Daren Cilau

…yes, you too could look this fetching!

This page will introduce you to some of the clothing and equipment that cavers use underground. The club can provide all the necessary gear you will need to start off with, but should you want to continue caving then you will likely want to buy your own kit. The following list will provide a starting point, and our members will also be happy to provide you with their experiences of their kit should you have any further questions.

If you wish to buy anything, visit the Links page for a list of caving kit suppliers.

undersuit Undersuit

Made of fleecy material, this is the base layer that keeps you warm. It’s basically a large baby suit with a long zip up the front, which you can use to control body temperature. Extra thermal base layers are optional if you tend to feel the cold.

Should you get to do any particularly wet caves though, a neoprene wetsuit is a more advisable option for keeping you warm. Also available are ‘neo-fleeces’, which have a neoprene torso and thighs, while the arms and calves are made of fleece material.

meander Oversuit

This is worn over the undersuit and offers some protection when sliding and clambering over rocks, while also limiting heat loss. There are various options when it comes to oversuits. Pictured left is the Meander PVC oversuit, which is very good for wet caves as the water just runs off. The other variety are codura oversuits (red & blue in top picture), which are better suited to dry caves as the fabric is more breathable.

wellington_boots Boots

Wellies are the tried and tested preference of footwear for cavers. They offer good grip, are water and mud proof and provide a bit of support on the ankles.

helmet Helmet & light

The most vital pieces of equipment. There are numerous types of lights available and vary widely in price. LEDs are becoming increasingly popular as the technology develops, but you will still see some of the old beardy cavers carrying round large batteries powering their halogen bulbs.

Top of the range are Scurions and Vipers at £350+, however the Club currently use Petzl Duos (left) which can be bought for ~£130 with helmet included.

belt Belt

Used to hold a battery for your lighting system or anything extra you want to take down a cave.

wet socks Wet socks

Probably the most effective piece of clothing, and what many people end up buying first. Made of neoprene (same as wetsuits), these will keep your feet toasty when splashing down a streamway.

Knee Pads Knee pads

Useful for those passages where you have to crawl on your hands and knees. Relatively cheap and can save a lot of pain.

srt SRT kit (Single Rope Technique)

When ladders are too short for the job, vertical pitches are abseiled down using this equipment. The kit comprises jammers, cowstails, a foot loop and a harness. The club owns several kits, and tuition in their proper use will be provided by the more experienced members of the club before going down a cave.