It's been two years since I last went caving, and about four since I went on a trip that involved SRT (Single Rope Technique: climbing up and down ropes). I fancy getting back into it again so I dug my caving kit out of the garage today to have a look at it. Most of it was bought when I first started caving ten years ago and has never been replaced.
- Lamp/helmet: The gas pipe and burner were blocked with spent carbide, the terminals in the battery box were rotten, and the webbing inside the helmet was mouldy. Now fixed (it still looks rather tatty but ought to work fine).
- SRT kit: The metal parts (jammers, descender, krabs, etc.) all look rather battered and scraped but work perfectly after cleaning and oiling. The fabric/rope parts are starting to look a bit tatty. Not dangerously so, but they'll probably need replacing soon if I get back into caving regularly.
- Suit: totally knackered. It's a surplus Royal Navy drysuit and wasn't in all that brilliant condition when I first bought it. It's had patches on top of patches, and the last time I wore it most of the important seams fell apart. Daleswear sell proper brand new caving oversuits for £55, so I'll probably just buy one of those (or something similar from their competitors) before I go again.
- Everything else: Wellies are fine apart from several generations of dead spiders inside; knee pads are looking a bit worn out and never were very comfortable, but they'll probably last a few more trips; gloves I have loads of (I bought a job-lot of them on eBay ages ago). Haven't looked in my tin of carbide yet, but the last time I left one in the garage for a couple of years it didn't work very well afterwards (presumably the lid wasn't completely air-tight).