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Field Herping Discussion>What's in your field pack?
lexmiller 23:04 22nd January 2010
What do you guys pack along with you when you go herping in the field?

 
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Nathan050793 23:56 22nd January 2010
This thread pretty much lays it out from the best field-herpers among us: http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-a...-load-out.html

 
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John 00:34 23rd January 2010
I don't know - Johnny's list in the first post is rather daunting. The answer to your question is really based on your approach to field herping. Sure if you go hiking through the woods for the whole day then you may need a lot of equipment, but in my experience it's generally no more than a couple of hours away from the car at a time, and usually a lot less. So I keep the vast majority of things in my car. Things I keep in my car all the time:

- Various containers to stop things escaping while I prepare to photograph them
- Various nets
- Change of clothes
- Boots
- Shoes
- Snake Boots
- Towels
- Toilet Paper and a bag in which to dispose of it for taking home
- Maps (I hardly use those now though due to my GPS)
- Camping lamp
- Strong Maglight Torch for road cruising, etc
- LED head lamp
- Fold-up chair
- A good sharp knife
- Plastic Bags
- Compressor/Tire Inflator that runs off the DC output in the car
- Spare batteries for lights and GPS
- Walmart Trekking pole
- Bottled Water for drinking and also to wash dirt off amphibians for posing, if necessary

I have a small bag that goes on my back that I rarely wear but bring in the car most of the time that has the following:
- Extra socks and underwear
- Ibuprofen
- Antacid
- Another LED headlight
- Handheld GPS
- Pens, pad
- Sound recorder

When I leave the car I usually bring the tools for the task at hand:
- Weather proof photo backpack with
- Camera
- Macro and Zoom lenses
- Lens cloths
- Air Blower
- Flash gun
- Diffusers for the flash gun
- Spare batteries for the camera and the flash gun

Most of the time the photo backpack is all I bring, aside from wearing stout leather boots. I just keep the rest of it in the car in case I have a particular task to perform. I'm very much a "targeted" herper - I have a specific task in mind and only leave the car with the necessary equipment (and water).

I don't have a snake hook but I find that Walmart trekking pole handy for very basic manipulation of snakes when it is fully extended, though obviously you need to be very careful. I've used it to manipulate various vipers in the south - usually just to move them to the side of the road or to deter them from trying to escape during photography.

 
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lexmiller 01:01 23rd January 2010
Thanks for the feedback.


I was interested in what others put in their packs and/or take with them whike herping.


Basically curiousity rather than wanting to know what should be in mine. I thought it would be fun to share.

John...you my friend are a well stocked herper. You are a herping boy scout. Thanks for sharing.

 
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SludgeMunkey 07:14 23rd January 2010
Aye, I go excessive as I do not drive a car, I either hike in or mountain bike around. While I rarely plan to be out for more than 12 hours, sometimes I end up spending an extra unplanned day or two...LOL

I have changed things a bit. I do not use DEET based insect repellent anymore. I switched to mosquito netting instead.

 
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freves 13:44 23rd January 2010
Mine is definitely on the light side, containing water, a couple of knives, and a small basic first aide pack. In addition I usually carry a small net and plastic container for either observing critters and/or collecting insects. A friend that often goes with me will often carry a snake hook. I have a larger pack that has a flashlight, change of clothes, and sometimes a field guide. This past summer however I do not think that I even took the large pack out of the garage. I generally spray myself with repellent at the car before going out.
Chip

 
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jaster 00:07 26th January 2010
I use my old backpack that just fits perfectly. I have not been on lengthy excursions, so I have no GPS (yet). I have a field guide, various plastic containers and zip-locs, a small dip net, a small mag-lite and a compass. My camera is usually over my shoulder, it's nothing fancy, but it will take a decent pic, even when it is raining. I bought a decent headlamp from wal-mart for $15 and some good boots for $160 two years ago, and they're still with me.

Planning on getting a GPS, more boots and a nice shirt.

 
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lexmiller 00:58 26th January 2010
GPS is good if you are doing studies and need to return to sites over time. I would love a GPS.

 
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NecturusLindsay 01:41 26th January 2010
I take a mix of things everyone has already suggested, plus my Gerber, pocket taser and a can of bear mace that's not intended for bears. Ya know...single gal out in the woods.

 
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jaster 03:05 26th January 2010
Very true. Just for reference, I've used Google Earth a ton...

 
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monkeyfrogman28 04:09 26th January 2010
I like to bring at least 3 shoe box size plastic containers, plenty of water, field guide, my own note book, bag of latex gloves, a walking stick to push snakes away. And a 2ft long knife/machette thing. You never know what may run into you. I have a fear of Mountain Lions. Some other things that others have listed. I try to never Herp alone for safety reasons and to have more fun.

 
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Coastal Groovin 09:36 26th January 2010
I carry two items that I didn't see on the list. One is a gun, yes I have permit to carry. In case of unfriendly bears. But moslty its for human wack jobs. You always hear about some hiker getting killed on a trail by some psycho. Just not in the movies you know!!. Second of all I carry a bright orange rescue whistle. It even claims to work under water.....LOL Im not sure what I would be doing blowing a whistle at the bottom of a lake? I travel light and don't ever carry a camera like most of you guys. So here is my list
1. gun .45 + extra clip
2. water bottle
3. matches
4. plastic zip lock full of dryer lint. Its the best for starting a fire!!!
5. Rescue Whistle
6 head lamp
7. extra battery
8. cheap GPS. gets me home everytime
9. Roll of duct tape.
10. Beef jerky

 
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John 09:41 26th January 2010
I'm not with you on the gun. I think I would have misgivings field herping with someone who is armed.

 
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Greatwtehunter 09:54 26th January 2010
Some of the stuff I always make sure I have are containers of various sizes, a small brine shrimp net, candy, high energy snacks, water, toilet paper, GPS, lighter and matches, a large dip net, snake hook, pillow cases, small first aid kit, and a good field guide.

I also carry a pistol while I am out, its saved my butt at least once already!

John, I'm curious as to why you would be suspicious of someone who was going into the wilderness armed? Maybe it's cause I'm a total redneck but it just seems normal to me.

 
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monkeyfrogman28 12:33 26th January 2010
Originally Posted by Greatwtehunter:
Some of the stuff I always make sure I have are containers of various sizes, a small brine shrimp net, candy, high energy snacks, water, toilet paper, GPS, lighter and matches, a large dip net, snake hook, pillow cases, small first aid kit, and a good field guide.

I also carry a pistol while I am out, its saved my butt at least once already!

John, I'm curious as to why you would be suspicious of someone who was going into the wilderness armed? Maybe it's cause I'm a total redneck but it just seems normal to me.
I feel you need to be armed with something. I like the idea of a gun. Mount Lions scare the bageebies out of me because they have been known to eat people. Plus in my area, sightings have been seen. You never know what may run into you.

 
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freves 16:09 26th January 2010
I agree that one should be concerned about human whack jobs, that's one of the reasons that I carry extra knives. I own some guns but do not carry them into the field.
Chip

 
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Greatwtehunter 16:43 26th January 2010
Let's face it, some of the best spots to herp are in the worst places for safety; whether it be on the outskirts of town flipping debris looking for snakes, off some deserted country road looking for salamanders, or in the middle of the night do frog call surveys. I feel much safer (which makes the trip much more enjoyable) when I am carrying my pistol. We have bears and coyotes here in VA and I have already had to shoot 1 coyote because it wouldn't leave me alone.

 
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freves 17:01 26th January 2010
Justin,
I was herping about two miles from where the bodies of those two VT kids were found last year. We were out the week before however.
Chip

 
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sde 03:54 11th January 2014
Originally Posted by Greatwtehunter:
Let's face it, some of the best spots to herp are in the worst places for safety; whether it be on the outskirts of town flipping debris looking for snakes, off some deserted country road looking for salamanders, or in the middle of the night do frog call surveys. I feel much safer (which makes the trip much more enjoyable) when I am carrying my pistol. We have bears and coyotes here in VA and I have already had to shoot 1 coyote because it wouldn't leave me alone.
I know that this thread is old but.....You shot a coyote because it wouldn't leave you alone!?! Sorry man, but seriously? Its a coyote, its not very dangerous at all, and, i don't know about where you are at, but that's illegal here. Well, unless you have a hunting license, and open season ( which is all year here ). But i kind of cant believe you killed an animal just because it was not leaving you alone, i mean, they are virtually harmless. Its not like it would kill you when you had that gun with you, i personally would wait till it was charging to shoot. One of the things you have to accept in my opinion is that when you go herping, your in the animals territory, and thus, i try to play by its rules, but shooting........ok, i guess i have just been repeating myself, but seriously, i hope you get what i am saying. For all you know it could have been a mother trying to keep an eye on you because she had a den full of cubs near by. I just don't like it...not at all........

 
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Kaysie 18:43 11th January 2014
Coyotes kill people every year. They are dangerous animals, just as much as any other medium to large size carnivore.

Something I ALWAYS have with me: toilet paper. Rolls in the car, in my pack, everywhere! Never know when you're going to need it. Sure, leaves are fine, but toilet paper is real nice to have.

 
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