As the weather will soon begin to get nicer in many parts of the country, it’s the perfect time to consider a new outdoor activity: caving.
The good news is that it doesn’t require much experience or supplies to get started. Here are some easy ways to kick off your exploration.
Places to Go
First, look online to see if you have a local Speleological Society chapter. They often provide outings for beginners and training sessions that show you the ropes and allow you to meet others who are also interested.
If there isn’t, check out the nearest national park. It will typically offer a variety of outings. They include everything from guided tours with lanterns to extended expeditions with headlamps and helmets.
Or, if neither of these options is plausible, try finding your nearest show cave which may offer a caving tour. It might be a bit expensive. But it won’t require you to invest in your own equipment to explore, potentially saving you money.
While the techniques get more advanced the more you cave, the movements to progress through a cave include many you might expect while hiking: walking, climbing, squeezing, and more. The techniques you use and the caves you choose also depend on your personal preference. Everyone’s experience is slightly unique.
Equipment, Clothing, and Safety
Speaking of equipment…even if you do have to shell out some of your own dough to begin your caving adventure, the cost will probably be fairly minimal. The caves that are most appropriate for beginners will typically only require basic gear like a helmet and headlamp.
In terms of clothing, look for synthetic fabrics that lock in warmth in wet conditions. The typical caving outfit includes a few different layers: a thermal base, and some extra layers of fleece for good measure. You can also opt for a one-piece “furry suit,” which requires an oversuit or other water-resistant layer.
For footwear, Wellington boots are the go-to for many cavers, but as long as you choose well-fitting boots with good tread and traction, you should be golden.