Mammoth Cave Packing List
Are you getting ready to explore the caves around Mammoth Cave?! Or maybe you are joining us for our Geology Camp in April, 2023. It can be hard to pack to go somewhere you’ve never been before–especially when you are doing things that you’ve never done before (like crawling around caves!). So we are sharing this list and a few tips to keep in mind as you pack and prepare for your trip.
We are not going to list all the normal things you would take on a trip with your family (like toiletries, medicines, and “regular” clothing and supplies), but there are some additional things you may not have even thought about.
The weather in this area of Kentucky during the spring can be erratic. Based on what we are seeing 10 days out, it looks like it will be warm on the surface during the day, but remember inside the caves it’s cool – around 57 degrees or so – all year long.
The temperature averages for this area are mid 70’s during the day and low to mid 50’s at night. And it is spring in the South, so you know we may have thunderstorms or rain showers, so it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella or rain coat. Of course we will be in caves a lot of the time, so that won’t matter… but be praying for sunny, warm days!
We are in a pretty rural area of Kentucky, so we may have limited cell phone coverage in general. In the caves, you know we will have essentially none. You might want to let the folks back home know so they won’t worry!
Debit and/or Credit Cards
You will want to contact your bank or debit/credit card provider before your trip and let them know you are on the road traveling, especially if you don’t travel often.
On one of our trips, our credit cards were put on hold because they thought it was unlike our buying history. So just know your bank or financial institution might flag your charges as suspicious…. which means you may not be able to use your debit or credit card until you contact them to let them know that you’re traveling.
Clothing Packing List
In general, remember we are touring caves and will likely get dirty just coming in close contact with walls on our tours. For caving clothes to pack, see our list below. For this trip, you might also need to pack extra of everything, clothing-wise if you want to change clothes each evening when you return to the campsite.
Since we are going in and out of caves, another aspect you might consider is layering your clothes will help keep you warm in the cave but cool on the surface.
Exploring Off the Path Cave Packing List:
If you plan to join us to explore cave geology going off the path, this cave packing list will help you gather the supplies and items you may want to bring. Our off path cave exploration will be at Hidden River Cave. It is the same cave Mike Rowe explored for his series Dirty Jobs. Here is the video. We won’t be doing this crawl… but you will get a feel for the conditions down there.
- Wear clothes suitable for crawling and climbing that you do not mind ruining with mud. Denim is not a great choice as it gets heavy and uncomfortable when wet. Non-belted nylon pants also want to slide off when they get muddy.
- Wear close-toed shoes with good traction that you don’t mind ruining with mud and water.
- Wear gloves that fit your hands well.
- Bring knee pads. Lowes or Home Depot are great places to find an inexpensive pair. (Do not get a pair with a hard shell.)
- Bring a change of clothes with you for after the tour (and a garbage bag to put your wet muddy ones in).
- Please make sure all personal property like cameras, phones, tablets, etc. is protected. It is best if you DO NOT bring them.
- You are allowed to bring a bottle of water with you.
- This area of the cave is 60 degrees this time of the year. Dress to be comfortable for strenuous play in that temperature.
Clothing to Consider in General on This Trip:
- Rain jacket
- Sturdy shoes or hiking boots
- We will be painting one night, so you might want clothes that you are okay getting paint on.
- We will be bowling, skating, and playing laser tag one night, so you will want to wear comfortable clothes for this evening.
- Hiking boots
General Supplies to Bring
- Extra blankets
- Pillows if you are like me and prefer your own 🙂
- Matches to light fires at the campground
- Sunscreen if you are staying for the Kayak / Canoe add-on
- Water bottles
- Phone Chargers
- Favorite family games
- Bedding and Towels (if you didn’t get the linens package – and you still might want to bring a few)
- Ziplock bags to store food in and leftovers.
- Paper plates
- First Aid kits
- Bug Spray
- Cooler to keep in your car
- Trash Bags
Clothing for the Add-on at the End of This Trip:
Friday, we will be ziplining in the morning and canoeing / kayaking in the afternoon. So you probably want to bring a swimsuit or water shorts and water shoes to change into for this day.
Please wear (and be sure your children wear) clothes that meet the following standards:
- shorts should cover the upper thighs (no “short shorts”)
- no low-cut shirts or low-cut tank tops
- no halter tops or shirts that expose the midriff
- no clothing (including hats, bags, etc.) that display risqué, offensive, inappropriate logos, mottos or art or curse words. This includes, but is not limited to, logos advertising or advocating the use of alcoholic products, tobacco products, or drugs.
- Bring your own towels and wash cloths
- Your favorite games
- Soccer chairs for sitting around the campfire.
- Remember some meals are on your own, so bring your favorite cooking utensils and your crock pot or instant pot! You’ll probably also want to bring a cooler to keep food or drinks in when we’re away from the campground.
- Bring an extra backpack or two in case you need them.
You will need to bring your own sheets, pillows, and blankets (or sleeping bag if you prefer). Below are the cabins and the types of beds they have in case you are bringing sheets:
- 1 double bed
- 1 upper twin bunk
- 1 futon
Pool Side Efficiency Cabins
- 1 double bed
- 1 upper twin bunk
- 1 futon
- 1 double size bed with upper twin bunk bed in separate bedroom
- 1 double size bed with upper twin bunk bed in main room
- 1 futon in main room
- 1 queen size log bed in private bedroom
- Sleeping loft for children (2-double size mattresses) — step ladder to loft
- 1 queen size sleeper sofa in living area
- 1 queen size bed
- 1 futon in main room
- 1 sleeping loft
If you think of something we left off, please leave us a comment below so we can add it to the list!
Have a fun and safe trip to Mammoth Cave!