Caving is one of the many thrilling outdoor experiences at How Stean Gorge. Discover a labyrinth of underground passages and a world that’s unseen by many as you clamber through rifts, chambers and tunnels nested under the Yorkshire Dales.

However, caving doesn’t just mean squeezing into small dark spaces, there’s much more to this adventure-filled activity. Caving often involves abseiling, wading through water and mud and standing under magnificent underground waterfalls.

One thing we can guarantee on your caving adventure is that you will get muddy (but we think that’s all part of the fun)! So, if you are wondering what to wear while caving, we have put together a detailed checklist to ensure you’re ready for your adventure!


Wearing a helmet when caving

Helmet: Of the most important pieces of caving attire is a caving helmet. Protecting your head is essential whilst caving as you are at risk of trips and falls due to the uneven floors and ceilings of the cave structures.

What’s more, the darkness inhibits your ability to spot potential obstacles and though rare, you are also at risk of rockfalls whilst you are down there too. Our recent blog post on the potential dangers of caving highlights these in more detail. However, it is important to remember that with the right equipment and qualified instructor in tow, the risk these factors pose to your safety is low.

Caving helmets are mounted with a headlamp so you can have both hands free whilst caving and have sufficient visibility in the darkness. It’s a essential to have a spare torch and batteries or headlamp in case your light runs whilst you are underground. Its not easy placing batteries into a torch in complete darkness.


Clothing: As you will get wet and dirty, you should bring with you a complete change of clothes and a towel. Essentially, the clothing you choose for your caving experience should keep you warm, dry and comfortable.

Caving suits are recommended (like tough boiler suits) if you will be crawling and passing through smaller spaces as they provide an extra layer of protection. Knee and/or elbow pads also help to keep you comfortable as you negotiate the uneven terrain.


Footwear: Wellington boots are recommended as the best type of footwear for caving. They provide a good strong grip on both wet and dry surfaces whilst also protecting the foot and ankle on uneven ground.

Make sure your wellington boots are close fitting and calf-high for the best protection and have a thick rubber sole. We suggest bringing a pair of thick socks too to keep your feet warm in the cold and damp conditions.


General: Finally, we recommend taking some water, high energy drinks or snacks to have during your caving experience. Although there a varying levels of difficulty in the caving experiences we offer, from beginner to advanced, keeping your energy levels up is always a must.

Caving in groups


If you were to book one of our exhilarating caving experiences at How Stean Gorge, we take care of all your safety equipment and we will even throw in a friendly and highly-qualified caving instructor to ensure everything runs smoothly.

We also provide you with a caving suit (complete with knee pads), wellington boots, helmet, head torch and caving belt. So aside from a spare change of clothes, the only other thing you need to bring with you is buckets of enthusiasm!

Yorkshire is home to some of the most breath-taking landscapes in the UK and that doesn’t stop when you head underground. Discover parts of Yorkshire that you will have never seen before and book one of our caving experiences online now.

Still got questions? Please contact us we're happy to help!

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