As follow up on my post about the do’s and don’ts of urban exploring, I want to share a short overview of what equipment I like having with me the most during my excursions to abandoned places. Here is my top 3:
Because it happens more than often that you find yourself wandering around in the darker corners of abandoned places, flashlights are essential, especially when they are easily accessible.
I mounted the carrying pouch of my LED Lenser P5.2 (140 Lumen only, but a battery life of about 5 hours) upside-down on my left shoulder strap, so I can take it out easily with my right hand. For some more light, I also have a LED Lenser F1 (400 Lumen) mounted to my helmet. Apart from the flashlights it is good to bring at least one spare battery for each flashlight.
2. Tactical gloves
Abandoned places are mostly covered in dust or other types of pollution. In the best case this is just dust, but it can also be some chemical substance or even asbestos, so it is important to keep this from getting onto your skin as much as possible. A potential hazard in abandoned places can also be mechanical, like sharp or jagged edges, rusty nails or pieces of glass.
Adding the requirements of having enough grip to be able to climb ladders, walls and fences and also the finesse required when operating the camera, makes tactical gloves a perfect solution. They are thin, offer protective padding on the handpalm and on the back of the hand and have enough grip to allow you to climb even up a wet and rusty cage ladder.
3. Layered clothing
Even though it might not sound like it, urban exploration is an outdoor activity. Even when the abandoned location is a building, it is mostly so draughty and moist that there is not much difference with being outside. Because of the combination between being active (walking, climbing) and standing still while taking photos, it is good to wear layers of (breathing) clothes that you can put on and take off easily and that are not hindering your movement too much.
I normally wear a T-shirt, a long-sleeved Falke ski shirt and a windproof Gore-Tex (or similar) jacket, combined with a shemagh scarf.