Cave Suit Recommendation

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Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby caver_walt » Feb 7, 2013 2:06 pm

My Lost Creek Deluxe cave suit lasted for 2 years. I estimate wearing it on about 40 trips, usually during the cooler months. It started ripping on the past couple of trips. I patched it a few times but the fabric is just deteriorating and new rips are starting in other places. Considering I paid about $150 new, it breaks down to around $3.75 per trip - not a bad value. I'm very pleased overall and inclined to purchase another Lost Creek suit. Anyone know how Lost Creek compares to other brands such as Meander, Wunderwear, Landjoff? Lost Creek is going to be hard to beat, but can I get better mileage out of the other brands?
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby graveleye » Feb 7, 2013 3:31 pm

Walt, have you tried just caving in polypros and some tough shorts over them? I'm normally cold-natured but that's been working for me quite well, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a cave suit.
I do have a Meander and it seems tough as nails but it is so incredibly hot that unless I am in a wet cave I am suffocating in it. The material on the meanders seems pretty sturdy though.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby Scott McCrea » Feb 7, 2013 4:18 pm

If I'm seeing the picture correctly, it looks like the material ripped at the seams and rest of the material is fine. If so, they can be fixed. Contact Lost Creek or someone with an industrial sewing machine.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Feb 7, 2013 5:31 pm

I've found that the Meander suits last significantly longer. My current red pair is pretty shredded, with the outer butt layer just sort of hanging and the outer elbow layers flapping limply like broken wings ... but that's why they double-layer those parts of the suit (as does Lost Creek, I believe).

But I bought this pair in late spring, 2010 -- this is the first photo I have of them, so it was sometime between May and July -- and I've done an unreasonable amount of caving since then. And I suspect I'll get another year out of them before my nude buttocks come tumbling out and I'm forced to replace 'em.



Edit: added it up, couldn't help myself. 141 trips, 513 hours underground in these coveralls so far, excluding Lechuguilla expeditions where I obviously didn't wear coveralls. I wear them about 95% of the time, so if you want to round down you can say ~134 trips and ~487 hours. And that first trip was a two-night camp trip in a nasty muddy cave, so knock off 16 hours or so for sleepytime.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby Caving Guru » Feb 7, 2013 8:07 pm

"141 trips, 513 hours underground in these coveralls so far"
Sorry about being a little off topic but Jeff I am very impressed by how many caving trips you have been able to do. About how often are there organized caving trips down where you are around Chattanooga? In the DC area where I am there is usually a caving trip organized about once every two months (excluding survey trips which I think of as exclusive such as for Memorial Day Cave, WV but which I would love to do). I usually try to go to all of the caving trips I hear about in my area.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby MUD » Feb 7, 2013 9:42 pm

Scott's right as that suit is simply just ripped on the seams. Easy fix with a good machine and proper thread.

:big grin: Nothing beats a custom made suit.

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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 7, 2013 9:55 pm

Greg Jones wrote:"141 trips, 513 hours underground in these coveralls so far"
Sorry about being a little off topic but Jeff I am very impressed by how many caving trips you have been able to do. About how often are there organized caving trips down where you are around Chattanooga? In the DC area where I am there is usually a caving trip organized about once every two months (excluding survey trips which I think of as exclusive such as for Memorial Day Cave, WV but which I would love to do). I usually try to go to all of the caving trips I hear about in my area.


Organize your own trips and you can go a hell of a lot more often than that.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby firemedic1015 » Feb 7, 2013 10:14 pm

I've been very happy with my Meander, it's holding up well. It's a year old with 50+ days and is still going strong.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby Caving Guru » Feb 7, 2013 11:50 pm

"Organize your own trips and you can go a hell of a lot more often than that." Chad
For your information Chad I do organize my own caving trips myself for that exact reason. Most recently, I organized two caving trips last month for January and one caving trip for December. One big benefit of going on caving trips organized by the regional caving grottos is that you get access to caves that you normally can't go to such as those that are gated.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby Amocholes » Feb 8, 2013 8:15 am

My 1st Lost Creek lasted me 9 years. The seams needed to be resewn in places at times. The fabric at the seams wore and it needed to be taken in to reach stronger fabric. Unfortunately, I had already been let out so making it smaller just wouldn't work for me. I replaced it 2 years ago and donated it to a teenage friend who had it resewn and will get a few years out of it before he outgrows it.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby LukeM » Feb 8, 2013 8:23 am

I acquired a Landjoff suit not too long ago so I can't comment on its long-term durability. It's made from 500 denier so I don't expect it to last as long as a lot of other coveralls. The design is really nice but I had to take it in a lot for my slim frame. I was pretty surprised at how baggy it was for being made by a European company. Now that I have it all tailored it's great for caving in.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby caver_walt » Feb 8, 2013 3:14 pm

Thanks for the comments. I'm going to see about getting my Lost Creek suit repaired and keeping it as a back-up. I may give the Meander a try this go around.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 8, 2013 5:59 pm

Greg Jones wrote:"141 trips, 513 hours underground in these coveralls so far"
Sorry about being a little off topic but Jeff I am very impressed by how many caving trips you have been able to do. About how often are there organized caving trips down where you are around Chattanooga? In the DC area where I am there is usually a caving trip organized about once every two months (excluding survey trips which I think of as exclusive such as for Memorial Day Cave, WV but which I would love to do). I usually try to go to all of the caving trips I hear about in my area.

I'm less impressed ... 3.5 hours per trip is hardly enough time to get out of the entrance zone. You must be bouncing a bunch of pits, and I'm not sure that each yo of a yo-yo counts as another cave trip. I don't see a bunch of survey getting done in those 3.5 hour trips.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby Caving Guru » Feb 8, 2013 10:07 pm

Well Extremeophile I was mainly impressed by how often Jeff caved which I calculated was about once a week but I guess that might not be surprising if you live right next to a lot of caves. For me it takes about 4 hours to get to the good caving in the Pendleton, WV area so it is a little harder for me to go caving as often as that because a trip usually takes up the whole weekend.
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Re: Cave Suit Recommendation

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Feb 9, 2013 12:13 am

Extremeophile wrote:I'm less impressed ... 3.5 hours per trip is hardly enough time to get out of the entrance zone. You must be bouncing a bunch of pits, and I'm not sure that each yo of a yo-yo counts as another cave trip. I don't see a bunch of survey getting done in those 3.5 hour trips.

Ha! I was WAITING for someone to call me out on what has essentially been 2 solid years of "Holy crap, I live in TAG now, let's just run through 400+ ft deep caves all the time." I used to manage 400 hours a year, now I'm racking up 4-hour trips. Go figure.

In fairness, SuperDerek, I did exclude two weeklong Lechuguilla expeditions from that figure, since we're trying to determine coverall longevity here. And, since I live about 10 minutes from several major caves, I've managed about a dozen weeknight survey trips in that time period at 2-3 hours a clip. I didn't realize cave survey only counts when you're pulling an all-nighter; I didn't realize it's only caving if it's horrible. I must just be a pit-bopper, then.

But, seriously, why are we talking about this? I'm trying to help this dude shop for coveralls, and suddenly we're dissecting whether I'm surveying awful stream passages two dozen weekends a year (like 2008-2009) or whistle-dicking my way to the bottom of two dozen deep caves a year (like 2011-2012). WHOOOOOO CAAAAAAAAAARES
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