Do you wear coveralls?

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

Do you wear coveralls?

Postby KeyserSoze » Nov 8, 2007 8:28 pm

I don't wear coveralls and I don't see much reason to. I don't mind getting my jeans and t-shirt muddy, since I just keep an extra shirt in my car along with a towel to put on the car seat. Is there any other purpose of wearing coveralls other than to keep the mud off of you?

It also seems like the coveralls might weigh you down after getting enough water on them. Is that the case, or are they waterproof?
This signature is really funny
User avatar
KeyserSoze
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Nov 6, 2007 2:18 pm
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
NSS #: 61069
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Louisville Grotto
  

Postby David Grimes » Nov 8, 2007 8:36 pm

I personally don't wear coveralls either for a dry cave I generally wear old jeans and an appropriate shirt for the weather. I generally get hot in most caves so usually I wear something light with a backup if I do get cold.
User avatar
David Grimes
Admin
 
Posts: 1297
Joined: Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Location: Port Richey, Fl / Harrison County, In
NSS #: 59533
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Indiana Underground Society
  

Postby wyandottecaver » Nov 8, 2007 9:30 pm

train for the elements dont let the elements train you! Much caving can be done in jeans and T shirt but there is a caver saying " cotton kills" and it is true.

true caving coveralls do 3 important things:
1) keep you somewhat cleaner and drier which IS important on long trips
2) retain more body heat even when wet (they dont absorb hardly any water) which can save your life on long trips or wet climbs
3) resist sharp edges and rocks MUCH better than most fabrics. I watched a girl in jeans, t shirt, and sweatshirt, come out of a chert/popcorn tube crawl nearly naked once.

I generally wear coveralls unless the passages are too tight on me to allow it.(mine fit a bit big to go over a wetsuit) or the cave is very short. I might only have pantyhose thin polypro under them in drier caves.

If you ever get in a very soupy muddy or very wet cave for an extended period you'll quickly understand the advantage of coveralls in those caves. sitting around in a waterfall pit for 45 min waiting for that slow guy to ascend is a eye opener too :P

Only truly bone dry caves are cotton-friendly and consider the worst case scenario of getting lost, a friend getting hurt, a collapse, etc where you end up in the cave far longer and sitting still.

I have and still do cave in jeans and T shirt occasionally, but always wear polypro or some other thermal layer underneath or at least carry a heavy shirt in my pack.

So yes you don't NEED coveralls for most caves, you may not WANT them in some caves, but they sure are nice in MANY caves and they might save your life in a FEW caves :P
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
User avatar
wyandottecaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2902
Joined: Aug 24, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Indiana
  

Postby NZcaver » Nov 8, 2007 9:33 pm

A lot depends on the cave temperatures and conditions where you're caving, as well as your own body type (whether you feel the cold much or not).

Many cavers wear nylon or PVC coveralls that are specifically designed for caving. Unlike your jeans, they don't get heavy when wet and they do dry quicker. They tend to repel water rather than soaking it up like a sponge. Plus a suit is a lot more durable, which is nice because you want it to last after you paid over $100 for it. Note that PVC suits provide good protection (and help with warmth) in really cold, wet caves - but they don't breathe at all, which can make you feel like you're in a sauna.

In warm, dry climates, I prefer to ditch my suit and wear T-shirts (short or long sleeve) and cargo pants. But I sure appreciate having the suit, and some polypropylene layers, for a lot of the caving I do.

If you're comfortable wearing what you wear, that's good. If you don't think you need a full suit, you could maybe try getting some bombproof caving pants to replace your jeans as they fall apart. I hear those are popular. Try searching this forum for coveralls and caving pants if you want more info.

[PS - what wyandottecaver just said...]
Last edited by NZcaver on Nov 9, 2007 1:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6364
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby mgmills » Nov 8, 2007 9:37 pm

I frequently cave in polypro or other stretchy wicking type long pants with a pair of nylon shorts on top. I don't like caving in jeans as if they get wet they are cold and heavy.

I once had a "real cavesuit" - Meander(sp) but it was too hot for me in most dry T.A.G. area caves. . . I sold it at a grotto auction. Then I discovered B&C Wunderwear caving pants. Made of "balistic" type material like the cave suit they are wonderful. If the cave involves a lot of "gnarly" passage I can just breeze through and not worry about tearing my pants. They provide some water resistance. I wear my knee pads under the pants so they also prolong the life of my knee pads. My shirt is usually a short sleeved wicking type fabric (with a backup polypro in the pack). If the cave is really cold and breezy I can carry a nylon jacket to put on over my polypro shirt.

I'm on my second pair of caving pants. I finally wore the seat out so bad it could no longer be patched. (I had the original pants repaired by Cecile several times before I had to buy a new pair) I wear the "butt" out because on sloping down climbs and traverses I have a unique style of "butt" caving which gives me a secure feeling because I am one with the cave.

If the cave is really wet I go for a wetsuit.

(note I apparently posted this while wyandotte and NZ were writing their posts - I agree with most of what they said too - a lot is regional and what you are comfortable with)
Martha Mills
NSS 39864
User avatar
mgmills
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1375
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 3:06 pm
Location: Sewanee TN
Name: Martha Mills
NSS #: 39864
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Dogwood City Grotto
  

Re: Do you wear coveralls?

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Nov 8, 2007 11:08 pm

KeyserSoze wrote:I don't wear coveralls and I don't see much reason to. I don't mind getting my jeans and t-shirt muddy, since I just keep an extra shirt in my car along with a towel to put on the car seat. Is there any other purpose of wearing coveralls other than to keep the mud off of you?

It also seems like the coveralls might weigh you down after getting enough water on them. Is that the case, or are they waterproof?


our caves are often wet, crawly, or both, and i don't know what i would do without my Meander. coveralls are meant to dry out quickly, protect you from abrasion, and be comfortable for some of the awkward climbing and squeezing you'll find yourself doing in cavse.

my undersuit keeps me comfy and temperate, and my oversuit keeps me and my undersuit from being ripped to pieces and having mud packed into every crevice.

edit - i originally suggested here that, based on your avatar, you need a helmet. then i saw your other post. good man =)
"Although it pains me to say it, in this case Jeff is right. Plan accordingly." --Andy Armstrong
User avatar
Jeff Bartlett
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 948
Joined: Jun 29, 2007 12:19 am
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Name: Jeff Bartlett
NSS #: 59325
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Tennessee Cave Survey
  

Postby Wormster » Nov 9, 2007 11:32 am

Hmm coveralls:

Dry caves / mines I wear a cotton boilersuit with either a furry (fleece all in one) or my normal threads underneath.

Wet caves / mines depending on the severity of the wet / season, the full dog: wetsuit, neoprene socks, furry and warmbac.

Its better IMO to have SOMETHING to keep the c^*p off my clothes even if I DO have a backup set waiting for me.
Madam in the morning I will be sober, but you will still be ugly.
User avatar
Wormster
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Mar 13, 2007 9:15 am
Location: United Kingdom
  

Postby KeyserSoze » Nov 9, 2007 12:48 pm

If you ever get in a very soupy muddy or very wet cave for an extended period you'll quickly understand the advantage of coveralls in those caves.

Ok, I can understand that. I try to stay out of caves like that though. I don't mind doing a really muddy cave that is short, but I don't want to spend hours in there.

When it comes to a really wet cave though, I would rather wear swimming trunks. There is one cave we go to with a deep water crawl at the beginning, and I always wear swimming trunks when we go there.
This signature is really funny
User avatar
KeyserSoze
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Nov 6, 2007 2:18 pm
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
NSS #: 61069
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Louisville Grotto
  

Postby boogercaver71 » Nov 9, 2007 2:16 pm

KeyserSoze wrote:
If you ever get in a very soupy muddy or very wet cave for an extended period you'll quickly understand the advantage of coveralls in those caves.

Ok, I can understand that. I try to stay out of caves like that though. I don't mind doing a really muddy cave that is short, but I don't want to spend hours in there.

When it comes to a really wet cave though, I would rather wear swimming trunks. There is one cave we go to with a deep water crawl at the beginning, and I always wear swimming trunks when we go there.
Just a quick note. I hope you carry a change of clothes after that water crawl and not caving in swim trucks. Next I found that coveralls really resrict me at my shoulders and because of my build I cant my off the rack or the groin area of the suit will be hanging too far down. I found that stretchy nylon baseball pants are the perfect caving pants. They are quick drying, comfortable to climb in and hold up to mukd, chert crawls, etc. The pair I have now has lasted 30 trips in Missouri's muddy wet caves. I then will polypro's underneatrh and carry an extra shirt. I do have a pair of those great wunderall cave pants that I put on if cave is particulary grim.
User avatar
boogercaver71
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 307
Joined: Aug 18, 2007 3:24 pm
Location: SW Missouri
NSS #: 19471
  

Postby Carl Amundson » Nov 9, 2007 3:50 pm

I love my coveralls and wear them all the time.
I got them from B&C Wunderware and they were tailored to fit me.
No binding and the crotch is in the right place…
They have built-in knee pads that run from my thighs to my ankles.

It works out really well for me. I wear Duofold poly pros under them and I stay warm & dry.
Image
User avatar
Carl Amundson
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 681
Joined: Nov 8, 2006 11:27 am
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Name: Carl Amundson
NSS #: 50213
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Front Royal and Tri-State Grottos
  

Postby CKB69 » Nov 13, 2007 1:47 pm

Back in the day , I caved in the obligatory jeans n' t-shirt uniform .
Drawbacks were mud/sand infiltrating around my waste , the tendancy of cotton to absorb massive amounts of water and hold it , + , the poor thermal insulation characteristics of cotton .
The wool long johns I used for the nasty stuff kept you warm , but , held even more water ( water = weight ).

I eventually started using coveralls , Lost Creek , now using a Meander .
I also switched to polypro , which will actually dry out eventually .

I am warm natured , and , where others wear wetsuits , I am usually comfortable with polypro under my coveralls .
I have , however , gotten quite chilled in this setup while surveying in swimming passage .
I have also gotten hypothermic in a blowing stream crawl , while wearing a full wetsuit and hood/booties .

In the drier stuff , I wear a pair of shorts and t-shirt , permitting me to simply peal the cruddy outer layer off and go straight to the closest resturant without having to bother with changing clothes /mooning innocent bystanders . :eek:

Cotton does kill , so , if you do not like coveralls , go find some polyester uniform pants .
They hold less water and keep you warmer , and , are tougher than cotton .
Slide. Slide on the ice...
CKB69
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 84
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 10:22 pm
Location: between digs
  

Postby Marbry » Nov 14, 2007 2:53 pm

Wear what you're comfortable with. It has to be a pretty wet cave before I can wear a cave suit or polypro without overheating too much.

That said, if you wear swimming trunks or cotton into a wet cave (or any really, can still be wet from sweat) you should probably carry a lightweight polypro top and bottoms, maybe a hood, and some trashbags with you. They pack down pretty small. The statement cotton kills is not entirely true, it's just that it doesn't insulate when wet.

So, if you are delayed in the cave for some reason (lost, someone is hurt etc...) and you're not moving for a while, wet cotton is then a problem. In that case you could change into the polypro and pull the trashbag over you as a vapor barrier to wait out whatever it was.

As far as changing, I wear 'regular' clothes to the cave and change into what I'm caving in. Then I know I have a clean change of clothes waiting on me at the car when I get out.
Marbry
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Dec 27, 2006 5:01 pm
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
NSS #: 27221
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Nashville Grotto
  

Postby tallgirl » Nov 14, 2007 6:13 pm

after tearing up a few pairs of jeans i have moved to BDU pants and havent had a hole in them yet. i also have hot chilly's to wear with them when im in colder caves... there is no way i could have fit polypros under my jeans either(this problem is unique to women i would hope). this works very well for horizontal caving...i am having trouble with the cargo pockets when getting my harness on for vertical caving tho... might try the baseball pants if i can find a pair that doesn't make me look like a total clown(i keep thinking of the classic white with navy stripes down the sides lol)

eventually i will buy a pair of custom coveralls i think... my proportions wont allow me to buy off the rack, but im cool with that lol :duck!:
Failed gene line :grin:
:bat:
User avatar
tallgirl
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Apr 29, 2007 6:27 pm
Location: Virginia
  

Postby Stridergdm » Nov 14, 2007 6:39 pm

I cave in coverall, except when I don't. :-)

For a lot of the caves in the northeast where I cave in, I'll wear coveralls (from lost creek, next pair I'll have modified....) They resist abrasion and keep me a bit cleaner. Only real issue is some tight muddy crawls.. I can't move. (and moving feet first into a muddy crawl has a tendency to turn me into a soprano. Individual tops/bottoms can be a bit easier in a few cases.)

Sometimes I get a bit too warm in them, but that's not to bad.

When I go to TAG (not nearly enough I might add) I've found they're way to warm and constricting for most vertical work.

So I wear a pair of pants I bought from Gonzo Guano Gear. I think though I'd prefer to upgrade to some of Beck's bibs.

And I still buy a lot of my cave gear at Good Will. (I have to laugh every time I put on my Burton top that some parent probably paid $50 so their teen would have the latest fashion.. and here I am caving with it for $1 :-)
User avatar
Stridergdm
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 931
Joined: Nov 1, 2005 10:08 am
Location: Capital District NY and Northern Virginia
Name: Greg Moore
Primary Grotto Affiliation: RPI Grotto
  

Postby incavenow » Nov 14, 2007 10:10 pm

Living in TAG, I've found polypro with a pair of cutoffs and kneepads pretty much all I've needed so far. Poly dries fast and I just scronge up another old pair of pants for new cutoffs when the old wear out. This outfit gives me great mobility and warmth. Tho I have to admit on a long stream crawl it can get pretty chilly.
User avatar
incavenow
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 151
Joined: May 9, 2007 6:09 pm
Location: LaFayette, Georgia
Name: Jeff Hudson
NSS #: 38762
  

Next

Return to Equipment Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot]