equipment

Urban Exploring is risky business.
Inside abandoned buildings, bunkers, mines or tunnels, there are many dangers lurking that make an adequate security equipment at least as important as the camera equipment - if not more important!

The camera equipment doesn't get you home in one piece, but the right safety equipment does.
So, here you will find an overview of what I am frequently carrying with me and for what purposes.

But remember: Even the best equipment cannot substitute a good measure of good judgement and common sense. If you are not sure about the safety in a location - don't go in there!
When you're not sure if a floor will hold your weight - don't step on it!

One of the most important things is: Never go alone! If you do, make sure that someone knows where you are and when you expect to be back or at least when you'll be reporting back. And if you are not, that person must call the authorities to get you out of the mess you've gotten yourself into!

I don't mean to lecture here, but as with all dangerous hobbies, the motto "Safety first" applies here in particular.

So, here's the stuff that goes in my UrbEx-Bag:

Bags/Backpacks

I take either one or two bags on my excursions, depending on what location I am visiting, what kind of photos I want to take and how long I expect the tour to be.

My Crumpler:


I have a Crumpler Light Delight 6000.
Inside I can fit my NEX-6, the SEL-P1650 pancake lens, light gloves, a couple of lights, a Leatherman Multitool, the camera remote, spare batteries for the flashlights, maybe one extra lens and - if I'm really good, two small PMR radios.
If you can drive up to  alocation, this is more than enough to take with you - if you know what you will need.

My Backpack:


I have decided for the Highlander Backpack New Forces 25 with a volume of - you guessed it - 25 liters. I didn't want a too large backback since I always take my Crumpler bag anyway for the camera and small stuff. Also, it is much easier to maneuver through close spaces if  you're not impeded by a too large backpack. I can also attach my tripod to this backpack (it's not designed for that, but it does the job). In the backpack, I can fit my tactical gloves, my bump cap, extra lights, my gas mask and my steampunk goggles (accessories for photos), food and water, rain coat, first aid pack, disinfection agent, and maybe some more stuff that depends on the location and expected photos.

Clothing

Shoes:


 http://www.blaklader-workwear-shop.de/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/2305__Sicherheit_4af462e347868.jpg

Shoes are one of the most important things in lost places. You never really know how the condition a floor in a location will be in. Of course, even the best shoes can't prevent you breaking through a floor, but you have a solid hold when the ground is wet, slimy/slippery or uneven. And the right shoe provides protection against nails sticking out of wooden boards on the floor - in short, it is the best protection for your feet.
I have decided for the Blakl├Ąder Security Boot WALKSAFE S3, it has a steel safety toe cap and a steel sole to prevent nails or glass from cutting through.

Gloves:

There are two purposes for gloves in lost places: Either you need to be careful so you don't cut your hands on broken glass, sharp metal edges and the likes - or it is really cold and you need gloves for protection from the cold that enable you to still use your camera.

For the first purpose, I decided on gloves that are a compromise of performance and price, the Mil-Tec Kevlar Action Gloves. The offer protection from cuts, scratches and burns. I especially like the elongated cuffs that prevent nasty things from entering your clothes :)

The second need is served best by finger stalls that are warm, breathable and leave only the tips of your fingers free. The "weopon of choice" for me here were the Brandit Finger Stalls in black.





Bump Cap:

Since I have not yet planned to tour abandoned mineshafts or other underground facilities, I have not yet had the need to purches a "real" helmet. But a sufficient head protection when walking around in bunkers or dark basements to me is indispensable, so I have decided for a light, yet effective piece of equipment - the bump cap. It offers sufficient protection where there's the possibility of scraping or bumping one's head on equipment or structure projections. However, it is not strong enough to absorb large impacts, such as a rock or equipment falling down several meters.
I went for the Wolfcraft Bump Cap 4858000. It offers the protection I need combined with the fact that it is less conspicuous as when you enter a building with a helmet.

http://cdn1.preisroboter.de/detail/a9a9ea1846f9dd1a7cec30b8da767ead 


Lights

Light is one of the most important things when exploring a lost place. Not only (but more importantly) it is for finding your way and your way back, to check for unsecure floor boards or valves hanging from the ceiling, but it can help your photography with nice effects depending on the light source.

Flashlights:

When it comes to flashlights, the UrbEx community is only unanimus about one thing: You need 'em!
Other than that, just about everyone has their own opinion on what's best. To me, these things are important:

- Brightness: Of course, the light has to besufficiently bright.
- Battery Life: You always should have extra batteries with you, but the longer they last, the better!
- Robustness: Self-explaining :)
- Size: As an urbexer, you carry so much stuff around with you already, so the smaller, the better!

For my main flashlight, I decided for the LED Lenser P5R. It is really bright, has a sufficiently long battery life (and a built-in magnetic recharger!) and it is really small, but still large enough to be handled easily.


http://www.voelkner.de/products/172989/100-xl.jpg 


The second flashlight has two uses: It serves as substitute when the first one's battery is depleted or in case it breaks and it is not an LED flashlight, so for photographic lighting it gives the photos a warmer touch.
Here I decided for the classic - the Mag-Light Mini. It is the perfect blend of size and performance for the purposes I mentioned.

http://images.rakuten.de/e7c1c66c76d341b5a61699f4759b9eee/images/678198696_613667.jpg 


Forehead Lamp:

There is the rare occasion that you really do need both ands to operate equipment or have to climb in the dark and are not able to hold a flashlight in your hand. It's these cases that make a head lamp undispensible to me. Since the head lamp does not have to serve the above mentioned purposes in full - I am not talking about exploring mines!! That's a different story!! - I chose a lamp for a moderate price without relinquishing my need for brightness: the Sigma Sport Headled 5 LED.

http://images.fahrrad-deutschland.de/artikel/204823_1.jpg

Glow Sticks:

Thank heaven for glow sticks! These things are really cool! They come in different colors, sizes and duration of light.
But what do you need them for?
To me, there are two distinct uses for glow sticks: When you are inside large bunkers, tunnels, basements - pretty much anything that is large, underground and/or without any natural or permanent lighting, it is important to be able to find your way back out. Sometimes this ist the difficult part of the excursion, because some tunnels and bunkers are so contorted and full of winding corridors and branches that after a few hours, you can't remember which way you took. Here, the glow stick come into the game. You leave one at every turning so you can find your way back.
It is important that you use glow sticks with a light duration of at least 6 hours, so you have plenty of time to find your way back. And always remember to take the glow sticks with you when you leave!
The second use is as a light source for photos. Glow sticks come in various colors and make for a great indirect light source when you take long exposure photos.

For these two purposes, I have found the perfect match:


You can find them here.
These glow sticks are not too big (always important since you might need a bunch of them) and they have a light duration of at least 12 hours, which is more than enough. Depending on the color, there is still a faint light after up to 48 hours!!


Communication

Next to a cell phone, PMR radios are the communication tool of my choice. Don't get the wrong idea: When you are stuck in abunker and the guy with the other radio is outside, he probably won't hear you, but in normal buildings (even large ones), these radios have a sufficient range and sound quality. They are especially useful when you are on tour with a couple of people since you can adress everyone at once.
My first radios are relatively cheap, but since I haven't been diappointed yet, I'll stick with them until my need for something more pricy arises :)

PMR Radio:

The Motorola PMR Twinpack TLKR T4

http://www.motorolasolutions.com/web/Business/Products/ConsumerTwo-WayRadios/MOTOTLKR_T6/_images/static_files/T4_LG.jpg


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