What's in your field kit?

-Ruler that fits in the wallet (so that it’s always there)
-3’ tiny tape measure ( for measuring stride of animal tracks)
-10x loupe

  • binos
    -collection vials
    -write in the rain notebook. Squares are 1/4” and make a decent scaled background for photos.

Usually you wouldn’t want to use a plastic bag for this because it wouldn’t allow the moss to dry out. They are usually made out of a sheet of paper (preferably something like cotton fiber paper) that is folded into an envelope.


Ah I see, thanks Beachcomber!

  • camera with telephoto lens
  • flash and macro filter (for macro)
  • a ruler
  • a Becherlupe (a common thing here in Germany which doesn’t seem to have an English name)
  • binoculars
  • notebook
  • food and water

= magnifying box or jar (aka bug box or jar), i think


@blazeclaw would be interested to know which macro and zoom lenses you use for your phone. There seems to be a lot of options out there and some look sketchy.

Either in my bag or in the car for use in the parking lot, is a hand held boot brush/scraper. It was a giveaway at an event I attended last year. (Thank you to the Kankakee Torrent Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society.) As we discussed native plants, they wanted to stress the importance of not spreading non-native seed on your next trip. The attendees are in the habitat of visiting rare remnant and restored habitats which of course they all want to keep that way.

It’s best clean your boots is in the parking lot after each walk/hike.


We have a plant pathogen, kauri dieback, so here in NZ it’s a good idea to have a (small) spray bottle of disinfectant to hit the soles with after cleaning, just to be sure!

The ones I use I bought at a camera shop called mikes camera, I generally avoid the ones on the internet for the same reason.

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If you look up promaster phone clip you can find them, they’re reliable and I use them nearly every time I am out.

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I carry a Sony A7III camera with a macro lens and home-made flash diffuser. I also carry little glass vials in case I collect any insects.

Then I have a backpack which has four water bottles, almond bars, diapers, wipes, a couple sizes of changes of clothes, sunscreen and a changing pad.

I see I am on a very short list of people dragging toddlers along for the hikes.


Now that the weather is warmer I’ve brought back out one of my favorite pieces of field kit that I completely forgot about! I remember when the only options for potable water in the field were boiling, iodine, or expensive pumps, so this has been a total game-changer for staying hydrated while only having to carry one bottle (at least since there are water sources everywhere in my area):


I’ve found they’re cheaper at physical stores like walmart. There are similar products now from Lifestraw as well. This one screws on to your standard soda bottle (in addition to the squeeze bottle it comes with). Really versatile, dead simple, takes a load off. And when I let one freeze in my car (apparently a no-no), it was cheap enough to replace painlessly.

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Apart from the obvious like camera, binoculars, plastic container (spices have a good size), sandwich, water bottle, emergency cookies I always take a cloth handkerchief to wipe the sweat off (this is Spain).


• Water
• 1st Aid – Snake pressure bandages, antiseptic etc.
• Emergency Kit - PLBeacon, Emergency thermal blanket, Life Straw, Kinfe, Torch, Spare torch Batteries, Small amount of Rope.
• Sun Protection
• Power Bank
• Camera accessories
• Small containers
• Ruler


I carry both light and heavy forceps. I have featherweights for handling delicate stuff, and a set of long heavy forceps for things that bite/sting. I generally avoid grabbing animals with these, but they’re good poking around in places you don’t want to put your hands in.


A must for me (& a good option for folks that are elderly or disabled) is a cane that folds into a seat. Mine is a SportSeat, but I’ve seen ones by other companies. I attach tripod feet to it, so it doesn’t sink into soft ground. I’m working on a strap/hook/carabiner sort of rig so I can easily sling it on my back to carry.


Short answer: not much. Where you’re going and for how long and with what objective will of course dictate certain additional stuff like food or a particular tool.

My bare minimum:

  1. iPhone - to look up stuff online; to take one geotagged pic with the Photo or iNat app; to view a map, aerial images, or drawings of the site; for viewing PDF files of site drawings/maps, survey protocols, etc…
  2. camera - nothing fancy, just a Canon Powershot (I’m on my 4th one!). It fits easily in a pocket, takes great macros, and records decent video/audio. My videos are often just to get audio. Later, upon downloading, I use VLC to extract an MP3 for uploading to Soundcloud.
  3. small ruler - again, nothing fancy, just a 6-inch clear plastic ruler with black numbers printed on it, like from a kid’s math set. I add yellow electric tape to the back so the numbers show up better (example: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/2842846).
  4. plastic grocery bag for cleaning up litter. I like my wildlands clean :-)

Sort of with me, but tends to stay in the car:

  1. GPS if I need to be collecting UTM coordinates instead of just lat/long
  2. core field guides and texts
  3. binos
  4. small containers or baggies for collecting specimens
  5. 1st Aid kit
  6. bug repellent, though I almost never use it. Things have to be pretty bad before I’ll slop that stuff on my skin.
  7. flagging tape

Particular clothing:

  1. hat
  2. light-colored pants (makes ticks stand out)
  3. safety “green tab” hiking boots

Something I haven’t seen mentioned yet, but am curious about…female urination devices? Anyone? I luckily haven’t had a problem myself yet. When I go birding with my mom though it’s often a problem. She’s disabled and can’t move quickly to get back to a porta-potty or outhouse, nor squat to go. She also takes meds that are diuretic which really doesn’t help. So we usually don’t venture far from the facilities. One time we got a little too far out due a lack of trail markings and a crappy map. Out of desperation we had to find a log for her to try to sit on and wait until other birders were hopefully out of sight. That was definitely not fun. I’ve been looking at the “FUDs”, but there are so many different ones. Anyone use them and have recommendations?


The Go Girl works pretty well for me, got it in my Christmas stocking one year :blush:. She can try it out in the shower probably to see if it’s a good fit for her anatomy and mobility before field testing. You’ll want to bring TP and a plastic baggie too.


That took me several readings before I finally figured out what it was about! (I mean Cassi’s reply, which I though was something to do with field kit stuff, but was struggling to “picture” what she meant!)