A Foragers Field Tool Kit

By Nick Italiano

Foraging is an immensely satisfying activity that not only helps us obtain highly nutritious food and access the robust wellness properties of plants and fungi but also helps us better understand the ecosystem around us. With every lesson, identification outing, and harvest we become more connected to the natural world around us. While the main focus of people new to foraging and herbalism is to increase knowledge of plants, and the benefits they offer us, and develop excellent identification skills; we absolutely can’t neglect to tools we will be using to document, harvest, and transport our foraging finds. 

Today I’ll be getting into my personal foraging tool kit and discussing how and why I use each tool, as well as make some recommendations as to other items that would complement or enhance any kit.



Having a good sharp knife is the cornerstone of every foraging kit. Harvesting plant materials is the mainstay of what we do as foragers and you always want to ensure you have a sharp knife to minimize damage to the plant if you are only cutting portions and leaving the rest of the plant intact. In addition to being sharp, I like to ensure I have a robust and strong knife as I will sometimes use it for digging out roots and cutting through thick and woody roots. If you don’t plan on doing too much digging the Black Flag Academy Wicket is a great lightweight option for cutting most aerial (above-ground) plant parts, but if you want something full-sized and more robust the Academy Bushcrafter is always a good option!

Pruning Shears

Pruning shears are a traditional tool in the garden but are also incredibly valuable in foraging. Some plant stems are thick and tree even a thin tree branch can be a challenge for a knife to cut through cleanly. Using a high-quality pruning shear not only makes our life easier, it also reduces damage to a tree or woody shrub when having to harvest part of the plant. I use Corona forged steel bypass pruners, they are well made, tough, and reliable with a great price point.


Pouches and Mesh Bags

My go-to choice for gathering and transporting foraged plants and fungi is waxed canvas and mesh pouches. I like waxed canvas a lot due to its water resistance and ease of cleaning. Most cut plant material will have an element of moisture involved and roots will often be dirty. Waxed canvas will resist a lot of that moisture and plant liquid staining and can be easily wiped down and cleaned with a damp cloth. Mesh bags are particularly important when harvesting mushrooms as the mesh allows for the release of spores back into the environment ensuring we have more mushrooms to harvest later on! I have a few different pouches that I currently utilize so let’s take a look at each of them. 

Wazoo Foraging Bandanet

This one pulls double duty as it has a ton of valuable quick reference material on the front side on commonly found wild plants and fungi, and the back is a large mesh bag allowing for a collection of plants and mushrooms! I love this as a part of my full foraging kit or as a standalone in my EDC bag because you never know when you will come across something to forage!

PNWBUSHCRAFT Foraging/Mushroom Foraging Pouches

I love these pouches! They are super compact when folded and stored on my belt, but offer a ton of space when rolled out! Made from top-quality waxed canvas (with a mesh bottom of the mushroom foraging pouch) these are built tough and will definitely stand the test of time! Read my full review of these pouches here.

Foraging Baskets

While I do not carry a basket because I like to keep my kit as compact as possible, many folks love to use large lightweight baskets to transport large hauls. These can be purchased or even made yourself if you have the right skill set!


Notebook and Pen 

All Foragers should carry a notebook and pen for taking notes, recording locations of finds, and even drawing pictures of plants you may need to identify later. While much of this can be accomplished with a phone I like to do it the old-fashioned way as it is better for memory retention and does not rely on power to access the information later on.

Reference Materials

Having some reference materials is important, especially if you are still learning the art of identifying certain plants and fungi. 

The Wazoo Foraging Bandana and Bandannet are easy to carry, quick reference for some commonly found plants, and a valuable teaching tool if you are guiding others. Having the ability to also gather foraged finds, protect you from the sun, aid in basic water filtration, keep some bugs away from your face, and a whole host of other items make this a no-brainer addition to your kit. 

A more in-depth Field guide is also a good option if you plan on taking a deep dive into the world of foraging. I plan on providing a recommended reading list in another section, but if you are planning on buying just one book or just want a great one to get started check out Foraging by Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen. In my opinion, this is one of the best non-region-specific books and field guides on the market. It has a ton of great information and detailed full-colored pictures that will make identifying foragebles much easier!

Helpful Additional Items

The above items are far from an exhaustive list of foraging tools, but it does make a great compact kit that I take on most of my outdoor adventures, that allows me to forage, transport, and process a good amount of plants and fungi. In this section, I’d like to mention a few items that are not necessary, but I find very helpful. 

Folding Saw

When we think of folding saws, we often picture wood processing over foraging for food. In most cases that is correct, but foraging is not always for food sometimes it’s for wood too! After all, you can’t do much with your foraged mushrooms if you can’t cook and eat them! In addition to the need to process wood, there are times when you will need to cut through branches that may be too thick for your pruners. My personal pick is the Silky Pocket Boy, it’s relatively compact as the name indicates, but is robust enough to handle most cutting tasks!


This is an item that I don’t go to the woods without! The waxed canvas and wool ground cloth helps gives me a dry place to sit or kneel when foraging in moist areas around the wetlands and river banks or after the rain. While it is far from a necessity it’s a quality-of-life addition you will be very thankful to have!

Leather Gloves

Having a good pair of leather gloves is hard to beat when foraging. Gloves help prevent hand injuries when working with thorny plants and also helps to keep nasty things like poison ivy off your skin as it is often found in areas where things we may want to forage grow.

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