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Things to Bring - Tools and Comfort Items

Written by: Nikki Simon

June 10th 2022

Alright, the time has come, you've realized why it would be super cool to take a field school or do some volunteer fieldwork, and you've done the research and found one that fits you and your budget, you're on your way!

But what should you bring with you on this adventure?

Well, it's best to consider this topic in terms of two categories, tools and supplies that you may need in the course of your work and personal items that will help keep you comfortable in the field. Today's post will be a short one, but an important one nonetheless!


Most field school directors and site operators will give students an idea of the tools they should bring, and many will already have a certain amount of essential tools on hand for individual use. However, the supplies that they do have will again come down to funding, and sometimes there isn't necessarily enough to go around. That's okay, though; if you decide that you enjoy fieldwork and want to become an archaeologist, you will want to have some of these tools in your repertoire anyway.


  • Backpack

  • Metric or Metric/Imperial measuring tape

  • Masons pointing trowel - we like Marshalltown around here (4-7 inches, no need to go crazy)

  • Rite in the Rain waterproof journal

  • Pencils and pens (felt tip or ballpoint are fine, but only pencil and felt tip work when the paper is wet)

  • An assortment of brushes (toothbrushes, paintbrushes etc.)

  • Pruners

  • Gloves (gardening or non-leather work gloves)


  • Line level

  • Plumbob

  • Compass (if your phone doesn't have one)

  • Detail tools (toothpicks, dental picks, sculpting tools etc.)

  • Kneepads or garden kneeler (this can also be considered basic, depends on you)

The more fieldwork you do, the more random household objects you will discover that are useful to use during excavation (like spoons); go crazy, experiment!

Occasionally you will be sleeping on or near the site. In these cases, you will need additional supplies such as a tent, sleeping bag and any other camping accoutrements you see fit to bring.

For students of SFU Archaeology, the Archaeology Student Society is working on putting together a kit of basic supplies and tools. We understand that putting together even the basics can be a little pricy when combined with personal items. This kit will be available for students who have any financial concerns. Keep an eye on our social media to know when this kit will be available to borrow!


You can bring many items that will make your life a whole lot easier and more comfortable in the field.


  • Waterproof coat/pants

  • Rain boots

  • Good shoes

  • LOTS of socks

  • Hat

  • Water bottle (keep hydrated!)

  • Small first aid kit

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug spray

  • An assortment of clothes - BE PREPARED FOR ALL WEATHER

  • Healthy snacks (or not healthy, who am I to judge)

  • Bear bell (or spray...or both!)


  • Steel-toe boots

  • You may wish to invest in UPF or UV protective shirts

  • Bluetooth speaker (some sites allow music, some don't; make sure to check first!)

  • Thermos and/or insulated lunch bag for your lunch!

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That's it, that's all she wrote! I hope that this post helps you be a little more prepared for your first field experience and that this series has made you more confident about jumping into the wild world of field work!


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