Kentucky Travel

Mammoth Cave Packing List

Mammoth Cave Packing List

Are you getting ready to explore the caves around Mammoth Cave?! 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!

Cell Phone

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. So this trip you might need to pack extra of everything, clothing-wise, if you want to change clothes each evening when you return to the campsite. Also since we are going in and out of caves, layering your clothes will help keep you warm in the cave but cool on the surface.

Lost River Cave Crawl:

If you are planning a trip to Lost River Cave (and you should!), here are some items they recommend you bring.

  • Wear clothes suitable for crawling and climbing that you do not mind ruining with mud.  Denim is a poor 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.  Rain galoshes are a great choice.
  • 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). If you are not the last cave crawl of the day, there are many other activities planned at Lost River, so you’ll probably want to change clothes.
  • 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:

  • Sweatshirts
  • Rain jacket
  • Sturdy shoes or hiking boots

Dress Code

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
  • Remember 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:

     Efficiency Cabins

  • 1 double bed
  • 1 upper twin bunk
  • 1 futon

     Lincoln’s Logs

  • 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

     Amish Cabins

  • 1 double size bed in private bedroom
  • 1 bunk bed in main room
  • 1 futon in main room
  • Sleeping loft with 2 full size mattresses (accessible by step ladder)

     Savannah Cabins

  • 1 queen size bed in private bedroom
  • 1 bunk bed in main room
  • 1 futon in main room

     Cumberland Cabins

  • 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

     Bluegrass Cabins

  • 1 queen size log bed in private bedroom
  • Sleeping loft for children (2 double mattresses)

     Cindy Bear™ Cottage

  • 1 bedroom with queen size bed
  • 1 bedroom with queen size bed and bunk bed

     Ranger’s Retreat (2 Bedroom Cabins)

  • 1 bedroom with queen size bed
  • 1 bedroom with queen size bed and bunk bed
  • 1 futon in main room

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!

About the author


Trish is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. She has been married to her best friend, David, for 22 years and they have three sons (ages 19, 17 and 15). Trish is from the coast of North Carolina, but they now live in rural West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. She has been homeschooling since 2009 and her homeschool style leans towards a Montessori approach with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. Trish’s family is Messianic and they love studying the Scriptures, learning Hebrew and growing in their faith and walk daily. In her spare time, Trish loves to travel, write, work in their garden and can regularly be found trying to learn something new, modeling that learning is indeed a life-long endeavor!

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