Painted Hills Sunset at the OSU field station, Mitchell, Oregon

Geologic Field Methods



Click here for a pdf file of the equipment list.


  • Excellent hiking boots (high enough to cover fully the ankles). Because of extensive climbing (especially on talus slopes) and the possibility of snow at higher elevations (although remote), durable boots are best.
  • Extra laces are a must. Consider bringing a second pair of boots because the field camp is located in an isolated area where repairs are impossible.
  • Break in new heavy leather boots before arriving at field camp.


  • Jackets, pants, shirts, socks, handkerchiefs, towels, etc. Bring sufficient quantity to permit daily changes of socks and underclothes for a full week. An automatic washer and detergents are furnished at the OSU field station. We will NOT have access to laundry services for the last week of field camp.
  • Jackets: the nights and early mornings can be cold (low 30s).
  • Rain gear: rain is possible at any time (one year it rained every day during the first week of the course).
  • Wide-brim, light-weight hat provides good sun protection.


  • Warm sleeping bag (not a blanket; early season night temperatures may drop below freezing).
  • An air mattress or pad for sleeping comfort; at the OSU field station we will be sleeping in tents.
  • A pillow.
  • A tent for yourself or to share. If you do not have a tent, one can be rented from CWU outdoor rec.


  • Gaiters to keep cheat grass seeds out of socks — an excellent idea, especially if you wear shorts in the field.
  • Flashlight, toilet articles, ointments for skin and lips (both sunblock and hand lotion).
  • Bug juice. Mosquitoes in the Wallowas can be viscous.
  • Sun glasses are strongly recommended — they protect the eyes when hammering on rocks in addition to protection from desert and high-altitude sun light. Do not wear contacts in the field if your eyes are sensitive to dust. A spare set of prescription glasses is strongly advised.
  • "Liquid Paper" or "Wite-Out" will be useful for covering drafting mistakes.
  • Laptop computers are useful for preparing short field reports. A printer is typically available at both field stations.
  • Textbooks from Rocks and Minerals, Structural Geology, Stratigraphy, and Petrography courses are useful.
  • Stereonet.



  • Rock hammer (not a carpenter's, machinist's, or piton hammer) and holster.
  • Hand lens.
  • Covered map board or clipboard for aerial photographs and maps
  • (8 1/2" x 11" or larger will fit our basemaps).
  • Wrist or pocket watch. It's good to have something other than your phone.
  • A rucksack large enough to carry clipboard, tupperware container for lunch, water containers (at least two quart bottles, three or more are preferable), rain clothing, and field samples.

Supplied as part of OSU/CWU field camp:
Supplied to Each Student

  • 1 Brunton compass
  • 1 hardbound field notebook
  • 1 spare, spiral bound, light duty field notebook
  • 1 set of 15 colored pencils (Prismacolor)
  • 1 pencil sharpener for colored pencils
  • 1 0.5 mm mechanical pencil with large box of HB & small box of 5H 0.5 mm leads
  • 1 20/40 divisions per inch scale & protractor
  • 1 10/50 divisions per inch scale & protractor
  • 1 0.25 mm Pentel Micron drafting pen
  • 1 0.50 mm Pentel Micron drafting pen
  • Stereonet, tracing paper, and Zip-A-Dip

Recommended (nice to have):

  • Geologist's field vest or field pouch—reduces the likelihood of losing pencils, erasers, notebook, ruler, etc.
  • Heavy belt for Brunton and hammer holster.
  • Hammer holster on belt to carry rock hammer.
  • Small first aid kit.
  • Broad-tipped felt pen (a black Sharpie pen is a good one) for marking samples.
  • Camera. Protective case for your phone.
  • Materials from G210 (e.g. pencils, erasers, micron pens, etc.).

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