Fall/Spring Classes

Summer Field Trips

Field Course Requirements

Trip Logistics

Equipment and Food

Frequently Asked Questions

Plant Sales




Materials > Equipment


Download a printer friendly PDF version of the complete materials list HERE.

If you are properly prepared and equipped, you will be more comfortable and able to take in new ideas and experiences during the trip.


  • You will need a notebook and digital camera or sketchbook to document plants and habitats studied during the trip.
  • A class reader may be provided at the start of the trip. Cost is usually about $10.
  • The recommended textbook for field trips is California Vegetation by Holland and Keil, ISBN 0787226858. See http://www.kendallhunt.com/store-product.aspx?id=86133 to order from the publisher, Kendall Hunt.
  • The Jepson Manual and regional floras may be available for reference during the trip. Email before the trip will suggest books and maps for the region to be explored.


You will need a daypack that contains the following NECESSARY items, which you will need to have available to you during the day.

  • Water bottles or Camelback that can hold AT LEAST 2 LITERS of drinking water. If you bring a Camelback (bladder), make sure it doesn’t leak BEFORE you leave, and bring at least one backup water container. If you have a water filter, bring it on day hikes!
  • Snacks and lunch READY TO EAT
  • Hat/gloves/warm/water repellent layers, as needed
  • Map, compass, hand lens, small journal or notepad, pencil, camera with at least two extra batteries, watch, headlamp, spare batteries, flashlight, pocket knife, whistle
  • Enough toilet paper and personal necessities for the day. Allergy medicine? Tampax? WHATEVER YOU WILL NEED FOR THE DAY, TO HAVE WITH YOU.

CLOTHING, from the ground up


  • Boots - Fabric or leather. Breathable, comfortable, worn in (not worn out), waterproofed, good laces
  • Insoles - 'ultra sole' types with good shock absorption
  • Socks - Synthetics or wool, poly pro/fleece or blends; Carry at least 2 pair extra; Sock liners (thin type) help some boots fit better
  • Moleskin or surgical tape- Ample quantities depending on how tender your feet are
  • Light-weight sandals are recommended for stream crossings and around camp


  • Gators and crampons - Not necessary, too heavy to justify
  • Long underwear - Poly pro synthetics, wool, or fleece - tops and bottoms - 1 pair, 2 pair if you need them to sleep. NO COTTON! Silk is lightweight and good for sleeping.
  • Pants - Nylon (breathable) type, zip-off leg types good


  • Shirt - Fleece/wool/silk/poly pro type (flannel ok but not encouraged) long sleeved, with good collar, pockets (keep in mind you may need to cover up where there are mosquitos)
  • Outerwear/shell - Fleece pullover or zip up - hooded
  • Rain coat and rain pants or rain poncho
  • A down jacket keeps you toasty on cold evenings and mornings in camp, and takes up very little space in a small stuff sack.

Hands, Head and Neck

  • Gloves - Poly pro gloves, fleece, or wool - avoid cotton
  • Hats - Sun hat with wide brim essential for day hikes, warm knit or fleece hat for cold nights
  • Head net may be necessary for summer trips where there are mosquitos

Face, Eyes and Skin

  • Sunglasses - UV protective! Wrap-around types keep wind out
  • "Croakies" or eye glass holders
  • Eye drops - Natural tears, non vasoconstrictor types, help flush sunscreen out
  • Sunscreen and lip balm - spf 30-50 best, small size 5-day supply for face, neck, arms
  • Mosquito repellant or head net may be necessary for summer trips (Note that DEET is toxic to frogs – avoid swimming in alpine lakes after using DEET)


  • Light-weight backpacking Tent - 1 person (or 2 persons if you're going to share) - 3 lbs is good.
  • Sleeping bag - Down filled, -0 degree preferred. A +10 or 0 degree older bag might now be rated 15-30 degrees higher depending on history/storage practices. Know your loft!
  • Sleeping pad - Thermarest or “Neoair” types most comfortable; foam pads are cheaper but bulkier
  • Pillow - small crushable or inflatable types
  • Down Jacket - in a stuff sack, good to have at camp on cold evenings and mornings; doubles as a soft pillow
  • Backpack - internal or external type that you can practice loading to learn what items you can manage. Equipment stores will help you fit your pack correctly. Remember to leave space for shared equipment such as fuel canisters and water filters.
  • Pack cover - essential for waterproof hiking and storage (a large garbage bag can suffice)
  • A day pack is necessary on backpacking trips, for day hikes away from base camp


  • Stuff sacks to keep personal items organized
  • Map, compass, hand lens, small journal or notepad, pencil, camera, batteries, watch, headlamp, spare batteries, pocket knife, whistle - these should be accessible in your day pack along with enough toilet paper and personal necessities for each day.
  • Medicines - anti-inflammatories, aspirin for higher elevation acclimation, personal medications
  • Backup flashlight or headlamp for camp
  • Toiletries - toothbrush, tp, moleskin, band aids, antiseptic, hand cleaner, wet wipes, deodorant

Reminder: Do not allow pack weight to exceed 30% of your own!

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