Ask Cavers: What Piece of Caving Kit are You Most Thankful For?

November 21, 2012
A Plump Thanksgiving Turkey.

A Plump Thanksgiving Turkey. Photo by Edsel L/flickr

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving in the US, we’d thought it would be fitting for this weeks ask cavers question to find out what piece of caving equipment you are most thankful for.

Is it a helmet that took an impact so your head didn’t have to, or a backup ascender device that saved you when your primary malfunctioned?

Let us know your choice in the comments below, and don’t forget to tell us why it’s so special.

Last Week’s Ask Caver Results

As expected some of the most discussed movies in last weeks question were blockbusters like Sanctum, Decent and The Cave. While many of them were discussed in a negative light, especially The Cave, Sanctum appeared as the overall winner of the group.

The documentaries Cave of forgotten dreams, Journey Into Amazing Caves and the BBC caves series were all spoken of highly.

Other more obscure films were also discussed such as previous NSS Salon winner L’Abisso, the 2008 Portuguese documentary Cabo Espichel, and Sid Perou’s short classic, What a way to spend a Sunday.

Furthermore, a number of others mentioned that YouTube was the best place to find authentic caving films.

Thanks for all the responses!

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Comments (8)

  1. ted b.
    November 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    i am most thankful for my wet suit for keeping me warm when i’ve been caving in very cold water.

  2. November 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    All of it!, when I started out venturing into the underground as a lad, all we used to take were candles and leaky old walking boots, IF we were VERY lucky my brother used to lend us his oldham lamps. Nowadays I have wetsuits, neoprene socks, furry layer, tough oversuits and most best of all DEPENDABLE reliable light weight long lasting LED lighting!

  3. November 22, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Has to be my headlamp (petzl duo 14). It has never let me down, even after free-diving through sumps, swimming into sea caves, and accidentally bumping it into innumerable cave features. Battery life is really good too. Only wish it was as bright as a scurion, but hey – beggars can’t be choosers!

  4. November 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

    My helmet has taken only one good whack. But there are very many scrapes on my helmet. I think of each of those scrapes as a trip to the ER for stitches I did not have to take.

  5. Bastien Bisaillon
    November 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    well people seem to forgot about kneepad! I got nice neoprene knee pad that for sure its really uselful! When you crawl for 300 ft in a tight space those little buddys are the most useful piece of equipement. Try to do it without them! You will go out of the cave as a old man!

  6. Dan Chase
    November 22, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    My favorite piece of equipment is my first brake bar rack. That made it possible to do Golondrinas in June of 1967. Thanks to Bill Cuddington

  7. Paul
    November 28, 2012 at 6:52 am

    My Lost Creek pack. It’s like an old friend.

  8. Richard Watson
    July 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

    To my mind, the most important piece of caving gear when using ropes in vertical caving, in deep water or any where that a caver can become caught by a rope is a sharp knife. I know of several cavers who drowned by getting snagged by ropes. One was trapped under water on a traverse across a vertical drop when washed off a ledge and hung up by his safety line clipped on to the traverse rope under an incoming stream. Another was pulled under in a streamway when the current dragged at a rope bag he had tied to himself (always a bad idea). In both cases, other cavers reached them quickly and tried to pull them to safety but couldn’t because they were snagged by ropes. If the cavers with them had been carrying a knife it is possible that both good people could have been saved by cutting the ropes. So, use a rope – carry a knife.


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