A question about cave suits

Discuss caving lights, packs, helmets, clothing, etc.
For rope and vertical equipment, go to the On Rope! forum.
Cave electronics enthusiasts can also visit the Communications and Electronics Section forum.

Moderator: Moderators

A question about cave suits

Postby mabercrombie » Dec 5, 2006 11:47 am

I am about to buy a cave suit, I am leaning towards a lost creek suit but the zipper worries me. Does anybody have any experience with lost creek suits? How do they hold up, are they comfortable etc....
Im Marty Abercrombie
and I approve this message
User avatar
mabercrombie
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 382
Joined: Feb 14, 2006 9:13 pm
Location: Trenton GA
Name: marty abercrombie
NSS #: 51557
Primary Grotto Affiliation: chattanooga
  

Postby nordicjw » Dec 5, 2006 12:14 pm

Large heavy duty zipper with plastic teeth covered by velcroed flap. Small grit and mud doesn't seem to effect it. You probably won't be opening and closing it in the cave that much. Washes out real easy.

The suit as a whole, think tank.
nordicjw
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 7:07 am
Location: new york
NSS #: 56861
Primary Grotto Affiliation: ccg
  

Postby cavernelson » Dec 5, 2006 12:24 pm

did they start making a hawaiian print suit?
cavernelson
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Sep 25, 2006 11:21 am
  

Postby MUD » Dec 5, 2006 1:10 pm

A cave suits longevity is directly related to its user and the type of caving you do. I've had 2 Lost Creek suits. They lasted for a little while(6-8 months)then started to come apart at the seams and the material was wearing through in places. I had a Mike Artz supersuit...that lasted me quite awhile(5-6 years). It was made much better(custom fitted for me)and seemed to take the abuse alot better(heavier material?). DO NOT wash your suit in a machine...hang it up and hose the mud off then air dry. Or, you could just leave it dirty. I cave so much I rarely wash my suit...ifn' I do, I spray it with the hose! I recently had my wife make me a suit, by far the nicest one I've ever had. It's custom fit and built like a tank. We're thinking of mass-producing these as they are far better than anything on the market. NO zipper on it or my Artz supersuit...2 inch velcro is all you need! There are a few choices out there and the prices vary also, good luck!
MUD
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1242
Joined: Mar 15, 2006 11:28 pm
Primary Grotto Affiliation: None
  

Postby NZcaver » Dec 5, 2006 9:18 pm

Cavemud wrote:<snip>DO NOT wash your suit in a machine...hang it up and hose the mud off then air dry. Or, you could just leave it dirty. I cave so much I rarely wash my suit...ifn' I do, I spray it with the hose!

I agree wear-and-tear on a suit is directly related to the person using it, and the type of caving they do. I also tend to agree that machine washing it, as I sometimes do, can be detrimental to the suit and it's lining (see the thread about nylon suits peeling on the inside). However, unless you only visit one cave, may I respectfully suggest that you DO regularly wash your suit somehow, rather than just leaving it dirty between trips. Otherwise you are helping to cross-contaminate these caves, moving small amounts of biota around. Some might not think this is a big deal, but I've been told by suitably qualified people that it can be.

Perhaps one might confirm this with local cave biologists/conservancies, and then spread the news to other local cavers... :-)
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6342
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby MUD » Dec 5, 2006 9:25 pm

I'll start a thread on the cross contamination thing...we're getting :off topic:
Last edited by MUD on Dec 5, 2006 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MUD
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1242
Joined: Mar 15, 2006 11:28 pm
Primary Grotto Affiliation: None
  

Postby NZcaver » Dec 5, 2006 9:35 pm

Cavemud wrote:I'll start a thread on the cross cotamination thing...we're getting :off topic:

Yes, you're right.

Regarding the Lost Creek suits - I have one stored away as a spare for when my 5 year old Meander suit finally wears out, but I haven't needed to use it yet. Sorry. As nordicjw said, I believe the zippers are fairly beefy and are covered by a velcro flap anyway. The Meander suits have just the velcro flap and no zip, which is probably all you need.

If at all possible, try a suit on before you buy. Otherwise order it from somewhere that has no issues with you returning it (before being caved in, of course).
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6342
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby MUD » Dec 5, 2006 9:44 pm

My suit has 2 inch velcro, no zipper. I cave hard all the time, crawling through mud, water, climbing and rubbing the rocks. The velcro won't fail 'til it gets worn or you somehow manage to get mud on it. Don't open your suit with muddy hands!
MUD
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1242
Joined: Mar 15, 2006 11:28 pm
Primary Grotto Affiliation: None
  

Postby cavescom » Dec 5, 2006 10:00 pm

I recently bought a custom suit from Howie http://www.howiesharnesses.com . His Meander Suit with Shazam....I had a few extra customizations such as more Shazam and larger inner sleeves for knee and elbow pad inserts plus an internal belt....then went to Jo Ann's fabric store and bought a fairly heavy zipper and sewed it in....the result is a fairly light bombproof suit.
If you get this type of suit make sure and cut the pads to fit well within the area of the shazam then take a dab of Shoe Goo and tack it in place inside the internal pocket.
NOTE: If the pads are cut to the full size of the internal pocket it will cause quick wear along the ballistics/shazam seam on the outside of the coverall.

Once done they are Damn BOMBPROOF ...very comfortable, easy to move in and full elbow/foream and knee/shin coverage without the hassle of straps. The shazam insures a long life to the high wear areas that can always be patched to insure that the underlying ballistics never wears!
In all I think they cost near $200 but worth it.....
as well if you are in the market for a pack there is none better than a Vampire made by Howie from the same type of Shazam material(Urethane/Sr. Ballistics laminate). I will have a review online of that pack which I have dragged for many miles and years now.....an impressive pack!

Mark Passerby, Caves.com
User avatar
cavescom
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 195
Joined: Sep 19, 2005 9:09 pm
Location: Michigan
  

Lost Creek suits

Postby tlong_geo » Dec 8, 2006 7:13 pm

In my honest opinion, the Lost Creek suits you buy today are completely junk. If you do any amount of belly-crawling, stay away from zippers. The LC suits only have a 3/4" strip of junk velcro over the zipper (which comes open easily after a few bellycrawling trips) and the zipper will (not might) eventually wear holes through the nylon. I bought a LC suit mid '90s and it lasted quite a few years, albeit with MANY, MANY home sewing awl repairs and patches; the newer LC suits seem to just fall apart (bought one for my son and it lasted about a year, with many repairs). Its not just that the stitching comes out (it does), but the material itself seems to just separate or tear along the seams. The biggest thing about them is that, at $130 you can spend another $50 or so and get a GOOD suit from Howie with shazam on the butt, knees and elbows. All that being said, if you only walk and occassionaly crawl on your knees, or just don't cave that much, you can get away with a LC suit. :kaver:
Gotta love that rotary hammer drill! And to think we used to let mere rock stop us . . .
User avatar
tlong_geo
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sep 15, 2005 2:10 pm
Location: central PA
NSS #: 30877
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cave Hill Grotto
  

Postby MUD » Dec 11, 2006 12:46 am

....if you do alot of crawling, AVOID zippers in the suit! They WILL NOT last and actually contribute to worn material :exactly:

Custom made suits are the way to go. They cost more but are worth every penny.
MUD
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1242
Joined: Mar 15, 2006 11:28 pm
Primary Grotto Affiliation: None
  

Postby barcelonacvr » Dec 11, 2006 9:47 am

a thread with a lot of good suit posts

http://www.caves.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2800

A lot of people are saying no zipper in crawly ,muddy areas but and all the people in my area and myself have not had issue?Even with Lost Creeks although they shred fairly easily IMHO.I definitely agree custom is worth it!

Hell almost all there is in Ontario is belly crawls.
barcelonacvr
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Oct 26, 2005 5:23 pm
  

cavesuit zippers

Postby tlong_geo » Dec 17, 2006 9:57 am

Bellycrawling on rock is where the zippers tend to do the most damage . . . think about, a hard zipper on one side of the material and hard limestone on the other. We have a tight spot called the Zipper-Ripper for just that reason, or had until Mr Pyrodex showed up. :whistle: The muddy crawls are the ones that doom the thin strips of velcro that LC puts on their suits. Before every trip, I use something with an edge to scrape the dried mud from the velcro. Good 2" wide industrial-strength velcro is the way to go.
Gotta love that rotary hammer drill! And to think we used to let mere rock stop us . . .
User avatar
tlong_geo
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sep 15, 2005 2:10 pm
Location: central PA
NSS #: 30877
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cave Hill Grotto
  

Best suit is the one that suits you!

Postby ireedz » Jan 3, 2007 9:58 pm

I have tried several suits and now use some rather inexpensive coveralls that I found for $25.00. They are cheap so I am not worried about them. I will drag my body over sharp rocks without fear of tearing my suit. They have velcro closures, so there are no zippers to bind. I love them. I also have $200.00 suits, but I hate to ruin them, which hampers my willingness to explore. What good is that?
ireedz
ireedz
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 3, 2007 8:56 pm
  

A question about cave suits

Postby tlong_geo » Jan 5, 2007 7:33 am

Regarding Meander suits from Howie's Harnesses:
[quote="cavescom"]
NOTE: If the pads are cut to the full size of the internal pocket it will cause quick wear along the ballistics/shazam seam on the outside of the coverall.

My suit did the same thing on the inside of both knees where it bends, and also on one of the sleeves. However, I don't think its due to the pads being too big since my pads have at least an inch of play on all sides. It seems to happen only on the seams where the Shazam is sewn into the seam. On the edges where the Shazam is simply lapped over the nylon, there is no wear. If I ever get another suit from Howie, I'm going to request that the Shazam not be sewn into the seam. When the stitching wears out, I can easily fix it with my hand awl.

If you bellycrawl much, you may come to regret putting that zipper in that suit. Every suit I've had with a zipper got holes worn in it over the zipper. Good 2" velcro is all you need; if you get it dirty, let it dry and simply scrape-off the mud. The key is to NOT get it dirty.

Otherwise, you're not going to get a better suit "off the rack" than a Meander suit. Even without the Shazam, a $135 Meander suit is WAY better than a $130 or $140 Lost Creek suit. Plus I've recently noticed that LC cheaped-out on the butt patch. Their new suits don't have a patch sewn over the suit material, they just sew different color nylon on the butt which gives the appearance of a second layer of nylon.
Gotta love that rotary hammer drill! And to think we used to let mere rock stop us . . .
User avatar
tlong_geo
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sep 15, 2005 2:10 pm
Location: central PA
NSS #: 30877
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cave Hill Grotto
  

Next

Return to Equipment Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users

cron