field_camp_faq | Geology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Science

students at field camp


SIU will provide transportation from Billings airport to Red Lodge on the Sunday preceding the beginning of field camp, starting at 2 pm. You will need to arrive at Billings airport before 3 pm so that, in case of flight delays, you will most likely still make it to Red Lodge before the end of day on Sunday before the start of the course.

Laundry facilities and clothing
The small town of Red Lodge has two coin-operated laundromats, one on the north end of town and the other one on the southern end of town. No need to bring your own detergent, you will be able to buy it in Red Lodge.  Red Lodge is about 15 minutes driving time from the YBRA camp where we will be staying. Typically students do their laundry during their day off when they go to town as a group. The weather in Red Lodge changes very quickly because it is a mountain environment. We recommend layered clothing; keep in mind that it is always easier to take clothes off if you are too warm that the opposite if you did not bring enough layers. As much as possible, stay away from cotton because it provides poor thermal insulation.

Cell phones and wi-fi
The YBRA camp is out of town and reception can be tricky depending on your carrier. I use Verizon and they have excellent coverage. I have heard in past years that AT&T also delivered good service in the area. I am not sure about Sprint or other carriers. Regarding wi-fi, the dish system we have at field camp is for the exclusive use of faculty and camp staff. Red Lodge has one internet cafe, several wi-fi free spots for customers, and a public library with internet access. However, most of these businesses will be closed by the time we get back in town after doing field work (with the exception of the wine bar / restaurant). We recommend that you do not bring your laptop because they might get damaged or lost during transportation in fully loaded vans.

More ......
1. Are we camping in North Dakota (on the drive to field camp)? No, we will have hotel reservations and will fit maximum amounts of students in each room to minimize costs.
2. Are we staying in the same bunks the entire time at Red Lodge? Yes. But once we leave Red Lodge we will be packing/unpacking a lot so pack light.
3. Could we begin our drive out to camp a day earlier? No, it would add unnecessary cost to the trip.
4. Could we receive a copy of the schedule? Yes, it is posted on the field camp website at _common/documents/miscellaneous/geol454-schedule-2019.pdf
5. What is the recommended amount of stuff to bring? As little as possible, small tents (1-2 person tents), compression sleeping bags, and about a weeks worth of clothes).
6. Where can we do laundry once we leave Red Lodge? Grand Tetons, and Dillon, about every 5-6 days.
7. What clothes should be worn in the field? Jeans are not ideal. You want quick-dry tear proof pants. Some areas shorts are ok.
8.   Do we need a supervisor in every van on our days off? Yes.
9. How much water should we bring every day? 4 L/person is recommended.
10. What are we doing for food while camping? We will be able to stop at convenience stores and restaurants, camping stoves are not recommended to bring.
11. What are we bringing out in the field while mapping? Rain Jacket, walkie talkie, map board, water, Brunton, acid, colored pencils, lunch, hand lens, small first aid kit, etc… Enough for a day. 
12. What gear do we bring? Day pack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, dufflebag (not hard cased suitecases), tent
13. How many write in the rain field books should we bring? Depends on how often/how many notes you take, and if the book is previously used.
14. What kind of day packs should we bring? Ones without frames.
15. Can we bring a pillow? Yes.
16. Should we bring blankets to Red Lodge? To save space you can use your sleeping bags.
17. How cold does it get at night? It will get quite cold.
18. How frequently do we see bears? It is very possible we will see bears, they are attracted to human scents so keep scented stuff out of the campsites.
19. What kind of shampoo should we bring? Unscented will help keep insects away, a No-Bite_me soap is preferred, but anything will do.
20. Do we need any books or field guides? Yes, just one: 
Basic Geological Mapping, 5th Edition
by Richard J. Lisle, Peter Brabham, John W. Barnes
ISBN 978-0-470-68634-8
September 2011
Paperback, 230 pages
21. If a person cannot drive on the way out to Montana, could they still drive during field camp? Yes, but they must turn in a driver request form.
22. How much spending money should we bring? ~$250 for food and souvenirs works well for most.
23. List and contact information of students: For confidentiality reasons, we cannot release the list of students attending before assembly in Billings airport.
24. Lunches: During this camp*, students prepare their own sack lunch before breakfast at YBRA or Birch Creek. You have already paid for these meals. *(Except on days off and when we will be camping with no access to a kitchen on days 24 to 30 and 38 to 42, when you will be responsible to buy your meals for the whole day).