Cave Diving Equipment: Everything to Know Before You Buy

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Caving as a hobby covers so many different outdoors activities. There’s hiking, climbing, and sometimes even camping involved. But what about underwater caves? Have you ever fantasized about scuba diving in a challenging environment and exploring a place most will never see themselves? Cave diving offers an adventurous opportunity worth considering.

Beautiful, natural environments, often undisturbed by human influence. Rare sea creatures, and often a level of peace we don’t experience anymore in daily life. People are drawn to the natural landscapes of the outdoors for multiple reasons, and cave diving offers them fivall of this and more.

Before engaging in cave diving, however, we must remind ourselves of the many dangers. Ignore the allure and excitement of this expedition, for a moment, and keep in mind that this is one of the most dangerous activities you can participate in. Not only does it take a fair amount of training, it requires the right equipment to be with you and functioning at all times.

In this article, you’ll discover some of our expert recommendations on all the equipment you will need. If you want a quick refresh on cave diving, be sure to check out this post first.

The Dangers of Cave Diving

Cave diving is exclusively intended for divers with the appropriate cave diving certification. Furthermore, there is the potential danger of depleting the oxygen supply or becoming disoriented within an underwater cave network. These are dangers associated with any sort of diving, but you can imagine how the stakes rise when you’re deep inside a dark cave without an open surface directly above.

Failure to adhere to proper cave diving safety protocols can pose a significant risk to divers and their companions. There have been too many instances of experienced cavers perishing during their trip, and cave diving is no different.

According to the Rebreather Association of International Divers (RAID), the primary cause of severe injury or fatality in cave diving is not attributed to equipment malfunction, disorientation, or depletion of air supply. Instead, the most common mistake is that divers go beyond the boundaries of their training or expertise.

Other issues can be caused by small equipment emergencies such as reel tangles, mask breakage, and navigational problems. Fortunately, these challenges can be mitigated through acquiring appropriate training, maintaining composure, and working well with one’s team.

What kind of Equipment Does Cave Diving Require?

Due to the distinct environment, cave diving necessitates additional or modified scuba diving equipment.

Investing in durable, hard-wearing, high-quality equipment is the best route. You don’t want to cheap out on something that can have a serious effect on the success of your trip. Given the hazardous nature of some underwater environments, it is almost always best to err on the side of caution.

At the same time, we must acknowledge that even if you have the right equipment, it doesn’t excuse negligence. You can still make a fatal mistake underwater if you don’t respect the environment, your training, and your diving instructor or group. So be sure to prepare sufficiently, but don’t get too comfortable thinking that with your high-rated, expensive gear, nothing can go wrong.

Diving Mask

This one’s a given. You wouldn’t go cave diving without a mask, and you probably wouldn’t come back if you tried. There’s a wide variety of masks out there, and I’ll have to go through several of them in a separate article.

For now, just know that the fit is perhaps the most important component. Don’t just go for the most expensive mask – get one that fits perfectly and test it out thoroughly. There isn’t much you can do if you feel your mask is too uncomfortable, once you’re underwater.

Fourth Element Aquanaut Mask

Fourth Element Aquanaut Mask

The Aquanaut freediving mask features a new design of silicone skirt which has been developed to fit as many face shapes as possible from a single design.

The low volume freediving mask, whilst compact in size, offers a surprisingly wide field of view, making this not just great for freediving, but a very capable all-purpose mask. 

Dive Light

A strong and dependable dive light is crucial for cave divers. The light source aids in illuminating the dark cave environment, facilitating navigation through narrow passages and exploration of crevices. Dive lights are commonly characterized by compact size, waterproof nature, and extended battery longevity.

Top Rated Product
ORCATORCH D550 Scuba Dive Light

ORCATORCH D550 Scuba Dive Light

With a 1000-lumen output, this dive light is capable of providing bright and clear illumination even in the darkest underwater environments, making it a reliable companion on your diving trips.

It's designed to be completely waterproof and can be submerged to a depth of up to 150 meters, which will suffice for almost every dive.

Primary and Backup Regulators

Cave divers carry primary and backup regulators to maintain an uninterrupted flow of breathing gas. The primary regulator is linked to the diver’s tank, while the backup regulator is a redundant system in the event of a malfunction.

A backup regulator is not often needed, but it’s a good idea to have one.

Atomic Aquatics B2 Regulator

Atomic Aquatics B2 Regulator

Ergonomically designed to be the world’s most comfortable second stage, the Atomic Aquatics B2 Regulator is the next generation of the highly acclaimed Atomic Aquatics B1 regulator. The B2 shares the identical first and second stage design and performance as the T1, the most notable difference being the metal (titanium) used in the T1. 

Reel and Line

A cave diving reel is utilized to deploy a guideline, a navigational aid to facilitate the return to the cave entrance. The reel is commonly fastened to a durable line and unwound as the diver advances into the cave. Maintaining a clear path and preventing disorientation is essential.

Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)

The buoyancy control device (BCD) enables divers to regulate buoyancy by manipulating the bladder’s air volume. Neutral buoyancy is maintained during diving, and precise positioning in the water column is facilitated. Cave divers typically opt for low-profile and streamlined buoyancy control devices (BCDs) to reduce the likelihood of becoming entangled in narrow passages.

Best Seller
Scubapro Hydros Pro w/Air 2 Men's Scuba BCD

An injection-molded Monprene gel harness, adjustable shoulder straps, and multi-attachment points make the Hydros Pro a leader in customization and comfort.

Drysuit or Wetsuit

Cave divers may opt for either a drysuit or a wetsuit based on the temperature of the water. A drysuit offers thermal insulation by maintaining the diver’s dryness. At the same time, a wetsuit permits a small amount of water to enter, which the body heats to establish a protective layer against low temperatures.

Competitive Price
Dark Lightning Wetsuits for Men and Women

Dark Lightning Wetsuit

Dark Lightning has over 15 years of experience designing wetsuits, and this one is suitable and stylish for both men and women. 

Diving Tanks

Just as important as having a good mask, you’ll need a good diving tank to hold your air supply. While you probably won’t be needing a massive tank or even multiple tanks, these are options available for more professional, longer dives.

There are a variety of diving tanks, and complete process of maintaining them, which I’ve explored some more in-depth here.

Catalina Aluminum 80 Tank

Catalina Aluminum 80 Tank

Catilina Gas Cylinders offers a broad range of high-pressure aluminum scuba cylinders. This aluminum alloy design prevents rusting unlike steel cylinders.

Gas Management Systems

Cave divers frequently utilize gas management systems due to the necessity of using multiple gas mixes during their dives. This may entail the utilization of numerous tanks containing various gas blends or the implementation of a technique called “stage diving,” which involves strategically positioning additional tanks along the diving path.

Cave diving necessitates extensive training and experience due to its progressive nature. In addition to the mentioned equipment, cave divers must possess expertise in specialized techniques, emergency procedures, and cave navigation skills to ensure a safe and successful dive.

Optional Equipment

Some cave diving equipment is optional, but still in high demand because of various features. For example, a mask with a built-in communication may not be necessary on all dives, but professionals elect to go for these at times nonetheless.

Underwater, communication is paramount, and while a crude system like hand signals can suffice, built-in communication technology is significantly more powerful

Naturally, the necessity of some gear will also depend on the circumstances.

Dive Computer

A dive computer is essential to monitor and record depth, duration, and decompression limits throughout a dive. The device computes and presents critical data, including dive duration, remaining dive time, ascent rate, and decompression stops. Cave divers depend on dive computers to safely manage their dive profiles.

Easy to Use
Cressi Scuba Diving Computer for Beginners

This dive computer is ideal for beginners, offering an easy to read and easy to use numerical display. 

Software compatible with all versions of Windows and with Mac.

Surface Marker Buoy

Cave divers carry auxiliary safety equipment to mitigate potential emergencies. Divers may have specific equipment for safety purposes, such as a surface marker buoy (SMB) to indicate their position on the surface, a cutting tool or line cutter to free themselves from entanglements, and a backup mask in case the primary cover becomes dislodged.

Line Cutter

A cave line cutter is a small, specialized tool designed for cutting through guidelines in case of entanglement or emergency situations. While divers typically carry a knife or shears, having a dedicated line cutter can be more efficient and reliable in cutting through thick cave lines if necessary.

Dive Rite Ceramic Line Cutter w/Sheath

Dive Rite Ceramic Line Cutter w/ Sheath

A safe and effective cutting tool is always handy underwater. This sheath allows for multiple mounting options and the ceramic blade never dulls or rusts.

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