Moving up to REAL caving - equipment upgrade needed

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Moving up to REAL caving - equipment upgrade needed

Postby Brett C. » Nov 12, 2007 3:38 pm

I've hacked around with caving in the past but all has been relatively tame. Nothing that a flashlight and an old hardhat couldn't handle.

I want to do more and go to some new places as well as do some work with CRF so I need to upgrade my equipment. Helmet, lights and bag for gear, specifically. Problem is, there's too much to choose from out there and I'm not the type that goes and buys stuff just because it's expensive.

What is the brand / model of helmet that the majority of real cavers use and what brand / model of light is preferred? What about backup lights and gear bags?

I'm also working on a career change to Geology so this may be an investment in work gear too. Point is, I want to do it right the first time.

Any good advice appreciated.
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Postby Jeff Bartlett » Nov 12, 2007 3:46 pm

the "standard" getup would be something like:

Petzl Ecrin Roc
Princeton Tec Apex
Swaygo Sink (although some people still use the Lost Creek stuff)
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Postby Brett C. » Nov 12, 2007 3:56 pm

Thanks for the help. :-) Is $60 pretty reasonable for a helmet?

What's the advantage of the Swaygo over the Lost Creek?

I (briefly) scanned the forum on the Apex but didn't see what battery it takes. Seems like it gets good reviews though.
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Postby Tim White » Nov 12, 2007 4:13 pm

The $59.95 price for the Petzl Ecrin Roc at KarstSports is a good deal. The Ecrin Roc may be the most widely used helmet worldwide. (that does not make it the best, just most popular...I have 2 Ecrin's along with 2 PMI Alto's)
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Postby CaveGimp » Nov 12, 2007 4:27 pm

There are 2 models of the Apex, one takes 4 AA, and the other takes 2 CR123A's. If you have the money look into the StenLight.
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Postby Brett C. » Nov 12, 2007 4:30 pm

Any warnings about buying used helmets...other than if they have massive cracks and inexplicable bloodstains?
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Postby Brett C. » Nov 12, 2007 4:32 pm

Is StenLight a Princeton Tec light or a separate manufacturer altogether?
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Postby CaveGimp » Nov 12, 2007 4:35 pm

Separate manufacturer, http://www.stenlight.com/. Karst Sports and several others sell them. You can find them on E-bay as well. About $300 for a complete setup.

As far as a used helmet, I put a high value on my head and what's inside, so that is not an area I would save money on. I use the Ecrin Roc and at the price right now at Karst Sports, its a heck of a deal. Well worth the money.
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Postby Brett C. » Nov 12, 2007 4:51 pm

Good point, I'll go with new. I think I'll stick with the PT Apex though. Now for backup lights. Suggestions?
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Postby Amazingracer » Nov 12, 2007 5:27 pm

For my back-up I use a Peztl Tikka on my helmet (ecrin) with my Apex. And have a mini-maglite in my Swaygo (Pit).

Swaygo vs. Lost Creek
I had used a Lost Creek bag for a while before getting my Swaygo. They are good bags. But for nearly the same price you can get a swaygo which is completely waterproof. And can even be inflated to use as a small bouy for in-cave swims. I have also found my self taking my pack off less and less for crawls because the swaygo is streamlined and thin, compared to a Lost creek, with sorts of grabby points to get snagged on.

I love my Swaygo, and I use a Pit. Most of the people I cave with have pits. The push seemed too small and the Sink seemed too big, IMHO.
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Postby wendy » Nov 12, 2007 5:55 pm

Amazingracer wrote:For my back-up I use a Peztl Tikka on my helmet (ecrin) with my Apex. And have a mini-maglite in my Swaygo (Pit).

Swaygo vs. Lost Creek
I had used a Lost Creek bag for a while before getting my Swaygo. They are good bags. But for nearly the same price you can get a swaygo which is completely waterproof. And can even be inflated to use as a small bouy for in-cave swims. I have also found my self taking my pack off less and less for crawls because the swaygo is streamlined and thin, compared to a Lost creek, with sorts of grabby points to get snagged on.

I love my Swaygo, and I use a Pit. Most of the people I cave with have pits. The push seemed too small and the Sink seemed too big, IMHO.


i like how i could attach my swaygo to my ankle and pull it behind me in tiny crawls
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Postby Amazingracer » Nov 12, 2007 6:17 pm

wendy wrote:i like how i could attach my swaygo to my ankle and pull it behind me in tiny crawls


I used to love doing this, but one time I got it stuck which meant I couldnt move, and I couldnt turn around to unsnag myself, fortunately some one was behind me to unsnag me. I now push it in front of me.
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Postby Scott McCrea » Nov 12, 2007 6:35 pm

Tip: clip your Swaygo pack to your crotch--the bottom of the zipper flap on your coveralls or jeans. The pack ends up between your feet where you can kick it if need be. And you won't end up with one leg longer than the other after a long crawl.
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Scott, not if you're trying to go through the Ventura crawl

Postby Ernie Coffman » Nov 12, 2007 6:57 pm

Scott,

If you're in California sometime and doing Church Cave, you'll never be able to attach your pack to your crotch area, in the Ventura Crawl space. Whewee! That's quite a sand crawl and thanks to the first guy, it makes it a lot easier to crawl through.
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Postby RadonJunkie » Nov 12, 2007 7:10 pm

I use a Petzl DUO w/14 led insert for primary and secondary a Petzl Myo XP. I also have a small maglite ( 1 AAA ) on the side. Plus I also carry in my pack, 2 more helmet mountable lights as baqckups and 1 handheld type.
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