Camping Light - Outdoor Skills
Camping Light - Outdoor Skills
As to clothing for the woods, a good deal of nonsense has been written about "strong, coarse woolen clothes." You do not want coarse woolen clothes. Fine woolen cashmere of medium thickness for coat, vest and pantaloons, with no cotton lining. Color, slate gray or dead-leaf (either is good). Two soft, thick woolen shirts; two pairs of fine, but substantial, woolen drawers; two pairs of strong woolen socks or stockings; these are what you need, and all you need in the way of clothing for the woods, excepting hat and boots, or gaiters. Boots are best—providing you do not let yourself be inveigled into wearing a pair of long-legged heavy boots with thick soles, as has been often advised by writers who knew no better. Heavy, long-legged boots are a weary, tiresome encumbrance on a hard tramp through rough woods. Even moccasins are better. Gaiters, all sorts of high shoes in fact, are too bothersome about fastening and unfastening. Light boots are best. Not thin, unserviceable affairs, but light as to actual weight. The following hints will give an idea of the best footgear for the woods: Let them be single soled, single backs and single fronts, except light, short foot-linings. Backs of solid "country kip;" fronts of substantial French calf; heel one inch high, with steel nails; countered outside; straps narrow, of fine French calf put on "a straddle," and set down to the top of the back. The out-sole stout, Spanish oak, and pegged rather than sewed, although either is good. They will weigh considerably less than half as much as the clumsy, costly boots usually recommended for the woods; and the added comfort must be tested to be understood.
The hat should be fine, soft felt, with moderately low crown and wide brim; color to match the clothing.
The proper covering for head and feet is no slight affair, and will be found worth some attention. Be careful that the boots are not too tight, or the hat too loose. The above rig will give the tourist one shirt, one pair of drawers and pair of socks to carry as extra clothing. A soft, warm blanket-bag, open at the ends, and just long enough to cover the sleeper, with an oblong square of waterproofed cotton cloth 6x8 feet, will give warmth and shelter by night and will weigh together five or six pounds. This, with the extra clothing, will make about eight pounds of dry goods to pack over carries, which is enough. Probably, also, it will be found little enough for comfort.
During a canoe cruise across the Northern Wilderness in the summer of '83, I met many parties at different points in the woods, and the amount of unnecessary duffel with which they encumbered themselves was simply appalling. Why a shrewd business man, who goes through with a guide and makes a forest hotel his camping ground nearly every night, should handicap himself with a five-peck pack-basket full of gray woolen and gum blankets, extra clothing, pots, pans and kettles, with a 6-pound 10-bore, and two rods—yes, and an extra pair of heavy boots hanging astride of the gun—well, it is one of the things I shall never understand. My own load, including canoe, extra clothing, blanket-bag, two days' rations, pocket-axe, rod and knapsack, never exceeded 26 pounds; and I went prepared to camp out any and every night.
People who contemplate an outing in the woods are pretty apt to commence preparations a long way ahead, and to pick up many trifling articles that suggest themselves as useful and handy in camp; all well enough in their way, but making at last a too heavy load. It is better to commence by studying to ascertain just how light one can go through without especial discomfort. A good plan is to think over the trip during leisure hours, and make out a list of indispensable articles, securing them beforehand, and have them stowed in handy fashion, so that nothing needful may be missing just when and where it cannot be procured. The list will be longer than one would think, but need not be cumbersome or heavy. As I am usually credited with making a cruise or a long woods tramp with exceptionally light duffel, I will give a list of the articles I take along—going on foot over carries or through the woods.
Sears, George Washington. Woodcraft. New York: Forest and Stream Publishing, 1884.
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