The aim of this study was to determine the energy expenditure of a group of cavers of both genders and different ages and experience during a 10 hour subterranean exploration, using portable metabolimeters. The impact of caving activity on body composition and hydration were also assessed through bioelectrical impedance, and nutritional habits of cavers surveyed. During cave activity, measured total energy expenditure (TEE) was in the range 225-287 kcal/h for women-men (MET = 4.1), respectively; subjects had an energy intake from food in the range 1000-1200 kcal, thus inadequate to restore lost calories. Bayesian statistical analysis estimated the effect of predictive variables on TEE, revealing that experienced subjects had a 5% lower TEE than the less skilled ones and that women required a comparatively larger energy expenditure than men to perform the same task. BIVA (bioelectrical impedance vector analysis) showed that subjects were within the range of normal hydration before and after cave activity, but bioelectrical changes indicated a reduction of extracellular water in men, which might result in hypo-osmolal dehydration in the case of prolonged underground exercise. All these facts should be considered when planning cave explorations, preparing training programs for subjects practising caving, and optimizing a diet for cavers. Further, information gathered through this study could be of value to reduce accidents in caves related to increase in fatigue.