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Our caving courses are popular throughout the year, and why not? It's a steady 8-12 degrees underground, it (almost) never rains and The Peak District is blessed with a wonderful diversity of caves and mines providing the sporting caver with endless possibilities.
For a day's instructed caving you'll need no specialist kit. Pure Outdoor provide all the protective and safety equipment you need for a fun, safe and rewarding trip underground - oversuit, helmet, lighting, knee protection as well as harnesses, ropes and hardware for vertical trips. Your experienced Pure Outdoor guide will carry emergency equipment and a First Aid kit.

But what to wear beneath and what to bring with you can be as mysterious as the hole in the ground you're about to explore. Here are some ideas, we don't necessarily suggest that you go out and buy all of this before you come, but see if you own anything similar to the described gear listed below.

On your feet

Wellies: We can provide wellies, with most common sizes in stock, but you may find your own familiar pair more comfortable.

Socks:Bring a couple of pairs of thick, warm socks per day. Better still, Neoprene Wetsuit Socks will keep you warm and comfortable whatever happens, and are quickly dried between trips.

What to wear under my Pure Outdoor caving over suit? 

Again no specialist clothing is necessary, but do follow these simple rules:

- No natural fibres. Wool and cotton absorb heat-sapping moisture. They'll make you cold if they get wet. Synthetic fibres - polyester, fleece etc - will keep you warm when wet and they will dry quickly.

- Don't over-dress, don't under-dress. Remember you'll have a thick over suit on top. You will probably be stooping, crawling or climbing and generating heat. We'll carry spare warm clothing just in case.

Three suggested clothing combos

1. Underwear, baselayer (needn't be a fancy 'wicking' garment, an old polyester football shirt will do the same job), fleece top, fleece bottoms or polyester leggings/joggers.
2. Underwear, baselayer, fleece/polyester onesie.
3. Underwear, specialist caving undersuit (£60, only recommended if you're looking to continue caving.)

What about my hands?

We can provide gloves but we'd recommend you bring a couple of pairs of cheap gloves. Builders merchants are excellent, a pair like these will cost around £3. Neoprene gloves if you have some will be warm, comfortable and dry quickly between trips.

On my head? 

You'll be wearing a helmet at all times underground, so any insulation you wear on your head must fit underneath it. Buffs are excellent, one for your head and one for your neck will keep you toastie. Alternatively a thin fleece balaclava offers complete head and neck insulation.

What should I carry everything in? 

A plastic gardening style trug if you have one, or a large plastic bag (e.g. Ikea bag) are excellent - waterproof, voluminous and you can stand in them.

What should I bring to eat?

Great caving days start with a hearty breakfast so don't skip the most important meal of the day. When underground, compact, high-energy snacks - flapjacks, biscuits, chocolate bars etc - are ideal and can be consumed on the go. For longer trips a plastic water bottle (max 1ltr) is nice. A flask of hot beverage is heavenly back on the surface. You will probably enjoy lunch on the surface in between trips so consider hand hygiene and bring hand sanitiser and/or wipes to clean up.

Anything else? 

Photography: Photography underground is a specialist skill and the cave environment is harsh on cameras and phones. That said, you're likely to see some beautiful things to photograph. Compact cameras (SLRs not recommended) and phones should be carried in waterproof, protective cases, e.g. Pelicase. We're happy to share any photos we take with you.


We provide a bright, robust, caving head torch to light your way, but you're welcome to bring along your own lighting. Must be lightweight, water-resistant and suitably robust for caving.


We can't promise you'll get wet, but if you do then a small towel awaiting you on the surface is great.


This article is written by Stephen from Pure Outdoor

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