Items to Take on a Stakeout

By: L.G.

Stakeout Items!

With the semester right around the corner and I’m sure many mysteries ahead of us, I thought it would be helpful to create a generalized list of EVERYTHING you should be bringing on a scavenger hunt (done in your free time, outside of club association, of course, due to liability issues). Hopefully, this can be something you reference while you pack and before you leave for your observation.


  • Jacket
    • You never know how the Colorado weather can change. Always keep an extra jacket with you in case it gets chilly.
  • Layers
    • See points above. Who else has been in Colorado when the morning starts at 22 degrees and the day ends at 65 degrees? Just be smart.
  • Hat
    • Don’t let your ears get cold. Those are important.
  • Gloves
    • Your hands need to be nimble for things like lockpicking, speed texting, and mobility. Make sure they stay warm when you don’t need them
  • Running shoes
    • Or boots. Whatever makes sense for the weather but helps you move as quickly as possible in the current climate and weather.
  • Sunglasses (time-dependent)
    • If it is daytime, cloudy or not, just bring them.
  • Sunscreen (time-dependent)
    • Skin cancer is real, and you can try to prevent it. Wear. Your. Damn. Sunscreen...Even. In. The. Winter. (not necessary at night)
  • Socks
    • You should not be wearing shoes without socks. Make sure they are warm and easy to dry (nylon, polyester, merino wool, cotton, etc.)
  • Pants you can move in
    • You’re gonna be either sitting and watching or running after something. Regardless, you’re gonna wanna be comfortable.


  • Binoculars
    • I don’t want to explain. Even if it's nighttime, focus on a single source of light. The suspect might walk into the light source, so be prepared.
  • Walkie Talkie
    • To keep cover, only use when certain they are alone from unsuspecting ears and use certain pre-determined codebook words or if it is an emergency. If it is an SOS, use a walkie-talkie immediately.
  • Whistle
    • Whistle once for assistance, non-emergency
    • Whistle twice for immediate backup
    • Long whistle for SOS, help needed ASAP
    • 5 whistles mean victory
  • Morse Codebook
    • Functions as both a notebook and a reference in case your morse is a little rusty. Also, dorm lights or office lights work as a great way to communicate across a large amount of ground.
  • Map of your location
    • You never might know if you’ll get turned around in a location, even if it's familiar to you. Take a map just in case.
  • Compass
    • This will be essential for the item above, especially if you use the mountains to determine which direction is west.
  • Recording Device
    • The auditory proof is hard to dismiss as proof during an investigation. Even though we’ll have to checkout laws regarding secret recordings, do it anyways.
  • Camera
    • If you have questions, please see the door (metaphorically and literally, depends on your current location and activity).
  • Flashlight
    • Who knows what mole holes you’ll be crawling through? Plus, is a great way to communicate in morse code (if no building lights are available)
  • Excuses about why you're there
    • In case someone asks why you’re in the bushes, have a good answer.
  • Friends (or friends you know from an organization i.e. people you know from clubs)
    • Friends see things you don’t and watch your back. Keep each other safe and honorable.


  • Water
    • Hydrate or Diedrate.
  • Snacks
    • You’re not you when you’re hungry. Bring yourselves a Snickers.
      • And other, not crunchy, filling snacks.

Bonus Points:

If you manage to use the Folsom Field Stadium Lights to communicate in morse code, you are forever inducted into the Aura Club Hall of Fame

Thanks, folks! To keep it handy, print the guide out or have it saved on your PC before a stakeout. Stay safe out there!