The Schlatz or Schlaz is in the jargon of cave explorers the expression for a hard-wearing one-piece overall that offers protection against dirt ( cave clay ), water and mechanical damage during a cave visit. In Austrian-Bavarian parlance, Schlaz is also a name for the mixture of clay and water, which is often found in caves - and is unpleasant for humans and harmful to equipment - which probably goes back to slime and snot, because "Schlatz" has this meaning in the southern German colloquial language. Some also claim that the term Schlaz is an abbreviation for "Schlufanzug". ( Schluf is the name of a bottleneck that can only be overcome by crawling.)
“To relax” means tightening the gap among cave explorers.
Originally the sleep was made of normal fabric. In the 1970s, the first waterproof motorcycle suits made of PVC came on the market and were immediately discovered by cave explorers as the ideal clothing for their work. In the meantime, there are different beds that are specially tailored to the various needs of cave explorers.
Today the sleepers are mostly made of synthetic material such as polyamide (nylon) or PVC . The most important property is that the fabrics are very resistant to abrasion and hardly tear. To make fabrics made of nylon (brand name Cordura ) waterproof, they are sometimes coated with polyurethane or acrylic . Nylon tubes are only partially waterproof, even with a coating. For very wet and muddy caves, waterproof sleepers made of PVC - so-called super sleepers - are often used. However, these are much stiffer; they are also not breathable, so you get wet inside from sweat and condensation . Sometimes these materials are also combined: waterproof lower part made of PVC, breathable upper part made of coated nylon. Particularly stressed areas such as knees and elbows are worked twice. Depending on the equipment, they also have a hood, breast pocket or a slot for knee pads.
Since the Schlaz offers little thermal insulation, what is known as an undergarment, an overall made of fleece material , is often worn today . In water caves where you have to crawl or swim through the water, a suit made of neoprene, which is heat-insulating even when wet, is usually worn under the sleep . When diving in caves, dry suits are also worn under the sleep.