"A heavy blanket, rifle, hatchet, knife, powder horn and powder, bullets, extra gunflint, a picker, a wallet well stored with parched corn, some salt and a tin cup."
- description of gear used in a 1770 expedition
- Life and times of Gen. James Robertson
"They take about a gallon of corn and parch it well, then they pound it fine and mix it with as much sugar as would make it sweet enough for coffee, then put it in a buckskin bag and stow it in their knapsack; then take a chunk of raw bacon, wrap it up well and stow this in their knapsack. A tin cup was tied to the strap of their knapsack. this store is for a reserve -
never to be used till there is no other shift; with a tomahawk and a butcher's knife and rifle gun and blanket, this is the equipage of an Indian campaign."
Reminiscences of a Pioneer, by Thomas Rogers Sr.
I try to tailor my gear to each excursion, or event, trek, or activity. And this tailoring is a constant evolution as my knowledge or what is "right" changes, combined with past experiences of what works for me.
It is my hope that a quick overview of what I carry, and how, will be useful to some. This is certainly not a tell all end all, and my gear is bound to change some the next time I go out - my goal is to be always learning, always evolving.
My bullet pouch contains just the bare essentials and has no inside pockets. A turn screw, extra flints, loose round ball, patching, and a fire kit sit in the bottom. An antler measure and a pick hang from a wang attached to the strap. The cows knee is usually tied to the wrist of my gun.
I carry my bedroll, which always consists of two blankets - both centerseam, handwoven wool, one heavy but smaller, the other thin but large - with a hemp tumpline. The tumpline is worn across my chest and goes over both shoulders with the bedroll snug against my upper back. Inside the bedroll is a minimum of 2 extra pairs of moccasins.
Over my left shoulder, with a single twist through the middle portion, I carry my wallet. Inside the wallet is all my food, and just necessary day to day stuff. Linen sacks contain deer jerky, parched corn flour, coffee, shredded up bark for fire tinder, extra lead and a bullet mold, my toilet supplies, and other random foodstuffs such as nuts or apples (depending on season and my stomachs mood when I'm packing). Raw meat is wrapped in linen scraps. A small buckskin bag holds tobacco. I also carry a small bottle of bear grease and greasy rag for gun maintenance, a bundle of buckskin and linen scraps with thread, needle, and awl inside for trail repairs. A brass kettle and hot dipped tin cup round out my cooking gear. A larger buckskin bag holds a Katadyn water filter. Extra water is carried in a simple gourd canteen on a cordage strap.