Caves are extreme environments; the rocks are hard, the water is cold, the mud is slippery, and the entrance is far. For these reasons we come equipped with special gear to ensure that we are prepared to travel safely.


Minimal Gear


This is what would be expected of a beginner caver on any easy to moderate level cave trip. Feel free to inquire about borrowing gear; the grotto owns several pieces of loaner gear for new people who aren’t ready to make their own purchase just yet. Ropes or climbing gear are never involved with any beginner trips.



It’s important to protect your head from low hanging ceilings. For your first small trips any helmet will do; bicycle helmet, hard hat, climbing helmet. Just make sure you can secure a headlamp to it.


Three sources of light is the rule for every caver. One of the lights must be a headlamp that can wrap around your helmet. Most hardware stores or super stores have a large selection of headlamps and flashlights. Take note of the lumens and battery life ratings when making comparisons to select the best one.

Knee Pads

Knee pads can be purchased at most hardware stores or super stores. Avoid anything that is overly bulky.



Clothing should be durable or disposable. Coveralls or jeans are a good choice. For wet caves, such as those with deep steams or pools, you will need to avoid wearing cotton because it does not insulate when wet. Stick with synthetic blends or wool. Consider bringing an extra shirt with you on the trip too. Gloves are necessary. Cheap gardening gloves work fine.


Boots are a must. Good traction and ankle support is key to avoid injuries in the cave.

Go For Gold

Cave Pack

All cavers should have a small pack with at least the following items:




-Extra Headlight

Change of Clothes and a large Plastic Bag

You will be covered in mud when you get out of the cave. Bring extra clothes and trash bags if you don’t want your car seat to look the same.


More Gear

Experienced cavers understand the value in high quality gear. Cavers typically wear helmets that are specific to climbing or caving, super bright headlamps, and knee pads that cover the all the way down to the ankles. Elbow pads are commonplace also. Cave packs would include additional items such as med kits, compass, emergency heat kits, webbing, and shovel. Cavers are gear heads and that’s part of the fun.

For more information, see the Guide to Responsible Caving.