List of Field Gear Required by Students at El Zota.

Note that some items that are easily obtained at local stores in the U.S. are difficult to get or expensive in Costa Rica.  These include things like film, batteries, camera batteries, wristwatches, compasses, etc.
1. Waterproof digital wristwatch with alarm and stopwatch functions.

Flashlight with rechargeable batteries.  Any non-rechargeable batteries that a student brings must be carried back to the states by the student.  If the course requires any night work, backup batteries should be purchased.  All students should carry a small, lightweight flashlight, such as the mini maglite, into the field with them, day and night.
3. Rain gear.  A rain slicker or poncho works well.  In addition, umbrellas come in handy for use around the camp.

Plastic bags to protect vulnerable equipment are also useful. A box of zip-locks (large freezer bags are best) and a handful of plastic trash bags large enough to contain small items of luggage.

Canteen or water bottle. For emergency use in the field, it is a good idea to carry water purification tablets such as those that backpackers use.

Insect repellent and insect protection nets.  All students should bring a supply of repellent.  Many will wish to apply insect repellent every day while they are in the field, so bring a large enough supply.  Please do not bring aerosol cans to Costa Rica.  Pump bottles or cremes are preferred.  Repellents that contain deet or other potent chemicals should be applied only in conformance with all warning provided on the container.  Potent insect repellents may damage items made of plastic and will kill small animals such as amphibians, so please use accordingly.  Students may wish to bring mosquito net hats and bed nets.  These are optional.
7. Signal whistle.  This safety device can help a student keep in contact with their group if they get separated in the field.
8. Field bag or day pack.  Something to carry field gear and a notebook into the field.

Calf-high rubber boots.  Be sure that these are broken in and comfortable for extensive hiking.  Inexpensive boots can be had at many discount stores such as K-mart or Wal-mart.  These will often do just as well as much more expensive brands.  Boots that are too tight will cause cramping of the foot and severe blisters.  It is better to have boots that are a bit too loose than too tight.  Some students prefer army style jungle boots (e.g. Altama brand). These can be purchased at many army-navy surplus stores.
10. Clothing.  We recommend the following:
  • 5 light-weight T-shirts or short sleeved shirts
  • 2 or 3 pairs of shorts
  • 10 pairs of cotton socks and underwear
  • 4 pairs of light weight (cotton or nylon) pants
  • 5 long sleeved, button down, cotton work shirts.  Light weight shirts are best. Clothes to sleep in.  Nighttime can be cool (to about 60o F some nights), so bring a sweatshirt, sweats, or other cozy apparel.  The rooms are not heated. A set of casual clothes to wear in San Jose or in other towns you may have occasion to visit. Rural Costa Ricans dress modestly and may take a dim view of revealing clothing.
  • Accessories: sandals, tennis shoes, bandannas, and a hat with a visor (a baseball style cap works well).  A hat is a critical piece of clothing in the tropics.  One that folds up and can be carried in your day-pack works well.
11. Bring at least two light towels for showering.  Fast-drying towels are best.
12. Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses, if you wear them.  Bring anti-fog coating for glasses.
13. Sunblock.  High rating (#30 or higher) and waterproof.
14. Combination lock or padlock.
15. Personal first aid kit, including: Band-aids, tylenol or ibuprofen based pain killer, cold tablets, antibiotic ointment, Anti-itch medication, sting-eze, fungal powder or cream, preventative for yeast infection, pepto-bismol, tums,  anti-diarrhea medication, and any other medicine or preventative that you find useful in day-to-day living (example, a sewing needle to extract slivers and thorns).  A sting kit or anaphylactic shock kit can come in handy, especiallyif you are allergic to bee stings.  Moleskin is helpful for preventing blisters.
16. Office supplies:
  • Paper for taking notes and writing your project report on.
  • Graph paper
  • Ruler or straight-edge
  • Notebook or binder.   
  • Small stapler (e.g. “Swingline” brand mini stapler, cost is usually < U.S.    $3.00).    A few paperclips.    Solar powered calculator (bring the instruction booklet).    Pencils (hold up well when wet).
17. Miscellaneous field equipment*
  • Compass   
  • “Rite-in-the-rain” notebook and all-weather pen.   
  • Biodegradable flagging   
  • Waterproof black felt-tipped marker (such as “Sharpie” brand)   
  • Binoculars – required for all courses on primates.  Recommended for Tropical Herpetology, Tropical Ecosystems and Rainforest Ecology. Waterproof varieties are best.  Primatology students: consult your instructor about the best kind of binoculars to purchase.   
  • Pocket knife or leatherman tool   
  • 10x or 15x hand lens (optional)   

* Many of these items can be ordered from the Forestry Suppliers, Inc. catalogue (800)       647-5368   or (601) 354-3565.  The Rite-in-the-rain notebooks and pens are item # 49318       and 49237, respectively.

Note: DANTA and El Zota Biological Field Station will appreciate the donation of any unused materials or supplies that you may wish to leave in Costa Rica in order to lighten your load for the return trip to the U.S.

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