What to wear when...
This page has been put together so you know what to wear when undertaking various activities:
What to wear when climbing indoors
With any type of climbing activity loose clothing that is unlikely to catch on anything is a good idea. Something like tracksuit bottoms with a long sleeve t-shirt on top. You will tend to get warm when climbing. Avoid wearing clothing like jeans which restrict movement.
What to wear when climbing outdoors in Summer
Wear pretty much the same as above. Avoid wearing shorts because you can end up with your knees banging against rock. It is possible to buy specialist "crag pants" (climbing trousers). Bring along a fleece to put on in case it gets chilly.
What to wear when climbing outdoors in Winter
Again, pretty much the same as above but make sure you bring a fleece or several layers. Several thin layers are typically better than a few think ones. Also lightweight waterproofs in case it rains can be a good idea.
What to wear when caving (dry cave)
In a dry cave there is always some water and there is generally a lot of mud. The ideal dry caving kit would be non-cotton undergarments like a thick skin or track suit with caving oversuit or overalls. Also get hold of the builders gloves you can buy which have latex dipped palms. And wear wellies on your feet. A suitable caving helmet and headtorch is a must but the club has lot of these.
In general weariing some kind of oversuit or overalls ins a good idea because it reduces the risk of a top or trousers snagging on a piece of rock. Also we now have a good stock of caving oversuits, for loan, in the club.
What to wear when caving (wet cave)
In any cave the water and air is pretty much a constant 10Â°C. So in Winter a wet cave actually feels quite warm and vice versa in Summer. In most wet caves just a good wetsuit (buy a cheap one, do not take your best surfing one) should be enough together with builders gloves, wellies and helmet. However some people wear an oversuit to protect the wetsuit from snagging on rock edges. In some caves, where there are a lot of sharp rocks, an oversuit is a must. Another thing you can wear is an all-in-one fleece with an oversuit - this has similar heat-retaining properties to a wetsuit. The club has a stock of adult-sized wetsuits for loan.
Avoid wearing anything cotton. When wet, cotton swells up and becomes heavy and stiff.
What to wear when kayaking in Summer
When kayaking in Summer, if the water temperature is warm enough for you to swim in the water, something like a skin and surf shorts is enough. You certainly need to wear something to stop your bouyancy aid rubbing. In Spring/Autumn some kind of wetsuit tank top or fleece is a good idea. Remember that kayaking actually generates quite a lot of heat in the upper body however a chill wind or sudden rain could lead to hypothermia if you are unprepared, so sometimes a thin waterproof top or kagoul (cag) is a good idea. Also, in warmer months, even if it is sunny wind can cause heat loss so something windproof would be available.
Generally some kind of wetsuit boot or aquashoe is a good idea or, even better, a pair of old trainers. Builders gloves or watersports gloves also prevent chafing on the paddle and keep your hands warm.
What to wear when kayaking in Winter
In Winter the best solution is thermals and a drysuit this combination keeps you warm and dry. However it is expensive. The next best thing is to wear a wetuit and kagoul but this may not be enough when it is really cold so it is advisable to add a rashvest or thermal top, neoprene tanktop and/or a layer of fleece. Also consider wearing a wetsuit hood if you are going out when it is very cold and there is a likelihood of capsize.
A general note about children
Children, with their smaller body sizes, do not retain heat nearly as well as adults. Their energy reserves also tend to be lower. So it is important to note that, generally speaking, children need higher insulation than adults and may also require food during strenuous activities - some kind of high calorific value foods like Jelly Tots, Mars Bars, Energy bars/drinks are a good idea.