Basic equipment can be obtained locally, but the mail order suppliers have a much bigger selection of cave worthy equipment and clothing. Click here for a reasonably complete list of American suppliers, most will send a current catalog on request. Because of the high cost of travel (fuel and wear & tear on vehicles, mostly) to the caving areas, it is often cost-effective to purchase high-quality equipment that will maximize the fun at the destination. This is the origin of the informal Boston Grotto Motto: Better Caving through Spending Money!
Some Boston area sources of equipment which can be used for cave exploration are listed below. They are mostly general outdoor equipment vendors, with a limited selection of caving specific equipment. However, you can often find high quality warm clothing, helmets, a variety of lights, seat harnesses, footwear, and some rope climbing equipment there.
- Boston Rock Gym, 78-G Olympia Ave., Woburn, MA, 617 935 7325. See also Sterling Rope Company.
- City Sports Several locations in town, general sporting goods.
- Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) Many locations. The biggest chain of outdoor stores in the Boston area, Headquartered in Peterborough, NH. Good selection of high quality brands in convenient places.
- Earth Gear, 11 Rockingham Road, Windham, NH 03067, 603 893 3733. See also Sterling Rope Company. Directions: Take I93 to Exit 3 in NH (Rt 111). Take Rt 111 East to Rt 28 North. Shop is 200 yards from this intersection, on left (west side of Rt 28). The 2nd Floor of the building houses “Policy Pump and Well”.
- Hilton’s Tent City, 272 Friend Street, Boston, MA 02114, 617 227 9242. Lots of camping and hiking equipment at reasonable prices.
- Maynard Outdoor Store, 28 Nason St., Maynard, MA, 978 897 2133.
- MetroRock, climbing gyms, two locations – Everett and Newburyport.
- Moor And Mountain, 3 Railroad St., Andover, MA. 01810, 508 475 3665.
- Patagonia This is their Boston store in back bay. Most expensive but highest quality outdoor gear – mostly too expensive for in-cave use, but great for the associated hikes! Patagonia branded stuff also sold at most other outdoor stores. Get on their mailing list – the catalog has the most amazing wilderness photos of any company!
- Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI). There are now four stores in the Boston area, Boston, Reading, Hingham, and Framingham.
- Rhode Island Rock Gym and Ocean State Rock Climbing, both in Lincoln, RI.
- Work ‘n Gear Currently in 16 locations around Boston. This is a great place for coveralls and boots.
- Wilderness House, 1048 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Ma. 617 277 5858.