed or poor results. The only benefit I could find with those kind of socks is that they trap water, so like a wetsuit, the water eventually warms up and serves as an insulator.

Best thing I can tell you is use welly boots. They are waterproof up to the top of the boot, they breathe fairly well... and most importantly, they drain easy. That, and I recommend going to Good Will and buying up a bunch of heavy socks there. Sure you could invest in some SmartWool, but that's a lot of money for a piece of clothing that will see just about as much abuse as any you wear.


Good luck!

-Dean
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