Are you an adventurer? A thrill-seeker? Eager to explore even the darkest depths of the earth?
If you answered yes, then you might be considering going caving. And if you do, then you’re going to need a caving helmet.
Your helmet is arguably the most important piece of your caving gear. Any smart caver knows not to do anything without head protection. So, whether you have loads of experience as a seasoned spelunker or you’re a rookie caver looking for a new adventure, you’re going to need a good caving helmet.
But where do you start? How do you decide which one is right for you?
Don’t be overwhelmed by the many types of caving helmets. You just have to know what you’re looking for. Keep reading for a definitive guide on how to choose the best caving helmet for you.
Caving is already a relatively dangerous activity, and going caving with a helmet is just plain reckless. The last thing you want is to be knocked out or given a concussion while you’re stuck alone deep underground. Having the proper headgear will help you to prevent a situation like that.
Obviously, you’re going to need more than just a helmet to protect you. Aside from helmets, you should research what to wear caving and what to bring with you. Above all, you’ll need several sources of light, good footwear, and a pack with water, food, and other caving essentials, like a first-aid kit or a map.
And, of course, you’ll need to know where you’re going, how long it’ll take you, how to get in, and how to get out.
The kind of caving that you’re planning on doing will affect the caving helmet that you need. The size of the cave, the length of the journey, your caving experience all play into your helmet choice.
Whether you’ll also be climbing or rappelling at any point during your caving trip, or hiking for long periods of time, should also factor in. Having a solid plan for your caving expedition will help you in choosing the right helmet.
Along with knowing your plan, there are several important factors for you to consider when deciding on a caving helmet. Let’s go through some of the biggest ones.
One of the easiest ways to double-check how safe a helmet might be is by looking into its certifications.
Most helmets in America are certified through the UIAA, which stands for Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme, or in English, the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation. In Europe, helmets are certified through the CE or European Community. Both of these certifications are important for you to look into when considering your caving helmet options.
Before they can be certified, caving helmets undergo several safety tests, including top-, front-, side-, and rear-impact tests, penetration tests, and stability tests. While there’s no way of knowing what might happen on your caving adventure, having a certified helmet can help you feel more secure in your safety.
It’s also important to make sure that your helmet is stable. You’ll want a chin strap for support. Most good helmets should have suspension on the inside that can be adjusted to fit your head, no matter the size.
This is really important since you don’t want your helmet slipping or moving around. It should stay firm on your head so that it doesn’t move if it’s struck or jammed by something in the cave, exposing your head to danger.
Finally, you should make sure that you replace your helmet every 10 years, regardless of the condition you think it’s in. Even if it still seems safe, helmets wear out over time, and it’s dangerous to keep caving with an old helmet.
Caving is an active pastime. You’re going to be moving for a long period of time, and the chances are that you’ll get tired eventually. So, make sure that your helmet isn’t weighing you down.
The size of your helmet should also be a factor to consider. Too small, and it may not feel very protective, but too large, and it may end up being a nuisance when trying to move through tight spaces. Not to mention that your helmet may get damaged and wear out even faster if it’s always scraping against cave walls and ceilings.
You’re going to want a helmet for caving that’s lightweight and good-fitting. If your helmet is too heavy, clunky, or uncomfortable, you’ll have a miserable caving experience. And you don’t want to risk taking it off for comfort’s sake, as that will compromise your safety.
So, choose a helmet that you can wear for a long time without getting uncomfortable. Don’t worry; it’s not selfish or indulgent. It’s smart.
As we’ve mentioned, caving is a dangerous activity. Rocks crumble and fall in caves all the time and can hit you pretty hard. Or you could even slip and fall and damage your head that way.
That’s why you need a strong, durable helmet for caving. Look for something that’s impact-resistant. Your helmet can save your life, but it should also be strong enough to do it more than once.
Since a good caving helmet is so essential to your safety, you shouldn’t cheap out. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to overspend.
You need something that’s actually going to protect you, but the most expensive helmet out there isn’t necessarily the right one for you. Look into all the other components of the helmet and see if it has everything you need.
In sum, you probably shouldn’t trust a $10 caving helmet, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend all of your savings on a pricier one.
One of the most important factors of a good caving helmet is a headlamp attachment or mount. Caving is a very hands-on activity, and you can’t be holding a flashlight while trying to make your way up or down craggy or uneven surfaces. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Headlamps are the solution. They free up your hands for climbing and crawling and keep the light aimed wherever you look.
You need to see where you’re going and what you’re doing when you’re caving. That’s why you need a strong headlamp attachment or mount. Light is essential to your safety when caving, and you shouldn’t skimp on it.
Read More About Caving & Other Sports
We know you’re eager to get started on your caving adventure, but you can’t start spelunking without all the gear and information you need. Make sure you do your research to keep you safe on your expedition!
Check out more articles to learn about other exciting activities you can do!