Suggested Gear

If you continue as a geologist in school or work, then you will probably use these items for several years, so be careful in selecting the more expensive items such as a compass, hand lens, hammer, and drafting pens - for the sake of quality, it often pays to invest a little more in these items. A geologist must be self-sufficient. Do not rely upon the instructor(s) or your fellow students to loan equipment that you forgot or lost in the field. Make a checklist of the gear you will need each day. Bring extras of commonly lost or broken items (e.g., protractors, pencil, erasers). Labeling gear with your name helps to establish ownership when someone else finds your loss. Beware, there is a long-standing tradition when it comes to returning found items.

Suggested Items

  1. Acid Bottle - Dropping bottle (with an extra dropper) wrapped with adhesive tape. Camp will provide acid.
  2. Alarm clock, watch, phone - You will need to wake up before breakfast and know when to return to vans at the end of a field day. When it is time to go - we go!!
  3. Altimeter and/or Binoculars - If you have them. These are really just for fun.
  4. Boot oil or waterproofing material
  5. Boots - Good boots that cover the top of ankle or higher are essential (and required)! You will find good ankle support a blessing. The uppers in cheap boots do not last long under heavy use; make certain the leather is good and the stitching substantial. Vibram lug soles are best, beware of cheap imitations. Extra pair of good laces. Buy early and break in before arriving at camp.... at least one person will find themselves buying new boots in the middle of the summer - and breaking them in (ouch). NOTE: walking shoes, running shoes, cross-trainers, and hiking sandals are NOT permissible and you will not want to be in the field with these on your feet.
  6. Camera, phone
  7. Camping Equipment - Individual cooking gear for the Fourth of July weekend is discouraged because of space considerations. We will bring camp stoves and kitchen supplies and will be just a few miles from Jackson and meals may be had there. However, if you would like to go backpacking for one night in the Tetons during your time off (or camping on a 2-day weekend), please be sure to bring whatever gear you’ll need.
  8. Canteen/Water Bottles - Two to three one-liter bottles or camelback equivalent depending on your needs in hot, dry areas. Wide mouth bottle is easiest for adding ice cubes provided by the Chateau on the porch in the morning.
  9. Chap Stick w/ SPF UV block - Lips tend to dry out and crack in low-humidity.
  10. Clear Plastic Rule and Protractor - A 6" rule that includes a protractor is ideal for plotting strikes and dips in the field. Some will be available for <$1.50 at camp as replacements for lost ones.
  11. Clipboard - Or some form of field map board or case. A modified clipboard will work fine, but you can easily make a more substantial one out of sheets of masonite and plexi-glass that are cut to the same size and taped together with duct tape to form a hinge. When selecting a map board, consider that mapping will be done on 8.5 x 11, 8.5 x 14 and 11 x 17 sheets of paper. While 11 x 17 is generally probably too big for the average student (you can fold the field maps as needed), it is good to have a map board that is big enough to protect your map.
  12. Compass - Bring a Brunton Pocket Transit or equivalent compass. You should be able to check one out from your school. There will be a few extras at the camp.
  13. Drawing Equipment - rulers and squares are helpful, but not required. 
  14. Field Book - Two 5 x 7 weather resistant hardcover field books are recommended. There is a version made by Rite In The Rain that includes 16 pages of helpful charts and such in the back, but is slightly more expensive. A field book belt case is handy.
  15. Field Clothing - A week's supply (assuming you do laundry weekly). Be sure to include long-sleeve shirts of lightweight material for protection from the sun.
  16. First Aid Kit - Bring small one with Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, moleskin, Tylenol etc. Faculty and vans will carry more extensive kits.
  17. Gaiters - A pair of short gaiters that cover your boot tops and exposed socks will save you 10’s of minutes/day picking various grass seeds and burrs out of your socks at the end of the day, especially if you wear shorts. If you do not clean your socks before washing you will have prickers in your knickers.
  18. Geology Pick/Hammer - Either pointed or chisel end. A holster is very useful.
  19. GPS Unit - Common but not mandatory and now likely an App available for your phone. Check one out from your school, or have your own. Be advised that a GPS unit does not replace careful observation of your surroundings and a basic competency in interpreting topographic maps and the difference between a ridge and a valley.
  20. Hand Lens - Required. Your preference. A good one is worth the money. An inexpensive extra is a good idea.
  21. Hat - A wide-brimmed hat is recommended. Burnt ears are a common complaint. Straw is good and the more air holes the better.
  22. High Intensity Lamp - The lighting is poor in the study room and even worse in the bedrooms. Perhaps a headlamp (needed for camping) will serve this need.
  23. Hiking Poles - Especially if you are a little unstable (on your feet) or not a fan of steep slopes, one or a pair of telescoping hiking poles may make your everyday experience more comfortable.
  24. Insect Repellent - A couple of the field areas have mosquitos and biting gnats can be a real problem in southern Utah - a head net can be a sanity saver on a couple days. DEET has proven ineffective with nats... many have had luck with brands that use Picaridin.
  25. Jacket and Sweater - Work has been carried on in temperatures ranging from 30 to 115 degrees F, including snowstorms, so bring clothes accordingly. Average working temperature at high elevations may be about 55 with a strong wind. A sweater should be light, warm, and non-absorbent to water (e.g. wool or polyester pile). A light windbreaker or waterproof jacket is a must on cloudy and windy days especially at high elevation.
  26. Laptop computer - This is not required but every project requires you or your group to turn in some short written product (e.g. rock or unit descriptions, geologic history, meeting abstract) in addition to maps and cross sections. Being able to type things up (and hence easily edit them) can be a huge time saver. Plus you might be able to reuse portions of text you wrote in the first week in later projects. There is a laser printer in the work room.
  27. Masking or Adhesive Tape and small zip-lock bags - For labeling specimens and bringing them back to the Chateau.
  28. Paper and Envelopes - For reports and letters. Bring stamps, too - we are in the field during Post Office hours.
  29. Pencils - Wood or mechanical, with erasers and sharpeners (if necessary). Colored pencils for maps.
  30. Pocket Calculator - now probably adequately covered by your phone.
  31. Pocket Knife
  32. Rain Coat or Poncho - Extra long coats are dangerous when climbing. Knee length, plastic-coated nylon is ideal because it is light. Waterproof jackets and pants work well. A cheap transparent poncho (in addition to other foul weather gear) protects you while writing in field books and on maps.
  33. Reference Books - There is a useful field camp library with standard geology texts (mineralogy, petrology, structure, etc.) and literature on the regional geology. You might consider bringing your favorite textbook(s), but a basic geologic dictionary and perhaps a copy of Roadside Geology might be enough. 
  34. Small Back Pack - To carry gear, lunch, and specimens. It is best to have nothing free to swing when climbing. Large fanny packs (the ones that may have a single shoulder strap as well) have been successfully used.
  35. Socks - Take care of your feet! Consider getting a few pairs of techical socks - medium weight wool or cotton with polypropylene liners work best. Bring enough so that you will have dry socks each morning. Blisters and sore feet really are a pain!
  36. Sunscreen - Sun exposure at high altitudes contributes to an increased risk of skin cancer. Use sun block and keep skin covered each day. Sun burns turn into blisters... which heal slowly when being rubbed by backpack straps and shirt collars every day.
  37. Sunglasses - Preferably polarized, they will protect your eyes from sunburn and help prevent headaches brought on by squinting in bright light. They also will intercept flying rock chips.
  38. Swim Suits - There is a municipal pool in town (beware, it is not cheap), but you will have opportunities to swim in the Gros Ventre River and possibly at other locations including the Great Salt Lake.
  39. Technical Pens - Bring a few drawing pens. We strongly recommend Pigma pens by MICRON. Bring 2-3 "01" pens for general linework and lettering. Bring 1-2 "08" for heavier fold axes and fault traces. They cost about $2.50 each and last for two to three weeks... ink unfortunately tends to outlast the fine tips.
  40. Tent, Sleeping Bag, Pad- For the San Rafael Swell trip (week 2), the Nevada trip (week 5), Fourth of July camping trip, and possible weekend recreational camping. Each student needs to bring or find a tent to share prior to coming to field camp. We will not have enough room (either in the vans or in the campground) for each of you to have your own tent, so please talk to your friends.
  41. Towels - Towels are not provided by the managment of the Chateau. Consider bringing an old bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth - one set that you aren't particularly attached to. Suggest leaving your good linens at home.
  42. Whiteout - For drafting errors. Of course we do not make these(!)

People Selling Geology-Related Gear

  • Amateur Geologist: Sells mostly to students and mineral collectors - good source for hand lenses, compasses, cheap field notebook pouches
  • ASC Scientific: Sells mostly to academics - good source Write-in-the-Rain field notebooks, Plateau Design field pouches
  • Ben Meadows: Wide range of supplies for geoscience, forestry, and water scientists
  • Miners, Inc.: Sells mostly to industry - tons of stuff, but watch prices and shop around
  • Forestry Suppliers, Inc.: Sells mostly to industry - possible source for bulk orders of field notebooks (but ASC usually better). Also carries Filson Cruiser field vests.
  • Deakin Equipment Ltd: Outdoor supplier that serves mining, geology, exploration, forestry, and construction. Great source for industry spec cruiser field vests.


Last revised March 2019