Yeah, absolutely. Those recoilers will save your bacon many times. Note that when you get to your second game hub, Grit Gate, you will be able to buy a Grit Gate recoiler there. Extremely handy because then you can zip back and forth between there and Joppa at a whim. What I do is pick up several empty chests in the wild (they only weigh a pound) and drop some in an empty house in Joppa and a few more at Grit Gate. I then store all my extra stuff in them. Like extra food, really heavy stuff that I still want, trade goods like copper, silver, gold ingots, and the like. That really helps get your weight down before you head off to explore some ruins.
Speaking of ruins, you know all of those building type icons on your world map? Those are ruins and every one of those puppies has stairs down leading to one of those cave systems you talk about. I've been as deep as 37 levels down in one ruin.
Be aware though that once you hit level 20 you start running into super mobs that can absolutely end your existence with a thought. Things like Chrome Pyramids (if you see one RUN), Leering Stalkers, Magma Crabs, and Rhinox are all to be feared and shunned. If you run into the first two of the above, just leave the level (if you can) or you will die. The others can be handled if you freeze them and can get through their armor.
So why do I risk it way down there? Every once it a while you'll run into a corpse that is a kind of a darkish color, not red like normal dead mobs. Those adventurer corpses have awesome equipment on them. Rare artifacts and trinkets, rare armor, metametal weapons, plasma cannons and the like. So it's a big risk wandering around down there but it can be a huge payoff. I was playing a 4 armed Marauder a few games ago and he found twin metametal 2-hand axes on corpses down there. I was dual wielding both of them (one in each pair of hands) and doing about 150 damage per attack. He was chopping though Magma Crabs And Rhinox like nobody's business. Too bad about those damn Chrome Pyramids though.