CAO Packing List

Heading up to the E.C. Carr Astronomical Observatory? First time? Not sure what to bring with you? Forgetful? We've got you covered! We've prepared a handy high-level check list of things to bring!

  • Bedding: Bring your own sheets. Remember, you're not allowed to sleep directly in or on a bed, portable bed, mattress, or couch at the CAO. Bring your own pillow. BYO pillow sham or pillow case. Please bring your own blanket or sleeping bag. If you bring a sleeping bag for a cover, you must still bring sheets to put between you and the bed. If using the portable inflatible beds, please put your own sheets and pillow cover over the supplied sheets.
  • Bathroom Items: Bring your own towels and face cloth. Bring your own toiletries, including tooth brush, paste, shampoo, soap, etc. You are not to use towels found at the CAO except to dry your hands.
  • Food: Unless otherwise noted, you must bring your own food and beverage to the CAO. Spices, condiments, coffee, and tea are available to all. Everything else you must bring. Some prefer to shop in the area. There are good grocery store options in Thornbury and Collingwood. The CAO water is potable so please avoid bringing plastic water bottles.
  • Clothing: Or rather, appropriate seasonal clothing! In the winter, warm clothing, layers, very good boots, rated for temperatures well below ambient. In the summer, "long" clothing for cool evenings and light-coloured to deter bugs. Bring your hiking shoes if you'd like to explore the Bruce Trail.
  • Skin Care: Bug repellant for the warmer months. Lotions recommended. Remember to not apply bug spray near optics. Sunscreen, needed all year 'round. A good hat.
  • Observing Equipment: Actually, you don't need to bring a telescope, binoculars, or accessories to the CAO. If you don't have such items, that should not stop you from enjoying facility. We have telescopes on site for all to use. See the CAO supervisor for assistance. This is really just a reminder that if you are going to bring your own stuff, do a thorough check to ensure you don't leave a critical piece behind!
  • Seating: Bring your own lawn chair. Some bring their chaise lounge or anti-gravity chair. Some bring hammocks. Also, if you have an adjustable observing chair, don't forget to pack it.
  • Camera Equipment: If you'd like to do some astrophotography at the CAO, we can try to accommodate. If bringing your own camera, be sure to bring all the appropriate adapters, extensions, convertors, brackets, etc. to attach to telescopes. Remember we have an SBIG and MallinCam on site for member use. We also have a couple of camera tripods available.
  • Light Shields: If you're bringing your laptop computer or smart phone and you plan to use it at night, please bring your red film, red screen, laptop "tent," light shield, etc. so to prevent stray light from disturbing others observing or imaging. We have large cardboard boxes on site in case you forget.
  • Red Lighting: If you're going to use a flashlight or headlight at night, ensure it operates in red-light-mode or that it is covered with red film or a red screen. Familiarise yourself with its operation to avoid using white light inadvertently.
  • Direction Details: Bring your directions, notes, maps, what have you. If using a GPS, or mapping software, or a mapping web site (e.g. Google), remember that it may direct you to use roads not easily traversed. Note: you must approach the CAO from the north-west. A map and correct directions are included in the Site Facilities Manual. Make sure you have the telephone number for the CAO handy.
  • The Manual! Speaking of which, bring your copy of the CAO Site Facilities Manual, hard copy or PDF. It contains a wealth of information on getting to, opening, using, and closing the CAO.
  • Pass: If you're an annual pass or passport holder, be sure to pack your individual or family passport card. Pop it into your wallet or purse with your other ID. Please present your annual passport to the CAO supervisor upon arrival.
  • Medicine: Please do not forget any medications. If you have severe allergies, bring your own supplies. Remember your EpiPen auto-injector.

Should you forget to bring items for your stay at the CAO, please discuss the matter with the CAO supervisor. They'll be happy to get you settled.