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Equipment and Supply List

Many of the courses offered through the Karst Field Studies Program have a significant in-cave component. Therefore, in order to be well-prepared and safe for your course, the underground environment, and your stay at Hamilton Valley, you may need the following items. If additional equipment and/or materials are required for a specific course, this information will be provided on each individual course syllabus and/or will be shared by the instructors as the course start date grows closer.

  • Helmet (for caving trips) with non-elastic chin strap, a quick release buckle, and three or four point mounting. The helmet should stay on during a fall but be easily released if it should become wedged. The helmet will also be the mounting point for your primary light source, so any accommodation for attaching a headlamp is a plus.

  • Two (2) lights that can be helmet mounted. REI or other outdoor outfitters carry suitable lights for caving. LED light are the best choice. Bring extra batteries.

  • Flashlight with extra batteries and extra bulb (e.g., mini-mag lite or any LED flashlight).

  • Sturdy boots with non-skid soles and some ankle support (comfortable, hiking type, NOT tennis shoes).

  • Caving coveralls are ideal, but a suitable alternative is rugged clothing that can withstand outdoor activity. These include comfortable pants or jeans that you can afford to get dirty. To keep you warm in the 56° F, almost 100% humidity, underground environment you'll need to dress in layers. Its strongly advised that you have a thermal layer top (polypro or equivalent - NO COTTON) and a bottom. If you are not using coveralls, then a long sleeve shirt is strongly recommended. You will be underground most days so be prepared with multiple clean changes of clothes. There will not be enough time to do laundry by hand every day (don't forget large plastic bags for wet, muddy clothes and gear).

  • Gloves (garden type is ok, to protect hands and for gripping).

  • Knee pads (These are very helpful in protecting your knees). Basketball or other athletic-type knee pads are good.

  • Elbow pads.

  • Small to moderate size day-pack to hold batteries, jacket, food, water, notebook, etc. A large backpack will be too bulky for narrow or low cave passages.

  • Water Bottle

  • Snack foods suitable for long underground hiking trips- such as granola-type bars, small cans of fruit, dried fruit, trail mixes, beef or other jerky - similar to what you would take on a long day hike on the surface.

  • Bug spray to repel both ticks and mosquitoes for use both in the field and near Hamilton Valley!

  • Rain Gear (prepare layers of clothing for severe weather such as a rain jacket, etc).

  • Food (if you are staying at the Hamilton Valley facility, which has a fully equipped kitchen, showers, and restrooms).

  • Bedding (if staying at HV- sleeping bag or twin sheet or blanket, pillow). Hamilton Valley has 10 rooms with 4 bunks each.

  • Toiletries and Towels (If staying at HV-Towels, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.)

  • All necessary decon supplies (cleaner, brushes, etc.) will be provided through the KFS program unless otherwise noted. Multiple sets of cave clothing are necessary.

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