Int’l geology field campaign checklist

It’s getting close to summer, and various geologists around me are gearing up for field campaigns to exotic locations.  Doing this while trying to get the normal semester’s work done ahead of time is pretty hectic, and there is a constant danger of forgetting something.  Here is my list of things to bring for my last Tibetan field campaign; hopefully it’ll be of use to others.

As a qualifier, this was 2 month field geology trip that involved mapping, bedrock sampling, and cosmogenic sampling (mostly digging 2 m depth profiles).  Weather was anything from 40°C (Beijing in July) to -10° C (?  didn’t have a thermometer, although one of these would be sweet; maybe a little portable weather station?) w/ all forms of wind and precip.  We camped in the field, but most food preparation was handled by the drivers while we worked.  It was basically car camping, with big propane stoves and ‘indoor’ cookware, so that is not included in this list in detail.  The list for more specialized work (e.g., GPS campaigns) is a bit different; that might be covered in a later post.

Northwest camp, South Lunggar Rift. Footwall of the South Lunggar Detachment in background.

If anyone has anything to contribute, that’d be great.  Logistics stuff could also be good, especially sample shipping, dealing with permits and vehicles, etc.

sleeping bag
sleeping pad
big pack
big duffel
flip flops/other sandals
down jacket
field shirts
stocking cap
gloves (thick and thin, for warmth and for digging)
rain gear
h20 bladder

geo gear
rock hammer
Brunton (2x)
map board
cosmo sampling stuff: nails, trowel, flagging tape, ziplocks, sed knife
cloth sample bags
sharpies (lots)
pencils, pens, mylar, etc.
field books
awesome custom flamingo fieldbook holder
zip ties
pocket knife
Leatherman-style multitool
Gorilla tape (best duct tape ever, wrap a bunch around your rock hammer, your nalgene, your field assistant)
Chinese dictionary
Tibetan phrasebook
journal artivles
Infinite Jest (didn’t bring it but should have)
Dervla Murphy
etc. (I didn’t have an iPad or Kindle but this would be fantastic, because you could bring books plus all of the maps and papers you could ever need)
Dr. Bronner’s or other biodegradable shampoo/soap
wetwipes (45 days w/o showering?  No problem!)
nail clippers
personal items
receipt bag
money belt
camping French press
good coffee (1lb/coffee drinker per month)
Starbucks Via instant coffee packets (key for restaurants, when you really don’t want yak butter tea)
Panasonic Toughbook (CF-19; put ArcMap on it and map digitally in the field, if you want)
sat phone
pelican case for camera
soft camera carrying case that’s easy to access while you hike (otherwise you’ll take far fewer pics than you should)
spare memory cards
power inverter
GPS (uhh just kidding, I would never bring a GPS to Tibet)
iPod (w/ battery powered speakers, and something to play it in the car)
first aid kit
Mine is an Outdoor Research Padded Cell (#4 or 5), holds the following:
water purification tablets
hypodermic needles (mine are 18G x 1″ and I’d hate to stick ’em in me)
4 12cc syringes
anti-diarrheal pills
band aid multi pack
several pairs of latex gloves
cipro or other mega-antibiotic
SAM splint (these are WAY too hard to find)
cleansing solution (I have an Rx bottle filled with 1/2 bleach, 1/2 water, can dilute a lot w/ h20 to rinse out cuts)
ace bandages
athletic tape
epi pen
CPR mouth barrier
emergency suture kit
Gorilla tape (for when things get real and you need to wrap a body part up that may be very bloody or broken; basically G. tape is the best med tape ever)
a little bit of cake frosting in case someone is diabetic
things to buy in China
cheap guitar (mine was ~ ¥ 100)
cell phone
sim card (this looks interesting)
jumper cables
tire plugs
pick axes
cooking tent, gear, tables, chairs, etc.


One response to “Int’l geology field campaign checklist

  1. Rich
    I met a guy in Manhattan, KS yesterday that you might like to know—a river/canoeing/kayaking enthusiast with very deep knowledge of Kansas rivers and streams, but has also travels to rivers all over the country and internationally.
    Thomas J. Hittle
    Landscape Architect, but also runs a website, “Kansas Paddlers” (I think)

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