ANTHROPOLOGY/LINGUISTICS FIELD CHECKLIST
(Version of 04/13/2013)

James A. Fox, Ph.D.
Assoc. Professor of Anthropology
Stanford University


The following items are suggestions only. Obviously, no one will take all or even most of them along, you'd need a big truck. What you take depends on your project, finances, transportation, and style. The double check-off column is there so you can check off what you think you should bring, then check off those items as you pack them. I greatly appreciate suggestions sent to me (jim.fox@stanford.edu) by persons who have had field experience.

Contents:

time-sensitive
__ __ visa -- some countries take months to get these done
__ __ passport -- US passports can require a month depending on how applied for, last-minute applications are difficult
__ __ vehicle permits & insurance; can be a big hassle at the border if you have to do it there
__ __ new equipment should be bought far enough in advance to allow testing & return to dealer for repairs or changes
__ __ new software should be bought far enough in advance to allow testing & downloading of bug fixes
__ __ polio vaccination should be complete
__ __ tetanus vaccination should be current
__ __ typhoid (oral) should be current
__ __ malaria medication, often to be begun before trip to make sure that there are no side effects; check with your doctor for type of medication (mosquitos are developing resistance)
__ __ Hepatitis A vaccine, or gamma globulin, often to be begun before trip
__ __ Hepatitis B vaccine
__ __ rabies vaccine (now oral, expensive but painless -- use where dog/rodent/bat bites are a big risk -- don't pet dogs in the field, they're often not the harmless pet you're used to)
__ __ yellow fever vaccination
__ __ post trip & contact info at home and office; revise from field if needed
__ __ network account established, working, and payment through field period arranged
__ __ web email account and forwarding of other email to it arranged
documents & info to bring
__ __ passport, put info down and store separately:
name __________________________________
number ________________________________
issue place _____________________________
issue date ______________________________
expiration date __________________________
__ __ copy or scan of i.d. page in passport (store separately, makes replacing lost passport much easier)
__ __ tourist card or visa
__ __ extra copies of passport-size photos, for local i.d.'s (police, library cards, etc.)
__ __ health/vaccination record for each person, w blood type & serious allergies noted
__ __ airline and other tickets or vouchers
__ __ airline/travel club numbers and id's
club name i.d.
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
__ __ driver's license (one that won't expire while you're in the field)
__ __ vehicle registration
__ __ vehicle rental documents
__ __ vehicle insurance documents
__ __ spare vehicle keys (keep 1 set in emergency magnetic container outside vehicle)
__ __ student/faculty id card (can get you into places, and good for discounts)
__ __ business cards (often exchanged abroad)
__ __ health insurance card(s), with contact information
__ __ notarized child's permission to travel, from other parent if traveling with only one parent
__ __ family, home, work, school photos (people are interested in your background, good for conversation)
__ __ list of important addresses
__ __ telephone and networking dial-in information
__ __ this checklist, for improving it with new ideas, & for written info filled in
money
__ __ cash (take bills in good condition, some foreign vendors will not accept ratty bills)
__ __ foreign cash from previous trips
__ __ travelers' checks (less necessary these days with availability of ATM's)
__ __ ordinary checks (will you have to pay bills from the field, or give money to US nationals abroad?)
__ __ credit cards, along with a separate list of the account numbers and telephone numbers of the issuers
__ __ ATM card w/ international membership (Cirrus, Star, Plus, etc.)
__ __ extra ATM card in case one doesn't scan properly (store separately)
__ __ telephone card (with local dial-in numbers)
__ __ local telephone debit card from previous trips, if it has any unused portion
__ __ other debit cards
__ __ wire transfer discount cards (Western Union, MoneyGram, etc.)
handy items - keep them handy! (e.g., hand baggage)
__ __ chapstick
__ __ sunblock
__ __ Purell or other hand disinfectant
__ __ pre-moistened towelettes
__ __ matches (for sealing cord, sterilizing needles, etc.) [forbidden aboard planes in hand baggage]
__ __ gum or hard candy (for plane cabin pressure changes)
__ __ decongestant (if you have a cold, this helps w plane cabin pressure changes)
packs & luggage
__ __ briefcase
__ __ computer daypack
__ __ duffel bag
__ __ backpack
__ __ locking suitcase(s) (use combination locks suitable for airline inspection, keys too easy to lose)
__ __ baggage tags (insert your business cards)
__ __ exterior straps for weak luggage
__ __ bright-colored shoelaces or other markers for easy i.d. of baggage at airports
__ __ safety wallet or money belt (e.g., for chest, front pocket, waist)
health & first aid
__ __ small waterproof bag for emergency items
__ __ large waterproof bag for the rest
__ __ alcohol in soft-plastic bottle (usually available locally)
__ __ alcohol wipes
__ __ ankle or knee wrap (for sprains)
__ __ antibacterial ointment for wounds
__ __ antibiotics for stomach flu (prescription)
__ __ antibiotics for upper respiratory infections (prescription)
__ __ anti-itch gel or cream for bites, irritating plants (Rhuligel, Caldecort, Calamine lotion)
__ __ aspirin or Tylenol
__ __ codeine-based pain medication (prescription)
__ __ decongestant tablets (keep some handy on plane)
__ __ epinephrine bee-sting kit for anaphylactic shock caused by allergies to bee, wasp, insect venom (prescription; Epi-Pen is single-injection non-refrigerated, Anakit 2-injection
refrigerated; a 2nd injection is nice to have available, so 1 Anakit or 2 Epi-Pens)
__ __ bandaids (assortment)
__ __ butterfly sutures
__ __ compresses (for stopping bleeding)
__ __ moleskin (for blisters)
__ __ knee wrap (for sprains/pain)
__ __ tape (cloth, for bandaging -- wide, not less than 1/2")
__ __ triangular bandage (for making sling)
__ __ Betadine (iodine+soap, for disinfecting wounds) in soft plastic bottle
__ __ Betadine wipes (iodine+soap, for disinfecting wounds) more convenient than bottle but hard to find and more expensive
__ __ flagyl for giardia (usually available locally)
__ __ gauze pads (assortment, 2"-4")
__ __ gauze roll (self-adhesive is nice)
__ __ Imodium (when you have to stop the diarrhea right now)
__ __ Kanka (or other canker-sore treatment)
__ __ malaria treatment (prescription, type depends on area)
__ __ motion sickness tablets or patches
__ __ Motrin (for menstrual cramps)
__ __ Newskin (for hard-to-bandage wounds, especially coral-inflicted, as in snorkeling & diving accidents)
__ __ Pepto Bismol in soft-plastic bottle (for initial treatment of diarrhea; it's very mild but contains aspirin-type chemicals)
__ __ scissors (collapsible, available at camping/hiking stores)
__ __ sewing kit (needle, when sterilized, can be used for splinters)
__ __ snakebite kit
__ __ Sting-Eze (for pain relief of stings)
__ __ tweezers (make sure they're good ones)
__ __ single-edged razor blade in safety holder
__ __ wart medication (Duofilm or Compound W; local people may be interested in using yours, once they find out it works, consider a second bottle)
__ __ book or booklet on general first aid
__ __ the following books on health from The Hesperian Foundation, 1919 Addison Street, Suite 304, Berkeley, CA 94704, tel: (510) 845-1447; fax: (510) 845-9141; e-mail: hesperian@igc.org; web site: www.hesperian.org. Many of these are available in Spanish, Portuguese, and French. See the web site for translations, other books, newsletters, and to order:
__ __ Where there is no doctor, revised 1992, updated 1998, ISBN: 0-942364-15-5, translations available
__ __ Helping health workers learn, updated 1995, ISBN: 0-942364-10-4, (Strategies for effective community involvement, good companion to Where there is no doctor)
__ __ Disabled village children, updated 1996, ISBN: 0-942364-06-6
__ __ Where women have no doctor, 1997, ISBN: 0-942364-25-2
__ __ A book for midwives, 1995, ISBN: 0-942364-22-8
__ __ Where there is no dentist, ISBN: 0-942364-05-2
electronic, general
__ __ battery charger that recharges the sizes you use
__ __ rechargeable batteries (AAA, AA, C, D) of brand that matches your recharger; if you can stick to one size, the charger can be smaller
__ __ plug converters (3-prong to 2-prong, 2-prong asymmetric to 2-prong symmetric, etc. -- available in travel or luggage shops)
__ __ transformers for the voltages of the equipment you have (typical need: US 110-volt to 220) - contact your equipment manufacturer
__ __ spray can of compressed air, or soft brush, for cleaning of computer, camera, recorder, etc.
computers
__ __ pda for scheduling and light data entry
__ __ notebook computer or tablet
__ __ mains power supply with transformer
__ __ extra internal batteries
__ __ auto battery power supply
__ __ portable printer
__ __ portable scanner (e.g., FlipPal)
__ __ high-capacity removable storage & backup device (Zip, Superdrive, CD's, DVD's, USB drives, etc.)
__ __ cartridges or cds for same
__ __ instruction manuals for all equipment
__ __ copies of receipts for all expensive equipment (proving it's yours at customs, etc.)
__ __ cable for transferring data to another computer
__ __ CAT-V cable for network connections
software
__ __ anti-virus program
__ __ anti-spyware program
__ __ word processor
__ __ spreadsheet
__ __ database
__ __ graphical database
__ __ graphics editior
__ __ audio editor
__ __ communications
__ __ data transfer
__ __ web browser
__ __ instruction manuals for all programs
__ __ other (add your own, e.g., astronomy, animal/plant/encyclopedic, special database)
__ __ __________________________________________________________
__ __ __________________________________________________________
__ __ __________________________________________________________
__ __ __________________________________________________________
audio equipment
__ __ or solid-state recorder or player (I recommend Marantz PMD620; Oade Brothers Audio makes an upgrade for it that's worth it for sound quality)
__ __ external microphone (stereo if needed) -- may need its own battery!
__ __ headphones
__ __ second set of headphones with t-connector so others can listen in (or take a small portable speaker set)
__ __ batteries for recorder and microphone
__ __ blank tapes, md's, cd's, storage cards (rule of thumb -- 60-90 minutes' worth per day of fieldwork) -- make sure tape or disc quality matches the abilities of your recorder; for tapes, use 60-minute tapes where possible (they're thicker & resist print-through), but take some 90- and 120-minute tapes for long events when you can't change tapes easily. [remember to label all tapes & their containers as they are used, & take out write-protect tab when the each tape is complete; make back-ups & store separately]
__ __ head-cleaning materials (denatured alcohol & cotton swab sticks)
__ __ radio, if your recorder doesn't have one (consider short-wave); radio should have appropriate jacks if you plan to record programs such as local language broadcasts
__ __ portable cd player, Ipod, MP3 player
__ __ storage drives for your own and others' entertainment
__ __ cable to connect recorder, radio, or CD player to computer or another system
photography
35 mm -- (good for high-quality images, lots of technical equipment and local support available)
__ __ camera
__ __ lenses -- normal (50mm 1.8 or 1.4), zoom, macro, telephoto (for birds, etc., you basically need something bigger than 300 mm & tripod or monopod)
__ __ filters (skylight filters on all lenses for protection; polarizing filter for telephoto; 80B lens for macro to allow use of daylight film with photofloods)
__ __ flash
__ __ batteries for camera
__ __ batteries for flash
__ __ film (slide film is best for later instructional use and digitizing; slow ISO has best resolution but is limited to well-lighted situations; fast ISO compromises resolution but has more light-gathering ability; films differ in colors they emphasize, and in type of processing; print film is good for local processing and sharing, pasting into field notes, etc.)
__ __ instant camera and film (for sharing on the spot; demand for such pictures is high, beware of cost)
digital -- good for immediate image displayed, use on computer, incorporation into database, computerized field notes, printability, etc.; resolution is now improving; if possible, go for 4-megapixel camera or better
__ __ storage media for digital camera, to be off-loaded to computer from time to time
video -- invaluable for interactional studies, conversations, events, processes, sharing with local people
__ __ video camera (digital is best, esp. w image-stabilization)
__ __ external microphone for better sound recording (may need its own battery)
__ __ cable to VCR (audio & video)
__ __ cable to tv (splitter -- for old-fashioned tv's) (for sharing work with others)
__ __ cable to tv (co-ax) (for sharing work with others)
__ __ cable to battery charger
__ __ battery charger w cable to mains
__ __ battery discharger (if your camera battery needs complete discharge before charging)
__ __ videotapes (take more if Hi-8; re-using tapes is often a problem because one doesn't know what data can be safely erased. Rule of thumb: 1 hour of tape for every 2 days; more if project is video-intensive.)
__ __ tripod (a very stable one, made for video)
for all photographic equipment
__ __ connection to computer if applicable
__ __ lens cleaning tissues or kit
__ __ can of compressed air for cleaning
__ __ instruction manuals
secretarial
__ __ data slips (if you're not computerized yet, or as backup)
__ __ shoeboxes to hold data slips
__ __ date stamp (available locally), for stamping slips & notebook pages
__ __ notebook(s)
__ __ envelopes & stationery
__ __ ink pad & ink
__ __ rubber bands
__ __ paper clips
__ __ paper clamps, various sizes
__ __ pens
__ __ pencils (usually #2, test to make sure they write right)
__ __ pencil sharpener (cheap plastic, non-motorized)
__ __ erasers (if not on pencils)
__ __ zip-lock baggies (sandwich size, useful for lots of things)
__ __ small stapler with staples
cooking & eating
__ __ utensil kit
__ __ Sierra cup or mug
__ __ peanut butter in soft-plastic container
__ __ crackers
__ __ favorite snacks not locally available (e.g., nuts)
__ __ tea bags, fruit tea bags, Postum, etc. (coffee usually available locally)
__ __ paper or foil packages of salt, pepper, honey, ketchup, salsa, soy sauce, mustard, etc., saved from restaurants
__ __ multi-vitamins
__ __ sugar substitute if you want one
__ __ powder for making water palatable (e.g., Crystal Lite, Tang, Kool-Ade); sugarfree often not available locally
water treatment
__ __ water filter (e.g., First Need) (for daily use if you can't boil water) (bottled water is increasingly available), for protection against E. coli, dysentery, giardia, leptosporosis, hepatitis, flukes, worms, etc. -- read esp. ch. 12 ("Prevention") of Where there is no doctor (see above under first aid)
__ __ water purification kit using iodine crystals (e.g., Polar Pure) (not for daily use, only for hikes, etc.)
__ __ water bags or other large containers (for treating & storing treated water)
__ __ plastic squirt-type water bottles or canteens
light
__ __ flashlight (keep one at bedside, one small one in daypack)
__ __ batteries for same (see under electronic)
__ __ candles in safe burner (consider 100-hour candle w moveable wick)
__ __ glow sticks (make fun gifts, too)
__ __ laser pointer, with batteries
optical
__ __ glasses in case
__ __ sunglasses in case
__ __ contact lenses w/ cleaning kit
__ __ glasses & contact lens prescriptions (for replacing if lost or damaged)
__ __ extra set of glasses or contacts
__ __ binoculars
__ __ night-vision binoculars (esp. for animal-watching)
__ __ telescope
insect problems
for body
__ __ insect repellent (waterproof, high-Deet, at least 20% for sand flies (e.g., on tropical beaches))
__ __ spray type for convenience, soft-plastic bottle type for quantity
__ __ insect repellent (mild), or skin oil like Avon's Skin-so-soft
__ __ sulphur powder (douse to protect against chiggers)
__ __ louse comb
__ __ delousing shampoo
__ __ Quell or lindane (for scabies; usually available locally)
for area
__ __ room fogger (leave room while fogger activated)
__ __ spray (if used in bedding, make sure it is safe & that you're not allergic to it)
__ __ citronella candles
__ __ room coil (smoky)
__ __ plug-in repellent (heating element activates repellent)
hiking, day use
__ __ knife (Swiss Army, etc.) or leatherman [ship in luggage compartment, not in hand baggage]
__ __ water bottle (local plastic bottled water can substitute)
__ __ boots (as light as possible but taking load into consideration)
__ __ hiking socks
sleeping
__ __ hammock w hanging ropes, all in a bag
__ __ sleeping bag
__ __ mosquito netting especially made for hammock, sleeping bag, or bed
__ __ pillow w pillowcase(s)
__ __ light blanket
__ __ sandals
__ __ flashlight w batteries
__ __ earplugs (also for swimming)
toiletries & cleaning
__ __ soap, in a plastic case
__ __ shampoo, tightly closed, wrapped in plastic bag to prevent leaks during travel
__ __ deodorant, tightly closed, wrapped in plastic bag to prevent leaks during travel
__ __ razor
__ __ blades
__ __ shaving cream or gel, wrapped in plastic bag to prevent leaks during travel
__ __ toothbrush
__ __ toothpaste, wrapped in plastic bag to prevent leaks during travel
__ __ dental floss
__ __ nailclipper (finger- & toe-)
__ __ Kleenex or other tissue
__ __ toilet paper (available locally)
__ __ female hygiene items: tampons, pads, etc. (find out what's available locally)
__ __ hangers
__ __ hand mirror
__ __ sink & bathtub stoppers
__ __ towels
__ __ washcloths, esp. for bucket baths
__ __ detergent in tight case (available locally, but maybe not case)
__ __ net bag or laundry bag
__ __ plastic wash basin (usually obtainable locally)
__ __ plastic bucket (usually obtainable locally
__ __ paper towels for vehicle
__ __ glass cleaner for vehicle, wrapped in
__ __ plastic bag to prevent leaks during travel
clothing
for males
__ __ sport jacket
__ __ dressy shirt
__ __ tie
__ __ belt
__ __ slacks to go with jacket
__ __ dress socks
__ __ dress shoes
for females
__ __ skirts
__ __ stockings
__ __ dress shoes/heels
__ __ jewelry (obviously fake is less risky (thieves, assault), no grabbable gold, etc.)
__ __ bathing cap
for males & females
__ __ travel iron
__ __ sun/rain hat
__ __ cap that stays on tight in wind
__ __ umbrella
__ __ poncho
__ __ field shirts
__ __ field pants
__ __ field shorts
__ __ field socks
__ __ field shoes
__ __ sandals
__ __ shower/bath sandals
__ __ underwear
__ __ bathrobe, esp. if you're going to be living with a family
__ __ pajamas
__ __ swimsuit
__ __ goggles
__ __ snorkel
__ __ fins
__ __ ear plugs
__ __ ________________________________________________
__ __ ________________________________________________
maps & geography
__ __ local area topographic maps (some now available on CD-ROM, GPS players, web)
__ __ local area road maps
__ __ aerial photos
__ __ rangefinder
__ __ compass (Silva)
__ __ global positioning (GPS) receiver with manual (can be bundled with smartphone)
books, articles, & magazines
__ __ field methods guides
__ __ bird, animal, & plant guides (e.g., The golden book of insects, etc.)
__ __ anatomical chart
__ __ health books (see under health & first aid, above)
__ __ travel guides (see esp. Sierra Club guides)
__ __ language materials (dictionary, phrase book, verb guide, conversation lessons)
__ __ latest issue of Astronomy or Sky & Telescope (for current moon & planet positions)
__ __ star wheel (for long-term star-positions; some have planetary positions for a limited range of years)
__ __ other magazines for stimulation of discussion
__ __ flash cards for stimulation of discussion and use with kids
__ __ entertainment reading
tools & parts
__ __ "Leatherman" (like Swiss Army knife but w pliers & screwdrivers, plus 1 knife blade) [ship in luggage compartment, not in hand baggage]
__ __ net shopping bag (Spa "sabucán", available locally)
__ __ machete (usually available locally) [ship in luggage compartment, not in hand baggage]
__ __ bee veil & gloves (working with beekeepers?)
__ __ vehicle emergency kit (flares, reflectors)
__ __ vehicle tool kit
__ __ vehicle tire kit (spare tire (2 if oddball size), jack, lug wrench)
__ __ vehicle spare parts (unless easily findable in the field: fuses, carburetor kit, fuel pump kit, water pump kit, distributor, spark plugs, bulbs)
gifts
__ __ photo prints, framed or in albums (e.g., from previous trips)
__ __ photo frames or albums
__ __ jacks sets
__ __ glow sticks (but teach proper disposal)
__ __ glow-in-the-dark necklaces, bracelets, etc.
__ __ crayons
__ __ colored pens or pencils
__ __ tablets or coloring books for coloring
__ __ pens, pencils
__ __ plastic pencil sharpeners
__ __ reading glasses, various magnifications (cheap in discount stores); these can also help your consultants improve literacy & see stuff you're showing them
__ __ children's books, illustrated & in English (like Richard Scary, What do people do all day)
__ __ various small things in the catalog of The Oriental Trading Co., Omaha, NB
__ __ magazines
__ __ _______________________________________________________________
__ __ _______________________________________________________________
if you're bringing children
__ __ child's permission to travel, from other parent if traveling with only one parent
__ __ combination sunscreen & repellent (save trouble by applying both in one)
__ __ squirt-type water bottles (make treated water convenient)
__ __ sick bags (airline-type bags), for vehicle sickness
__ __ water wings, or other inflatable swimming safety device
__ __ pre-moistened towelettes or wipes
__ __ disposable diapers (often available locally) [but consider disposal issues]

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© James A. Fox, last updated 04/13/13