Alternatives to a Caving Suit?

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If you didn't have a caving suit, what would you wear?

Jeans / Denim Overalls
Synthetic Athletic Wear
Shorts, Sandals, and Pads
No votes
Petroleum Jelly
Other (Describe Below)
Total votes : 47

Postby Sean Ryan » Jan 26, 2007 2:12 pm

When I lend my cave suit to someone, my default secondary outfit is a spare set of polypros, and then the worst sweatshirt and jeans I own. The jeans are normally not salvageable for anything after that trip. It's the final step of the circle of life for jeans. And this has never been for a trip when I know there's wet stuff or other definite nastiness on the agenda.
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Postby Scott McCrea » Jan 26, 2007 2:42 pm

Oh, that reminds me. There are some E. TN cavers that are fond of wearing leisure suit pants. You know, like those polyester golf pants from the 70's. They are actually tough as nails. Ugly as all a get out, but who cares. And they don't absorb water. And you can get them at the thrift stores by the pound. I've seen them for $0.50 per pound. Maybe you could even find some of those one piece leisure suits with built in belt. What are they called?
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Postby Teresa » Jan 26, 2007 3:09 pm

I have the opposite problem-- being short and wide.

polypro undershirt, surplus wool/acrylic sweater topped with an old nasty synthetic fleece pullover sweatshirt. and 'relaxed fit' or stretch jeans (not skintight). They are made with polyester and cotton, giving you some of the advantages of the 70's leisure suit (durability, partly synthetic) without the entirely negative fashion statement. I have polypro bottoms, which I only wear in really wet caves.
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Postby mabercrombie » Jan 26, 2007 3:14 pm

thats what the real flea markets are like around here give or take livestock.
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Postby ian mckenzie » Jan 26, 2007 5:47 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:There are some E. TN cavers that are fond of wearing leisure suit pants. They are actually tough as nails. Ugly as all a get out, but who cares.
... the pants, or the cavers?
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Postby Carlsbad » Jan 26, 2007 7:46 pm

What's next, an underground disco? lol Seriously, I wear B&C gear and it has stood up to much abuse. If you find a full suit a bit too hot then try the bib overalls. I bought a pair at TAG last year and love 'em.
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Postby lenslover2003 » Jan 27, 2007 12:15 am

As a South Dakota caver,we are blessed (cursed)with not having to worry about wet caves.

With that in mind,I simply wear BDU pants from the surplus store,and an appropriate top for the trip. I am hot blooded,so normally,I wear a tank top made out of some indestructible nylon material.
If I am going to be sitting around,I will pack a long sleeve polypro top. I wear a lot of pads,so that makes up for the skimpy clothing. Also,since we have lots of crawling,I sweat something fierce!

As soon as these BDU's wear out,I will be switching over to Carhartt pants. They are made of cotton,but they can take some serious abuse.

To round out the ensemble,I wear Danner Gore-Tex boots,with 200 gram thinsulate in them,and wool socks. I have recently found some excellent material to cover the toes of my boots,so they don't wear as easily. After it dries,it looks a lot like Rhino Lining.

I just can't get myself to buy a cave suit,knowing it would get shredded. Regular stuff is cheap.
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Postby Ozymandias » Feb 19, 2007 9:52 am

Just a quick update for any new cavers who might read this thread. I purchased a pair of Carhartt Duck Bib Overalls (Unlined) at a local TSC store for $50. Exactly the same ones as shown on Amazon here. They performed wonderfully!

I ended up wearing a pair of synthetic REI pants (and SixSixOne kneepads) beneath the overalls. They come in a range of sizes, so they fit relatively well. I see that Amazon even has 34x36... so if I had thought a head a bit, I might even have a better fit.

I'll wear them a few more times and see how they hold up, but they were leagues ahead of the old jeans I'd been taking with me.

Any questions, just let me know. It's a decent alternative for those of us who don't want to invest in a cave suit yet.
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Postby caver ed » Feb 23, 2007 12:24 am

I use the lightweight polypro bottoms and regular blue jean shorts. Since I can wear shorts at work I am able to demote them to caving shorts whenever I destroy another pair. I take the poly top but usually don't need it...........too hot. Only wear a cotton T which is OK for me except when we stop to rest. gets chilly quickly from the sweat. Still need to figure what is best for the longer, more strenuous trips. Most of ours are 3-5 hours.
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Postby George Dasher » Feb 23, 2007 11:52 am

Bill Balfour used to wear a really awful leisure suit over his wetsuit.

He was one happy caver doing it!
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Postby subter » Mar 6, 2007 11:27 pm

You can pick up a pair of Dickies at most Super-Center type stores. They are mostly Polyester and and very rugged. I bought a pair for around $15 that have double clothed knees and after crawling a total of 2000ft (with kneepads under the pants) they hardly had a scuff... they also dried quickly and cleaned easily.
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