Field Camp Student Generated Gear List

Field Camp Gear





Air Mattress/Pad

These are a must during the road trip to keep you from getting too cold at night.

Alarm Clock

This is a must.

Bathing suit

for recreational use


For flashlights, personal stereos, and other items.


These are very useful for “butt-mapping” , and I only wish I had a pair.


Get boots that are durable, comfortable, and don’t blister your feet. Break them in before you go to field camp.

Brunton Compass

This is advisable, but not necessary because the department has some. If you use a department compass, try to get a 360 degree model and avoid the Silva compasses all together if possible. Make sure the declination is set properly before you enter the field.


A cheap model is recommended for doing adding, etc. I would not recommend that you bring your expensive graphing calculator.


I recommend that you get 2 or 3 disposable cameras. They take great pictures. The Kodak Max are good only outdoors (even those with a flash), but the Fuji cameras with a flash work good indoors and at night. This experience is a once in a lifetime deal, so take a lot of pictures. These are a lot cheaper at Wal-Mart than other places. They are $6-7 each there or $11-12 at a grocery store.


I recommend that you bring containers to carry up to 1 gallon of water. A camel back-pack is ideal. It usually takes too long to go back and get water.


This is optional.


I recommend using a Plexiglas map board from Miners Supply. They are about $40, but they will keep your work dry when it rains.

Cooking gear & camp stove

If the group desires to cook during the road trip, this should be arranged between everyone in the group.

Desk Lamp (clip on)

Dorm rooms typically have inferior light for working onmaps


Use only silicone erasers, because they don’t smear.

Field Hat

This is a must. I recommend something with a wide brim.

Field Notebooks

If you use small books, you will need about 5 of them. If you use large ones, you can probably do it with at least 2. I used a write in the rain book in the field, then recopied my notes into a regular notebook at night. The regular books cost less and don’t smudge. There are no places to buy field books once you get to Las Vegas or Taos.

First Aid Kit

I recommend this, because when you need medical supplies, they will be a long ways off otherwise. Cost is about $25 for a small kit from REI. Also, you should buy a pack of Dr. Scholl’s Mole Skin for sores that will develop on your feet.


This is useful during the road trip.

Foot Powder

Gold Bond makes an excellent medicated foot powder to keep your feet dry and fungus free. Use this in your socks everyday.


These are optional, but not really necessary. There are a few mornings at Las Vegas where it gets cold.

Glue Stick

This is very useful for constructing reports.

Grain-size card

These are a necessity for the first month. I recommend purchasing 2 from the department-they are pretty cheap.

Ground cloth

This is recommended if you bring a tent.

Hand Lens

This is a must. I recommend that you purchase a high quality lens. Cost is about $30-40, but it is well worth the money.

HCL and container

This will be used mostly during the first 2 weeks to identify cement in sandstone.

Health Insurance card

should you need medical attention

Imodium AD

This is another recommendation for the first aid kit.

Insect repellant

There are a lot of bugs near Las Vegas, especially after the rain. Mosquitoes are really bad at the camp site along the Rio Chama and Rio Grande (at Pilar). Unless you want to cover yourself completely with clothes (in the heat), this is recommended.


You need something to keep the wind off of you when it blows. This will keep you warm, but not too warm.

Kleenex/Toilet Paper

You will probably need to bring some TP into the field, because you will be in the field roughly from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. However, you can probably “steal” some from the dorm at Las Vegas.

Laundry soap

You will need enough laundry soap to wash clothes for 6 weeks.

Liquid Paper Pen

Since all reports are in pen, this is a must. Purchase the fine point if you can find it.

Long Pants

There is a lot of scrub brush and a lot of hills to climb. Many places you may want to wear shorts instead, because of the weather. However, you should bring 4 to 6 pairs of whatever pants you decide to wear.

Lunch Box

A 1.5 to 2 quart plastic container will do. This keeps your sandwiches and fruit from being squashed before you eat it.

Marking Pen

This may be useful if you wish to collect field samples.


Regardless of what the web page says, I spent over $500 on miscellaneous necessities. Most people like to drink beer or sodas in the off-hours, and those cost a lot of money. There is no place to cash checks. However, ATM’s are available.

Pack (back)

A typical book bag will do the job. It needs to be big enough to carry your water, food, pencils and other mapping gear for the day.


This will probably be used during the first few weeks.

Pencil Sharpeners

You will need these in the field and at the office. Bring extras in case they are lost.

Pencils (colored)

Get a set with at least 24 colors in it.

Pencils (writing)

I recommend using cheap mechanical pencils with #2 lead or harder (2H, 3H, etc.). Use softer lead for reports, and harder lead for field notebooks.


Staff DO NOT want people using regular ball-point pens-you will be penalized if you do. He recommends those Pilot Rolling V Ball pens, but the problem with them is that they leak when they get hot, and they don’t work drawing over pencil. Buy a few of the rolling V ball pens for writing reports. I got 2 black, 1 red, and 1 blue. For inking-in contacts that were drawn with pencil, us Pilot razor point pens-buy a whole box of them. They will only last 1 to 2 reports before they get “dull”, but they are excellent for writing over pencil.

Personal toiletries

Soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, deodorant, toothpaste, and other items are necessities.


This is very useful, because the pillows provided at the hostel are not very good, and you won’t have one at other places (Las Vegas & road trip) unless you bring one.

Plastic food container

to keep sandwiches from being crushed in your pack

Pocket Knife

This is optional, but it is also useful for many things. I would recommend that you use a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.

Prescription meds


Bring about 5 of the small protractor/rulers. They get lost easily, and this is another valuable tool that you need. The ruler is also handy in the field.

Report Paper

Notebook or engineering paper is good for this application. About 30 to 40 pages should be enough.

Rock Hammer

This is a must. If you have to purchase one, buy a hammer that is at least 24 oz., but 32 oz. Is better.

Rubber Bands

This is very useful to hold maps down if you use a cheap clip board.


12 inch ruler will be useful in the office.

Safety Glasses

This is not necessary if you have good sun glasses or prescription glasses.

Safety pin

For poking holes through maps to record data on backside


This is very useful for several reasons.

Scotch Tape

This is useful for a variety of things.


I brought sheets for the bed in Las Vegas (and my air mattress) otherwise you will have to use your sleeping bag.

Sleeping Bag

This will be used mainly during the seven day road trip. I used a blanket and sheets instead of this.

Sock Hat

This is useful if it snows or gets very cold. We did not need it.


You should purchase good socks made of wool blend. This sounds hot, but it is not.


You will undoubtedly want to send letters and postcards as well as bills, and there won’t be any places open that sell stamps after you get back from the field.


This is very useful for completing reports.

Stereonet Plotter

You will need this the last 2 weeks. Just use the one you had in structural geology.

Sun Block

If your skin burns easily, this is a necessity. 45 is the best, because you will be in the sun a lot.


These are recommended.


You will need a template that draws rectangles. This is useful in constructing rock descriptions. Circle one also.


This may or may not be necessary. Most people end up sharing tents, so not everyone has to bring their own. Remember, space will be a limiting factor. Another note, if you bring a tent, it must be waterproof or you will get wet in the rain, and there is no other shelter.


This will be necessary to both shower, and for swimming during the road trip.

Tracing Paper

You will need this for cross sections, stereographic nets, etc.

Warm Coat/Warm Hat

This is optional, but if it snows in Las Vegas or the Picuris Mtns. You will need something to keep you warm. A flannel shirt will do on most cold mornings.


This is necessary because you will be told to be at certain places at certain times.

Zip-Loc Bags

I recommend that you get a box of quart sized bags. These are good for sample collecting and also for food. They will buy bags for your food, but it will be those cheap bags with no seals.