helmets for scouts

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

helmets for scouts

Postby e-doc » Dec 4, 2007 6:19 pm

I have been caving awhile, lately only go once or twice a year with all my other commitments (and I've moved). I have become involved in scouting. Does anyone offer advise on low cost helmets? My home grotto has simple hard hats that have straps added. (My grotto is 200 miles away. Not conducive if caving in another area.) I plan to keep these and use as needed over the next few years (My son is 11 and I hope to be involved for about 5 to 10+ years).
e-doc
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 26, 2006 8:34 pm
Location: tarheelia
Name: Patrick Craft
NSS #: 48315RE
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Mountain Empire
  

Postby NZcaver » Dec 4, 2007 6:38 pm

Take a look through these threads to get you started:

Need a cheap helmet

Favorite helmet?

helmet purchasing advice

You can use the forum search feature at the top of the page to find more. Happy reading!
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6364
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby fuzzy-hair-man » Dec 4, 2007 6:39 pm

I take it your doing horizontal caving? if that's the case cheap construction style helmets are OK just make sure they have a chin strap or if they don't put one on yourself. In horizontal caves bicycle helmets will also work, I'd try to get hands free lights though, either headlamps or torches strapped to the helmets.

If you can manage it helmets where the chin strap undoes when some force is against it is a good idea. This can stop nasty accidents should the helmet get stuck and the caver try to keep on going.
User avatar
fuzzy-hair-man
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 955
Joined: Apr 6, 2006 2:09 am
Location: Canberra, Australia
Primary Grotto Affiliation: NUCC
  

Postby ek » Dec 5, 2007 7:56 am

While many of you are more experienced than I, I must say I don't agree with the pervasive notion that a helmet not suitable for vertical caving can be suitable for horizontal caving. While it is true that most of the rocks that have fallen on my head have been during vertical caving, I have had rocks fall from height onto me in "horizontal" caves. I just walked down from the high point before the rock was dislodged by someone else, rather than having rappelled down from height before the rock was dislodged by someone else. Was that more avoidable than in the vertical cases? Probably. The point is that my helmet did its job when it was needed.

Another example comes to mind...I was chimneying up a narrow dome once, slipped, and fell about 8 feet. My head knocked against the side as I came down. I was glad to have a good helmet for that. That wasn't vertical caving...

It is true that most accidents and injuries are avoidable. Some people take this adage as a license to be unprepared. Have any of you *not* been in avoidably dangerous situations? Have any of you *never* done something that needlessly increased your risk, and thought afterwards, "I shouldn't have done that"? Speaking informally, our brains are our best and most important item of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but they are not 100% effective. Their effectiveness increases with experience (at least after you get past the "a little bit of knowledge" point)...provided that you protect them long enough for that to happen. Even then, experienced people make mistakes. And even when you do things right, sometimes things go wrong. People who say, "I will make sure nothing goes wrong," are the ones who tend to be in accidents. People who say, "something might go wrong, I will be prepared," tend to be the same people who avoid the accidents in the first place. It is sort of like the thing about how bringing an umbrella prevents rain, except that it is true.

Besides, my understanding is that most grottoes don't have loaner sets of vertical gear--if and when you get into vertical caving, do you really want a new helmet to be yet another item you have to buy?

Are you (e-doc) buying helmets for a large group of people, or just for a couple people (yourself and your son)? This is not clear from your post. Also, I am assuming you're talking about boy scouts or some similar organization, and not that you and your son have begun scouting for new caves?

The price you pay for your helmet certainly does not determine its quality or its fitness for your use--our grotto has some expensive Vertex Duos for loaners and they have no ventilation, are very heavy, only fit about half of the cavers who try them on, have an adjustment mechanism in the back that seems to clog with mud, and have a suspension system that breaks easily unless you baby the heck out of the headlamp clips. (And nonetheless they prove to be excellent helmets for several people--different solutions for different users.)

I think that what people say about how the amount you spend on your helmet relates to how much you value your head is best restated as follows: Your willingness to put quality first--even if that means going without other items or putting off caving until you can afford a suitable helmet--demonstrates the value you put on your head and your life.

It always bothers me on the occasions that youth organizations go for the cheapest and flimsiest PPE available for kids, especially when the adult leaders themselves use superior gear. There is much to-do about liability, and a lot of little rules that have to be followed, and a lot of safer activities that are prohibited when more dangerous activities are permitted (because the safer activities sound more extreme). All this demonstrates a recognition of the idea of safety and well-being of children. But a youth organization's choice of PPE reveals the value that its leaders put on kids' lives.
Eliah Kagan
NSS 57892
Syracuse University Outing Club

Fund vital White Nose Syndrome research--donate to the NSS and select the WNS Rapid Response Fund.
Facebook users can also donate here.
User avatar
ek
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1040
Joined: Apr 3, 2007 2:45 am
Location: Syracuse, NY
Name: Eliah Kagan
NSS #: 57892
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Syracuse University Outing Club
  

Postby Komebeaux » Dec 5, 2007 10:27 am

I was in Lowes yesterday and saw they had construction helmets for $6.50.
User avatar
Komebeaux
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 245
Joined: Dec 1, 2006 2:25 pm
Location: Martinsburg, WV
Name: Danny Cumbo
NSS #: 58430
  

Postby e-doc » Dec 5, 2007 11:21 am

The helmets are for scouts. We wil be doing fairly easy caves, walking or crawling. No Chimneying, definitely no vertical. I have seen many suggestions and they are appreciated. Not looking for the cheapest, just economical. For what we will be doing I don't think we will need something like an Ecrin roc. Safety is paramount in any of our activities, parents do not want their kids hurt (including my own). I think the biggest danger is bumping head. Rockfall is a danger but if a 1 pound rock hits one in the head, there could be a major problem no matter the helmet (CHI, Cervical comp Fx, SDH, EDH, etc)
e-doc
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 26, 2006 8:34 pm
Location: tarheelia
Name: Patrick Craft
NSS #: 48315RE
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Mountain Empire
  

Postby Teresa » Dec 5, 2007 11:38 am

If you are buying helmets as an agent of a scout troop or other non-profit, and you're buying a bunch of them, ask to see if you can get a 10% discount or something, esp. if cost is a factor. Some suppliers will do so.

I still don't understand (and never will) why cavers constantly harp on mines and man-made sewers as being more dangerous than caves, but MSHA standards for mine protective equipment are considered too lax for use in caving, assuming the same sort of horizontal activity. I don't buy it. A caver isn't subject to workmen's comp claims nor do they file possible lawsuits because a piece of required equipment failed except in extreme circumstances.

Rockfall in mines is very common-- more common than in caves. If you are doing what is considered horizontal caving -- only minor freeclimbing -- so do miners in placing charges, etc.

e-doc, hope you looked at the other threads: they have lots of info and discussion. My recommendation:
Go through the other threads, make some recommendations and have the boys' parents buy the helmets. That removes the liability from the scout group. Whatever kind, helmets have to fit the head to be worn and be useful, and they do come in different sizes. I can't imagine buying a helmet without trying it on first.
Teresa
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm
  

Postby ek » Dec 5, 2007 12:10 pm

And horizontal cavers never tumble down anything and hit their heads?

I really don't see how horizontal-only cavers can be justified in buying a helmet they wouldn't ever use for vertical caving. (However, I am not committed to not understanding it; I am still open to someone explaining it.) If you have a helmet that is not UIAA-certified for climbing but which you believe is adequate (or superior) for vertical caving, great. But I think that all the basic dangers to your head that are present in vertical caving are also present in horizontal caving. It is possible that there is something I'm missing--but I'm missing it.

I think mines contain specific dangers that make them overall more dangerous than caves *to explore as a caver*. It is true that these dangers can also affect miners who use MSHA-certified PPE. Passage collapse, bad air, and explosions are some of these dangers. No helmet protects well against those things anyway, and whether or not you are wearing a helmet that is meant to protect you if you take a fall is not relevant.

What gear is appropriate certainly depends on specific details of the caves to be visited. But you can fall off of almost anything. There are also rules that most cavers hold to as a measure of safety. If your caves are easy enough and you all stick together, it would be theoretically sufficient lighting for one in three people to have a candle lantern. Once when I went to Eagle Cave (NY) I saw a group of people where one of them had a head lamp, the rest had flashlights, and the leader's light was a chest-mounted lamp that looked like a big glowing clock. I frequently see people without any helmets *at all* in Clarksville Cave (NY). They stick to the very easy part near the Ward Entrance...and there's not a whole lot that can fall on you there, or that you can fall from. But are these practices that the caving community should be endorsing? One can make convincing arguments that they are "good enough" in those situations.

Finally, there may be other reasons (besides safety in horizontal caving) to purchase UIAA-certified helmets. Does your scout group do exclusively horizontal caving? If so, is it guaranteed to stay that way. Do you do any rock or ice climbing or other such activities? It saves money to be able to reuse things for more than one activity.

I'm not sure the scout group endorsing specific brands removes the liability from the scout group as compared to the scout group buying those brands and having experienced cavers regularly inspect and care for (or supervise the care of) them, but I agree that it is best for a helmet's user to try it on--and like it--before the helmet is purchased for their use. If these are trips with participant fees and the families are to buy the helmets then the money not spent on the helmets should be used to reduce those fees.
Eliah Kagan
NSS 57892
Syracuse University Outing Club

Fund vital White Nose Syndrome research--donate to the NSS and select the WNS Rapid Response Fund.
Facebook users can also donate here.
User avatar
ek
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1040
Joined: Apr 3, 2007 2:45 am
Location: Syracuse, NY
Name: Eliah Kagan
NSS #: 57892
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Syracuse University Outing Club
  

Postby e-doc » Dec 5, 2007 12:52 pm

Teresa, Thanks for the ideas.

EK, no disrespect but I find you argumentative and you think too much
e-doc
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 26, 2006 8:34 pm
Location: tarheelia
Name: Patrick Craft
NSS #: 48315RE
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Mountain Empire
  

Postby ek » Dec 5, 2007 4:55 pm

No disrespect taken! The purpose of this forum is for people to solicit ideas, take what they like, and leave out what they don't. If my ideas are not the ones you find useful, I fully accept that. I also stand by everything I have said. I feel there's no inconsistency in that.

I will continue to wear what I consider to be safe head protection when horizontal and vertical caving and to insist that people on youth organization trips I lead do the same. That has worked well for me so far. I hope your own choice, whatever it turns out to be, works well for you and the kids in your charge.
Eliah Kagan
NSS 57892
Syracuse University Outing Club

Fund vital White Nose Syndrome research--donate to the NSS and select the WNS Rapid Response Fund.
Facebook users can also donate here.
User avatar
ek
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1040
Joined: Apr 3, 2007 2:45 am
Location: Syracuse, NY
Name: Eliah Kagan
NSS #: 57892
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Syracuse University Outing Club
  

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Dec 5, 2007 5:15 pm

ek wrote:While many of you are more experienced than I, I must say I don't agree with the pervasive notion that a helmet not suitable for vertical caving can be suitable for horizontal caving.

hear, hear. when horizontal caving you're often traveling on muddy slopes, scrambling around and over breakdown, sloshing through streams where no one but the first person can see exactly what's on the bottom before the silt starts to swirl. you can stand up in a passage 6" too short for you, you can walk into an outcrop or formation, you can slip, you can trip. it's not all about rockfall and i don't see the sense in retrofitting or adapting non-caving helmets for caving.


ek wrote:No disrespect taken!

EK is argumentative and thinks too much. duh. :waving: ...but, without getting too flowery here, it's the people willing to ask "why" who create change.
"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 David Grimes » Dec 5, 2007 5:40 pm

I agree that a good helmet is necessary for caving.

The issue really is that these children's parents are probably going to buy the helmets for one trip to a cave why pay the price for say a ecrin roc when there are other helmets that are available at several retail stores that are multi sport helmets that are actually rated to meet consumer safety standards for rock climbing and cost a fraction of the price. Also these kids may never be interested in caving again or rock climbing so there is $50 - $100 wasted on one trip. A parent may not be as likely to let their children experience the joy of caving and therefore lower future interest in the activity.

There are plenty of safe helmets that most people would consider a fair price even if it was used only once. Really is there a helmet that is made specifically for caving not rock climbing you have to agree that there are situations unique to caving while some helmets work better for caving they are not truly made for it either.
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 Teresa » Dec 5, 2007 5:59 pm

xcathodex wrote:
ek wrote:While many of you are more experienced than I, I must say I don't agree with the pervasive notion that a helmet not suitable for vertical caving can be suitable for horizontal caving.

hear, hear. when horizontal caving you're often traveling on muddy slopes, scrambling around and over breakdown, sloshing through streams where no one but the first person can see exactly what's on the bottom before the silt starts to swirl. you can stand up in a passage 6" too short for you, you can walk into an outcrop or formation, you can slip, you can trip. it's not all about rockfall and i don't see the sense in retrofitting or adapting non-caving helmets for caving.


Exactly. So why do you all insist on recommending CLIMBING helmets for caving, when one is not climbing anything more crazy than the side of a hill (albeit underground). Incidentally, mining helmets don't have to be retrofitted. They come with lamp brackets of various kinds. Many CLIMBING helmets have to be retrofitted with those headlamp clips to accommodate a light.


ek wrote:No disrespect taken!

EK is argumentative and thinks too much. duh. :waving: ...but, without getting too flowery here, it's the people willing to ask "why" who create change.


Which is why I continue to insist that one does not need climbing helmets for horizontal caving.

Hey, I think I just came up with a whole new product line. Hiking helmets. Because one might slip and fall in a stream, on a muddy hillside, have a rock fall off a bluff, etc. while outside, and conk one's noggin. Heck, I think we need to have all housewives wear cleaning helmets, (ever bonked yourself while cleaning under a bed?) and auto mechanics need under vehicle helmets (might slip in grease, or rise up too far and smack one's self on the edge of the car body crawling out). How about requiring all drivers and passengers in cars to have helmets? You might be in a wreck, and heaven knows, I've smacked my head on the door frame getting out of a strange car a time or two. They've got helmets for hockey and rollerblading-- why not figure skating? Ever been dancing with a partner and accidentally got whacked upside the head with an errant move? Dancing helmets...of course! Or sideswiped while kissing? Need a helmet for that! I've even hit my head while picking something off the floor, against a low lintel, (my grandma's house was famous for the headbanger between the second and first floors), under numerous desks, tables and pieces of industrial machinery, storage shed openings, cabinets...

I think I will found an organization called Helmets for Life. We can just wear helmets from the cradle to the grave. Think of the money it will save on hairstyling!

:rofl: :doh: (Oops. If I'd had a helmet, that smack wouldn't have hurt so bad.)

(tongue firmly in cheek!)
Teresa
Teresa
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm
  

Postby NZcaver » Dec 5, 2007 7:44 pm

No disrespect Teresa, but I find you argumentative and you think too much :tonguecheek: :kidding:

e-doc - I hope you've found some good information searching the other helmet threads. I'm guessing you weren't intending to start the mother of all discussions when you first posted here!

For what it's worth, I've seen happy kids on horizontal cave trips with small headlamps duct taped onto bicycle helmets, and I don't see a problem with that on beginner caving trips. One usually doesn't encourage kids to do a lot of exposed chimneying and climbing on a beginner trip anyway.

My grotto is lucky enough to have dozens of loaner helmets, mostly adult size HB Olympus models which are the same as my personal helmet (they are now discontinued, but you can still find them around from time to time). They are basic and functional, and seem to fit most kids OK particularly if they wear a wooly hat underneath. So we mostly use these for kids as well as adults.

My old club in NZ has used construction hard hats, with chinstraps and headlamp brackets, as their loaners for years. My first caving helmet was the same.

Aside from discussing the finer points until the cows come home, you really just need to figure out how much you want to spend vs what is functional, comfortable, and suits your needs.
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6364
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Postby e-doc » Dec 5, 2007 9:38 pm

Thanks for the information. I'll be quiet now and not slander anyone. :waving:
e-doc
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 26, 2006 8:34 pm
Location: tarheelia
Name: Patrick Craft
NSS #: 48315RE
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Mountain Empire
  

Next

Return to Equipment Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users

cron