We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Spelunking?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports n' Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Spelunking is the sport of exploring caves. In addition to being recreational, spelunking can have scientific and cultural value. For example, it might uncover a previously unknown animal species or archaeological sites that could be of interest. Spelunking might also be referred to as caving, and some people make a distinction between amateur spelunkers and professional cavers, with the term “caver” reserved for skilled professionals rather than casual enthusiasts.

Caves and Curiosity

People have been exploring caves for thousands of years, for a variety of reasons. Some cultures have had mystical associations with caves, viewing them as locations that have deep connections to the Earth, because they run beneath the Earth's surface. Other cultures have viewed caves with superstition or used them for cultural rituals, such as burials. Humans also have used caves for shelter and habitation. The natural curiosity of humans might be why people have explored caves for centuries, and it — along with seeking thrills — is why many people have taken up spelunking.

Exploring

In a typical spelunking session, people gear up, locate a cave and go inside with the intention of exploring as much as possible while admiring the natural features of the cave, such as rock formations and underground rivers. Spelunkers usually go in groups for safety reasons, and conscientious spelunkers pay attention to warnings about areas that might be archaeologically or ecologically fragile, taking care to avoid these locations. If a cave has not been mapped before, spelunkers might also take mapping data with them and write additional notes for the benefit of future explorers.

Equipment

Some special gear is required for safe cave exploration. Many people like to wear heavy-duty coveralls, because this sport can get quite dirty, along with hard hats to protect their heads from falling debris. Climbing supplies such as ropes, anchor points and carabiners are often necessary, as are heavy-duty flashlights and glow sticks to navigate in the dark. Many spelunkers also take global positioning system (GPS) equipment — which might not work underground — long-range radios and extra food and water in case they become lost or trapped.

A Group Activity

Depending on the size and condition of a cave, spelunking can be quite dangerous or very safe. For safety reasons, spelunkers are advised against going alone or splitting up while in a cave. It usually is a good idea for a beginner to go out with someone who is more experienced, to ensure that safety hazards are identified and dealt with properly. Some cave exploration associations welcome visitors on their trips and will post information on their websites for people who are curious about joining. It also is possible for people to pay for guided spelunking trips that are supervised by professional cavers.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports n' Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
By anon40705 — On Aug 10, 2009

It's kind of hard to use GPS equipment in a cave --- tough to get a good satellite through all that rock.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.