Collecting Local Cypress: Supply Checklist

By Bill Butler

After reading and re-reading the fine article "Collecting Local Cypress" I thought it would be nice to create a checklist of supplies. I typically give this out at the January meeting. This list expands on the supplies noted in Jimmy Littleton's article based upon my experiences in the swamp.

Needed Supplies:

  • Chest Waders
  • Suspenders (Some waders do not include suspenders)
  • Gloves
  • Short Hand Saw
  • Heavy Duty Trash Bags

Optional Supplies:

  • Sharp Shooter Shovel (Sharpened as best you can)
  • Insulated Socks
  • Surveyor Marking Tape
  • Several gallons of water for clean-up
  • Compass or GPS receiver

Notes on the above supplies:

  • Chest Waders: The water is anywhere from 6-10 inches deep.  One misstep and you can sink a leg past your knee.  When digging out the tree, you’ll be on your knees.  Trust me, you don’t want anything less than coverage above your hip.  As for the suspenders, check out the package to see if they are included.  Academy Sports has a selection of waders.
  • Leather gloves are better than fabric gloves.  I’ve torn through new fabric gloves before the dig is finished.
  • The “Sharp Tooth” handsaw works fine.  It’s the one with the shark on the packaging.  You can cut a circle around the tree right through the muck.  After that, you can start tipping the tree from one side to the next cutting roots from different angles.  Depending on the height of the tree, you can use the same saw to cut the tree to 8 feet to help with leverage.  Once extracted, cut the tree to the best height for carrying it out of the swamp.
  • The heavy duty trash bags are great for hauling absolutely filthy trees home in your van or trunk.  Keeps the roots moist, too.
  • The sharp shooter shovel is good for smaller trees or trees not standing in water, but I like the hand saw best.  I don’t recommend carrying too much into the swamp.
  • Insulated socks are better than wearing three pairs of socks in your waders.
  • Surveyor marking tape is a good idea if you’re out with friends and you see a tree you want, but want to keep looking before you start extracting trees. It comes in bright flourescent colors.
  • I use at least three 5-gallon water jugs for clean-up.  The swamps can be difficult to navigate.  It is not unheard of to have someone fall down into the water.  What a mess!  The more water you have for clean up the better.  Any extra water you have can be used to clean up your tools.
  • Depending on where you go in the swamps, you may have difficulty finding your way out again.  Look at your compass as you enter the swamp to know which way you went just before you got lost. A GPS receiver takes this one step further by not only showing you where you are, but some units can even mark the locations of harvested trees!
  • Finally, note that you don’t want to carry too much into the swamps.  You’ll be quite tired after sawing/digging through swamp muck, and you’ll be carrying quite a load on your way out again!


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Updated February 15, 2008