Field gear, for camping on the Southern end of Bioko Island and in the Caldera:
Below is a minimum list of essential items. We notice that the people who have the most fun are the people with the least personal stuff to worry about, so resist the urge to bring everything that might ever be useful.
All outerwear must be drab-colored (black, brown, tan, gray or dark blue) but never camouflage pattern. The government of Equatorial Guinea doesn't permit camouflage pattern and it will be taken from you at the airport by Customs. The good news is that it will be returned to you when you leave. You are looking for fabrics that are light-weight and dry quickly. Just because it "wicks" doesn't mean it will dry quickly.
- 3-4 pairs light-weight, quick-drying pants. No blue-jeans (too heavy).
- 3-4 T-shirts (lightweight cotton OK, coolmax better); long sleeves good.
- 1-2 light-weight long-sleeved shirt.
- 3 sets/prs underwear. Cotton dries slowly; nylon or Coolmax better
- 3 pr thicker crew socks (long enough to pull over pantlegs) that dry quickly.
- 3 pr thin liner socks (also long enough to pull over pantlegs) that dry even faster.
- 1 set camp/sleep wear (PJ's or lightweight sweats) although some participants sleep in the clothes they plan to wear the next day.
- 1 pr Wellingtons (high rubber boots) or sturdy hiking boots (break them in before the trip)
- 1 pr. running shoes (preferably well-used so you can leave them in Africa)
- 1 pr. Goretex gaitors (worn with running shoes or hiking boots as protection against brush and snakes) but not necessary if you use Wellingtons.
- 1 pr Teva-style sandals to wear bathing and around camp
- 1 sweatshirt with hood (Northern end of the Caldera is cold at night)
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 poncho (perfectly adequate) or rain suit (Goretex is nice, but expensive).
- 2 bandanas, or bandana and a hat
- 1 daypack to carry stuff when you go out on census. Your daypack must have well-padded shoulder straps and a waist strap. It must be a drab color.
- 1 bigger backpack or duffel for you or the porters to carry your stuff between camps. Very resourceful participants pack everything into a modest sized back pack.
- 1 lightweight sleeping bag or sleep sack (warmth is only important at the northern end of the Caldera and your hooded sweatshirt can provide warmth) (in waterproof bag/stuffsack)
- 1 Thermorest pad (in waterproof bag)
- 1 sport towel (special synthetic that absorbs a lot of water, available at camping stores)
- 5 heavy-weight big strong trash bags (to protect your stuff from rain, leaky tents etc).
- 20 assorted size Ziplock plastic bags to keep everything from clothing to cameras dry. For your camera we will provide a sausage of silica gel to keep it dry inside its Ziplock bag.
- 1 package parachute cord for hanging clothes to dry
- 1 Swiss army knife or leatherman.
- 1 headlamp. The new ones take AAA batteries and last a very long time. You may also want to bring a regular small flashlight (AAA batteries) in case your headlamp fails. Some sort of flashlight is essential.
- 20 AAA batteries
- 2 water bottles
- 100 iodine tablets (2 bottles) for treating drinking water
- 1 digital camera; In general, the bigger the lens, the better the photos. Must have a flash that can be disabled essential. Extra camera battery and memory cards essential (can't be bought in Malabo).
- equipment for recharging camera batteries including both US and European electrical plugs. Generators compatable with US plugs available in camp.
- 1 pr binoculars (perfectly usable cheap models now available); expensive binoculars not worth the risk (moisture; mold on lenses etc).
- 1 pr sunglasses (for boat trip, beach, and maybe in Malabo)
- 1 waterproof sport watch (all plastic, no leather)
- 3 small (eg 3" x 5") spiral-bound field notebooks
- 1 hardcover journal for recording daily activities and observations.
- 10 ballpoint pens
- 1 sewing kit with thread, needles, safety pins, scissors.
- 1 large bottle of camp soap
- 3 small containers of DEET-containing insect repellant. 100% DEET best.
- space blanket
- compass and/or GPS unit with batteries, lots of batteries
- Keep it simple. Each camp will have a first-aid kit. We will provide you with your own personal roll of toilet paper. Add your own items (contact lens equipment; feminine supplies) to this basic list but no fancy items. You will not need make-up, moisturizers. You should bring a set of glasses if you normally wear contacts. If you normally wear glasses you should bring a second emergency set.
- dental floss
- deodorant (minimal scent)
- shampoo If your hair has a lot of body, you'll need cream rinse.
- razor (but rusts fast so consider becoming hairy)
- comb and/or brush
- sun screen (for the beach and the boat, not the rainforest)
- Various medications, including:
- anti-malarial meds (Malerone or doxycycline preferred because Lariam --- AKA meflaquin --- has side effects)
- typical over-the-counter meds like analgesics (asprin, tylenol, etc), Peptobismol tablets, and vitamin tablets.
- personal physician suggested prescription meds like Cipro
- 2 packages moleskin to prevent blisters
- 10 assorted bandaids
- 10 alcohol wipes
- 1 tube antibiotic cream
- 1 ace bandage
- tweezer for splinters (check your Swiss army knife first)
Personal Food Items
You will get a huge dinner of rice and beans every night, and a fine breakfast of rice and beans every morning while we are in the field. However, many people from developed countries find that a breakfast of instant oatmeal is more familiar and some lunch/snack items are nice. We suggest bringing your own favorite instant oatmeals (2 packets per day X 15 days = 30 packets) and your own supply of energy bars or other snack food (2 per day X 15 days = 30 bars). You may want to bring a few extras to share with guides or friends. There is no requirement that you bring these extra food items; you won't starve but you might begin to suffer from food envy.
Every day when you go out on census you MUST have the following items in your day pack:
- Emergency kit: whistle, space blanket, cigarette lighter; 1 bottle iodine tablets; 1 week supply of anti-malarial meds; assorted bandaids and moleskin; antibiotic cream; alcohol wipes; ace bandage (snake-bite treatment); Swiss army knife, insect repellant.
- Poncho or rain gear
- Map (supplied by us in plastic Ziplock bag) and compass
- Headlamp with 4 extra AAA batteries
- Field notebook in plastic bag with 3 ballpoint pens
- Water bottle entirely filled with iodine-treated water.
- High-energy snack (optional)
And you'll probably also want to take a camera with extra camera battery and memory card inside a plastic Ziplock bag with a silica gel sausage.
Tips for packing and transporting your gear
Carry your most important things with you on the plane. You will be limited to just one carry-on bag. Wear at least one set of field clothes including your boots on the plane. Consider layering (it will be winter in the northern hemisphere so you won't look too weird) to include your hooded sweatshirt and Goretex rain jacket. Sometimes airlines weigh the carry-on bag, but they don't weigh the things in your jacket pockets!
Your camera and electronic gear should be with you on the plane, including all charging devices.
Please don't wear items (T-shirts, sweatshirt) with logos from institutions not associated with the expedition. Do wear items with your own institution's name! The videos and photographs taken on the expedition often get wide distribution, and we want to be certain the credit goes to the appropriate institutions.
Once you have signed up for the expedition, participants from previous years will be happy to advise you.