Outdoor Jobs – Travel Tips
Now that you’ve found your calling attending to the woods and wildlife of our national parks and forests, or volunteering your time to do trail maintenance or similar projects, you need to think about how you’re going to get to your new job and what to take. The following are some common sense tips to help you prepare for the road ahead.
What to Pack
If a uniform is required, you will be informed when offered the job. Non-uniform clothing is not provided, so keep in mind the location and the type of work you will be doing when packing. Is your assignment in the arid country of the Southwest or the rainforests of southeast Alaska? Will you be working on a fire line or giving presentations at a historic site? Will you be stationed at a recreational area thirty minutes from a major city or patrolling a remote section of Montana forest? Stationed a few hours from a city? You may want to pack along at least one decent outfit for the odd extended weekend when you and your buddies make the drive into town for dinner and a movie.
If you know you’ll be out in the elements for an extended period of time, bring plenty of warm and sturdy clothing, like work gloves, rain gear, and heavy boots. Consider bringing dark clothing (it hides the dirt better) made of durable materials like denim, wool, and polypropylene.
Remember that in the backcountry it’s often a long way to the corner store. Bring plenty of toiletries and prescription medicine, as well as a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses. Items like lip balm, hand lotion, insect repellent, and a flashlight can make long hours outdoors more comfortable.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most of your off hours, as well as your work hours, will be spent outdoors in a remote setting. The quick fix of urban amenities – movie theaters, night clubs, and cable TV – won’t be there to greet you at day’s end. Most people who spend time in the outdoors love the solitude it offers as well as the self-reliance it teaches.
Certain items can help you adjust to this way of life. Equipment for fishing or hiking is recommended, and many seasonal workers bring a mountain bike for getting around or just for fun. Books and a journal will help fill the hour or so of evening darkness before exhaustion catches up with you. Many rural small towns thrive on summer softball leagues, so bring your mitt and a ball.
Finally, think about how you’ll be getting to your job. Will you fly directly there and back? Or do you plan to drive halfway across the country, camping along the way? If so, you’ll need the right gear.
Use the following checklist as a general guide for what to pack and modify it as necessary to suit your situation.
- Heavy boots
- Durable clothes (hat, work shirts, heavy jeans, wool socks, gloves, wool sweaters)
- Casual clothes (shorts, tennis shoes, T-shirts)
- Rain gear
- Personal care items (toiletries, sunglasses, insect repellent, sunscreen, spare lenses)
- Leisure activity items (books, journal, camera)
- Camping or other recreational equipment (backpack, rod and reel, mountain bike, etc.)