Once a month we ask one of our members, What is in your cave pack? The idea is to help those just starting out to better prepare for your first trip underground and to present some tips, tricks, tools, gear, or whatever that our members use to help make the trip underground safer, more comfortable, and enjoyable! This month comes from grotto member, Jason Lovvorn.
- NSS #: 67942
- Years caving: 5+ years
- Grotto Affiliation: Nashville Grotto Member and Vertical Section Leader
What's in Your Cave Pack?
The pictured setup is common for a trip that involves both vertical and horizontal caving. The vertical gear can be stowed in the large Swaygo for easier movement in the horizontal portions of the cave. On longer trips with more vertical (eg. pulldown, multi-drop) where vertical gear is worn, or on horizontal-only trips, I often carry a medium Swaygo instead.
Contents consist of the following:
- Water. I can squeeze in a second liter if necessary, but it's tight. I'm working on paring down the vertical kit (see #4) even more so that it's easier to get another liter of water in the pack.
- Cave Kit in Nalgene bottle, which holds the following: camp candle and lighter, zip ties, glow stick, garbage bag, space blanket, duct tape, marking tape, Sharpie, whistle, button compass, folding glasses, small adjustable wrench, extra Zebra head lamp, extra AAA light, two 18650s, two AAAs, St. Benedict medal.
- Polypro Top. Specifically, it's a Polarmax technical base layer and is a critical piece of apparel that has warmed me up more times than I can count.
- Vertical Gear, which consists of the following: Petzl Superavanti harness, Petzl Omni screwlock, long frame BMS micro rack, Petzl large Croll, Petzl Basic on 9mm dynamic cow's tail, foot loops made with 5mm Titan Cord, AV Spelshoulder chest harness, Kong ascender on adjustable lanyard (QAS), three prusiks, three carabiners.
- Waterproof bag, which typically contains the following: Food (usually Cliff bars), Rite in the Rain tablet, pencil, two heat packs, small medical kit, and personal items such as wallet, keys, phone, knife, glasses. If I'm wearing my expensive Garmin GPS watch, it goes in here too.
- Webbing. To save space, I carry 5/8" climb spec tubular webbing (30') for handlines and anchors. It's still rated at 9kN for a single strand and will mate with 1" webbing in a water knot if need be.