5 Essential Tips for Exploring Caves with Kids

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We have loved exploring caves! It’s definitely a family favorite.

We’ve done a lot of caves with our boys as young as 2 years old, and they are among our favorite adventures. The boys will pick a cave over a hike, museum, or park every time.


There are a few things that you should know before you go about caving:

  1. Choose the right cave. Be sure to click the cave link to see a list of great beginner caves in and around Utah. There is a link to each cave we’ve done, with a full description and directions. It is essential that you know your skill level and only choose an adventure just right for your family. You can trust our reviews on this as we’ve been very specific about which cave will work for your crew. NEVER venture into an unstable cave or mine that has been closed or condemned.

    We love exploring caves. This is Patsy’s mine which is a very easy cave to explore, but the hike up to it is a little challenging.
  2. Choose the right light. Picking the correct light is essential. Our favorite are headlights because they keep your hands free. We found an awesome multi-function headlight that is high-powered yet dimmable at Vitchello. There are four functions: The spotlight is super-powerful. It allows us to spotlight something up to 120 feet away! We’ve even used it for spotting owls. Best of all, it can be dimmed to a lower power so you’re not blinding your friends. But in a cave, it really penetrates the darkness. The second function is a redlight. This is used for night vision. As you know, we are serious stargazers, and white light is enemy number one when watching a meteor shower or using a telescope. The red light function allows you to see without destroying your night vision. The third function is a flood light. Rather than spotlighting one direction, it spreads the light out for a wider field of vision. This setting is also dimmable. Finally, there is an emergency setting. We haven’t had an emergency, but both colors of lights can be set to flash if you get lost in the dark. You can check out this headlamp here, or find it on Amazon (see pic below). Our boys have headlamps, too, that we purchased before, but Vitchello also has some small inexpensive headlamps for kids.
    This is the headlamp we have for us…it is awesome. Click on the picture for more info.

    This Vitchello headlamp came with a little carrying bag which we love. It keeps it protected in our backpack. You could also clip it on your belt.
  3. Choose the right head gear. Make sure everyone in your group wears a hat. Serious cavers should wear helmets, and there’s good reason for that. We’ve bumped our heads about a hundred times. Any head clunk on a solid rock wall can leave you with a nasty bump, but a baseball cap or other hat will prevent you from getting a nasty abrasion. Bumps go away quickly, but without a hat, you may end up picking scabs out of your hair for two weeks– just trust us on this one!

    We try to always wear hats in a cave after we experiences a few scrapes on our heads. Headlamps should fit right on top of your hat.
  4. Choose the right clothing. Wear long pants. Every cave is much cooler than the outside air. Even if it’s a hundred degrees outside, many caves, like the Paris Ice Cave, are literally freezing inside. Even more importantly, you may end up crawling, stooping, or kneeling. This is not fun in shorts. Rocks are notorious for lurking on the floors of caves, and a stumble can skin a knee pretty quickly if it is not covered up. The best pants for caving are definitely a sturdy pair of jeans. Also, plan on bringing a jacket or long sleeved shirt just in case the cave is colder than expected. We always throw some hoodies in our backpack when we head into a cave.

    Most of our caving experiences require jeans and jackets.
  5. Choose the right footwear. The right shoes are very important. Obviously you want close-toed shoes for the reason listed above. Addtionally, if you are spelunking through a lava tube with a lot of sharp igneous rock shards, you can be cut, or even tear open a pair of cheap shoes. Hiking boots are ideal, but a sturdy pair of shoes should do it. There is a second consideration with shoes, too. A good majority of caves that you venture into will have wet floors. We’ve been ankle deep more than once, so leave those $200 Air Jordans at home. Shoes will get scuffed, ripped, dusty, wet, and beat up pretty good in a cave, so plan accordingly.
A lot of caves have water in them, so be prepared with shoes that you don't mind being muddy and wet.
A lot of caves have water in them, so be prepared with shoes that you don’t mind being muddy and wet.

Follow these 5 Essential Tips for a safe, fun, caving adventure in Utah, or anywhere!

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