Reflective Tape on Helmet?

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Reflective Tape on Helmet?

Postby tnfilmchris » Aug 10, 2019 8:52 pm

I am considering putting reflective tape on my and my daughter's helmet for caving. However I am slightly concerned that this might become distracting or annoying to other cavers we are with. I would apply the tape minimally in small strips so that it could be detected from all sides without being a fireworks display. Am I causing an annoyance or just being safe?

-TN Caver Chris
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Re: Reflective Tape on Helmet?

Postby Squirrel Girl » Aug 10, 2019 9:54 pm

Lots of cavers put reflective stickers on their helmets. My first helmet, I decorated with a plaid pattern. :-) No one ever complained to me, though that was back in the day of carbide, not LEDs. Another thing to consider is that it's not nice to shine one's headlamps into someone else eyes (blinds them and ruins their night vision), so they're not likely to have quite as much reflection as you think.

Other's mileage may vary.
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Re: Reflective Tape on Helmet?

Postby bobby49 » Aug 10, 2019 11:32 pm

Some cavers prefer reflective tape. Some prefer luminous tape, since it will glow softly after being exposed to light.
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Re: Reflective Tape on Helmet?

Postby NZcaver » Aug 11, 2019 5:50 am

Reflective tape/panels on helmets and clothing tend to flare badly and ruin photos, especially with flash photography. Just something you may want to consider if people in your group are going to be taking photos underground.
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Re: Reflective Tape on Helmet?

Postby tnfilmchris » Aug 11, 2019 10:15 am

Thanks all. This is all very good info. I wasn’t even aware of luminous tape. How cool.
But NZcaver, that is a very good point about flash photography and has settled this issue for me. Whatever minimal benefit exists with the reflective tape is outweighed by subpar photography. No tape it is. Thanks for all your responses.
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Re: Reflective Tape on Helmet?

Postby bobby49 » Aug 11, 2019 10:25 am

NZcaver wrote:Reflective tape/panels on helmets and clothing tend to flare badly and ruin photos, especially with flash photography. Just something you may want to consider if people in your group are going to be taking photos underground.


That's why some cavers prefer luminous tape. It is always appearing with a dull glow, usually yellow. That's Strontium aluminate for you. Alternatively, there are other luminous colors.
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Re: Reflective Tape on Helmet?

Postby Squirrel Girl » Aug 11, 2019 3:30 pm

bobby49 wrote:
NZcaver wrote:Reflective tape/panels on helmets and clothing tend to flare badly and ruin photos, especially with flash photography. Just something you may want to consider if people in your group are going to be taking photos underground.


That's why some cavers prefer luminous tape. It is always appearing with a dull glow, usually yellow. That's Strontium aluminate for you. Alternatively, there are other luminous colors.


Cool! I never knew what made things luminous. Radium aside!
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Re: Reflective Tape on Helmet?

Postby NZcaver » Aug 12, 2019 3:56 am

tnfilmchris wrote:Thanks all. This is all very good info. I wasn’t even aware of luminous tape. How cool.
But NZcaver, that is a very good point about flash photography and has settled this issue for me. Whatever minimal benefit exists with the reflective tape is outweighed by subpar photography. No tape it is. Thanks for all your responses.

You're welcome!

bobby49 wrote:That's why some cavers prefer luminous tape. It is always appearing with a dull glow, usually yellow. That's Strontium aluminate for you. Alternatively, there are other luminous colors.

I've found that luminous materials can be a fun gimmick, but most tend to fade out in minutes and require frequent recharging with bright light to maintain effectiveness. If the goal is to have a reliable indicator in the dark, perhaps tritium would be more useful?
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Re: Reflective Tape on Helmet?

Postby ohiocaver » Aug 16, 2019 4:14 pm

My pet peeve is their washing out everything else in photos. Not a big deal - but we have one person in our Grotto who wears old highway construction coveralls as a cave suit. It's covered with reflective material making him totally un-photographable in any flash situation.
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