Equipment for Field Camp need not be expensive, but it can be. You can spend over $50 on a fancy hydration pack or use a recycled plastic soft drink bottle. Both work equally well. A Gore-Tex rain jacket might start at $150, but I prefer my nylon poncho. The choices (and the $$$) are yours. Below are pointers to several sources for field equipment. Use these if you need to, but feel free to purchase your equipment where you get the best deal – locally if it is from someone you trust. Where should you not skimp?
Boots: I recommend that you do not purchase boots at Walmart or similar discount stores. Rather use a store that specializes in hiking and hiking boots. Put them on in the store and spend some time walking around in them. Make certain that boots are comfortable and well fitting. And they should be rugged enough for the summer. Many of the modern ‘high tech’ boots need little in the way of breaking in. None-the-less, be sure to wear your boots for several days before you come to field camp.
Socks (and blisters): Every year we have a few students who suffer from blisters. Proper fitting boots play a big role in avoiding blisters. One aid is wearing two pairs of socks – one pair that is shear and the other a heavy weight boot sock. I use very thin nylon dress socks that I wouldn’t be caught dead in otherwise. If you have money to burn, silk or polypro liner socks are available. The idea is that slip will occur between the socks, not between your foot and the sock. If you know that you are prone to blisters, you may wish to bring moleskin and a blister kit.
Infections, boots and socks: Hot sweaty feet in the same boots day after day are an open invitation to bacterial and fungal infections. If you have two pair of boots, I recommend that you alternate between them each day. I understand that this is expensive and not realistic for most students. A cheaper insurance policy is to never put on dirty socks for a second day. Always wear clean socks. Assume that you will contract athlete’s foot sometime during field camp and bring along your favorite medication to treat it.
Poison Oak: While we are on the subject of health issues, I might point out that poison oak (or ivy if you are more familiar with that term) occurs in areas where we will be working in Northern New Mexico. Many of us are quite susceptible to this plant. Obviously the best remedy is to know what it looks like and to avoid exposure. If that fails, there are now some fairly effective remedies. We’ve used Tecnu cleanser and have had pretty good success.
ERTH 480 Field Equipment list.
Outdoor outfitters: raingear, packs, hydration systems, boots …
Geology Equipment: field notebooks, rock hammers, hand lenses …