Poll: Do you wear coveralls while caving?

August 27, 2012

A Pair of Dirty CoverallsCaves are generally pretty dirty places and require cavers to dress accordingly, to that end we find that in a lot of the photos we come across, cavers are wearing coveralls.

This week we want to get a handle on how common coveralls really are, and to find out, are coveralls the unofficial caving uniform?

Are you a coverall wearing caver? Let us know by answering the poll and commenting below what else you wear if not coveralls.

Do you wear coveralls while caving?

Yes 83% (86 Votes)
No 17% (18 Votes)

  Total Voters: 104

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Last Week’s Poll Results

We had a very clear answer in last week’s poll with over 80% of respondents answering that geocaches should not be put in caves.

Some excellent arguments were put forward in the comments.

On the “for geocaches in caves” side, Neptuno, made a good point that “everybody has the right to go in caves since they don’t belong to a closed group of cavers”.

Perce Lister suggested that “It’s ok to use cave entrances as part of the Geocache clue, but not to lure potential seekers into the caves themselves.”, though Ken DeJonge believed that “the lure of what lies beyond is too great.”

Non cavers do not realize that a wild caves are lurking death for people with no caving experience.James

Peter Youngbaer, the NSS WNS Liaison, chimed in with an excellent point that non-cavers are generally out of the loop about WNS and decontamination procedures, and many geocachers travel all over searching for the elusive next cache.

Furthermore, there was a concern that listing the locations publicly on geocaching.com could lead to “parties, graffiti, bat killings, etc.”

Thanks to everyone who responded and especially those who took the time to comment.

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Comments (5)

  1. David
    August 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I wear coveralls about 80% of the time while caving. My decision to wear coveralls varies with the cave. Ambient temperature in the cave plays a major part in my decision. So does my expectations for the amount of crawling and squeezing. A good pair of coveralls actually makes it easier to squeeze through tight spaces. They are less likely to get snagged on rock than cotton or anything with a waist band.

    I also will wear coveralls to and from the caves in the winter. They keep me comfortable, particularly when we visit several caves in a small area. We can stand around outside while waiting for people to rig or travel the rope without getting too cold.

  2. August 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    An oversuit is a MUST here in the uk, our limestone is notoriously bad for shredding skin! plus the majority of caves in the U.K. are wet (to a degree, “There is NO such beast as a dry cave on Mendip!” so goes the saying).
    I also venture into abandoned mines that can have “interesting” wet/flooded sections and varying degrees of both acidity and alkalinity and not to mention gloopy ocher!

    As a general rule of thumb my personal dressing goes like this:

    Skin, boardshorts to keep the “man bits” in place, knee length neoprean socks, 3mm wetsuit (shortie in summer, full in winter (I’m classified as a “racing snake” – little in the way of bodyfat, it also doubles as a “Bump layer” protecting me from bruising etc), furry base layer, and oversuit. Wellies seem to be the commonest footware this side of the pond (I have 2 pairs – self bailing “wet” wellies, holes drilled at strategic points and “dry” unadulterated ones.) On top of my oversuit goes neoprean Knee and elbow pads, a belt to hold it all in place and gloves on the hands, Hardhat and light on my head!

    That way I’m insulated from the cold and protected from the freezing water etc………

    The oversuit gets dunked in a bucket of water from time to time to clean it, or do a muddy cave followed by a wet cave, that way the mud gets washed off (generally I cave on Mendip so there is little chance of cross contamination) – however if I venture away from Mendip I’ll dunk the oversuit clean before leaving home, wash the furry etc, and the whole lot gets cleaned on my returning home.

  3. August 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Overalls are too hot for use in Florida where I cave half the year (the cool half).

    They are also too hot to wear to and from North Carolina caves that I explore the other half of the year (the hot half). Similarly, in North Carolina, I do a lot of ridgewalking to discover unreported caves, and coveralls are just too bulky and heavy to lug around while crawling thru laurel thickets on 65 degree slopes when looking for caves. Yes, NC caves are cold and wet, but they are also small, so I just deal with it.

    However, David’s comment about it being easier to get thru tight places if wearing coveralls gives meaty food for thought. See this thread on Cave Chat for an explanation:

    On rappel!

  4. August 29, 2012 at 10:59 am

    In my experience UK cavers very often wear thongs or mankinis under their “coveralls” or oversuits, with an insulating babygrow layer for comfort and warmth. The thongs tend to help man parts stay in place, The mankinis are just for fun.

  5. Art
    August 30, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I have the good fortune to have a custom-made coverall made for me by a caver from the Moravian Karst in the Czech Republic. Complete with sewn bat insignia. All the cavers there wore similar designed coveralls, all locally made. It is uncoated cordura nylon, keeps the mud off my underclothes, and is very breathable so doesn’t trap body moisture (the commonest complaint I’ve heard from those that don’t like coveralls.)

    It works great in warm, cold, wet or dry caves. I wouldn’t cave anywhere without it.


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