Equipment Recommendations

The Go Bag

Thanks to Doug Gentges, Steve Meer, Rob Wright, Glenn Hetchler for the majority of the contributions for this list.


  • A backpack, fanny pack, or shoulder bag to carry all the gear listed here. The backpack should be pre-loaded with your equipment kit, so when you head to the field, it's all in one place, and you don't forget anything


  • Water - drinking water. This is important any time of the year. Take extra drinking water in case a student requires it for hydration or for first aid.
  • Sunscreen and Bug Repellent � For those long walks in the sun
  • First Aid Kit - A basic first aid kit will do fine. The addition of an Emergency Blanket is recommended. Basic First Aid skills are important too.
  • Medications � You might get stuck for a while so, take whatever you might need in case of significant delays in getting home.

Appropriate Clothing

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these searchers from the swift completion of their appointed recoveries, assuming you�re dressed for the occasion. Keep warm, cool, or dry while heading into the field to bring back the payload train.

  • Coats � multi layer clothing might be good to have on days when the temperature starts out really cold and warms up as the recovery progresses.
  • Rain gear
  • Hats
  • Gloves - Leather work gloves for protecting your hands while working, cold weather gloves if it�s freezing cold.
  • Boots
  • Other protective gear as needed by flight day conditions


  • Handheld Transceiver (HT) Radio - With good battery, turned on, volume up and tuned to the appropriate recovery operations simplex frequency. User should conduct radio check with Alpha before entering field and acquire permission to enter the field. See Tracking and Recovery pages for full procedures coverage.
  • HT Radio Mini-Manual � For those obscure setup instructions we have long forgotten
  • Radio Driection Finding (RDF) Radio and Antenna - For tracking down the payload
  • Cell Phone if you have one

Location, Orientation and Navigation

  • GPS - with good battery, turned on. User should be knowledgeable about features and functions in advance. At a minimum, you need to be able to:
    • Relay your current GPS position over the radio
    • Mark your vehicle location with a waypoint so you can navigate a return path
    • Mark your current position or the position of the flight string with a waypoint
    • Receive and document GPS coordinates over the radio, and enter them in to the GPS as a waypoint
    • Navigate to a waypoint
  • Compass - To take or follow RDF bearings


  • Spare Car Keys � In case you get locked out
  • Whistle - For emergency (and non-emergency) signaling, it's hard to beat a good whistle
  • Multi-Tool/Knife � For cutting away flight strings or other obstacles and for opening quick links
  • Flashlight � To peer into payloads or into engine compartments
  • Camera - To document the flight string and recovery. Check for good batteries and media storage space.
  • Extra Batteries � Fresh batteries of each type to accommodate battery failure in any of your various types of equipment
  • Binoculars � To locate distant flight strings on the ground or in the air
  • Lighter � To ignite anything that needs to burn
  • Utility cord � About 50 feet, to retrieve payloads from water or in trees
  • Lens cleaning cloth � If you wear glasses or use a camera
  • Extra Bread Ties � For securing the parachute