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: 580

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

Pope John replied to Dave's discussion What's your favourite ad that inspires you to be a better man?
"This is a good one: http://adweek.com/adfreak/nike-honors-and-challenges-kobe-bryant-inspirational-new-ad-148810 In life, there are ups and downs, you are better when you overcome obstacles..falls, it takes true willingness and courage to fight…"
28 minutes ago
Vince replied to Vince's discussion Request advice for Gastroesophageal reflux disease
"I must specify that the doctor prescribed me Prilosec + Gaviscon  for 2weeks In general, I feel more noise when I eat greasy food, fried, chocolate. The food comes back up the throat and as if the food doesn't go forward. Another…"
36 minutes ago
Pope John replied to Josh Williams's discussion New hairstyle
"I think they are the same style"
50 minutes ago
Daril Bradley posted a discussion

A good Tailor in Pittsburgh

I am trying to "up" my style and wardrobe, by having what I already have fit me better by going to a tailor. Does anyone have or know a good, trustworthy tailor in the Pittsburgh area? Greatly appreciated.See More
1 hour ago
Jay D replied to Daryl Millard's discussion Pompadour
"I think its horrible. Every 16y old is running around with that hairstyle here."
1 hour ago
N. Vest replied to O'Neal's discussion Is this negligence?
"Nope, I know this isn't what you want to hear but truth is they are no liable for you car even if it is in their lot. Honestly I would be surprised if the cameras worked most places I've worked with big signs about the cameras count on the…"
2 hours ago
O'Neal posted a discussion

Is this negligence?

I've been working in a department store (Belk) inside of a mall for almost three years now. I've never had any security problems and I've always felt safe up until last Friday. I departed from school around 2:20 and I arrived at work at 2:40pm for my 3 o'clock shift. Belk employees have to park on the third floor of the parking deck which I've been doing. On this particular day, the deck was a bit fuller than usual due to the Easter weekend so I parked in the very back of the deck against the…See More
3 hours ago
Aaron F Kendrick replied to Jack Neulist's discussion Finding the "Old Ones": Who really settled North America first? in the group History Buffs
"I can't remember if I have mentioned this before, but there is a book that lays the groundwork for such a question and it was by an author called Barry Fells.  He posited that there were many groups here in what we call the United States…"
4 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service