Birding Backpack – What I Carry to the Field

BushWhackingBirder’s third most popular post describes my Birding Paraphernalia, the gadgets I carry in the field. Along those same lines I’ll review what I carry in my Birding Backpack.

First, I should state my definition of a Birding Backpack. A Birding Backpack is not a backpack used in the field, though it could in a pinch. It’s a backpack that’s always packed and ready to go.  Just pick it up and head out the door.

Birding Backpack
My Birding Backpack is ready to go!

Now some will argue you only need binoculars and maybe a notebook. I try to minimize my life but I’ve found I need a few more items than just binoculars. Thus the Birding Backpack.

I have used a Birding Backpack for several years. The time saved is what I most like about it. Especially on mornings I go owling. And that it ensures I don’t forget anything I’ll need on the day.

So what’s in my Birding Backpack?

Just the basics. I don’t want it ending up like the lady’s purses you see on TV. You know the kind that weigh 50 pounds and has everything.

No, my backpack is light and simple.

The sixteen items in my backpack. Which caught me off guard since I thought I had 8-10 things.
  1. Notebook
  2. Camera
  3. Field Guide
  4. Basic First Aid Items
  5. Utility Knife
  6. Extra Camera Batteries
  7. Extra Camera Memory Card
  8. Sunscreen
  9. Insect Repellent
  10. Orange Safety Vest
  11. Flashlight
  12. Extra Gloves
  13. Pens and Pencils
  14. Super Glue
  15. Compass
  16. Vaseline

Total Weight = 10 pounds

The list has been stable over the years. The only “recent” addition was the super glue after the 2014 Costa Rica trip. Several of the “What to take to the Tropics” lists said take super glue, so I did. And it stays in the backpack still unused.

You’ll notice binoculars are not on the list. They, along with my spotting scope, are always in the car just in case I come across something during the day.

Of course I add food and drink as needed for the day. They aren’t listed since they aren’t permanent parts of the backpack.

What should I discard from the backpack?

What am I missing?

2 Replies to “Birding Backpack – What I Carry to the Field”

  1. Interesting stuff. Definitely ditch the super glue, but everything else I can see a use for. I got out of the habit of using pens in the field because I have had them freeze in cold weather, so it’s always pencil for me. I also forego my Sibley in favor of the Audubon app to save space and weight on short outings in familiar territory. I should do one of these for my bike pack.

    1. Do one on your bike pack, it’d be interesting to see what you carry when weight is an issue.
      As the backpack stays in the car I don’t carry Sibley’s in the field. Like you I use the Audubon app. And since I wear glasses the super glue stays in the backpack. Somewhere down the road I’m going to need it to repair my glasses.

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