Guides/Summer Cave Base

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This is a Reign of Giants guide for building a base in the Caves that will allow a player to eventually survive Summer more easily and efficiently. This is not an early game strategy, as it requires extensive preparation and advanced crafting. Early game Summers can be spent above ground near a small fireproofed base. This guide is intended to protect a player’s mid to late-game above-ground base, when it becomes too large to reasonably protect from Summer.

Why Build?

In Reign of Giants, Summer can prove to be an exceptionally hostile season for a number of reasons. Here are a few of the primary dangers players encounter during this season:

  • Smoldering – All of your structures within a radius of the player run a continuous risk of spontaneously catching fire. For the first couple of summers at least, a player can turn on a single Ice Flingomatic and build the rest of their summer home within its protection area. As a player’s base gets larger, however, the cost of building multiple Flingomatics – not to mention the cost of fuel and time a player will spend in keeping them all topped off while they're turned on – can quickly add up. Also, each Flingomatic costs two Gears, which, while renewable, are sometimes hard to come by.
  • Overheating – Without proper protection, a player will quickly overheat and take damage.
  • Dragonfly – Summer’s giant is by far the most difficult to handle. Any mobs that could normally make quick work of Deerclops, Bearger, or Moose/Goose (including Rock Lobsters and Treeguards) will fall after a single hit from the Dragonfly’s AoE attack. What makes things worse, a player cannot kite the Dragonfly without taking damage, since it continues to move towards the player during its attack animation. This leaves significantly fewer options for managing this giant.
  • Red Hounds will spawn during Hound waves. When killed, they ignite, running the risk of nearby structures catching on fire.

Here are a few reasons why a cave base can make summer much easier to survive:

  • There is a reduced amount of heat in caves, which means no items will ever smolder. You don’t need numerous Ice Flingomatics to protect all of your structures, and a player can work for longer periods without having to cool down.
  • No giants in the caves means no Dragonfly!
  • No Hound waves in the caves means no Red Hounds!
  • The closest periodic danger to Hound attacks and Dragonfly attacks is the Depths Worm, which can be defended against much more easily than the above-ground threats. Depths Worms appear in significantly lesser numbers than Hounds, will never threaten a player's structures, and can be easily dispatched with Rock Lobsters or Bunnymen.


  • Find the right cave. By default, most worlds spawn with three Plugged Sinkholes. The one you pick for your summer base should be readily accessible from your year-round base, so as soon as your screen turns sepia on the first day of Summer, you can grab your Jerky and Seeds, and get down that hole as quickly as possible.

A protected cave entrance with lighting and traps
  • Prepare the entrance. A stationary light source is a good idea since you might emerge from caves during the Night. I would recommend building a Hound trap very close, if not directly on top of the entrance. If the player skipped a hound wave while in a cave, that wave will come as soon as the player climbs out, so prepare a defense in advance.
  • Pre-build structures. This can be done by left-clicking on a structure in the crafting tab (assuming you have all the necessary building materials in your inventory), and then right-clicking out of the tab when given the option of placing the structure. This will save the structure in your tab, and can be placed at any time afterwards by selecting it from the tab. The following are structures that you will absolutely want to have in your cave base, in order of most to least important:
    • A pre-built chest, ready to be placed
      Endothermic Fire Pit.pngEndothermic Fire Pit – for placement in your base. Unless relying on Thermal Stones in conjunction with an Ice Box or Ice Chester, you will not survive summer without it.
    • Birdcage.pngBirdcage – An absolutely essential part of your base for a number of reasons. Firstly, it will continuously renew your seed and egg supply. Secondly, it will convert Monster Meat into Fresh Eggs, which are incredibly useful in Crock Pot recipes.
    • Crock Pot.pngCrock Pot – without question, this will be irreplaceable in helping to convert Monster Meat into edible food.
    • Ice Flingomatic.pngIce Flingomatic – You will only need one to keep your crops hydrated, but it is important.
    • Endothermic Fire.pngEndothermic Fire – If not pre-built, be sure to at least have this prototyped. Carrying around some Nitre and Cut Grass to build one will save your life if you find yourself overheating in the caves while exploring away from your base.
    • Improved Farm.pngImproved Farm – If you carry down a stack of Manure in addition to pre-building one, you can place down up to four of these in your first summer.
    • Ice Box.pngIce Box – A good staple of any base, these are also important for cooling Thermal Stones during the summer in addition to preventing food spoilage.
    • Fire Pit.pngFire Pit – Really only used in the summer for cooking foods, but still important.
    • Siesta Lean-to.pngSiesta Lean-to – extremely useful for restoring sanity and cooling off.
    • Thermal Measurer.pngThermal Measurer – Will give a good indication of when summer ends and it’s safe to go outside.
    • Meat Effigy.pngMeat Effigy – Not essential, but highly recommended. If you already have one set up, Hammer it down and set up a new one near your cave entrance before you go down.
    • Alchemy Engine.pngAlchemy Engine – This is only necessary if you plan to prototype craftables at your cave base. If you have not yet prototyped a Lantern, this will save you the trouble of returning to the surface to make one.
    • Drying Rack.pngDrying Rack (optional) - At some point you will want many of these in your cave, since Jerky is arguably the most useful food for restoring Sanity, Health, and Hunger. Meat is not an immediately available resource in the caves, so this is not absolutely necessary right away.
    • Pig House.pngPig House (optional) - A few of these make for a very good renewable source of Meat in the caves. Especially if you enjoy killing Werepigs.
  • Items to bring:
    • Stack of Cut Grass – For building farms and fires.
    • Stack of Twigs – For building tools.
    • Healing items such as Healing Salve or Honey Poultice. Jerky can also be used to heal.
    • Stack of Seeds – For starting up your produce farm.
    • Nitre - For building Endothermic Fires. Since Nitre is plentiful in caves, you don’t need to bring a lot, but ten or so is recommended.
    • A Bird – To be placed in your Birdcage. If it gets hungry in your inventory, you can feed it a Seed.
    • Walking Cane – Hopefully you’ve already survived a winter in the game and acquired a walrus tusk. As on the surface, the ability to move quickly is the key to efficient exploration, and is often the difference between life and death when the player is in pursuit.
    • Portable Light Source – You can make due with Torches until you find Light Bulbs and build a Lantern, but consider building a Miner Hat. It lasts a long time, produces a larger light radius than a Torch, and keeps your hands free. Once you kill some Depths Worms, you can also make some Moggles, which provide 100% visibility in darkness.
    • Tam o Shanter – Optional, but extremely useful in mitigating the ever-present threat of sanity loss.
    • Protection – A Log Suit and a Tentacle Spike or better weapon is recommended.
    • Two Thermal Stones – You can bring more, but two is the minimum required to “super-cool” the player’s body temperature. More on that later.
    • Fuel – A stack of 10 Boards or 40 Beefalo Wool is plenty, as additional fuel can be found in the caves.
    • Summer Cave Backpack.png
      Hound's Teeth – a full stack is not necessary, but a handful is highly recommended for crafting Sewing Kits in order to repair a Tam o Shanter. Teeth are one of the few resources that are impossible to acquire in caves.
    • Food – It will take a few days to set up a renewable source of food in the caves, so it is recommended to bring some food that will not quickly spoil (i.e. a stack of Jerky and/or Honey).
    • Manure – For Improved Farms. Each of these requires 6 Manure, 4 Rocks and 10 Cut Grass.
    • Tools for resource collection (Axe, Pickaxe, Shovel).
    • A Backpack, Piggyback, or Krampus Sack for carrying all your resources.
Inventory for Cave Exploring

Now it’s time to go down into the cave!


Potential cave base location with natural light

The first temptation is to set up a base directly inside the cave.  Creating a small camp is not a bad idea, but a player should resist the temptation to set down too many structures until they find a suitable location for their main base. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a location:

  • The base should be safe and quick to access from the cave’s entrance.
  • Potential cave base location in a shaft of light
    It should be close to a source of food and a source of Light Bulbs. Setting up right on top of a natural light source, such as Light Flowers or Mushtrees, will automatically provide light.
  • Setting up in a shaft of natural light is also a good choice, as the player will only have to worry about lighting during the Night.
  • It should provide some natural protection from dangers such as Depths Worms and Spiders, as well as provide an emergency escape route.
  • Do NOT pick a location too close to Rabbit Hutches. If a Bunnyman catches you holding Meat or Eggs, you want to be able to escape.
  • If you need more inventory space, you can drop your sack near the entrance and craft another Backpack for exploration. Keep your Bird in your inventory, in case you need to feed it.


Base Camp

  • Clear an area and set up your essential structures: Birdcage, Endothermic Fire Pit, Crock Pot, Ice Box and Thermal Measurer. Place your Bird in the Birdcage and all perishable items (Seeds, Food, etc.) in your Ice Box.
Essential structures


  • Explore the nearby area with your tools, collecting Flint, Rocks, Green Mushrooms, Grass Tufts, Saplings, Berry Bushes, Guano and Light Bulbs. Any crops should be replanted within range of your Ice Flingomatic. You will need Rocks for Improved Farms and Stone Walls, and Gold Nuggets for tier 2 tools. Flint can be used to befriend Rock Lobsters.
  • Don’t worry about collecting too many Light Bulbs. Any excess bulbs that you don’t use to refill your Miner Hat and Lantern will quickly turn to Rot, which can be used to fertilize your crops.
  • Keep an eye out for Spider Dens. They are usually located next to Tentacles, which will attack each other. Collect any Monster Meat and Silk dropped by Spiders, but make sure to wear armor while collecting.


  • Clear away a nearby area in a light shaft and place your Ice Flingomatic in the center. This will be where you place your Farms, Berry Bushes and Crops.
  • Use Guano, Rot, and any extra Manure to fertilize your Berry Bushes and Grass Tufts as soon as possible, as they take several days to grow after being transplanted.
  • Set up a Tree farm around a shaft of light. If Treeguards spawn while farming, a player can either farm them for Living Logs or lure them away and plant Pine Cones to make them docile. They can be used as an effective defense against Depths Worms.
An advanced cave farm


  • After acquiring enough Rocks, a player should create a Rock Lobster pen. Rock Lobsters are the most efficient weapon for dealing with Depths Worm waves.
Rock Lobster pen


Managing Hunger

  • Since farms take a few days to get started, your primary source of food at first will most likely be Meatballs, cooked in a Crock Pot from Monster Meat and Berries/Eggs.
  • Make use of Crock Pot recipes such as Meatballs, Bacon and Eggs, and Pierogi. The easiest Meatball recipe involves one Monster Meat and three Berries, but a player can also make Meatballs out of four Monster Meats by converting three into Eggs.
  • Continue harvesting Monster Meat from Depths Worms and Spiders. Cooked Monster Meat can be fed to your Bird in exchange for Eggs.
  • During Earthquakes, put on your armor and keep an eye out for falling Rabbits and Moleworms, as they can be killed for Morsels. Stone Walls can be damaged by falling debris, so try to stay away from Rock Lobster pens during Earthquakes.
  • Berries should be harvested during the Day cycle. Doing so will spawn Gobblers, which are an excellent renewable source of Drumsticks. Sometimes the Ice Flingomatic will freeze them, making for an easy kill. Otherwise, a player can drop a Berry on the ground and kill the Gobbler when they go for the Berry.
  • Eels can be fished from Ruins ponds if the player is desperate for meat.

Managing Sanity

  • A player should keep a close eye on their Sanity, as the caves create a constant drain.
  • A Siesta Lean-to will restore 50 Sanity and 60 Health, but cost 25 Hunger. Make sure food is readily available when using.
  • Cooked Green Caps restore 15 Sanity, and can be found in abundance in Mushtree Forests.
  • Wearing a Tam o Shanter slowly raises sanity, but takes up the head slot in the player’s inventory. This means the player will either need to carry a Lantern or stand next to a light source.
  • Jerky restores 15 Sanity, and Small Jerky restores 10. Keep in mind that while Small Jerky is not as effective, it stacks up to 40, where Jerky stacks up to 20.

Managing Temperature

  • The easiest way to keep a player’s temperature down during Summer is to use multiple Thermal Stones in a Backpack or Piggyback to “supercool” the player while standing next to an Endothermic Fire. The stones will continue to cool the player until they are freezing, so remove the backpack right before they start to take damage from the cold. They can then work for long periods before needing to cool off again.
  • Carrying a cold Thermal Stone while exploring will further prolong the time a player can stay cool. If overheating occurs while away from base, build an Endothermic Fire (you brought Nitre, right?) and let the stone turn icy.

Ideas for Cave Projects

  • A player is going to be down here for at least 15 days per in-game year, so explore the Caves as much as possible. Map out the location of every available resource, and drop a sign where Rock Lobsters are found, as the player might need to run to them if Depths Worms attack when they are away from base.
  • Collect Nightmare Fuel around fissures during safe phases of the Nightmare Cycle. These can be used to build and fuel Night Lights for additional lighting.
  • Clear a path from base to the Ruins sinkhole. Rock Lobsters can be used to fight Cave Spiders while the player uses a Pickaxe to destroy their Spilagmites.
  • Explore the Ruins very slowly and carefully. Depths Worms attack frequently, so consider building an additional Rock Lobster pen near the entrance.

Congratulations on building your summer cave base! Please leave a comment if you want to see anything added to the guide, and I hope you enjoyed reading.

Summer Cave Advanced Base.png