Cave diving is one of the most difficult of all the diving pursuits, and as such it requires specialist equipment.
This is important as it helps you transport the equipment on your dive. In the beginning most divers would use a back mounted twin-set but as divers tried entering more demanding (narrower) caves they required something that was up to the task. Sidemount or no-mount harnesses started to grow in popularity.
There are many different harnesses available. It seems that every manufacturer has been creating their own sidemount harness. I currently dive on a Razor. I was recommended it by several different diving instructors and I have found that I haven’t had any issues with it yet.
My regulator of choice is Apeks. Instead of purchasing their sidemount regs set I bought the parts individually and created my own set based on theirs. The most important things when choosing regs is going for the highest quality product as possible. Don’t skip on your regs as they are keeping you alive down there. Scubapro, Hog and Hollis also make sets that I have heard to be quite good. Just make sure that the first stage is DIN, has a rotating turret with a fifth port. Also you should have a 2m/7ft hose on one of them so that donating in an out of air situation is easier. There should also be quick release boltsnaps so that your regs can be donated in an emergency.
There is no light in a cave system. Most cave divers have a primary light, which is a canister, and several backup lights. I have a 12w Light Monkey sidemount canister, and two DGX600 backup lights that are attached to my helmet.
I have a Light Monkey cave diving helmet. Not all divers use them but it is recommended as it will stop you bumping your head and you can attach lights to it. I have even seen divers attach their GoPro to the helmet.
Or more specifically cutting tools. I have three. I have a Trilobite Eezycut hook knife, I have seen this cut through most things. I have titanium shears great for more dexterous work. And lastly I have a DIR knife, that has a serrated edge and no point. I am not a fan of Rambo style knifes as they are too big and clumsy and could cause more harm than good in an emergency situation.
Solid full bladed fins are the only ones accepted here. I have a pair of Hollis F1, these are a jet style fin that are very heavy but produce solid power. I also have a pair of Mares Advanti Quattro+ fins. These are slightly lighter and slightly longer and have a similar power production capacity. Split fins should not be used as they don’t have the same power and it is harder to do the most efficient finning techniques in them. Have you ever tried to back-fin in split fins?
Reels and Spools
There should be one primary reel per team, and each diver should have two or three spools or reels that can be used for jumps or traverses. Where you use a spool or a reel is down to personal preference. Don’t forget the line markers.
As I am not diving in a drysuit and I do not have pockets on my wetsuit. I have a small pocket that attaches to the back of my sidemount harness. There I keep all the other small items of kit that I have, wetnotes, slates, spare bungee, etc. I prefer using this as I can bring it around in front of me and look in it to see what I want rather than digging around aimlessly in a leg pocket hoping to stumble upon the item that I am looking for.
Depending on where you are diving, and the conditions will determine the type of exposure protection that you will use. Obviously personal comfort comes into it. So choose something that will keep you warm in the conditions that you will find yourself in.