Oxford University Cave Club

What does it cost?

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We have designed our membership and cost structure so that newcomers can try out caving for their first few trips at minimal cost, and without buying any specialised equipment.

Committed cavers will need to buy their own personal equipment. This doesn't have to be done all at once, and discounted club bulk buys will help ease the cost.


Membership fees are collected during the Christmas Vacation to cover from Michaelmas Term for a year. Public liability insurance (mandatory) is collected at the same time, and covers the calendar year.

Talk to the Treasurers if you join the Club after the end of Hilary Term, to ensure you pay the right subscriptions/insurance for the rest of the year.

Caving Trips

Trip destination


Mendip (day)


Mendip (weekend)


Wales (weekend)


Northern Dales (weekend)


Derbyshire (weekend)


Trips must be paid for in advance. Payment is by an online system.

This includes transport and loan of caving clothes and lamp hire if needed. You will also need to bring a towel and some caving underclothes, and clothing suitable for one or more days spent largely outdoors.

For weekend trips, accommodation in a caving cottage / hut and food (while in the hut) is included in the trip cost. You will need a sleeping bag; make it a decent-quality one ("three seasons" or better), as caving huts, while usually having a roaring open fire in the living room, often have unheated bedrooms.

For one-day trips, meals are not usually included in the cost - we normally eat at a caf or pub before going caving (about £5) and stop for a takeaway on the way home (£4-£12 or so, depending on whether you go for a bag of chips or the full mega pizza).

Caving Equipment

All "group caving equipment": ropes, ladders, belaying equipment, tackle bags, etc. is owned by the club in large enough quantities so that there is no need for cavers to buy their own. It  is available for all caving trips.

For your first few trips, all "personal caving equipment" (the stuff you wear) will be supplied by the club, or possibly lent to you by experienced club members. Please take care of it, and return it in good order. The suits are fairly expensive, and we depend on the owners' goodwill; both can wear out quickly if abused!

Once you have decided that you want to continue caving, it is a good idea to start acquiring your own personal equipment; possibly starting with clothing. A standard set of this is:

(*best first buy! Warm feet are nice.)

You might also buy your own helmet (£50-100),  light (£60 -150.. and up), belay belt (~£25) and few few karabiners (~£10-15 each); but these are all durable, and the club can lend them to you for quite a few trips without risking your wearing them out!

For vertical caving and especially if you want to go on expedition, you will need equipment for "Single Rope Technique" (SRT). This comprises a sit-harness, a chest harness, two or more "ascenders", a descender, some safety cords ("cows-tails"), and several karabiners or maillons rapides to hold it all together, and a bag to put it all in. See here for more information. A complete set of SRT equipment costs about £300. The club has a few sets for loan, basically for training or try-out purposes. Since the efficient setting-up of SRT gear means careful adjustment to a caver's size, strength and style, it is best to get your own set of SRT kit once you start to venture into serious vertical caving.

The club puts in bulk-buy orders for equipment once or twice a year, and usually gets a good discount on these prices.

The pod fund can provide small grants to OUCC student cavers to help with trip or equipment costs.