Ah, the great outdoors. There’s heaps of reasons why we should all try to get out in nature once in a while. For one, the best Netflix series can’t quite match the true splendour that is a gorgeous sunset over an ocean or a lake. The latest iPhone doesn’t quite compare to a long hike in subtropical rainforest. And a stellar career isn’t all that chop if you spend all your time indoors in an office.
One outdoor activity that can be challenging, yet rewarding, is exploring cave systems. So if you’re ready to step out and feel the vibe of adventure and go caving, read on because we’re taking a look at everything you need to know about spelunking.
The Equipment You’ll Need
You’re going to need a few things if you’re going spelunking. The first is a hard hat. Because you’ll be crawling through some tight, rocky spaces you don’t want to hit your head. If you do it’s best to be protected. A regular hard hat used on a construction site is fine for this purpose. Pop a head torch around the hat because you’ll be in a very dark environment. Most of us haven’t experienced true darkness until we’re in a cave system, in the deep unknown.
You’ll also want to wear some clothes that you don’t really care about, because, be warned, you will get dirty, and muddy, and a bit damp. Some warm tracksuit pants are a good idea, or an old pair of jeans. An old t-shirt under a jumper will do for the top layer. Don’t over layer because you’ll get warm walking and crawling around.
Find Some Cave Systems
Once you’ve got your kit sorted, the next step is to find a cave. This is pretty easy in this day and age. Just pop in a Google search for caves in your area and you’ll likely find something like this. For your first time, try to pick a cave system that looks easy to get to and easy to navigate. If you want to explore caves further away from your home, then consider packing a tent and some camping gear so you can stay overnight instead of driving back home exhausted - remember, fatigue can be fatal on the roads.
If Heavy Rains are Due
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you heard the heroic story of the Thai soccer team trapped in a cave and their amazing rescue. The team and coach got trapped in the cave due to flash flooding caused by heavy rains where they were caving. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast before you head off spelunking and if heavy rains are predicted then consider taking a raincheck on your new choice of adventuring. The cave isn’t going anywhere fast.
Consider Enlisting an Experienced Friend
Learning something new for the first time is always easier if someone friendly can show you the ropes. Ask around your friends and family and you may just find someone who is an old hand at caving and can take you on your very first spelunking outing. After a while you may be able to pay it forward to the next generation of spelunkers!
Enjoy Yourself and Stay Safe
Make sure to have a great time and be safe so you can do it all again. Grab yourself a good hard hat and a head torch and use some old clothes. Find some nearby cave systems or camp out overnight if you’re heading further afield. If rains are due then raincheck your trip. Finally, see if an experienced caver can come along with you to show you how it’s all done.