Tools for your Journey

Start with a sturdy backpack or tote, and fill it with all the important tools for your Nature Journey …

A long with your Nature Journal, bring with you the mediums that you prefer to sketch with. Pencils of various types, such as HB, which creates a hard firm line, or softer graphite such as 2B for softer lines in plants and birds. Softer still, is 3B for birds and animals. When sketching, landscapes you may prefer a very soft graphite, such as the 4B, 5B or 6B. Don’t forget a sharpener. Mechanical pencils work very well since they do not require sharpening and do the trick for outdoor drawing. Bring along colored pencils for adding color to a special drawing and a fine line marker or gel pen for detail.

A set of water colors and several brushes are great for a day’s outing, but difficult to use for fast sketches while hiking. Bring along with you water and a dipping cup for your brushes. A quick sketch may be done and re-done in watercolor at home.

Sometimes magnification becomes a necessity. A hand held magnifying glass for tiny petals, blossoms and of course insects is an important tool for your nature journey. We can see the leg parts and mouth parts on an insect or check out a spider web. This tool also comes in handy when checking out mosses, lichens and fungi or even studying a rock to identify which minerals are present. The magnifying glass can become an essential tool for detailed sketches.

Binoculars are nearly always important on a nature journey. You never can tell when something amazing will spring up. Binoculars are necessary for viewing birds, or checking out nests in the trees, or just watching a hawk circling. The best general all purpose binoculars for bird watching are 7X or 8X power.

Some other items to bring in your backpack can be a small ruler, a butterfly net, a small critter keeper (be sure to keep your specimens in the critter keeper only temporarily for observation so that they will remain alive and can be set free), field guides, water to drink and snacks to eat.

Happy Nature Journaling!