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Wellington Caving Group

Getting Started

Caving gear

How to get started

The purpose of this page is to suggest how you can get started with acquiring caving equipment.
What you might need, where you can get it, and an indicative price (to the nearest $5 or $10) is given.

Please update it as you purchase gear.

This builds on gear and suggestions covered in first trip and covers basic caving gear.

Basic SRT kit is covered separately. For additional SRT and rope work see advanced gear.


prices @ ~2008 unless specified
Overalls New polycotton, from Blackwoods Safety, farm suppliers, or similar $50 +
Used polycotton, from Apparel Master, 14 Petone Avenue (down an alley), Petone $20 + depending on condition
PVC from Protector Safety, Marine shops, etc $200 +
Cordura Aspiring Safety Products overalls $225 (2017)
Kevlar Aspiring Safety Products Kevlar overalls $276 (2017)

Traditional caving footwear is white rubber gumboots. Also other slip on gumboots, lace up gumboots (Ashleys). Tramping boots, sneakers, etc.
Considerations are the protection of your feet, keeping the dirt and gravel out of the boots, and ease of getting them on and off.
Boots must not have hooks if you're going to be using a ladder. Waterproofness is not a consideration.

$30 (Warehouse) to
$120 +

Heavy duty long wristed rubber gloves.
Also have seen kitchen gloves (not recommended), gardening gloves, polypro gloves (not recommended). NZ Safety or Hardware store

$15 to
Knee pads
KneePads.jpeg: 3000x3841, 5750k (2014 Apr 14 19:59)

Neoprene with two velcro straps, above and below knee. Worn under overalls to stop mud clogging velcro. (Eazi-fit Knee Protectors product number 971478 velcro fastening neoprene pad suitable for wearing under overalls) Also have seen roller blade knee pads (bulky and rigid) (not recommended), other kneepads (more expensive, poor fastening, or loop fastening).

$35 (Eazi fit)


Helmet Petzl $300
Light Electric LED headlamps are mandatory, as battery life is excellent, and spare bulbs are not required.

Attached to caving helmets, or elasticised for tramping or climbing use. Any headlamp can be taped, cable tied (recommended), or otherwise attached to a helmet.
A few beginners options: Nitecore HC60 Cree XM - L2 U2 1000LM LED Headlamp w/ Intelligent Charging Circuit, Fenix headlamps

Zoom $90
Duo $150
Batteries Alkaline or better.


The following are useful accessories.

Cave packs

Small, Aspiring Enterprises


Standard, Aspiring Enterprises


Small, Access Gear


Large, Access Gear


Polypropylene recommended. Macpac do a great range of underwear and crop tops. Earth Sea Sky and others do fine balaclavas, singlets, long johns, and skivvys. Considerations are warmth when wet, no absorption of water, and ease of drying.

Wet suits

Only needed for long wet trips. If going to Waitomo contact Black Water Rafting in advance, and they may be able to sell you used suits suitable only for caving.


Dry bags/sacks 20 litres

35 litres

Rapide wide mouth stainless steel 3mm


Pear shape 6mm

Indicative prices (to $10)

Cavers Chest Harness $25
Caving Overalls $170
Triad Cavers Harness S M L $80
Pick Off Strap $45
Speleo Cavers Harness S M L $90
Safety sling (Ascender lanyard) 80cm $20
Kodra Gaiters S L $50
Stuff Sack XS $5
Stuff Sack S $5
Stuff Sack M $7
Stuff Sack L $9
Stuff Sack XL $11
Standard cave pack $100
Small cave pack $60
SRT Stop Descender $275
Single Cows Tail 60cm $20
Compression Stuff Sack $35
Double Cows Tail 30/60 cm $?
Pack strap (lightweight strop with 4mm rapide) $10
30m rope PMI Static 10mm regular "Sport Max" $130
Stainless steel rack $105

The safety sling (ascender lanyard) is designed to be looped directly on to your harness.
Connect the metal buckle fixed at the end of the Pick off strap to your harness, connect the movable buckle to the other person. Pull from the loop at the other end of the tape.