Basic Equipment

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1. Notepad & Pen (one with a built-in light is good),  Clipboard

2. Rag for cleaning or wiping your brow and a Lens Cloth for lenses.

3. Wristwatch - preferably digital with backlight or quartz/atomic with luminous dial.

4. Badges and ID

5. Gloves for moving around in derelict buildings, ships, wooded areas, etc.

6. Utility Belt  or Vest for hanging/storing all of your gear on/in, or at least a regular belt to which holsters can be fastened.

7. Bug Repellent - This is real important if you do any outdoors hunting in certain climates and locales. Traditionally, formulations with more than 20 % DEET work well, though I've heard of a lot of health problems associated with long term use - especially on children. If you are the cautious sort, you might try the following products:

Avon's Skin So Soft

LemonGrass Oil

Here is a link to more:


8. First Aid Kit - First Aid Alchemy Healing


9. Mapsco, Thomas Guide or other equivalent good street level maps of your area. County road maps are good for remote, rural areas and topo maps are best if you are in the wilderness. It can be handy to go online to a trip guide/map site to look up and print out your destination in advance, though my experience has shown that you should double check the map you get.

More than once I have been misdirected by fiendishly inaccurate online maps and been needlessly delayed. The worst offender is I quit using them after I got THREE completely ridiculous errors in a row for separate addresses (which cost me time and confusion) and I wouldn't trust them to direct a fart out of a goat.

As much as I dislike Yahoo in general, I have to grudgingly admit their site works fairly well and I've yet to experience a problem. Mapblast is no more and now redirects to MSN, which sometimes fails to find an address entirely, though it does work most of the time. Google Maps is one of the better ones with real-time panning and satellite image overlay available for many areas.

Bear in mind that historical maps may come in handy - you will probably have to use a reference library or specialty online source to find these. Some resources are listed on the Historical Links page.


10. Comfortable shoes or boots - Many investigations take place outdoors or in abandoned buildings, so it's a good idea to wear protective footwear. Consider boots with Vibram soles for better traction in the wet.