Late last year I began researching and buying new/better gear and techiques for light/ultralight camping and suddenly last night I had a thought.. cowboys.. haha

 

every western to date shows cowboys riding off with their gear loaded on the back of a horse.. but what gear did they pack? im sure a lot of the items would be found on any modern backpackers checklist but Im just interested to see what they would have considered back then. 

Then of course my mind goes to the Aboriginal people, what items do they have to survive? they are the true ultralight civilazation they would know better than most right?

 

Just my random thought of the day, could make a neat piece for AoM.

Tags: camping, packing, ultralight

Views: 872

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Bed roll, blanket, tarp, fire starting equipment (flint and steel), water, food of some sort, poncho/slicker, hatchet, knife, utinsels (spoon most likely), ammo, cast iron frying pan.

I think you need to hit the history books or at the very least do some YouTubeing . I have no knowledge of what cowboys carried other than using movies as a reference , but what I have gleaned over the years is that they did it rough and mostly under prepared . Aboriginals were the ultimate recyclers , they were not materialistic like we are and put no value on objects . Food and shelter were there only concerns and they had them down pat , from using spears , knowing what berries to eat and the ones that will poison fish in a brook just enough to stun them for capture , and then there's the food that would make you gag at the thought of eating .

Don't forget cowboys who knew they were off for a specific amount of time often had a separate wagon for food and supplies (and stove/tents) and burden animals for long treks. 

Check out the George W. Sears writings under the name "Nessmuk" for some turn of the century woodcraft and camping gear advice, including aboriginal advice. Also Horace Kephart's books on Camping. 

I hope you like pinole. 

Cowboys were the original minimalists.  Check out horse packing forums and sites and you'll get lots of ideas of what the original cowboy used do lug.  If it didn't fit in his bedroll, it didn't come along.

Here's a nice little article I enjoyed reading.

http://www.horsechannel.com/western-horse-training/leave-no-trace-u...

Cowboys and many other traveling pioneers had the great luxury of a chuck wagon to carry their food and shelter. 

Cowboy clothes were designed to be changed seasonally.  A good bed roll and heavy coat or rain slicker depending on season.  Jerky, hard tack, and probably salt and coffee.  A good cowboy hat can make sun, rain, snow, and cold a lot more bearable.  Canteen.  Guns, ammo, and a knife. 

You can find some very traditional and functional camping cookware at: http://jas-townsend.com/index.php?cPath=21_57&osCsid=edd9e01aff...  or  http://www.smoke-fire.com/

Hard tack recipe: http://www.survivalnewsonline.com/index.php/2012/02/hardtack-a-grea...

Apparently there are a lot of ho

Some Aboriginal groups in Australia had only 5 artifacts in their culture. A mobile hunter gatherer culture pushes people to have few possessions. 

Sometimes the questions is what you can do without, that's how people lived for a huge part of human history.

   Anyone going any distance was likely to have along, in addition to the items already mentioned, arbuckle coffee and a bottle of "tarantula juice". The latter was ostensibly for the disinfection of wounds as well as recreational consumption.  Depending on what era you're speaking of, there might be more or less kit required to take proper care of a firearm in the field. Your cap and ball weapons being a bit more finicky when filthy than later cartridge models.  Cowboys also often carried a sort of tar smear with them on the range, to cover wounds on cattle or horses and help fend off blowflies.

    As far as minimalist goes, you'd be hard pressed to top the Apache. When on spiritual or manhood tests, a young man would set off afoot, with only a knife and a breechclout.  That's traveling light!

the meat would probably have been dried and prepared a bit like the south african biltong - which would help preserve it. Though I doubt the horse sweat helped. :)

Every western to date either shows guys who are "riding the grub line" or on a cattle drive, where someone else is carting virtually all the food and virtually all their gear.  Going any distance without a chuckwagon, you packed the chuck box and "threw the diamond hitch" to lash your stuff to the pack animal(s).  Saw an article several decades back that showed how the US Army cavalry packed a trooper's mount for three days (excluding weapons). 

Most of the real old timers used pack animals to carry the vast majority of their food and equpment.  My grandfather and great uncle were doing this for their annual deer hunting trip up to the the early 1930s.

   Don't forget the extra salt, in case we have to eat horse flesh!

There is a great group called the Coalition of Historic Trekkers, and their membership does for fun what you want to do. Lots of gear lists, suppliers, etc. If you are not into carrying reenactor gear, you can easily borrow their tips and ideas to supplant modern stuff with.


GC

RSS

Latest Activity

Nick H replied to Paul MacAlindin's discussion "I like guns" in the group The Great Debate
"Not sure of your definition of crackpot but what I am is a doctor who currently works in a psychiatric hospital. giving the power to decide if someone can or cannot own a firearm to a government psychologist would not only be a waste of tax dollars…"
1 hour ago
Dakota Caraway replied to Braeden's discussion My Fellow Americans, What Nation are you From?
"The Californians seem to be around the Austin and Houston area."
3 hours ago
Native Son replied to John Muir's discussion Donald Trump Is A Greedy, Creepy, Ignorant Jerk in the group The Great Debate
"Nah, he wouldn't speak for the chump change Sarah gets...only 6 figures for The Donald's whizzdumb?"
5 hours ago
Specs replied to Alberto's discussion Buying Arrows - Any experienced archers out there?
"There's a lot of factors in that.  What are you doing with the bow? Are you just shooting targets, if so any of those will work.  On mine I just have a variety.  I would say get some good lightweight, middle, and heavyweight in a…"
6 hours ago
Milo Morris replied to Paul MacAlindin's discussion Privilege is invisible to those who have it
"You've made some very generalized statements that were true for most black people depending on which decade you want to discuss. And while the ability from blacks to pull themselves up by their bootstraps has been hampered by many elements, the…"
6 hours ago
Randy commented on Clayton Davis's group The Manly Art of Amateur (Ham) Radio
"I got 31/35 on the General exam on 8-29-15. KE0EUV /AG. "
7 hours ago
Carl Monster replied to Braeden's discussion My Fellow Americans, What Nation are you From?
"Sounds very urban and vital. I enjoy country life; people are more or less the same, usually polite and I don't have to dance around issues of race, culture or orientation, though people really tend to leave each other alone anyway."
8 hours ago
i.am.will replied to Braeden's discussion My Fellow Americans, What Nation are you From?
"It has its advantages and disadvantages, but mostly I consider it a big plus. The world is changing.  For example, when I first lived in Washington, DC 20+ years ago, the community was divided and polarized by just two cultures, white and…"
8 hours ago

© 2015   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service