Supplies and Gear for the Earthskills and Permaculture Immersion

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Here’s a list of various things that you’ll need (or may want) during the Earthskills and Permaculture Immersion. You probably already have a lot of them, or can borrow them from a friend or family member. If you decide to acquire any of these things, it’s likely you’ll be glad that you did and that you’ll use them for a long time.

If you want to find these things at a local store or flea market, more power to you! If you want to buy them online, we participate in an associate program with, and when you click on the links below, we benefit. The money that we make from this program goes into a fund to help us continue to offer free information to everyone. 


Required if camping onsite

  • Sleeping bag. We recommend one rated to at least 0 degrees. Generally, the rating of a bag is for the temperature that you won’t die at. Comfort seems to be achieved at 15-20 degrees above rating, especially after a couple of years of use.
  • Sleeping pad/mat (or whatever you need to sleep comfortably). We like Thermarest foam and self-inflating pads. 
  • Waterproof, comfortable tent or bivy. We strongly recommend against tents sold at Wal-mart, especially the “Ozark trail” brand. You are welcome to alternately use a small (8*10 or 10*12) tarp or nylon fly. Hammocks are another great option (with a fly/tarp to protect you from rain). If you choose a hammock, please bring a pad to line it with, as nights can get quite chilly (in spring and fall) and just a hammock and sleeping bag may not be warm enough. 
  • Headlamp and batteries, if it uses batteriesThere are also many rechargeable headlamps available. Some are of higher quality (also more expensive), with budget options also out there.
  • Eating ware (bowl, cup, spoon, etc.)
  • Water bottle
  • Food, snacks, tea, coffee. Whatever you’ll need to nourish yourself.

Optional and recommended

  • Good hatchet. We recommend “Estwing” brand as the least expensive, functional hatchet. Swedish hatchets, especially “Gransfors Bruks” brand are excellent, but they are costly.
  • Pruning saw (small/medium). Either a folding saw or one with a sheath/scabbard that attaches to your belt will work. We recommend Silky saws by Gomboy. Corona also makes decent ones that are less expensive.
  • Work gloves. It’s nice to have at least one pair of heavier-duty leather gloves for dry and pokey tasks, and one pair of lighter-duty, rubberized fabric gloves for working with moist soil or anything wet. If you just get one style of gloves, go for the leather ones. 
  • High quality pruners. We recommend Felco brand, they are really the best. They even make a pair of ergonomic pruners with a swiveling handle that are easier on wrists. Corona pruners are also decent, and less expensive.

Mapmaking Supplies

These can be found at Henco in Downtown Asheville or online


Highly Recommended

  • Compass for direction
  • Large drawing board (2 feet by 3 feet). We have some here, but you will need one when you are not at class.
  • Nicer colored pens
  • Roll of tracing paper. We will have a few sheets for each student, but many students prefer to have their own, and plenty. You will also need it for when you are away from class. 
  • Long measuring tape (150′-300’)

Camping Trip Gear

We have noticed that many people tend to over pack. Please check out the list below, and think twice before bringing anything else. Consider asking friends, family, and classmates about borrowing stuff that you don’t have to cut down on costs, but make sure that it fits before we hit the trail! We strongly recommend against tents sold at Wal-mart, especially the “Ozark trail” brand.

  • Personal lunch food (3 days)
  • Personal snack food (3 days)
  • Personal dinner food (2 days)
  • Personal eating stuff (cup, bowl, spoon)
  • Warm, sleeping bag
  • Water bottles
  • Comfortable, lightweight hiking shoes, tennis shoes, or heavy duty sandals (like Chacos), whatever you are comfortable with. Be sure that you have worn-in this footwear before the hike.
  • Bivy sack, nylon fly, tarp and rope or a tent
  • Comfortable, lightweight backpacking backpack. This can be helpful, but is not essential. 
  • Sacks for gathering wild foods
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Pair of shorts
  • Pair of pants
  • Pocket or sheath knife
  • Stocking hat, long underwear (if it is cold, check the weather forecast before you pack)
  • 2 Tops
  • 1 Sweater or fleece
  • Multiple Ziploc gallon or quart sized bags
  • 2 large (30-50 gallon) Heavy-duty garbage bags and/or waterproof pack cover to protect gear from rain
  • Pen/pencil and very small notebook
  • Rain gear (optional, if rain is in the forecast, check the weather before you pack)

Optional and heavy

  • Camera
  • Water filter (Life Straw is a great, inexpensive, lightweight option)
  • Extra sandals (if they aren’t your main footwear)
  • Sleeping pad (leaves work great, but we tend to be more likely to bring pads as we get older)

Please do not bring

  • Novels to read
  • Lots of heavy stuff

Click here for the Earthskills and Permaculture Immersion Reading List