27 February 2012

Cemetery Tool Kit

During the long winter's in the Rocky Mountains, I get a lot of time to think. One thing that is in continuous development and evolution is my cemetery tool kit, and that got me wondering... what does the rest of the world take with them to a cemetery?

Here's a look at mine.

Right now, I use a simple canvas bag to carry all this in, but I'm looking at investing in a canvas tool bag instead: bigger, more pockets, better organization, and sturdy as hell. Something along the lines of the Great Neck 21042 Essentials Around the House tool bag. I considered a back pack, but then I'm constantly taking it on and off, and that would be troublesome. This bag has great features, and I like the idea that I can safely stash things like my cell in easy to reach pockets. Another reason I like this model is that it's designed for women; it's smaller and lighter than other tool bags I have seen, and the handles are narrow, making it easier for smaller hands. (You can find the Great Neck Essentials bag on Amazon.com.)

Inside my bag, you will always find:

  1. Pen and Paper.
  2. Camera with extra battery and neck strap.
  3. Gardening gloves.
  4. Garden shears and small gardening shovel (for those hard to remove weeds and overgrown graves).
  5. Garbage bags. I like to remove litter as I go through the site.
  6. Small spray bottle of water.
  7. If available, a map of the cemetery and/or plot map.
  8. List of any specific names I might be looking for.
  9. Snack.
  10. Drinking water.
In my car, you will always find a good cemetery conservation guide book (discussed in previous posts), another snack, and an extra layer of clothes, including fresh socks. You just never know what the weather is going to do around here (my local cemetery sits at 9,600 feet), and those are items that are generally in the car year round anyway. In the summer months, I throw in my good rain gear, as we get a decent thunderstorm nearly every day. 

Our cemetery season, as I like to think of summer, is short here. I might be able to get through the snow pack in May, but its typically mid to late June before I can really spend any significant time out there. Snow starts falling again in late September - mid-October. Most years, you will find me exploring cemeteries as late as November 1, before the snow really begins to accumulate and headstones become hidden under a soft white blanket once again. 

So, I'm curious. What's in your cemetery tool kit? I try to keep it light, but I certainly don't want to miss anything good. Comments are invited. 

Thanks for reading... 


  1. Your cemetery tool kit is just like a first aid kit with how complete it is. Anyway, every time I visit our loved ones' grave, we bring garden shears, a chisel, a few cans of paint, some detergent cleaner and a brush so we can clean them. We also bring candles and packed meals for a get-together picnic at a nearby park.

  2. Thank you, Loria!
    I have to ask, though, what is the paint for? Everything else makes sense to me. I do a lot of work in the area of digitally preserving cemeteries, so my clean up is usually on older stones. Be careful with that detergent cleaner - it can degrade your family headstones!
    Thanks for reading!


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