If you are a forager/wildcrafter at some point while driving or on a hike you have asked yourself "why don't I carry scissors with me!" or something to that effect. I am constantly regretting not having something with me in my bag or in my car somewhere. Which is why I decided to compile this list of all my must have items for foraging. As we speak I am leaving a bag filled with some supplies in my car. Here are some tools of the trade:
notebook & pen
bug bite salve/salve for cuts and scrapes
A backpack or bag is an essential item to have while foraging. If you are planing on gathering a lot of material its a good idea to have a smaller, foldable bag inside your backpack incase you find yourself wishing you had more room to carry stuff in.
Scissors are also handy to have in your bag. While you can carefully tear off leaves or thinner stems with your hands, having scissors makes it so much easier and in my mind less painful to the plant than tearing and pulling at it.
Pruning shears are a small upgrade from scissors and useful for woodier steams or small tree branches. I don't always have these in my bag but I do keep a spare pair in the trunk of my car.
Gloves are not completely necessary but here in Southern California/ in the desert I handle a lot of cactus, prickly pears, rose thorns etc and I like to have these in case I come across some nopales on the side of the road.
I ALWAYS carry a notebook & pen. Whether you are taking notes on where a certain plant grows, or are drawing or making observations; a notebook and a writing utensil are essential.
For beginners just getting into foraging, or just learning about medicinal plants, a guidebook is a great thing to have in your bag. There are times where you might have doubts on what a specific plant is and having a guidebook with really good photos and description can be a lifesaver. (you should however never pick or ingest a plant if you honestly are very unsure of what you are looking at. I suggest taking a class or going on an herb walk to learn more about native plants in your area before you ever attempt to forage on your own)
Like in any other situation in nature you should always carry water with you. You never know how long you might be out there, especially if you have to drive far and out of cell phone range. (lucky to those who have things to forage right in their area!)
Another must have is a camera or cell phone. While you might be taking photos to post on instagram, having a camera can be great to have on hand to take photos every season. I go up into the mountains at least once a month and I always take photos of the plants I forage/ scenery to see how the seasons change. Its important to be in tune with the plants you are working with and to see how they change, what has grown, how the population is doing etc. I try and take my big dslr camera but it can be heavy and awkward to have so a cell phone or a smaller camera is great too!
On a slightly embarrassing note, I always seem to get cuts, scrapes, or slice myself with a pocket knife or some other small catastrophe while out in nature. So bandaids are a lifesaver. You never know what thorny thicket you might stumble into or incase you cut yourself, its great to be able to pull a band aid out of your bag
Along the same lines, bug salve or cuts/scrapes salve is great to have in your bag also. You never know what bug bites or scrapes you might need some relief from. Being far from home or a ways a way can be annoying when you get a bug bite. This is not necessary of course but really nice to have available.