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, wristwatch, 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!! Wristwatches may seem antiquated, but they are effective and you won't have to dig into your pocket for a phone every time you want to see what time it is.
  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. If getting new boots - purchase them from a store that specializes in outdoor equipent (avoid online purches) so you can get propperly fitted and recieve good answers to your questions. Get new boots early and break them in before arriving at camp by wearing them constantly.... at least one person will find themselves buying new boots in the middle of camp - and will need to break them in on the job (ouch). NOTE: walking shoes, running shoes, cross-trainers, and hiking sandals are NOT permissible and you will not be allowed in the field with them on your feet.
  6. Camera, phone
  7. Camp cooking gear - Camp maintains a fully stocked camp kitchen, so individual cooking gear is discouraged because of space considerations. However, if you would like to go backpacking during your time off (e.g., the 4th of July trip), please be sure to bring whatever gear you’ll need.
  8. Canteen/Water Bottles - A combination of water bottles or hydradion reservoirs that can hold 3-4 liters of water is strongly recommened. You will be opperating in hot, dry, high-altitude areas... conditions that your body is unfamilir with. Dehydradion is incredibly effective at undermining your comfort, effectiveness, and safety in the field. Wide mouth bottles are easiest when it comes to adding the ice cubes provided by the Chateau on the porch in the morning.
  9. Chap Stick - Lips tend to dry out and crack in low-humidity - bring several.
  10. Clear Plastic Rule and Protractor - A 6" rule that includes a protractor is ideal for plotting strikes and dips in the field. The Westcott 6inch/15cm, Transparent Protractor Ruler (W-5) is the best money can buy - bring several because you will loose them.
  11. Map board / clipboard - Some form of hard protective object to write on and protect your map is critical. 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. In an emergency, 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 or a vest with pockets is handy and will help keep you from digging in your backpack everytime you want to record an observation.
  15. Field Clothing - A week's supply (assuming you do laundry weekly). Be sure to include bandanas and light-colored, long-sleeve shirts amde out of lightweight material for protection from the sun.
  16. First Aid Kit - Bring a small personalized kit with the items (Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, moleskin, Advil, etc.) that you know you will most likely need to address the issues you commonly encounter. Faculty and vans will carry more extensive kits for uncommon needs.
  17. Gaiters - A pair of short gaiters that cover your boot tops and exposed socks will save you endless minutes/day picking grass seeds and burrs out of your socks at the end of the day. If you do not remove these irritants from 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. Of all the brands out there, REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent has gained quite a reputation for being particularly effective with the bugs in Utah.
  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 or pad computer (there is no space for desktop computers) - Not required but we hosting course-related elements (assignments, handouts, resources, etc) on the Canvas course management system and a computer will help you maintain access to these materials. Furthermore, 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. Paper and Envelopes - For reports and letters. Bring stamps, too - we are in the field during Post Office hours.
  28. Pencils - mechanical, with erasers and sharpeners (if necessary). Colored pencils for maps (suggest getting a set with more than 16 colors... because white and black are invariably 2 of the colors included).
  29. Pocket Calculator - now probably adequately covered by your phone.
  30. Pocket Knife
  31. Portable power block & cables - Ability to recharge electronic items will be limited at times.  
  32. Rain Coat or Poncho - Waterproof jackets and pants (rain shells or similar foul weather gear... NOT ski jackets) work well, but if you do not have these a cheap transparent poncho  will protect 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. However, please feel free to bring a limited number of 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 synthetic socks work the best (avoid cotton). Some also prefer to wear polypropylene liners as well to futher limit chafing. Bring enough so that you will have dry socks each morning. Blisters and sore feet really are a pain!
  36. Sharpie permanent markers, masking tape, and freezer thickness zip-lock bags - All of these are useful for labeling and organizing rock samples. Good ziplock bags will also protect your toilet paper and help you carry garbage back out of the field.
  37. Snacks - There are local grocery stores, but if you have favorite shelf-stable snacks, buy a supply ahead of time and bring them with you if you have room.
  38. 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.
  39. 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. Several bottles of oil-free sunblock with an SPF above 35 is strongly recommended.
  40. Swim Suits - There is a municipal pool in town (beware, it is not cheap), but you may have opportunities to swim over the 4th of July weekend and possibly at other locations, including the Great Salt Lake.
  41. 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. Fine-tipped sharpies are not suitable for drafting.
  42. Tent, Sleeping Bag, Pad- For the San Rafael Swell trip (week 2), the Fourth of July camping trip (week 3), the Nevada trip (week 5), 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 private tent, so please talk to your friends. Bring a sleeping bag rated for at least 30°F or colder. You will also need a sleeping pad to insulate you from the ground. WIthout a sleeping pad, the Earth will literally suck the heat out of your body at night – a thermodynamic battle that you will lose.
  43. Towels, hand towels, washcloths, bathmat - These items 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. You may also wish to bring a bathmat for the shower in your room. Suggest leaving your good linens at home.
  44. Tupperware container - A completely optional but entirely awesome strategy for maintaining the integrity of field lunches. Tupperware-type containters will protect your sanwiches from the high pressure / low temperature metamorphic conditions in your backpack. To help you gauge the size of protective containers, field lunches typically consist of 2 standard sandwiches, a small bag of chips, one piece of fruit, and a can of soda.
  45. 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
  • BackCountry: Outdoor equipment supplier
  • CGS Mule: Sells mostly to the mining industry, but a great source for geologic gear (and BIG toys)
  • Deakin Equipment Ltd: Outdoor supplier that serves mining, geology, exploration, forestry, and construction. Great source for industry spec cruiser field vests.
  • 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.
  • REI: Outdoor equipment supplier


Last revised 5/16/21