BACKPACK (self-inspected and in good condition)
SLEEPING BAG (able to keep you warm in freezing temperatures)
PLASTIC GROUND CLOTH (for under sleeping bag)
STRONG NYLON or PLASTIC RAIN TARP (9x11)
ROPE (100 feet for desert areas with little vegetation)
SMALL CLASP KNIFE
MATCHES (made water tight)
STOUT HIKING SHOES
SMALL DAY PACK (to carry emergency kit, water, etc.)
RAINCOAT and PANTS (the whole outfit for wetter climates or time of year)
ONE-GALLON PLASTIC WATER CONTAINERS (1-2 for 24hr solos, 4 for Vision Fasts)
1 OR 2 ONE-QUART WATER BOTTLES
TOILET PAPER (non colored) Remember small trash bag to carry TP out.
FLASHLIGHT (with extra batteries)
CHAPSTICK (SPF-15 or higher), SUNSCREEN, SUNGLASSES (with UV block)
PERSONAL MEDICINE SUPPLIES (e.g. ibuprofen, Tylenol, your own meds, etc.)
TWO LARGE, ONE SMALL GARBAGE BAGS (see below for use)
JOURNAL AND PENCILS
WARM WEATHER CLOTHING:
Shorts, as well as long pants
Light jacket, and heavier warm jacket
Wool or fleece cap
COLD WEATHER CLOTHING:
Wool or fleece cap, scarf, mittens
Warm jacket (and layering of clothing for warmth)
Specifically for Basecamp time:
- TENT (and ground cloth for beneath)
- CAMPING CHAIR
- EXTRA BLANKET (lightweight fleece blankets work well)
- CUP, BOWL, UTENSILS
- STOVE AND FUEL
- COOKING POT(S)
- FOOD, ADDITIONS NEEDED TO MAKE MEALS
- COOLER &/OR CONTAINER FOR FOOD (tight against mice, etc.)
- TOWEL (and in some cases swimming suit)
- EXTRA CHANGE OF CLOTHES
Emergency Kit (to be taken wherever you go):
- AT LEAST 2 QUARTS OF WATER
- TOILET PAPER
- MATCHES (made watertight)
- SMALL CLASP KNIFE
- FLASHLIGHT (with extra batteries)
- A FEW BANDAIDS, TUBE OF ANTISEPTIC,
- TUBE OF HONEY OR ENERGY BAR OR CANDY (for quick energy)
- WOOL/FLEECE CAP, JACKET (even if warm weather, as weather can change quickly)
- RAIN GEAR (if any slight chance of storm within 24 hours)
- ANAKIT IF REQUIRED
- EMERGENCY FIRST AID PROCEDURES CHECKLIST (see Appendix)
Additions to Consider:
- ELECTROLYTE POWDER
- ANAKIT (if prone to allergic reactions)
- METAMUCIL (Vision Fast only or if prone to constipation when camping):
- INSECT REPELLENT
- POISON OAK RELIEF
- BEAR PROOF FOOD CONTAINERS (when in known bear country)
- NEEDLE AND THREAD
- WASH AND DRIES
- MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
ELECTROLYTE REPLACEMENT: A large percentage of people who experience nausea, headache, and / or stomach troubles during fast can find relief with electrolyte replacements. This comes usually in powder form and can be found in camping stores, or from the more common Gatoraid powder. Use a small amount in your daily water if needed. Those with hypoglycemia should be sure to purchase an electrolyte mix with no sugar.
ANAKIT (epinephrine): Anyone who is aware that they have a severe allergic reaction to insect bites (most commonly bees) is required to carry an adequate remedy from their personal doctor at all times. It is possible to purchase by prescription, Epi Pen, an easy epinephrine auto-inject system.
METAMUCIL (Vision Fast only): Some fasters may have difficulty with constipation, although this is rarely dangerous. If you have a history of this tendency, we suggest exploring the use of natural laxatives such as psyllium seed (often available as Metamucil) a day or two prior to your fast. It is very important to take several glasses of water with each dose, otherwise psyllium seed can have the opposite effect. Remember, drinking sufficient amounts of water while fasting can, in and of itself, help with this condition.
DRUGS. Drugs are not listed among equipment needs. That is because the vision fast is a warrior's dance of balance and harmony. Drug use causes an imbalance which is not righted through "coping." Come without drugs. Your community will be depending on you.
If you are currently taking a prescribed drug, check with your doctor concerning its use during a fast and a time of aloneness, and follow your doctor’s advise. You must also keep your guides closely informed regarding this matter. Food can be taken with your pills if needed. Do not discontinue prescribed drugs unless approved by your doctor.
NOTES ON EQUIPMENT
BACKPACK. If you have never worn a backpack before, make sure the one you obtain fits you. They come in all sizes and there are subtle differences between them. Make certain the straps, webbing, frame, fittings, zippers, and pockets are in good repair. Make sure it is large enough to hold your gear. When packing, try to distribute weight evenly throughout the various sections. Get someone to help you adjust the shoulder and waist straps so they are comfortable. It is a good idea to walk around with your backpack on after you have packed it. Get used to it. Imagine its weight after a mile or two of hiking. Ideal weight is 35 pounds or less once packed.
GROUND CLOTH. A plastic ground cloth is suggested for use under your sleeping bag to protect against sharp rocks and pine needles, as well as water in case of rain. Nylon is rain permeable, so not suggested for this use.
TARPAULIN. Your tarp can be used as a sun or wind shield, and a primitive tent in the event of rain. Six by nine feet is barely adequate. Nine by ten is adequate. You will want the lightest weight consistent with fabric strength. The wind eats up inadequate tarps. First the grommets tear away; then the fabric itself tears. Make sure the fabric is tough. Canvas is too heavy. Your guides will be pleased to show you a variety of ways in which tarps can be erected in the field, according to the terrain you will live in.
SLEEPING PAD. If you choose to bring a thermarest or other air blow-up pads, we suggest that you also bring repair kit and patches for the possibility of leaks.
SLEEPING BAG. The relative weight and warmth of your sleeping bag depends on the time of year and the altitude where you will be fasting. In winter, an inadequate sleeping bag can be a serious matter. Flannel bags are worthless in any season but summer - and they are heavier than down or synthetic fibers. Down bags lose their efficiency when they become wet. Fiberfill or "Holofill," though slightly heavier than Down, make the best all-around bags.
BOOTS. If they are new, take precautions to break them in. Most kinds of tennis shoes, such as running shoes, are eaten alive in days by limestone and cactus. Boots that cover the ankles offer greater support, and added protection against rattlesnake bite.
FLEECE AND WOOL CLOTHING. Wool keeps you warm, even when it is wet, and dries out quickly. Today we also have the option of fleece jackets and clothing. It is light-weight, dries quickly, and with its wide range of warmth choices offers year round possibilities. In winter cold, snow, sleet, wind, or rain, a wool/fleece cap is a must. In summer, a cap stuck down into a fold of your daypack will give you emergency protection if you are caught in a storm and the temperature drops.
ROPE. One hundred feet is an overestimation; but it's good to err on the adequate side especially in terrain where there are few trees. Less rope is adequate for tree strewn ecosystems. Tough, light-weight nylon rope is the best. The rope is used for a variety of purposes, but mainly to fasten your tarp down in high winds or rain.
GARBAGE SACKS. The two large plastic sacks can be used during a storm. They provide an emergency poncho when arm and head holes are cut. They can be draped over your pack, stuffed with overflow equipment, or filled with dry kindling in case an emergency fire is needed to prevent hypothermia. The small sack is needed to store all garbage (used T.P., feminine items, etc.) so that it can more easily be disposed of when you return.
CLASP KNIFE. Avoid sheath knives. They can stab you through the sheath. A small clasp knife (jackknife) will be adequate for the threshold time.
MATCHES. Try to get the "strike anywhere" kind. Keep them thoroughly wrapped in plastic baggies and deep in your pocket or day pack at all times.
WATER CONTAINERS. One-gallon plastic milk or juice containers will do, but better are the sturdier cooking oil or clorox bottles (well cleaned). You will carry one gallon of water for each day you will be in the threshold. If you are in the desert or in arid mountains you will need to drink at least three quarts per day. You guides will make certain you are supplied with any additional water you might need. If you are flying to the location, water containers can most likely be purchased once you are there.
BANDANNAS. This is an essential, multi-purpose item. It can be a pot holder, a sun shield, a sponge, a rag, a Lone Ranger mask against the blowing dust, a constricting band, a compress, a bandage, a handkerchief, a distress flag, a stonepile or solo-place marker, etc.
JOURNAL. You may want to keep a journal so that you can recognize your own continued growth, long after your return. The insights that come during your participation are invaluable. A keystone of the human learning process is the ability of the student to reflect, to obtain meaningful feedback from past experience.
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, CAMERAS, ETC. A good question to ask is “what might I bring to help create a meaningful ceremony for myself, and what instead might be a distraction to avoid the fruitful silence?”