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What do you carry?: Birding equipment in the field

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Greg Neise asks a question of all birders at North American Birding Blog, what do you carry in the field?  Optics, field guides, notepads, all have to be hauled out somehow or prioritized due to space concerns, and we all have preferences that are as individual as every individual birder.  We’ve mentioned birding equipment here at the ABA Blog in the past, whether it’s Don Freiday’s clothing suggestions or Laura Kammermeier and Bill Schmocker’s favorite apps, but Greg breaks down his field-worthy paraphernalia at his blog:

The pack that I own is no longer made, but Timbuk2 has a newer version with a couple of improvements. The “Q” pack has a fully padded laptop/iPad compartment, which if you travel old-school, perfectly holds a Delorme Gazetteer. A roomy main compartment holds stuff that we’ll get to in a moment. The front packet is well organized to hold pens, notebook, wallet and gadgets. This pack also has a separate “brick pocket” for your laptop’s power supply. It’s all put together made of ballistic nylon with fully-taped seams (very important…they don’t come apart).

When I’m in the field I try to keep it light (which becomes less and less possible with every passing year it seems), with just my bins, a camera with a 400mm lens, a notebook and an iPhone (which serves as field guide, recorder, and communication device all in one).  Occasionally I need a scope too, and don’t get me started on the accouterments when I bring my toddler son in the field with me…

Head over to North American Birding Blog and join the conversation, or start one in the comments here!

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

  • Binoculars, hat, write-in-the-rain notebook, pencil, point-and-shoot camera, and water bottle. If it’s insect season, then add my net and iTouch.

  • I bird with as light of a load as possible. If I’m birding my patch. I have binoculars and a superzoom point-and-shoot camera around my neck, plus cellphone, notebook and pencil, and camera filters in my pockets. If I’m walking a longer distance, I also bring a backpack or messenger bag with a water bottle and snacks.

  • I carry my Nikon Monarch 8×42 ATBs, a Canon Rebel XS with a 300mm lens, and an iPod Touch which I use for a field guide, recording, ipodscoping, and keeping a bird list via Birdcountr.

  • Ive rocked Tumbuk2 messenger bags for years now, whether birding or not…their only downfall is that the single strap does not make it comfortable for any prolonged hiking. Usually I try to bird as light as possible as well, although there are situations where I want to bring both my Nikon SLR and my spotting scope, which is pretty frakking cumbersome. I almost never carry a field guide on my person, but always have a sibley stashed in the car.

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