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Title: Packing and Portaging
Author: Wallace, Dillon, 1863-1939
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:

  Words printed in italics are noted with underscores: _italics_.
  Words printed in small-caps have been converted to ALL-CAPS.




  Author of "The Lure of the Labrador Wild," "The
  Long Labrador Trail," "Saddle and Camp in
  the Rockies," "Across the Mexican
  Sierras," etc.

  [Illustration: OUTING HANDBOOKS]




  All rights reserved


  CHAPTER                                     PAGE

  I.    PACKING AND THE OUTFIT                   9

  II.   THE CANOE AND ITS EQUIPMENT             12


  IV.   PERSONAL EQUIPMENT                      23

  V.    FOOD                                    31

  VI.   THE PORTAGE                             38




  X.    ADJUSTING THE PACK                      71

  XI.   SOME PRACTICAL HITCHES                  77


  XIII. AFOOT IN SUMMER                        106


  XV.   WITH DOGS AND KOMATIK                  123



  Method of Slinging Load on Aparejo         58, 59

  Sling for Racking on Crosstree Saddle          74

  Squaw or Crosstree Hitch                   79, 80

  The Crosstree Diamond Hitch                82, 83

  United States Army Diamond Hitch           85, 86

  Lifting Hitch                              93, 94

  Stirrup Hitch                                  96

  Saddle Hitch                                   97




Ordinarily the verb _to pack_ means to stow articles snugly into
receptacles, but in the parlance of the trail it often means to carry
or transport the articles from place to place. The _pack_ in the
language of the trail is the load a man or horse carries.

Likewise, a _portage_ on a canoe route is a break between navigable
waters, over which canoe and outfit must be carried; or the word may be
used as a verb, and one may say, "I will portage the canoe," meaning "I
will carry the canoe." In the course of the following pages these terms
will doubtless all be used in their various significations.

Save for the few who are able to employ a retinue of professional
guides and packers to attend to the details of transportation, the
one chief problem that confronts the wilderness traveler is that of
how to reduce the weight of his outfit to the minimum with the least
possible sacrifice of comfort. It is only the veriest tenderfoot that
deliberately endures hardships or discomforts where hardships and
discomforts are unnecessary. Experienced wilderness travelers always
make themselves as comfortable as conditions will permit, and there is
no reason why one who hits the trail for sport, recreation or health
should do otherwise.

In a description, then, of the methods of packing and transporting
outfits the tenderfoot and even the man whose feet are becoming
calloused may welcome some hints as to the selection of compact, light,
but, at the same time, efficient outfits. These hints on outfitting,
therefore, I shall give, leaving out of consideration the details of
camp making, camp cookery and those phases of woodcraft that have no
direct bearing upon the prime question of packing and transportation on
the trail.

Let us classify the various methods of wilderness travel under the
following heads: 1. By Canoe; 2. With Saddle and Pack Animals; 3. Afoot
in Summer; 4. On Snowshoes; 5. With Dogs and Sledge. Taking these in
order, and giving our attention first to canoe travel, it will be
found convenient further to subdivide this branch of the subject and
discuss in order: (a) The Canoe and its Equipment; (b) Camp Equipment
for a Canoe Trip; (c) Personal Equipment; (d) Food; (e) The Portage.



A sixteen-foot canoe with a width of at least 33 inches and a depth
of at least 12 inches will accommodate two men, an adequate camping
outfit and a full ten weeks' provisions very nicely, and at the same
time not lie too deep in the water. A fifteen-foot canoe, unless it
has a beam of at least 35 inches and a depth of 12 inches or more, is
unsuitable. Three men with their outfit and provisions will require an
eighteen-foot canoe with a width of 35 inches or more and a depth of
no less than 13 inches, or a seventeen-foot canoe with a width of 37
inches and 13 inches deep. The latter size is lighter by from ten to
fifteen pounds than the former, while the displacement is about equal.

The best all-around canoe for cruising and hard usage is the
canvas-covered cedar canoe. Both ribs and planking should be of cedar,
and only full length planks should enter into the construction.
Where short planking is used the canoe will sooner or later become
hogged--that is, the ends will sag downward from the middle.

In Canada the "Peterborough" canoe is more largely used than the
canvas-covered. These are to be had in both basswood and cedar. Cedar
is brittle, while basswood is tough, but the latter absorbs water
more readily than the former and in time will become more or less

Cruising canoes should be supplied with a middle thwart for convenient
portaging. Any canoe larger than sixteen feet should have three
thwarts. To lighten weight on the portage, and provide more room
for storing outfit, it is advisable to remove the cane seats with
which canvas canoes are usually provided. This can be readily done
by unscrewing the nuts beneath the gunwale which hold the seats in

Good strong paddles--sufficiently strong to withstand the heavy strain
to which cruising paddles are put--should be selected. On the portage
they must bear the full weight of the canoe; they will frequently be
utilized in poling up stream against stiff currents; and in running
rapids they will be subjected to rough usage. On extended cruises it is
advisable to carry one spare paddle to take the place of one that may
be rendered useless.

Experienced canoemen pole up minor rapids. Poles for this purpose
can usually be cut at the point where they are needed, but pole
"shoes"--that is, spikes fitted with ferrules--to fit on the ends of
poles are a necessary adjunct to the outfit where poling is to be done.
Without shoes to hold the pole firmly on the bottom of the stream the
pole may slip and pitch the canoeman overboard. The ferrules should be
punctured with at least two nail holes, by which they may be secured to
the poles, and a few nails should be carried for this purpose.

A hundred feet or so of half-inch rope should also be provided, to be
used as a tracking line and the various other uses for which rope may
be required.



Personal likes and prejudices have much to do with the form of tent
chosen. My own preference is for either the "A" or wedge tent, with the
Hudson's Bay model as second choice, for general utility. Either of
these is particularly adapted also to winter travel where the tent must
often be pitched upon the snow. If, however, the tent is only to be
used in summer, and particularly in canoe travel where a light, easily
erected model is desired, the Frazer tent is both ideal for comfort and
is an exceedingly light weight model for portaging.

Duck or drill tents are altogether too heavy and quite out of date.
They soak water and are an abomination on the portage. The best tent is
one of balloon silk, _tanalite_, or of extra light green waterproofed
tent cloth. The balloon silk tent is very slightly heavier than either
of the others, but is exceedingly durable. For instance, a 7-1/3 ×
7-1/3 foot "A" tent of either tanalite or extra light green waterproof
tent cloth, fitted with sod cloth, complete, weighs eight pounds,
while a similar tent of waterproof balloon silk weighs nine pounds. A
Hudson's Bay model, 6 × 9 feet, weighs respectively seven and seven and
one-half pounds.

These three cloths are not only waterproof and practically rot proof,
but do not soak water, which is a feature for consideration where much
portaging is to be done and camp is moved almost daily.

Some dealers recommend that customers going into a fly or mosquito
country have the tent door fitted with bobbinet. The idea is good, but
cheese cloth is much cheaper and incomparably better than bobbinet.

The cheese-cloth door should be made rather full, and divided at the
center from tent peak to ground, with numerous tie strings to bring the
edges tight together when in use, and other strings or tapes on either
side, where it is attached to the tent, to reef or roll and tie it back
out of the way when not needed.

When purchasing a light-weight tent, see that the dealer supplies a bag
of proper size in which to pack it.

A pack cloth 6 × 7 feet in size, of brown waterproof canvas weighing
about 3-1/2 pounds, makes an excellent covering for the tent floor
at night. On the portage blankets and odds and ends will be packed
and carried on it. If one end and the two sides of the pack cloth are
fitted with snap buttons it may be converted into a snug sleeping bag
with a pair of blankets folded lengthwise, the bottom and sides of the
blanket secured with blanket safety pins as a lining for the bag.

My standby for summer camping is a fine all-wool gray blanket 72 × 78
inches in size and weighing 5-1/2 pounds. This I have found sufficient
even in frosty autumn weather--always, in fact, until the weather grows
cold enough to freeze streams and close them to canoe navigation. Used
as a lining for the improvised pack cloth sleeping bag, this blanket is
quite bedding enough and makes an exceedingly comfortable bed, too.

A three-quarter axe with a 24- or 28-inch handle makes a mighty good
camp axe. A full axe is heavy and inconvenient to portage and the
lighter axe will serve every purpose in any country at any time.
Personally I favor the Hudson's Bay axe. This may be had fitted either
with a 24-inch or 18-inch handle. In the two-party outfit which we
are discussing there should be two axes, one of which may be fitted
with the shorter handle, but the other should have at least a 24- and
preferably a 28-inch handle. Every axe should have a leather sheath
or scabbard for convenient packing. The so-called pocket axes are too
small to be of practical use. The camper does not wish to miss the
luxury of the big evening camp-fire, and he can never provide for it
with a small hatchet or toy pocket axe.

Cooking utensils of aluminum alloy are the lightest and best for the
trail. Tin and iron will rust, enamel ware will chip, and unalloyed
aluminum is too soft and bends out of shape. The best sporting goods
dealers carry complete outfits of aluminum alloy. I have used them in
the frigid North and in the tropics, in canoe, sledging, tramping and
horseback journeys, and can recommend them unequivocally, save perhaps
the frying pan.

The two-man cooking and dining outfit should contain the following

  1 Pot with cover 7 × 6-1/2 inches, capacity three quarts.
  1 Coffee pot 6 × 6-1/8 inches, capacity two quarts.
  1 Steel frying pan 9-7/8 × 2 inches, with folding handle.
  1 Pan 9 × 3 inches, with folding handle, for mixing- and dish-pan.
  2 Plates 8-7/8 inches diameter.
  2 Cups.
  2 Aluminum alloy forks.
  2 Dessert spoons.
  1 Large cooking spoon.
  1 Dish mop.
  2 Dish towels.

The regular aluminum alloy cup is too small for practical camp use.
There is an aluminum bowl, however, holding one pint, but without a
handle. This is about the right size for a practical cup, and I have a
handle riveted on it and use it as a cup. The top only of the handle
should be attached, that the cups may set one inside the other. The
heat conducting quality of aluminum makes it a question whether or not
enamel cups are not preferable.

To pack the outfit snugly, set the mixing pan into the frying pan, the
handles of both pans folded, place the plates, one on top of the other,
in the mixing pan, the cooking pot on top of these, and the coffee pot
inside the cooking pot. The cups will fit in the coffee pot. The weight
of this outfit complete is 5-1/2 pounds.

A waterproof canvas bag of proper size should be provided in which to
pack the utensils. Forks and spoons, wrapped in a dish towel, will fit
nicely in the canvas bag alongside the pots.

_Waterproof_ canvas is suggested for the bag, not to protect the
utensils but because anything but waterproofed material will absorb
moisture and become watersoaked in rainy weather, adding materially to
the weight of the outfit.

One of the handiest aids to baking is the aluminum reflecting baker.
An aluminum baker 16 × 18 inches when open, folds to a package 12 × 18
inches and about two inches thick, and fitted into a waterproof canvas
case weighs, case and all, about four pounds.

Broilers, fire irons, fire blowers or inspirators, as they are
sometimes called, and many other things that are convenient enough but
quite unnecessary, should never burden the outfit. Even though the
weight of some of them may be insignificant, each additional claptrap
makes one more thing to look after. There are a thousand and one
claptraps, indeed, that outfitters offer, but which do not possess
sufficient advantage to pay for the care and labor of transportation,
and my advice is, leave them out, one and all.

Outfitters supply small packing bags of proper size to fit, one on top
of another, into larger waterproof canvas bags. These small bags are
made preferably of balloon silk. By using them the whole outfit may be
snugly and safely packed for the portage.

In one of these small bags keep the general supply of matches, though
each canoeist should carry a separate supply for emergency in his
individual kit.

In like manner two or three cakes of soap should be packed in another
small bag. Floating soap is less likely to be lost than soap that

A dozen candles will be quite enough. These if packed in a tin box of
proper size will not be broken.

Repair kits should be provided. A file for sharpening axes and a
whetstone for general use are of the first importance. Include also a
pair of pincers, a ball of stout twine and a few feet of copper wire. A
tool haft or handle with a variety of small tools inside is convenient.
Either a stick of canoe cement, a small supply of marine glue, or
a canoe repair outfit such as canoe manufacturers put up and which
contain canvas, white lead, copper tacks, calor and varnish will be
found a valuable adjunct to the outfit should the canoe become damaged.
This tool and repair equipment should be packed in a strong canvas bag
small enough to drop into the larger nine-inch waterproof bag.

A small leather medicine case with vials containing, in tabloid form, a
cathartic, an astringent (lead and opium pills are good) and bichloride
of mercury, suffices for the drug supply. Surgical necessities are:
Some antiseptic bandages, a package of linen gauze, a spool of
adhesive plaster and one-eighth pound of absorbent cotton, wrapped in
oiled silk. In addition most campers find it convenient to have in
their personal outfit a pair of small scissors. These are absolutely
necessary if one is to put on a bandage properly. The regular surgical
scissors, the two blades of which hook together at the center, are the
most convenient sort, both to use and to carry, and have the keenest

A pair of tweezers takes up but little room and is useful for
extracting splinters or for holding a wad of absorbent cotton in
swabbing out a wound, as cotton will, of course, become septic if held
in the fingers.

A small scalpel is better than the knife blade for opening up an
infection, as it is more convenient to handle and will make a deep
short incision when desired. These will all be packed in one of the
small balloon silk bags.



Each canoeist should have a personal kit or duffle bag of waterproof
canvas. These may be purchased from outfitters and are usually 36
inches deep and of 12, 15, 18 or 21 inches diameter. The 12-inch
bag, however, is amply large to accommodate all one needs in the way
of clothing and other personal gear. This, as well as every other
waterproof canvas packing bag mentioned, excepting the cooking kit bag,
should be supplied with a handle on the bottom and one on the side.
These bags not only keep the contents dry, but, as previously stated,
do not absorb moisture to add to the weight, a very essential feature
where every unnecessary pound must be eliminated. I was once capsized
in a rapid and my duffle bag lay half a day in the water before it was
recovered. The contents were perfectly dry.

One suit of medium weight woolen underclothing in addition to the suit
worn is ample for a short trip. Four extra pairs of thick woolen socks
should be provided--the home-knit kind. An excellent material for
trousers to be worn on the trail is moleskin, though for midsummer wear
a good quality khaki is first rate. Moleskin, however, will withstand
the hardest usage and to my mind is superior to khaki or any other
material where wading is necessary and on cold or rainy days, as it is
very nearly windproof. A good leather belt should be worn, even though
suspenders support the trousers.

The outer shirt should be of light weight gray or brown flannel and
provided with pockets. A blue flannel shirt of the best quality is all
right. The cheaper qualities of blue crock, and this feature makes
them objectionable. If the outer shirt is too heavy it will be found
cumbersome under the exertion of the portage.

A large, roomy Pontiac shirt to slip over the outer shirt and use as a
sweater is much preferable to a sweater on the trail. It is windproof
and warm. Do not take a coat--the Pontiac shirt will be both coat and
sweater. A coat is always in the way on a canoe trip and makes the pack
that much heavier.

A pair of low leather or canvas wading shoes for river work and
larrigans or shoe pacs for ordinary wear, large enough to admit two
pairs of woolen socks, are best suited to canoeing. Heavy, hobnailed
mountaineer shoes or boots are not in place here.

Heavy German socks, supplied with garter and clasp to hold them in
position, are better than canvas leggings, and protect the legs from
chill at times when wading is necessary in icy waters.

Any kind of an old slouch hat is suitable.

Some canoeists take with them a suit of featherweight oilskin.
Personally I have never worn rainproof garments when canoeing. Once
I carried a so-called waterproof coat, but it was not waterproof. It
leaked water like a sieve, and was no protection even from the gentlest
shower. I am inclined, however, to favor featherweight oilskins, though
not while portaging--they would be found too warm--but when paddling in
rainy weather, or to wear on rainy days about camp.

If the trip is to extend into a black fly or mosquito region,
protection against the insects should be provided. A head net of black
bobbinet that will set down upon the shoulders, with strings to tie
under the arms, is about the best arrangement for the head. Old loose
kid gloves, with the fingers cut off, and farmers' satin elbow sleeves
to fit under the wrist bands of the outer shirt will protect the
wrists and hands. The armlets should be well and tightly sewn upon the
gloves, for black flies are not content to attack where they alight,
and will explore for the slightest opening and discover some undefended
spot. They are, too, a hundred times more vicious than mosquitoes.

There are many receipts for fly dope, but in a half hour after
application perspiration will eliminate the virtue of most mixtures and
a renewed application must be made. Nessmuk's receipt is perhaps as
good as any, and the formula is as follows:

  Oil of pine tar       3 parts
  Castor oil            2 parts
  Oil of pennyroyal     1 part

If when you were a child your father held your nose as an inducement
for you to open your mouth while your mother poured castor oil down
your throat, the odor of the castor oil rising above the odors of the
other ingredients will revive sad memories. Indeed it is claimed for
this mixture that the dead will rise and flee from its compounded odor
as they would flee from eternal torment. It certainly should ward off
such little creatures as black flies and mosquitoes.

Another effective mixture is:

  Oil of tar           3 parts
  Sweet oil            3 parts
  Oil of pennyroyal    1 part
  Carbolic acid        3 per cent.

An Indian advised me once to carry a fat salt pork rind in my pocket,
and now and again rub the greasy side upon face and hands. I tried it
and found it nearly as good as the dopes.

Unless one penetrates, however, far north In Canada during black fly
season these extraordinary precautions will scarcely be necessary.
There Is nowhere In the United States a region where black flies are
really very bad (though perhaps I am drawing invidious comparisons in
making the statement), and even in interior Newfoundland they are,
compared with the farther north, tame and rather inoffensive though
always troublesome.

The choice of fishing tackle, guns and arms depends largely upon
personal taste. Steel rods of the best quality will serve better than
split bamboo on an extended trip where one, continuously on the portage
trail, is often unable to properly dry the tackle. The steady soaking
of a split bamboo rod for a week is likely to loosen the sections and
injure a fine rod. A waterproof canvas or pantasote case is the right
sort for the rod--leather cases are unpractical on a cruising trip.

Leather gun cases, too, under like circumstances will become
watersoaked, and under any circumstances they are unnecessarily heavy.
Use canvas cases therefore in consideration for your back. They are
light and in a season of rain immeasurably better than leather.

Economize, also, on ammunition. Do your target practice before you hit
the trail. A hunter that cannot get his limit of big game with twenty
rifle cartridges is an unsafe individual to turn loose in the woods.

For spruce grouse, ptarmigan and other small game a ten-inch barrel,
22-caliber single-shot pistol is an excellent arm, provided one has had
some previous experience in its use. It is not a burden on the belt,
and a handful of cartridges in the pocket are not noticed.

Pack your cartridges in a strong canvas bag, your gun grease and
accessories in another receptacle.

On the belt also carry a broad-pointed four-inch blade skinning knife
of the ordinary butcher knife shape. This will be your table knife, as
well as cooking and general utility knife.

In the pocket carry a stout jackknife, a waterproof matchbox, always
kept well filled, and a compass.

A film camera is more practical for the trail than a plate camera for
many reasons, one of which is weight. Plates are heavy and easily
broken. It is well to have each roll of films put up separately in
a sealed, water-tight tin. Dealers will supply them thus at five
cents extra for each film roll. A waterproof pantasote case, too, is
better than leather, for leather in a long-continued rain will become
watersoaked, as before stated.

If a plate camera is carried the plates may be packed in a small light
wooden box--a starch box, for instance. The box will protect them under
ordinary circumstances. Film rolls, however, may be carried in a small
canvas bag that will slip into one of the larger waterproof bags.

My object in outlining outfit is rather to emphasize the possibilities
of selecting a light and efficient outfit that may be easily packed
and transported on the trail, than to evolve an infallible check list;
therefore I shall not attempt to name in detail toilet articles,
tobacco and odds and ends. Take nothing, however, save those things you
will surely find occasion to use, unless I may suggest an extra pipe,
should your pipe be lost. A small balloon silk bag will hold them,
together with a sewing case containing needles, thread, patches and
some safety pins. Another will hold the hand towels and hand soap in
daily use, while an extra hand towel may be stowed in your duffle bag.

In concluding this chapter it may be pertinent to say that the novice
on the trail is pretty certain to burden himself with many things he
will seldom or never use. Take your outfitter into your confidence.
Tell him what sort of a trip you contemplate and he will advise you.
First-class outfitters are usually practical out-of-door men and
camping experts. They have made an extended study of the subject, for
it is part of their business to do so. Therefore, in selecting outfit,
it is both safe and wise to rely upon the advice of any responsible



The true wilderness voyager is willing to endure some discomforts on
the trail, to work hard and submit to black flies and other pests, but
as a reward he usually demands satisfying meals. There is, indeed, no
reason for him to deny himself a variety and a plenty, unless his trip
is to extend into months. Weight on the portage trail is always the
consideration that cuts down the ration. Packing on one's back a ration
to be used two or three months hence is discouraging.

I have evolved a two-week food supply for two men, based upon the
United States army ration, varied as the result of my own experiences
have dictated. It offers not only great variety, but is an exceedingly
bountiful ration even for hungry men. Personal taste will suggest some
eliminations or substitutions that may be made without material loss
or change in weight. If there is certainty of catching fish or killing
game, or if opportunity offers for purchasing fresh supplies along
the trail, reductions in quantity may be made accordingly. For each
additional man, or for any period beyond two weeks, a proportionate
increase in quantity may be made.

  Bacon, 6 pounds.
  Salt fat pork, 2 pounds.
  Ham or canned meats, 5 pounds.
  "Truegg" (egg powder), 1 pound (equals 4 dozen eggs.)
  "Trucream" (milk powder), 1-1/2 pounds.
  "Crisco," 3 pounds, (2 cans).
  Fresh bread, 2 pounds.
  Flour, 12 pounds.
  Corn meal (yellow), 1 pound.
  Rolled oats, 1 pound.
  Rice, 1 pound.
  Baking powder, 1/2 pound.
  Potatoes (Dehydrated) riced, 2 pounds (equals 14 lbs. fresh potatoes).
  Potatoes (Dehydrated) sliced, 1 pound (equals 7 lbs. fresh potatoes).
  Carrots (Dehydrated), 1/4 pound (equals 3 lbs. fresh carrots).
  Onions (Dehydrated), 1/4 pound (equals 3-3/4 lbs. fresh onions).
  Cranberries (Dehydrated), 1/4 pound (equals 2-1/2 qts. fresh fruit).
  Beans, 2 pounds.
  Green peas (Dehydrated), 1/4 pound (equals 1-1/4 lbs. fresh peas).
  Coffee (ground), 2 pounds.
  Tea, 1/2 pound.
  Cocoa, 1/2 pound.
  Sugar (granulated), 5 pounds.
  Preserves, 1 pound.
  Lemons, 1/2 dozen.
  Lime tablets, 1/2 pound.
  Prunes (stoned), 1 pound.
  Raisins, 1 pound.
  Salt, 1 pound.
  Pepper, 1/4 ounce.

This gives each man a nominal ration of 14-1/2 pounds a week, or about
two pounds a day. In reality, however, it is more bountiful than the
summer garrison ration and far more liberal than the summer marching
ration of the army. This is brought about by the pretty general
elimination of water, largely through the substitution of dehydrated
vegetables and fruits for fresh and canned goods. The dehydrated
products designated are in every particular equal to fresh products and
far superior to canned goods. Dehydrated vegetables possess all the
qualities, in fact, of fresh vegetables, with only the large percentage
of water removed. Water is introduced restoring them to original form
usually by boiling. No chemical is used as a preservative as is the
case with all dried vegetables put up by foreign manufacturers.

It will be noticed that butter has been omitted and that "Crisco" has
been introduced in the place of lard and to be used in cooking instead
of butter. Crisco is a product of edible vegetable oils. It has the
appearance of lard but can be heated to a much higher temperature
without burning, is fully equal to butter when used as shortening, and
dough bread, fish or other articles of food fried in it will not absorb
it so readily as they will lard, nor will it transmit the flavor of
one food to another. For example, fish may be fried in Crisco, and
dough bread or anything else fried in the same Crisco will have not the
slightest flavor of fish. It will keep fresh and sweet under conditions
that turn lard and butter rancid. Butter quickly becomes strong, and
the heat of the sun keeps it in an oily, unpalatable condition, even
when packed in air-tight tins. The most lavish user of butter will
discover that it is no hardship to go without it when in camp. Crisco,
put up in handy, friction-top cans, can be purchased from nearly any

Coffee should be carried in friction-top tins. On extended trips
coffee is too bulky to carry save as a special treat. A pound of tea
will go as far as many pounds of coffee; therefore on trips extending
beyond three or four weeks the proportion of tea should be increased
and that of coffee diminished. On short trips, however, such as we are
discussing, there is no reason and most Americans usually prefer it
even when in camp.

Each article of food should have its individual bag, to fit into one
of the larger waterproof canvas bags described, though the bacon and
fat pork, each piece wrapped in paraffin (waxed) paper, may be packed
in one bag. Paraffin paper will protect other packages in the bag from
grease. Several articles of small bulk and weight such as dehydrated
carrots, onions, cranberries and green peas each in its original
package or a small muslin bag suitable in size may be carried in a
single balloon silk bag. The small bags containing such articles as are
not in daily and frequent use should be stowed in the bottoms of the
canvas bags, while those in constant demand should be at the top where
they can be had without unpacking the entire bag. Every package or bag
should be plainly labeled with the nature of its contents. In labeling
them use ink, as pencil marks are too easily obliterated. Where a party
is composed of a sufficient number of people to make it worth while the
party ration for each day may be weighed out and packed in a separate
receptacle, thus making seven food packages for each week. This,
however, would be obviously unpractical where there are less than eight
or ten members of the party.

No glass or crockeryware should be used, not only because of its
liability to break, but because of its unnecessary weight.

A good way to carry the tin of baking powder is to sink it into the
sack of flour. The flour will protect it and preclude the possibility
of the cover coming off and the contents spilling out. Do not carry
prepared or self-raising flour on the trail. For many reasons it is
unpractical for trail use, though perhaps most excellent in the
kitchen at home.

Throughout I have accentuated the advisability of waterproof covers for
everything. Every ounce of water absorbed by tent, bags, or package
covers, adds to the tedium of the trail by so much unnecessary weight.
When flour carried in an ordinary sack Is exposed to rain a paste
will form next the cloth, and presently harden into a crust that will
protect the bulk of flour from injury. But the flour used up in the
process of crust forming is a decided waste, and the paste, retaining a
degree of moisture, increases weight.

I have suggested balloon silk for the small food bags to fit into the
larger waterproofed canvas bags, not only because it does not absorb
moisture, but because there will be no possibility of the contents
sifting through the cloth. If these or the cloth from which to make
them cannot be readily obtained, closely woven muslin will do.

Should the canoeist desire to make his own bags and should he not find
it convenient to purchase waterproofed canvas, the ordinary canvas
which he will use may be waterproofed by the following process:

In two gallons of boiling water dissolve three and one-half ounces of
alum. Rain water is best, though any soft water will do; but it _must
be soft water_ to obtain the best results. In another vessel dissolve
four ounces of sugar of lead in two gallons of soft water. Unite the
solutions when they have cleared by pouring into another vessel No. 1
first, then No. 2. Let the solution stand over night, decant it into
a tub, free of any sediment that may have settled, and it is ready
for the canvas. The cloth should be put into the solution, thoroughly
saturated with it and then lightly wrung out, and hung up to dry. This
treatment will render canvas to a considerable extent, though not
completely, waterproof.

Muslin for the smaller food bags may be waterproofed by painting it
with a saturate solution of turpentine and paraffin.

Canned goods should be packed snugly in canvas bags, with cans on end,
that the sides, not the corners or edges, will rest against the back in

Camp chests in which to store food or other articles are carried by
some canoeists, but they add considerable weight to the outfit. The
best and most serviceable camp chest is one of indestructible fiber.
One with an inside measurement of 18 × 24 × 12 inches weighs twenty



There are several types of pack harness offered by outfitters, but
it is generally conceded that the best method of carrying heavy or
medium-weight packs is with the tump line. In tump line carrying
the pack is supported by a broad band of leather passed across the
head--high up on the forehead--thus throwing the weight upon the strong
muscles of the neck, with no shoulder straps or other support.

Canadian voyageurs, Hudson's Bay Company packers and Indians use the
tump line to the exclusion of all shoulder-carrying devices. Indeed, by
no other method would it be possible for them to transport upon their
backs through a rough country the heavy burdens which they are called
upon to carry. Experienced packers with the tump line will sometimes
portage loads of upwards of four hundred pounds. In tests of skill I
have seen a man carry in a single load the contents of three barrels of
flour--588 pounds.

The tump line consists of a broad piece of leather some eighteen or
twenty inches in length (known as the head strap or headpiece), with a
leather thong usually about seven feet in length attached to each end,
the total length from the tip end of one thong to the tip end of the
other thong averaging about sixteen feet.

Sometimes the two thongs are sewn to the headpiece, and again the
line is a single strip of leather, broadened in the center to form
the headpiece. The best tump lines, however, have the head strap as
a separate piece with a buckle at each end by which the thongs are
attached. This arrangement admits of adjustment, if necessary, to suit
the individual after the pack has been made up.

There is a knack in tump line carrying, but the following directions
for making up various packs will give the novice sufficient insight,
with a little experience, to enable him to acquire the art.

When the pack is to be made up wholly of bags, lay the tump line on
the ground with the thongs parallel to each other and from sixteen
to twenty inches apart, depending upon the length of the bags to be
packed. Place the bags across the thongs, one bag upon another, taking
care that the thongs are not so near the ends of the bags as to render
them liable to slip off when the pack is tied. Now lift the head strap
above the top bag and secure the pack by drawing the loose end of each
thong in turn tight around the bags and knotting it a few inches below
the buckle that attaches its other end to the headpiece.

When a pack cloth is to be used, spread the pack cloth upon the thongs
of the tump line, stretched upon the ground in the manner above
described, and in the center of the pack cloth lay folded blankets and
other articles to be packed, making the pile about two feet long, and
taking care that hard substances are in the center, with blankets and
soft things outside. Now turn the sides of the pack cloth over the pack
and fold over the ends. If a bag is to be included, lay it upon the
pack after the cloth has been folded, and secure the whole as in the
former case.

Another method of making up a pack with the pack cloth, common among
Canadian voyageurs, is as follows: Spread the cloth upon the ground,
and lay the tump line across it, the headpiece near one end and the
thongs a foot from the sides. Fold the sides of the cloth inward over
each thong. Now build up the pack in a neat pile about two feet long on
the folded cloth, taking care as before that hard things are placed in
the middle. Fold the end of the pack cloth with protruding thongs over
the pack, take a half turn with the loose end of a thong around the
other end near the headpiece, draw it tight until the end is closely
puckered, then knot it and draw up the other thong and secure it in
like manner. Now bring the free ends of the tump line to center of
pack, on top, cross them and pass them around middle of pack and tie.

The knack of comfortable tump line carrying once the neck muscles have
become developed and hardened to the work is in properly balancing the
pack. With the headpiece resting high up upon the forehead the pack
should hang with its bottom no lower than the hips. Neither should it
be too high. A little experimenting will teach just where the proper
balance is to be found. If it is too high, lengthen the line, or if too
low shorten it by means of the buckles which attach the thongs to the

Experienced packers pile additional bags or bundles on top of the
pack, the uppermost bundle standing higher than the head. In my own
experience I have found that an additional bag thus placed upon the
pack and resting against the back of my neck helped balance the load.
My favorite bag for this purpose is a forty or fifty pound bag of
flour, sometimes surmounted by a lighter bundle which rested partly
upon the flour and partly upon my head.

The tenderfoot will be quite content to limit his early loads to sixty
or seventy pounds, and even then his first portages will not be what
he can conscientiously term experiences of unalloyed joy. Gradually,
however, he will learn the knack of tump packing and at the end of a
couple of weeks of daily experience will find himself able to negotiate
a load of one hundred pounds with some ease.

All the various types of pack harness are supplied with straps by which
the pack is secured and loops through which to slip the arms, the pack
being carried from the shoulders instead of the head. With this sort
of a pack, as with the tump line, care should be given to the proper
adjustment, with the bottom of the pack no lower than the hips. Fifty
pounds is about as heavy a load as one can comfortably carry from the

Outfitters sometimes attach a headpiece to their pack harness--that
is to say the harness is provided with both shoulder loops and tump
line head strap. The object is to secure a division of weight between
shoulders and head. This is a method employed by Eskimos when hunting
without dogs. The Eskimo hunter binds his pack with sealskin thongs,
and manipulates a single thong in such a manner as not only to secure
the pack but to form arm loops and headpiece as well.

No matter what type of shoulder harness is employed, a breast strap
must be used to fasten together the arm loops in front or the loops
will have a continual tendency to slip backward and off the shoulders.
This breast strap fastens the packer so securely to his pack that
should he slip, as is sometimes likely, the pack will carry him down
with it and the probability of injury is multiplied many times. This
alone is a very decided objection to all forms of pack harness.

If one slips with a tump line, on the contrary, a slight twist of the
head will disengage and free one from the pack; and if one is hunting
the tump pack may readily be dropped at a moment's notice, should game
be sighted.

Let me therefore urge the adoption of the tump line for all portage
work where fifty pounds or more must be transported. No experienced
packer will use harness. Harness packing is indeed indicative of the
tenderfoot who has never learned how, unless on long cross country
tramps with light loads.

But on a canoe trip, if one would make progress, big loads must be
resorted to. For instance, if the canoeist has a two mile portage to
negotiate and one hundred pounds of duffle he has but two miles to walk
if he carries all his duffle at once, but if he makes two loads of it
he must walk six miles. With the hundred pound load the portage may
easily be covered in one hour. With fifty pound loads three hours will
be consumed, for there will be time lost in making up the second pack.

Axes, guns and extra paddles may be thrust under the thongs of the tump
line, or carried in the hand. Never portage a rifle with a cartridge
in the chamber, and never portage a loaded shotgun. To disregard this
advice will be to take an unnecessary and foolhardy risk.

Save in a rather stiff breeze, one man can carry a canoe weighing less
than one hundred pounds nearly as easily as two can carry it. There is
one best way of doing everything, and the best and most practical way
to carry a canoe is the Indian's way.

Tie one end of a stout string or thong securely to the middle thwart
close to the gunwale, and the other end to the same thwart close to
the opposite gunwale with the string stretched taut from end to end
of the thwart and on top of it. Slip the blades of two paddles, lying
side by side, under the string, the paddle handles lying on the forward
thwart. With the handles as close together as they will lie, bind them
with a piece of rope or thong to the center of the forward thwart.

Spread the blades upon the middle thwart sufficiently wide apart to
admit your head between them. Take a position on the left side of the
canoe facing the stern. Just forward of the middle thwart grasp the
gunwale on the opposite or right side of the canoe in your left hand
and the gunwale on the near or left side in your right hand, and,
lifting the canoe over your head, let the flat side of the paddles
directly forward of the middle thwart rest upon the shoulders, your
head between them. It will be found that though you faced the stern in
lifting the canoe you are now facing the bow, and with the bow slightly
elevated the canoe can be carried with ease and a view of the trail
ahead will not be shut out.

Should the flat paddle blades resting upon the shoulders be found
uncomfortable, as they doubtless will at the end of the first two
or three hundred yards, a Pontiac shirt or sweater will serve as a
protecting pad.

Outfitters offer for sale yokes, pneumatic pads and contrivances of
various sorts as protections for the shoulders, but these contrivances
elevate the canoe from two to four inches above the shoulders and this
increases the difficulty of steadying it on rough trail. The sweater
or Pontiac shirt eases the cutting effect of the paddles just as well
as any of the special portaging pads, and the canoe can be handled more
easily with it. Besides it makes one less thing to look after.

In a strong breeze it is often difficult for one man to handle a canoe,
for the wind striking it on the side will turn the portager around and
he will find it impossible to keep his course in spite of his best
efforts. If the portage is a short one--two or three hundred yards--the
canoe may be carried very well, one man with the bow the other with the
stern upon a shoulder, the canoe on its side with the bottom next the
portagers' heads, that they may easily grasp the gunwale in one hand
and steady the canoe with the other.

This position will soon be found exceedingly tiresome, and on portages
exceeding two or three hundred yards the paddles should be arranged
with the blades on the after thwart and the handles lashed to the
center of the middle thwart. With this arrangement one man carries
exactly as when portaging the canoe alone, save that he stands under
the canoe just forward of the after thwart instead of the middle
thwart, while the other man carries the bow upon one shoulder. This is
the easiest method of two-man portaging of which I know.

Many odds and ends may be tucked in the canoe on the portage--fishing
rods, for example, in cases, with one end stuck in the bow and the
other end tied to the forward thwart.

Should a canvas canoe become punctured it may be repaired by one of the
following methods:

If a stick of canoe cement is in the outfit, heat the cement with a
match and smear it over the puncture.

Should the outfit contain a canoe repair kit, cut a patch of canvas
somewhat larger than the puncture, apply a coat of white lead to the
puncture and over a marginal space as large as the canvas patch, press
the patch firmly and evenly upon the white lead and tack it down with
copper tacks. To this apply calor, and when dry complete the repairs
with a coat of varnish.

Should marine glue be used, lay a sheet of it over the puncture, heat
the bottom of a cup or some other smooth metal utensil and rub it over
the glue until the glue melts sufficiently to fill the puncture.

In a region where spruce gum can be had, melt a quantity of gum in a
frying pan with sufficient grease to take from the gum its brittle
quality when cold. While hot pour the gum upon the rupture, letting it
run well into the opening and smearing it smoothly over the outside.

"Peterborough" canoes are also easily repaired with marine glue or gum.

In loading the canoe place the heavier bags in the bottom and middle
of the canoe, taking care so to distribute the weight that when fully
loaded the canoe will lie on an even keel. Keep the load always as low
down as possible. Every bag rising above the gunwales offers resistance
to the wind, and tends to make the load topheavy. When but one man
occupies a canoe, however, sufficient weight should be carried forward
to counterbalance his weight in the stern.

Lash everything fast, particularly in rough water or when running
rapids. It does not pay to take chances. With a companion I was once
turned over in a rapid in an unexplored, sparsely timbered wilderness
several hundred miles from the nearest base of supplies--a Hudson's
Bay trading post. Nearly all our food was lost, as well as guns, axes,
cooking utensils and many other necessities of travel. The temperature
stood close to zero, snow covered the ground and during the greater
part of the three weeks occupied in reaching the post we had to dig
driftwood from under the snow, and our ingenuity was taxed at times to
the utmost in efforts to protect ourselves from the elements and travel
with any degree of comfort. Nothing worse than an unpleasant ducking in
icy waters would have resulted from our accident had we observed the
rule of ordinary caution and lashed our outfit to the thwarts.

One end of a rope tied to the forward thwart, the other end threaded
through bag handles or pack lashings and secured to the after thwart,
will do the trick. A short strap, one end attached to a thwart, the
other end supplied with a snap to fasten on rifle or shotgun cases, is
a good way to secure the guns and still have them readily accessible.

If you would make speed be smart in unloading the canoe and making up
your packs on the portage, and equally smart in reloading the canoe.
Delays in loading, unloading and making up packs are the chief causes
of slow progress.

When it is found necessary to "track," give the rear end of the
tracking line a turn around the forward thwart, on the land side of
the canoe, then pass the end back and secure it to the middle thwart.
This distributes the strain between the thwarts. While one man at the
farther end of the line tows the canoe, the other man with a pole may
walk upon the bank, and keep the canoe clear of snags, if the water is
deep. Should the water be shallow it will usually be found necessary
for him to wade and guide the bow through open channels.



Under this head we shall consider: (1) Saddles and pack equipment; (2)
Animals best adapted to pack work; (3) Outfit and provisions and how to
pack them; (4) How to throw some practical hitches; (5) Equipment of
the traveler who has no pack animal and whose saddle horse is required
to transport both rider and equipment.

Comfort on the trail depends to a very large degree upon the animals of
the outfit. A mean horse is an abomination, and a horse may be mean in
many respects. A bucking horse, a horse that shies at stumps and other
objects or at every moving thing, or one that is frightened by sudden
and unexpected sounds is not only an uncomfortable but unsafe animal
to ride upon rugged mountain trails; and a horse that will not stand
without hitching, or one that is hard to catch when hobbled and turned
loose, will cause no end of trouble.

In choosing a horse, then, avoid so far as possible one with these
tendencies, and also observe the manner in which he handles his feet.
He should not be subject to stumbling. He should be sure-footed, steady
and reliable, to qualify him for work on dangerous trails; this is of
the first importance. A horse that does not keep his eyes on the trail
and select his footing with care is wholly unsuited to mountain work.
He should be gunwise. A gunwise horse will not be easily frightened by
sudden and unexpected noises.

Whether intended for mountain or plains work, the horse should be a
good camp animal--that is, one that will not wander far from camp.
It is more than aggravating to find upon arising in the morning that
your horse has disappeared and one always feels that time consumed
in searching for a roving horse is time worse than wasted. Of course
this tendency of an animal can be forestalled by picketing him, but a
picketed horse unless forage be particularly good will not do well, for
it rarely happens in these days of sheep-ravaged ranges that an animal
can find sufficient food to meet his requirements within the limited
length of a picket rope.

Some horses need much persuasion before they can be induced to ford
streams, and I have had them lose their nerve and decline the descent
of precipitous trails. An animal possessing this trait of timidity
is not suited to trail work, for he is likely to cause trouble at a
critical moment.

Some horses are good foragers, others are not. A poor forager will
become leg weary and break down much more quickly than the animal that
takes advantage of every opportunity to graze or browse. A horse just
in from the open range should be round and full-bellied. This is an
indication that he is a good feeder. Generally speaking the chunky
horse is the one best adapted to arduous trail work because he usually
possesses greater powers of endurance than the longer, lankier type.

All of the qualifications above enumerated should be borne in mind in
selecting animals, whether for saddle or pack use. And of course the
animals should be as sound as possible. One should never start upon a
journey with an animal that is lame or has cinch sores or galled back.

When mountain trails are to be negotiated a saddle horse weighing from
nine hundred to a thousand pounds will be found better adapted to the
work than a larger animal. Too large a horse is liable to be clumsy on
the trail, while too light a horse will of course tire under a heavy
rider. A small horse, as a rule, is better able to forage a living than
a large horse, and for this reason stands up better with a moderate
load on long, continuous journeys. Ponies weighing from eight hundred
to eight hundred and fifty pounds will pack one hundred and fifty
pounds easily, and ponies of this size make much better pack animals
than larger ones.

While for general saddle work I prefer a horse, a mule is surer footed
and therefore preferable on precipitous, narrow mountain trails. In
the Sierra Madres of Mexico I rode a mule over trails where I would
scarcely have trusted a horse. Good saddle mules, however, are scarce.
I never saw a really good saddle-broke mule north of Mexico, though
they are doubtless to be had. Mules have greater powers of endurance
than horses, and for many other reasons are superior as pack animals.
The chief objection to a mule is his timidity upon marshy trails. His
feet are much smaller than those of a horse, he mires easily, and he
is fully aware of the fact. A good mule, nevertheless, is the one best
all-around pack animal.

Burros are good where forage is scarce, but they are slow. When the
burro decides that he has done a day's work he stops, and that is the
end of it. He will not consult you, and he will not take your advice.
When he fully decides that he will go no farther you may as well unpack
and make camp with as good grace as you can muster, and keep your
temper. I believe that burros have a well-organized labor union and
they will not do one stroke of work beyond the limit prescribed by
their organization. But one must sometimes resort to them in desert
travel. They will pick their living and thrive on sage brush wastes
where other animals would die, and their ability to go long without
water is truly remarkable. On rough mountain trails they are even more
sure-footed if possible than mules, but like the mule it is difficult
to force them over marshes or into rivers when fording is necessary.

In horse-raising localities in the West very good horses can be had
at anywhere from thirty to seventy-five dollars. The usual rate for
horse rental is one dollar to one dollar and a half a day, and it is
therefore cheaper, when the journey is to extend to a month or more, to
purchase the animals outright and sell them when you are finished with
them for what they will bring. Rented animals are generally animals
of low value and sometimes not very efficient, and in the course of
a month one pays in rental a good share of the value of the horse.
The risk is no greater, for if a rented horse is injured while in a
traveler's possession, the owner holds him who has rented the animal
responsible for the damage.



The riding saddle should be a double cinch, horn saddle, with
wool-lined skirts and of ample weight to hold its position. My own is
a regular stock saddle weighing thirty-five pounds, though for all
ordinary use a twenty-five- or thirty-pound saddle will do just as well.

I prescribe the horn saddle because of its convenience. One may sling
upon it a camera, binoculars or other articles in frequent demand,
and when it becomes necessary to lead a pack pony the lead rope
may be attached to it. For this latter purpose the horn is indeed

In the light of personal experience with both single and double cinch
saddles, I recommend the latter unhesitatingly, particularly for
mountain work. In steep ascents or descents it will not slide, while a
single cinch saddle is certain to do so no matter how tightly cinched,
and this shifting will sooner or later gall the horse's back. In
Mexico the single cinch saddle is almost universally used, but who ever
saw a Mexican's horse that was free from saddle sores? The forward
cinch should preferably be a hair cinch, though the ordinary webbed
sort, both forward and rear, does well enough.

The saddle blanket should be a thick, good quality wool blanket. In
Arizona Navajo saddle blankets are popular, and they are undoubtedly
the best when obtainable. A hair saddle pad or corona, shaped to the
animal's back and used in connection with the blanket, is a pretty good
insurance against galling, and preferable to the felt pad, for it is

A leather boot for rifle, and saddle bags for toilet articles, note
books and odds and ends, bridle, halter rope, a pair of cowboy spurs
with large blunt rowels, and a quirt to tickle delinquent pack horses
will be needed. The rifle boot has two sling straps. The usual method
of carrying it is to insert it between the stirrup leathers on the
near side, drop the sling strap at the top of the boot over the saddle
pommel and buckle the sling strap at the bottom of the boot into the
rear latigo ring. By detaching the latter sling from the boot before
buckling it to the ring, the boot may be removed from or attached to
the saddle by simply lifting the forward sling strap over the pommel,
without unbuckling. In case the sling strap at the top of the boot be
placed too far down, it should be shifted higher up and secured to the
boot with a leather loop which may be riveted to the boot.


(FIG. 1.) Rope is doubled and loop A thrown over horse's back to off

N. B.--In this and the following diagrams the pack is represented as
spread out flat and viewed from above.]

For the pack animals the ordinary cross-tree or sawbuck pack saddle is
the most practical pack saddle for all-around use, though the aparejo,
used by the army and generally throughout Mexico, is superior to the
sawbuck when unwieldy packages of irregular size and shape are to be
transported. Such packages must frequently be transported by army
trains and they are the rule rather than the exception in Mexico, where
freighting throughout wide regions must be done wholly on the backs of

[Illustration: (FIG. 2.) Packs are now lifted into place and off packer
brings loop A up around off side pack to top of load. Near packer
passes end B through loop A and ties ends B and C together with square
knot. Balance or "break" the packs and load is ready for hitch.]

The aparejo is of Arabian origin, and the Spaniards, who adopted it
from the Moors, introduced it into Mexico. In Mexico there are two
types of the aparejo in common use. One made usually of the fiber of
_henequen_, which is woven into pockets which are stuffed with grass,
to form the pads, is used on donkeys in comparatively light packing;
in the other type the pad casing is made of Mexican tanned leather
instead of _henequen_ matting but also stuffed with grass. This is used
in heavier packing with mules, in transporting machinery and supplies
to mines and merchandise to inland settlements.

The cross-tree or sawbuck, however, is used almost exclusively in
the United States by forest rangers, cowboys, prospectors and pack
travelers generally, and it is to this type of pack saddle that we
shall direct our attention chiefly. It may be interesting to note
that this is a very ancient type of pack saddle, of Asiatic origin.
It consists of two saddle boards connected near each end--front and
rear--by two cross-pieces, the pommel and cantle forming a miniature
sawbuck, while the saddle boards are similar in shape to the McClellan
saddle tree. This is fitted with breeching, quarter straps, breast
strap, latigos and cinch. As in the case of the riding saddle, the
sawbuck pack saddle should be supplied with the double cinch. Care
should be taken that the saddle fits the animal for which intended. A
saddle either too wide or too narrow will be certain to cause a sore

Each pack saddle should be accompanied by a heavy woolen saddle
blanket, which should be folded into three or four thicknesses, for
here even greater protection is necessary than with the riding saddle,
for the animal is to carry a dead weight.

The preferable method of carrying supplies with the sawbuck pack saddle
is with kyacks, basket panniers or the _alforjas_, though with sling
and lash ropes any sort of a bundle may be slung upon it.

When they can be obtained, kyacks of indestructible fiber stand first
for preference. These are usually from twenty-two to twenty-four inches
wide, seventeen or eighteen inches high and about nine inches deep, and
are fitted with heavy leather loops for slinging on the saddle. Unless
the horse is a large one, the narrower, or twenty-two inch, should be

Basket panniers of similar size are lighter but not so well adapted to
hard usage, and are more expensive.

The alforjas is constructed of heavy duck and leather, and of the same
dimensions as the kyack. They are much cheaper than either panniers or
kyacks, and are therefore more commonly used. Any outfitter can supply
them. They are slung upon the saddle in the same manner as kyacks. A
pair of the type decided upon will be required for each animal.

The next requirement is a half-inch lash rope. This should be at least
thirty-three, but preferably forty feet in length. In some respects a
cotton rope is preferable to one of hemp, though the latter is more
commonly used, and regulations prescribe it for army pack trains.

A good broad cinch should be provided, fitted with a ring on one end to
which is attached the lash or lair rope and a cinch hook on the other

There should be a pair of hobbles for each animal, and a blind to put
upon obstreperous pack animals when slinging and lashing the load.
These may be purchased throughout the West at almost any village store.
It is well also to carry a bell, which should always be strapped around
the neck of one of the horses when the animals are hobbled and turned
loose to graze.

It will sometimes be necessary to picket one of the animals, and for
this purpose fifty or sixty feet of half or five-eighth inch rope will
be required. Also sufficient leading rope should be provided for each
pack animal, and a halter rope for the saddle horse. A lariat carried
upon the saddle pommel will be found useful in a dozen ways, and may be
utilized for picketing horses.

All horses should be "slick" shod; that is, shod with uncalked shoes.
The shoes should be of soft iron, not so light as to render them liable
to bend before they are worn out, and they should not extend beyond the
hoof at side or rear. Some extra shoes of proper size for each animal,
a horseshoer's nippers, rasp, hammer and some nails should be included
in the equipment.



The outfit recommended in Chapters III and IV in discussing camp and
personal equipment for canoe trips is, with the modifications and
additions which we shall now consider, equally well adapted to saddle
and pack horse travel. As previously stated, our object is to describe
methods of packing, rather than to formulate an infallible check list.
With this in view an efficient outfit that may be easily packed and
transported is outlined, in a general way, and therefore such articles
of outfit mentioned in previous chapters as are obviously useful only
in canoe travel will not be referred to in this connection.

The wedge, the Hudson Bay, the forest ranger and the lean-to tent are
all good models for pack animal travel, and easily erected. Whichever
type is chosen, if made of any one of the light-weight materials
described, will be found both satisfactory and easily packed. For
example, a forest ranger's tent eight feet deep and eight feet wide
weighs less than four pounds, while a lean-to with approximately the
same floor space weighs about three pounds. In the more arid regions of
the West one rarely finds it necessary to pitch a tent, though it is
handy to have one along and well worth carrying, particularly should it
be desired to remain more than one night at any point.

During the summer, save in high altitudes, one pair of light woolen
blankets will be found ample bedding. For all probable conditions of
weather, however, in tent or in the open, the sleeping bag is the most
convenient and at the same time the most comfortable camp bed yet
devised, and it is so easily carried on the pack horse that I advise
its adoption. One made of close-woven waterproofed canvas is the most
thoroughly practical bag for general use. This should be lined with
two pairs of light blankets, that four thicknesses of blanket may
be available for covering. The blankets should be so arranged that
they may be taken out and the bag turned for airing. One may adapt
such a bag to the temperature, using as many or as few thicknesses of
blanket as desired, depending upon the number with which the bag is
lined. I recently saw a bag lined with four thicknesses of llama wool
duffel (providing two thicknesses for cover) that weighed but eight
pounds and furnished ample protection for any weather down to a zero

Pack cloths or light tarpaulins 6 × 7 feet, used to cover and protect
the packs, will be needed for each pack animal, and at night the bed
may be spread upon them. Saddle bags make excellent pillows.

In traveling in an arid region canteens are a necessity. There should
be one large one for each traveler to be carried on the pack horse, and
a small one swung upon the saddle horn will be found convenient for
ready use.

A folding water bucket of waterproofed canvas should also be included
in the outfit.

The aluminum reflecting baker which has been described is far
preferable to the Dutch oven--a heavy iron kettle with iron cover--not
only because it weighs far less and is much more easily packed, but
because it is more practical. Westerners are wedded to the Dutch oven,
and this reference is merely made as a suggestion in case the question
of choice between the two should arise.

If kyacks or alforjas are used the large water-proofed canvas duffle
bags and food bags will not be required. The smaller balloon silk
or musline food bags, however, will be found fully as convenient in
packing in the pack horse kyack as in the canvas bags on the canoe

Each rider should be provided with either a saddle slicker or a poncho,
which when not in use may be rolled and secured to the saddle directly
behind the seat by means of tie strings attached to the saddle. A
poncho is preferable to a slicker, because of the many uses to which it
may be put.

On saddle journeys in cold, windy weather a wind-proof canvas coat
or a large, roomy buckskin shirt is a comfort. If a buckskin shirt
is adapted, have it made plain without fringe or frill. Wilderness
dwellers formerly fringed their buckskin shirts, not alone for
ornament, but to facilitate the drying of the garment when wet. In
the fringed shirt water, instead of settling around the bottom of the
shirt, around the yoke and the seams of the sleeve, will drain to the
fringe which the wind quickly dries. In our case, however, the poncho
will protect the shirt from a wetting.

In summer, in an arid or desert region of the Southwest, athletic
summer underwear will be found entirely satisfactory. Whether this or
light wool is to be worn, however, will depend entirely upon the season
and the region to be visited.

In very warm weather a close-woven, good quality khaki outer shirt is
both comfortable and practical; but on chilly autumn days a flannel
shirt should take its place--gray, brown, blue--the color does not
matter so long as it does not crock. It is my custom to have one khaki
and one flannel shirt in my outfit.

Trousers should be of heavy khaki, medium weight moleskin, or other
strong close-woven material. Full-length trousers, with reinforced
seat, are preferable in some respects to riding breeches, and may be
worn with the regulation United States cavalry puttee leggings with

Some riders prefer top boots, such as Arizona cowboys wear, and but
for their high heels which make walking uncomfortable they would
be admirable. High-laced, medium-weight mountaineering shoes will
eliminate the necessity of puttees, and many prefer them to low-laced
shoes and puttees. In snowy, cold weather I have found heavy German
socks and ordinary shoes, large enough to avoid the possibility of
pinching the feet, admirable footwear for the saddle. But whatever
is decided upon, extra trousers, extra leggings and extra shoes are
superfluous. One pair of each--the pair worn--is sufficient.

The hat should be of the Western style, with broad brim, and of the
best grade. The brims of the cheaper ones are sure to sag after a
little wear and exposure to a shower or two. A good reliable hat may
be had for five dollars that will stand several years of hard wear and
may be renovated when soiled, assuming again the freshness of a new
hat. I have one for which I paid fourteen pesos in Monterey, Mexico, in
1907. I have worn It pretty steadily since in camp and on the trail. It
has been twice renovated, and to-day so nearly resembles a new hat that
I am not ashamed to wear it about town.

Heavy gauntlet buckskin gloves are a necessary protection, not
only against cold in frosty weather, but against brush in summer.
The regulation United States cavalry glove is the best that I have
discovered for all-around hard usage, and will not harden after a

The saddle rifle should be short and light--not over twenty-four-inch
barrel, and not above seven pounds in weight. A revolver is never
needed, though for target practice one offers a means of amusement.

Unless going into permanent camp or into an isolated region, it will
hardly be found necessary to start out with more than one week's
provisions. Before these are consumed settlements will be reached,
where fresh supplies may be purchased. It is well to have along a few
cans of baked beans and corned or roast beef, that a hasty meal may
be prepared when time does not allow a sufficient halt to permit the
preparation of uncooked foods. Two or three dozen lemons should also be
provided, particularly in summer, and in more or less arid regions.

Provisions and general outfit should be neatly packed in small bags,
and evenly distributed in the kyacks.



In saddling up, be sure that the saddle blanket is folded large enough
to protect the horse's sides from the pack, when the pack is slung into
place. Otherwise the kyacks or alforjas will be liable with constant
chafing when the horse is in motion to cause sores. Not only where the
saddle rests upon the blanket but where the pack rests upon the horse's
sides there should be sufficient thicknesses of blanket to overcome
friction, and this demands a greater thickness than under the riding
saddle, for the pack load is a dead load. After the pack saddle is
thrown into place, and before cinching it, ease the blanket by pulling
it up slightly under the center of the saddle--along the backbone of
the animal. This will overcome the tendency of the blanket to draw down
and bind the horse's back too tightly when the saddle is cinched and
the pack in place.

When packing the kyacks or alforjas particular care should be taken to
have the pair for each horse evenly balanced as to weight. If the load
swung on one side of the horse is heavier than that on the opposite
side, there will be a continual drawing down of the pack saddle on
the heavier side, resulting almost certainly in injury to the animal.
Inattention or willful carelessness on the part of packers in balancing
the pack is five times out of six the cause which leads to sore-backed
pack animals.

If two or more pack animals are used, let such provisions and utensils
as are in constant use and will be needed at once by the cook, be
packed on one animal. Hobbles and bell should also be carried on this
animal. This will be the first animal unpacked, and while the other
animals are being unpacked the cook may get busy, and the packer will
have hobbles and bell at hand to immediately attach to the animals.

Attached to each end of the kyacks and alforjas is a leathern loop or
sling strap. By means of these loops kyacks and alforjas are hung to
the saddle, one loop fitting over the forward, the other over the rear
cruz, or fork. The kyacks should be so adjusted as to hang evenly one
with the other. That is to say, one kyack should hang no lower upon the
animal's side than the other, and both should hang as high as possible.

The kyacks in place, hobbles, bell, and such odds and ends as it may
not be convenient to pack in the kyack, may be laid on the center
between the crosstrees and on top of the kyack, and over all smoothly
folded blankets, sleeping bags, or tent, care being exercised to keep
the pack as low and smooth as possible. Everything carefully placed and
adjusted, cover the pack with the pack cloth or tarpaulin, folded to
proper size to protect the whole pack, but with no loose ends extending
beyond it to catch upon brush or other obstructions. If inconvenient to
include within the pack, the cooking outfit in its canvas case may be
lashed to the top of pack after the final hitch has been tied. All is
ready now for the hitch that is to bind the pack into place.

Frequently the traveler is not provided with either kyacks or alforjas,
and it becomes necessary to pack the load without the convenience of
these receptacles. Before considering the hitches, therefore, let us
describe methods of slinging the load in such cases upon the crosstree

The load which is to be slung from the crosstree should be arranged in
two compact packages of equal weight, one for each side of the animal.
Boxes may be used, but large, strong sacks are preferable. The large
canvas duffle bags, described in the chapter on canoe outfitting, are
well adapted to the purpose.


A is forward cruz, B rear cruz of saddle. CC are loops which support
packages. D and E are ends or hauling parts of rope.]

Take the sling rope, and, standing on the near side, throw one end over
the horse's neck just forward of the saddle. Now at about the middle of
the rope form two half hitches, or a clove hitch, on the forward cruz
or fork of the saddle.

With the free end of the rope on the near side form a half hitch on the
rear cruz, allowing sufficient loop between the forward and rear cruz
to receive the side pack, with the free end of the rope falling under
the loop. Now go to the off side and arrange the rope on that side in
similar manner.

Lift the offside pack into position with its forward end even with the
forward fork, lifting the pack well up to the forks. Hold the pack in
position with the palm of the right hand against the center of the
pack, and with the left hand pass the loop along the lower side of the
pack, drawing in the slack with the free end of the rope, which passes
around the rear fork and under the center of the pack. With the pack
drawn snugly in position, take a turn with the free end of the rope
around the rope along the side of the pack. This will hold the pack in
position. Tie a bowline knot in the end of rope, and at proper length
for the bowline loop to reach the center and top of pack. Place loop
where it may be easily reached from the near side.

Now pass to the near side and sling the near pack in exactly similar
manner, save that no bowline knot is to be formed. Reach up and slip
the end of the near rope, which you are holding, through the bowline
loop, draw tight and tie.

The following is another method of slinging packs, frequently used by
forest rangers:

Throw the rope across the horse directly in front of the saddle, and
as in the previous method form two half hitches with the rope at its
middle on the front fork, but in this case permitting the ends to lie
on the ground on either side the horse. Place the near pack in position
and against the lower rope, and holding it with one hand, bring the
rope up and over the pack with the other hand and throw a half hitch
around the forward fork, keeping the free end of the rope under. Draw
the rope taut, lifting the pack well up. Pass the running rope back and
throw a half hitch around the rear fork, the loose or running end of
the rope on the under side, as when forming the half hitch on the front
fork. Now pass the running rope from under over the pack at the rear,
throw a half hitch over the rear fork, take up all slack, bring the
loose end under and around the two ropes at their intersection between
pack and rear fork, and tie securely. The pack on off side is slung in
similar manner.

Most mules, and not infrequently horses as well, have a constitutional
dislike to receiving the pack. If your pack animal displays any such
tendency adjust the blind over his eyes and let it remain there until
the hitch is thrown and the load tightened and secured. The blind is
usually an effective quieter.



Whether the load is made up with kyacks, alforjas, or separate packs
slung to the crosstree saddle as described in the preceding chapter it
must be secured in place. For this purpose various hitches are employed
by packers, each hitch well adapted to the particular conditions which
evolved it.

Our description will be confined to the following six hitches, which
furnish ample variety to suit the exigencies of ordinary circumstances:

(1) The crosstree or squaw hitch, which is the father of all hitches
because from it the diamond, the double diamond and all pack-train
hitches in present-day use were evolved.

(2) A diamond hitch, adapted to the crosstree pack saddle. This is a
form of single diamond.

(3) The United States army diamond particularly adapted for use with
the aparejo. The true double diamond is a hitch rarely called for save
in army work or freighting pack trains, and will therefore be omitted.
There are several so-called double diamonds that might be described,
but these near-double diamonds possess little or no advantage over
the single diamond, and we shall pass them over as they are scarcely
resorted to in ordinary pack work.

(4) The one-man or lifting hitch.

(5) The stirrup hitch, to be used when the packer has rope but no cinch.

(6) The saddle hitch, employed in slinging loads upon an ordinary
riding saddle.

(7) The hitch for packing a sick or injured man.


This hitch was introduced into the Northwest by the early fur traders
and adopted by the Indians. Among Indians, women are the laborers, and
the crosstree hitch being the hitch almost exclusively employed by the
squaws was presently dubbed by white men the "squaw hitch." It is a
hitch very generally used by prospectors, and for this reason is known
in some localities as the "prospector's hitch." In other sections of
the West, where sheep herders commonly use it, it is locally called the
"sheep herder's hitch." It is a hitch easily thrown by one man, holds
well, and is therefore a favorite.


(FIG. 1.) Rope engaged on cinch hook and bight of rope running from
rear forward under standing rope.]

[Illustration: (FIG. 2.) Loop of bight enlarged, reversed and passed
around bottom and lower corners of off side pack.]

[Illustration: (FIG. 3.) Hitch formed and ready to tighten. 1. Standing
rope. 2. Running rope. 3. Rear rope--off side. 4. Front rope--off side.
5. Front rope--near side. 6. Rear rope--near side. 7. Marker.]

With lash rope attached to cinch, take a position on the near side of
the animal facing the pack. Throw the cinch over the top and center of
pack in such manner as to be easily reached under the horse's belly.
Pick up cinch and engage the rope from in out upon the hook. Draw up
slack, taking care that the cinch rests properly upon the horse's
belly. Grasp the running and standing rope in left hand above the hook,
to hold slack, and with the right hand double the running rope and
thrust the doubled portion under the standing rope from rear forward
in a bight, at top of pack. Enlarge the loop of the bight by drawing
through enough slack rope to make the loop of sufficient size to be
passed over and around the off side kyack or pack. Step to off side,
turn loop over, and engage it around the ends and bottom of kyack, from
front to rear. Return to near side, and pass the loose end of running
rope around the forward end, bottom and finally rear end of kyack.
Draw the rope end, from above down, over and under the standing rear
and running ropes, at the top and center of the load, and the hitch is
ready to tighten.

To tighten the hitch, grasp the running rope a little above the cinch
hook, and pull with all your strength, taking up every inch of slack
possible. Retain this slack by holding the standing and running rope
together with left hand, while with the right hand you reach to top of
load and pull up slack where running rope passes under standing rope.
Go to off side and draw in all slack, following the rope around off
side pack. Retaining slack, return to near side, and still following
rope and taking up slack around front to rear of near side pack, grasp
end of rope, already engaged as directed over and under standing rear
and running rope, pull hard, bracing a foot against pack, and tie. Two
men, one on each side of the horse, can, of course, throw the hitch and
tighten the load much more quickly than one. Tightening the load is
just as important a feature of packing as evenly balancing the packs.
The result of an improperly tightened load will pretty certainly be a
sore-backed horse.


[Illustration: (FIG. 1.) A turn is here taken around standing rope with
loop of bight of running rope thrust under standing rope from rear to
front, as in Fig. 1, illustrating Squaw Hitch.]

Take position on the near side of horse, as when forming the crosstree
hitch, and throw cinch over horse, engaging it on hook and adjusting
it in exactly similar manner. Take in slack and retain it by grasping
the standing and running ropes in left hand. Double running rope and
thrust doubled portion under standing rope in a bight, from rear
forward at top and center of load. Take up all slack. Enlarge loop
of bight by drawing through enough running rope to form a diamond of
sufficient size to hold top of load. Now bring center of loop over and
under standing rope, from rear forward, thus giving rope at each side
of loop a complete turn around standing rope. Throw the disengaged
portion of running rope to off side of horse, and passing to the off
side, bringing the rope down along rear, bottom, and up front of kyack,
thrust loose rope end up through loop at top of pack. Take in slack and
return to near side of horse. Engage running rope around front, bottom
and rear end of near side kyack or pack, and thrust rope end over and
under standing rope opposite center of loop. Take up slack and load in
ready to tighten.


(FIG. 2.) Hitch formed ready to tighten.]

Tighten load by grasping running rope above hook and drawing as tight
as possible. Hold slack with left hand, gripping running and standing
rope, and take up slack at loop with right hand. Pass to off side and
take up slack and tighten rear to front around kyack. Pass to near
side, tightening front to rear; finally, bracing a foot against the
load pull on loose end, and retaining all slack make final tie.

The above described "diamond" hitch is not the true diamond employed by
government pack trains where the aparejo is used, but it is a diamond
evolved from the crosstree hitch, and is particularly well adapted to
the crosstree or sawbuck pack saddle, is easily formed, and holds the
load securely, which is the ultimate object of all hitches.


The single diamond hitch employed by army packers is the ideal hitch
for securing a load upon an aparejo. This is a two-man hitch, though an
expert can throw it alone.

One packer takes his position on the off side of the animal, while the
other with the coiled lash rope, cinch attached, remains on the near

The near packer, retaining the cinch, throws the coiled rope over the
horse's haunch, to rear. The off packer picks up end of rope, and
receiving the hook end of cinch, passed to him under horse's belly by
near packer, holds it together with end of rope in his left hand, and
stands erect.


Figures represent successive stages in formation. Near side towards
right in each case. Line PP in Fig. 1 represents horse's back. AA (Fig.
3) standing part of rope, and A´ (Fig. 2) the running rope.

FIG. 1.]

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

The near packer, taking a position at the horse's neck, grasps the rope
about six feet from cinch, and with an upward and backward motion,
drops it between the two packs, one slung on either side of the

Still grasping the rope in his right hand just forward of the packs at
the top, he pulls forward between the packs sufficient running rope to
permit him to bring his hand down to his side. Retaining the rope in
his right hand he now reaches up with his left hand, and with back of
hand up and thumb under grasps running rope and draws sufficient rope
forward to permit the left hand grasping the rope to come down to his
side, arm's length.

With the right elbow crooked the right hand, still holding the rope,
is brought up about on a level with the chin, and the left hand, also
retaining its hold on the rope, thumb down, is raised to hollow of the
right arm, with loop of rope between the hands lying outside the right
arm. Now by a single swinging motion with both hands the rope in the
right hand, called the "standing rope," is thrown over the center of
pack to the off packer who stands ready to receive it; and the rope
held in the left hand, called the "running rope," over the horse's
neck, forward of the pack.

The off packer, still standing with cinch hook and end of rope in left
hand, with his right hand grasps the standing rope as it comes over
as high up as he can conveniently reach, draws it down, and holding
the cinch hook in proper position below the aparejo draws down the
standing rope and engages it upon the hook from in out.

The near packer now draws forward between the packs about six feet
more rope, which he throws to the rear of the near side pack. This
rope is now called the "rear" rope. He next grasps the running rope at
the horse's neck, and with the off packer's assistance releases that
portion of the running rope lying between the packs forward of the
standing rope, and brings it to the center of pack on near side, next
to and just back of the standing rope.

He now slips his right hand down the rope to a point half way between
pack and aparejo boot, and with the left hand reaches from forward
between standing rope and aparejo and grasps the rope just above the
right hand. Both hands are now slipped down the rope, and with the same
motion drawn apart, one on each side of standing rope (under which the
rope being manipulated passes) to the cinches. With the hands about
ten inches apart, the section of rope between them, which is held in a
horizontal position, is jammed down between the two cinches under the

The off packer, holding the running rope with his right hand above the
hook, places the left hand holding end of rope on top of running rope
between his right hand and the hook, and with thumb under running rope
grasps both ropes and slips his hands up on running rope, bringing it
to center of load.

He now draws the end of the rope, held by left hand, forward until a
foot or so falls upon the near side of the horse's neck. The hitch is
now formed, ready to tighten.

To tighten, the near packer with his left palm passing the side and
center of the pack grasps the running rope at the rear of the standing
rope, at the same time bringing the running rope between the thumb and
index finger of the left hand, which he is using as a brace. In this
position he is prepared to hold slack as it is given him by the off

The off packer grasps the running rope close down to the hook, and,
bracing himself with a knee against the aparejo boot, pulls with all
his might, taking two or more pulls, if necessary, and giving slack to
near packer, until no more slack can be taken on standing rope. He now
steps smartly to rear and throws the top rope forward of the pack. The
top rope is the rope leading up from the rear corner of the aparejo
boot on near side to the side and center of off side pack. After it
is thrown forward it is called the "front" rope. He now prepares to
receive slack from near packer by grasping the rear rope where it lies
between the packs.

The near packer, who has been receiving the slack given him by the off
packer, carries his right hand, with which he holds the slack at rear
of standing rope, to lower side of pack toward the aparejo, and reaches
under standing rope, with left hand grasps rope above right hand,
drawing it forward under standing rope, and employing both hands jams
it upward in a bight between standing rope and pack. Care should be
taken during this operation to retain all slack.

The near packer now engages around front boot of aparejo the free
portion of the running rope below the bight just formed. Holding slack
with left hand, he grasps the rope to rear of cinch in right hand;
receiving slack from left hand he brings rope to rear of aparejo boot,
and with both hands carries rope smartly to upper corner of side pack,
always retaining slack. The off packer receives slack, pulling it in
quickly hand over hand, the near packer retaining his hold until the
off packer has the rope taut. The near packer now takes a position
at the forward end of load, facing the rear, and grasps end of rope
prepared to take slack from off packer.

The off packer, after receiving slack from near packer as described
takes a turn of the rope around each hand, holding every inch of
slack, steps to the rear, keeping in line with the horse's body,
and then facing forward throws his full weight back upon the rope.
Retaining the slack with his left hand, with his right hand he brings
the free portion of running rope under and around the aparejo boot,
from rear to front, passes forward of rope, and facing the rear and
grasping rope, right hand above the left, brings it smartly to upper
corner of pack.

The near packer, holding end of rope, immediately draws in slack until
he has about six feet of free rope, which he throws over center of load
to off side, and then drawing in all remaining slack takes a turn of
rope around each hand and throws his weight upon it, and the off packer
releases his hold.

Holding the slack with the left hand, the near packer releases his
right hand and with it engages the free or running portion of rope
under and around the aparejo boot to rear of load, while the off packer
steps to rear of load, takes end of rope, and while he draws in all
slack, neatly coils rope, holding coil in right hand at lower side
of pack, and, with palm of left hand braced against center of load,
receives slack from near packer.

Grasping in his left hand the taut rope above the coils, and lifting
it sufficiently above the load to admit the coiled rope under it, he
swings the coils with his right hand from rear to front to top of load
and brings the standing rope held in his left hand down on top of the
coils to hold them. He now takes a loop of the rope, forces it between
standing rope and pack, in a bight, and takes a turn of the loop around
standing and running rope to secure it, first joining the loop well up,
and the hitch is tightened.


This is a pretty good hitch sometimes where kyacks are not used and an
irregular pack is swung upon the crosstree. While it holds the pack
very securely to the animal's back, its tendency is to lift the corners
that might cause friction upon the horse's sides.

Standing on the near side of the horse, throw cinch over the horse's
back, pick up cinch and engage rope upon cinch hook, from in out, as in
previous hitches. Take up slack, bring running rope up side of pack,
double and thrust loop or bight under standing rope from rear forward
at top of pack, to hold slack. Throw all loose rope to off side, and
pass around to off side yourself.

[Illustration: (FIG. 1.)

  A--Cinch            D--Running rope
  C--Standing rope    E--Front rope
  B--Cinch hook       F--Marker]

[Illustration: LIFTING HITCH

(FIG. 2.) Grasp loop A in left hand and with right jam rope C C along
and under rope B (where latter passes beneath corner of pack) to D, as
shown in Fig. 3.]

[Illustration: (FIG. 3.) Off side of hitch completed.]

[Illustration: LIFTING HITCH

(FIG. 4.) Hitch formed ready to tighten.]

Draw loose end of running rope forward and from under standing rope
at top of pack. The effect of operations thus far is this: The running
rope passes up the near side, from hook and to top of load and passes
under standing rope, which will serve effectually in final tightening
of cinch to hold slack.

Pass end of running rope over and under the forward end of off pack and
backward under standing rope and pack. Now bring the rope forward over
side of pack, double, and thrust the doubled portion over and under
forward rope in a bight. With left hand grasp double of rope at bight
just to rear of forward rope where it passes over and under forward
rope, and with right hand slip running rope down and just to rear of
standing rope. Take up slack. By pulling hard upon loose end of running
rope the ends of pack will be lifted slightly.

Throw loose end over horse to near side, and across middle of load.
Pass to near side and manipulate rope as on off side. Tighten load.
Secure the hitch by bringing loose end of rope over and under forward
running and standing ropes, and tie.


This hitch is useful where the packer has lash rope but no cinch, and
may be employed on sawbuck saddle, aparejo, or where the load is hung
upon an ordinary riding saddle. It is a two-man hitch, though one man
may manipulate it.

[Illustration: (FIG. 1.) Rope is thrown across load with equal portion
falling on each side. Loop A is formed on top of load, and the ends BB
are passed through it to form large loops C and D.]

[Illustration: STIRRUP HITCH

(FIG. 2.) Loops C and D are passed under horse's belly and seized by
packers on opposite sides. Each packer then draws end of rope which he
is holding through loop which has been passed to him. Off packer forms
bowline knot, E, and near packer passes his end of rope through this.
Hitch is now ready to tighten.]

Pass the rope over the load, with an equal division of rope on either
side. Form a loop at center and top of load. Each packer will now place
a foot upon the rope, where it falls from loop to ground, and pass his
end of rope through loop from above down and draw through slack rope.
This forms a loop on either side in which the foot rests. Each packer
will now bring forward and under the horse's belly the loop in which
his foot rests, passing the loop to the other packer at the same time
disengaging his foot, and will pass the loose end of rope which he
holds through the loop which he receives. The ropes on top of pack
will now be spread to properly cover and secure the pack, and all slack

The off side packer now forms a bowline knot in the loose end of his
rope, the near side packer passes his loose end through the bowline
loop. To tighten the load the off side packer gives slack, while the
near side packer braces and draws in on loose end of rope, tying at
bowline loop to secure load.


[Illustration: SADDLE HITCH

With rope arranged as shown throw deer across saddle, enlarge loops
A and B around haunches and neck. Bring ends C and D together, form
bowline knot on end D, pass end C through it and tighten.]

This is a particularly useful hitch when it becomes necessary to sling
a deer to a riding saddle for transportation to camp.

Throw the lash rope across the saddle seat, an equal division of rope
falling to either side. Double the rope where it crosses the cinch ring
and thrust it through the cinch ring in a loop, drawing through enough
loose rope to form a good-sized loop. This should be done on both
sides. Lay the deer across saddle, with head hanging on one side and
haunches on the other side, slip loop on one side over the deer's head,
and the loop on the other side over its haunches. Take in all slack.
Form a bowline loop on end of off side rope, and lay it on top of load.
This loop should be so adjusted as to reach the middle of the top of
load. Passing to near side, thread loose end of near side rope through
the bowline loop. Tighten load by pulling on loose end, and tie.


Sometimes it occurs that a member of a party is so injured or becomes
so ill as to be helpless, and the problem of transporting him upon
horseback presents itself. This may be done in the following manner
upon a crosstree or sawbuck saddle:

Cut two straight sticks three feet long and about three inches in
diameter. Fit one on either side of saddle snug against the forks. Lash
securely to forks forward and rear, with ends of sticks protruding an
equal distance forward of and back of forward and rear forks. It may be
well to cut shallow notches in the sticks where they rest against the
forks. This will preclude lateral motion.

Cut two sticks two feet long and three inches in diameter. Place one
in front and one in rear at right angles to and across top of sticks
already in position. These cross-pieces are to be lashed to position
one about two inches from forward ends, the other two inches from
rear ends of lengthwise sticks. Before lashing them into position cut
notches to receive lash ropes at points of intersection, that any
tendency to slip or work loose may be overcome.

Now cut two poles six feet long and three inches in diameter. Spread a
pack cloth upon the ground, and presuming the pack cloth is six feet
wide, place a pole on each outer end of it. Roll poles, with pack
cloth, to center until there is a width of twenty inches between the
outer edges of poles. In this position lace cloth to each pole, or if
horseshoe or other nails are handy, nail it to poles. Should the cloth
be wider than length of poles, fold in a margin on each end, before
rolling. Place litter on cross-pieces, the flat of canvas on top.
Notch, and secure poles of stretcher at front and rear to cross-pieces.
Lash down litter by means of the stirrup hitch.



The man who travels without a pack horse, and carries his full
equipment and provision supply upon his saddle must, of necessity,
deny himself many things that under ordinary circumstances are deemed
essentials. He must indeed travel light, and unless he is well inured
to roughing it will be content to confine his activities to the warmer
and less inclement months.

The food supply is the first consideration, but nowadays one is certain
to come every three or four days at the outside upon some point where
fresh supplies may be purchased. Therefore, twelve to fifteen pounds of
provisions, carefully selected from the ration already suggested, will
meet the utmost needs. In selecting the ration it is well to eliminate
all luxuries. It may also be said that canned goods are too heavy,
where one is to pack more than a two-days' supply, and bacon should be
made the basis of the meat diet. But then we are considering methods
of packing and carrying, rather than check lists. Limiting the quantity
to fifteen pounds for a five-days' trip--and this is ample with
judicious selection--the individual will be left to decide his ration
for himself.

Saddle bags will be found indispensable and in them will be ample
room to carry the limited toilet articles required, a hand towel, one
change of light woolen or summer underwear, matches, tobacco and rifle
cartridges. The best shelter is a lean-to tent, made of extra light
cloth. This should be about seven feet long, four and one-half feet
high and four feet deep. Such a tent will weigh about three pounds.

The cooking outfit will be limited to essentials. If it can be had an
aluminum army or "Preston" mess kit, either of which weighs about two
pounds, a sheath knife with broad blade, and a pint cup, will fill all
requirements. If the mess kit cannot be procured, a small frying pan
with folding handle, an aluminum or enamel plate and a dessert spoon
with sheath knife, and a pint cup, will do nearly as well. In this
latter case coffee may be made in the cup. A small canteen, which may
be hung upon the saddle horn, should also be provided.

A small belt axe that weighs about two pounds, with sheath, a lariat
and a few feet of rope will be required.

A single blanket or a pair of light blankets not exceeding five pounds
in weight will constitute the only bedding that can be conveniently

To pack the outfit spread tent flat upon the ground, turning the
triangular ends in to lie flat. Fold the tent once, end for end.
This will make a rectangular pack cloth three and one-half feet long
and about five and one-half feet wide. Fold your blanket to a size a
little smaller than tent and spread it flat upon the tent. Arrange your
provision packages on the blanket a foot or so from one end and with a
margin of a foot or more on either side. Fold the end of blanket and
tent up and over the packages and roll up blanket and tent together
with a band close to the knob in center to hold the packages in place
and prevent their working down toward ends of roll.

The provisions should be thoroughly protected in bags, as previously
suggested, in order that they may not soil the blanket.

Place the roll directly behind saddle seat with the bulge caused by the
provision bulk resting against saddle seat, the end of roll falling
on either side, and tie in position by means of leather tie strings
attached to saddle on each side. The tie should be made in both cases
just below the bulge in roll.

The tent will protect blanket and provisions, and if judgment has been
used in the selection and arrangement of provisions the bulk should not
be unduly or inconveniently large. The cooking kit, if enclosed in a
canvas case with handle, may be lashed to roll by passing lash string
through the handle and over the top and around the kit. A strap above
the upper loop of the rifle boot and through the belt loop on the axe
scabbard will hold the axe and another buckled around the rifle boot
and lower end of handle will prevent a slapping motion of the handle.

The poncho, neatly rolled, may be carried on the pommel, the center
of the roll pressed against the back of the horn, the ends drawn down
and forward of the pommel on either side and secured with the leathern
tie strings attached to the saddle. When not in use sweater or Pontiac
shirt may be carried with the poncho.

The horse may be picketed with the lariat. Hobbles may be made as
cowboys make them from rope. A strand unraveled from half-inch rope
brought once around one leg, twisted rather tightly, the ends brought
around the other leg and secured in the twist between the legs, makes
a good hobble. Always fasten picket rope or hobble below the fetlock
just above the hoof--_never_ above the fetlock.

The outfit here outlined will weigh, including rifle and a reasonable
amount of ammunition, from forty to forty-five pounds at the utmost,
and one may be very comfortable with it. If game and fish can be caught
and are to be depended upon, the provisions may be cut down to a little
flour, bacon, coffee and sugar, and the traveler may tarry in the
wilderness for a considerable time.

One may leave out the tent, and in a warm climate even the blanket,
relying for shelter wholly upon the poncho. An experienced man will
often limit his cooking outfit to a cup and canteen. A good strong
reliable horse, a good saddle equipment, and enough plain food is all
one really needs who has experience in wilderness travel. Such a man
can make himself comfortable with exceedingly little.



On the portage one may carry a pretty heavy pack and think nothing of
it, for the end of the portage and the relaxation of the paddle is just
ahead. The portage is merely an incident of the canoe trip.

The foot traveler, however, has no canoe to carry him and his outfit
five or ten miles for every mile he carries his outfit. He must carry
both himself and his outfit the entire distance traversed. This is
obvious, and it leads to the conclusion that the outfit must be
accordingly reduced both in weight and bulk.

How heavy a load may be easily transported depends, of course, upon the
man, but it is safe to say that the inexperienced will find twenty-five
pounds a heavy enough burden, and within this limit must be included
shelter, bed, and one week's provisions; though ordinarily the tramper
will be able to renew his supply of provisions almost daily.

Under all ordinary circumstances a single woolen blanket weighing not
to exceed three pounds will be found ample summer bedding. A lean-to
shelter tent seven feet long, four feet wide and four feet high of
one of the light tenting materials previously described, weighs less
than three pounds and furnishes ample and comfortable shelter. Blanket
and tent may be carried easily in a roll, the tent on the outside to
protect the blanket.

To make the roll spread the tent upon the ground, fold the blanket
once, end for end, and spread it upon the tent, the sides of the
blanket (_not_ folded ends) toward the ends of the tent. Fold in ends
of tent over blanket and roll up. Double the roll and tie together a
little above the ends with a stout string. The roll, dropped over the
head with center resting upon one shoulder and the tied ends coming
together near the hip on the opposite side, may be carried with little
inconvenience. Blankets are usually seventy-two inches wide, therefore
the roll should be about six feet in length before it is doubled and
the ends tied.

A belt axe will be carried, in a sheath, upon the belt, the remaining
equipment and provisions in a Nessmuk pack or a ruck sack. The Nessmuk
pack, sold by most outfitters, is about 12 × 20 × 5 inches in size
and made of waterproofed canvas. This will easily hold a nine-inch
frying pan with folding handle, an aluminum pan 7 × 3 inches with
folding handle, a pint cup (if you do not wish to carry the cup on your
belt), a spoon or two, a cooking knife, a dish cloth and a dish towel,
together with one week's provisions, matches, etc. There will still
be room for a small bag containing the few needed toilet articles and
hand towel, and another small bag containing one change of light-weight
woolen underwear and two pairs of socks.

The cooking outfit indicated is limited, but quite ample. I have done
very well for weeks at a time with no other cooking utensils than a
pint cup and a sheath knife. But here we cannot go into woodcraft
or extreme concentration of rations and outfit. We are considering,
rather, comfortable or moderately comfortable outfits and how to pack
or transport them.

Tent, blanket, axe, food and other equipment above suggested will, if
intelligently selected, not go beyond the twenty-five pound limit. The
greatest weight will be in the food, and each day will reduce this
about two pounds. If provisions can be purchased from day to day these,
of course, need not be carried, and the remaining load will be very
light indeed.

I would suggest that a light sweater take the place of a coat as it
will be found more comfortable and useful and may be carried on top of
the pack or in the blanket roll, for it will rarely be worn save in the
evening camp.

A broad-brimmed felt hat, an outer shirt of medium-weight flannel,
khaki trousers and strong but not too heavy shoes make a practical and
comfortable costume. Woolen socks protect the feet from chafing. Some
campers like long German stockings, which serve also for leggings,
and wear thin cotton socks inside them. In selecting shoes take into
consideration the kind of socks or stockings to be worn, and see that
the shoes are amply large though not too large, for shoes too large are
nearly as uncomfortable as shoes too small.



In the mode of travel here to be considered the voyageur, equipped
with snowshoes, hauls his provisions and entire camping paraphernalia
upon a toboggan or flat sled. The toboggan (Indian ta´-bas-kan´)
had its origin in the prehistoric past among the Algonquin Indians
of northeastern America. It was designed by them for the purpose of
transporting goods over trackless, unbeaten snow wastes where sleds
with runners could not be used, and for this purpose it is unequaled.

While for our purpose the conventionalized toboggan sold by outfitters
and designed for hill sliding and general sport will answer very
well, the wilderness model in use by Indians and trappers in our
northern wilderness is a better designed and preferable type for the
transportation of loads.

Various lengths of toboggans are in use, each intended for the
particular purpose for which it was built. The longest Indian toboggan
I ever saw was twelve feet in length, but from six to eight feet is the
ordinary length, with a width of nine inches at the tip of the curved
nose, gradually increasing to fourteen inches wide where the curve ends
and the sliding surface or bottom begins, and tapering away to about
six inches wide at the heel. The conventionalized type averages from
four to six feet in length with a uniform width of about fifteen inches
from curve to heel.

Some three or more crossbars, depending upon the length of the
toboggan, are lashed at intervals across the top, the forward one at
the beginning of the curve where the nose begins to turn upward, and on
either side of the toboggan from front to rear side bar, and fastened
to the side bars at their ends are side ropes.

Beaver-tail, bear's-paw, or swallow-tail snowshoes, of Indian make, are
the shapes best adapted to the sort of travel we are considering. These
models are all broad and comparatively short. The web should be of good
caribou babiche, closely woven for use upon dry snow, and indeed for
all-around conditions. While on wet, soggy snow a coarse web may in
some respects be preferable it will not compare in efficiency with the
close web on loose snow, or for all-around work under all sorts of
conditions. Long, narrow snowshoes may be very good for racing where
the country is smooth, but they are not suited to a rough, wooded or
broken country or to hummocky snow.

The best and most practical, as well as the simplest sling or binding
for the snowshoe is made as follows: Cut from an Indian tanned buckskin
a thong about half an inch wide and thirty inches in length. Thread
one end of this, from above down, through the web at one side of the
toe hole, and from the bottom up at the opposite side. Pull it through
until the two ends are even. Draw the thong up at the middle, where
it crosses the toe hole, to make a loop large enough to admit the toe
under it, but not large enough to permit the toe to slide forward
against the forward cross-bar. Wrap the two ends of the thong around
center of loop two or three times bringing them forward over the top
and drawing them under and back through the loop. Slip your toes under
the loop, bring the ends of the thong back, one on either side of the
foot, and tie snugly in the hollow above your heel.

This sling will hold well, will not chafe the foot, and with it the
snowshoe may be kicked free from the foot or adjusted to the foot in an

Should the thongs stretch in moist weather, the sling may be tightened
by simply taking an additional turn or two (without untying) around the
toe loop.

I believe that lamp-wicking would answer as well as buckskin thongs,
though I have never used it because I have always carried an ample
supply of buckskin.

The best underclothing for the winter trail is good weight--though not
the heaviest--woolen. Two suits should be carried besides the suit
worn. Underclothing should not fit the body too snugly. It is better
that it should be a size too large than an exact fit.

The outer shirt should be of flannel, and of good quality, though not
too heavy.

Hudson's Bay Company trappers wear good-weight moleskin trousers,
almost entirely to the exclusion of other fabrics, and I adopted them
several years ago as superior to any other. They are wind-proof and
warm and are particularly well adapted to the rough work of the trail.

The ordinary coat is not at all adapted to the northern wilderness
in winter, for it will not protect against drifting snow and driving
blizzard. In its stead the Eskimo adickey should be worn.

Any seamstress who can cut and make an ordinary work shirt can make an
adickey if your outfitter cannot supply it. This garment is slipped on
over the head like a shirt, and has a hood attached to draw over the
cap as a neck and head protection. The neck opening is large enough to
permit the head to pass through it without the necessity of a buttoned
opening in front, for no matter how closely buttoned a garment may be
drifting snow will find its way in. In length the adickey reaches half
way between hip and knees and is made circular at the bottom. The hood
should be of ample proportion to pull over the cap loosely, with a
drawstring encircling the front by which it may be drawn snugly to the
face. A fringe of muskrat or other fur around the face increases the
comfort, the fur acting as a protection against drifting snow. While
white Hudson's Bay Company kersey cloth is a favorite fabric for this
garment, it may be made of any woolen blanket duffle or similar cloth.

Over the kersey adickey another adickey of some smooth-surfaced, strong
material, preferably moleskin, should be worn. This outside adickey
should of course be just enough larger than the kersey or blanket
adickey to fit over it easily. The adickeys may be worn singly or
together, according to the demands of the weather.

A Pontiac shirt, to be worn under the adickeys in extremely cold
weather, should be included in the outfit. This will serve, too, in
camp, when the adickeys are laid aside.

A round cap of fur or heavy cloth provided with flaps to turn down over
the ears makes the best head protection. The hoods of the two adickeys,
as before stated, should be large enough to draw over this.

Very important indeed is the question of foot dress. Not only must we
aim to secure the greatest possible freedom and ease in walking, but
the ever-present danger of frostbite must also be guarded against.

Socks should be of wool, of the home-knit variety, and besides the pair
worn, three or four extra pairs should be carried in the kit.

Knit socks will not be sufficient protection, however, and where two
or three pairs are worn they are certain to bunch or wrinkle, with
chafed and sore feet as a result. All Hudson's Bay Company stores keep
in stock a white fuzzy woolen duffle of blanket thickness. If you are
making your start from a Post purchase some of this duffle and have
one of the women at the Post make you a pair of knee-length stockings
of the duffle to pull over your knit socks, and two pairs of slippers
of the same material, one just large enough to fit over the foot of
the long stockings, the other just a little larger to fit over all.
These should be made of proper size, to obviate wrinkles. The larger
outfitters carry in stock good wool duffle, and will make these to fit

In crisp, cold weather, when the snow never softens or gets moist even
under the midday sun, buckskin moccasins should be the outer footwear.
Ordinary leather will freeze stiff, stop the proper circulation of
blood, and certainly lead to frosted feet. The moccasins should be
made with high tops, reaching above the ankles, with buckskin strings
to wrap around and secure them. Moccasins are light to pack, and it is
always well to carry a couple of extra pairs, to have on hand in case
of emergency.

Leggings of moleskin (or some other strong, pliable cloth) large enough
to push the foot through protect the legs. These should be knee high,
with a drawstring to secure them just below the knee. Ordinary canvas
leggings will not do. The leggings _must_ be made in one piece, without
side buttons or other fastenings, for otherwise snow will work through
to the great discomfort of the wearer.

I have a pair of buckskin moccasins sewn to legs of harbor sealskin,
the hair side of the sealskin out. This arrangement is preferable to
separate leggings but sealskin legs are difficult to procure.

Ordinarily I have found one pair of knit socks, one pair of the long
duffle stockings described above and one pair of the duffle slippers,
worn inside the buckskin moccasins, quite sufficient.

The knit socks may be done away with entirely and also one pair of
duffle slippers if rabbit-skin socks are to be had. These are worn with
the hair next the foot, and are very warm and soft.

In weather when the snow softens and becomes wet at midday, buckskin
moccasins will not do, for the least moisture penetrates buckskin. In
such weather sealskin boots are the best foot protection. They are
waterproof, pliable and light. Sealskin boots for this purpose have
neither soles nor heels. They are simply sealskin moccasins with legs,
secured with drawstrings below the knee. These are of Eskimo make, and
not generally obtainable though they may be purchased in Newfoundland.
Oil-tanned moccasins, or larrigans, are the next best moist-snow foot

Buckskin mittens with one or two inner pairs of mittens of thick wool
duffle, will protect the hands in the coldest weather. One pair should
be a little smaller than the other, that it may fit snugly into the
larger pair without wrinkles, and the larger pair of a size to fit in
the same manner into the buckskin mittens. When the weather is too warm
for both pairs, one pair may be removed. A fringe of muskrat or other
fur around the wrists of the buckskin mittens protects the wrists from
drifting snow.

A pad of rabbit-skin worn across the forehead will protect it from
intense cold. Hunting hoods of knit camel's hair worsted are a pretty
good head protection, particularly at night. They cover the whole head
except the face, and may be drawn up over the chin. Mouth and nose must
not be covered, or the breath will quickly form a mass of ice upon the

One caution, though it may seem a digression, may be made: If the nose
or cheeks become frosted, as will certainly happen sooner or later to
one traveling in a very low temperature, _do not rub snow upon the
frosted part_. Snow rubbed on is pretty certain to fracture and remove
sections of the skin. The Eskimo way is to hold or rub the frosted part
with the bare hand until frost has been removed, and is far superior.

The clothing outfit above described will be found ample. Extra trousers
or other extra outer garments are not needed. _Let all hang loosely
upon the body._ Nothing should fit snugly.

A pair of smoked or amber goggles should always be included in the
winter outfit. Amber is more effective than smoked glass, though
ordinarily the latter will do. The goggles should be fastened with a
string to slip over the back of the head. _No metal should touch the

The best low temperature sleeping bag is one of caribou skin made with
the hair inside. Under ordinary conditions, however, a waterproofed
canvas bag lined with good woolen blankets will do as well, though such
a bag with sufficient blanket lining to give it warmth equal to that
of the caribou skin bag would be much heavier and more bulky than the
latter. A bag lined with four thicknesses of llama wool duffle (that
is, four thicknesses over and four beneath the sleeper), however,
should not weigh more than ten pounds, and would correspond in warmth
to one lined with blankets weighing twenty pounds.

An A or wedge tent will be found the best model for winter travel. A
sheet-iron tent stove _with bottom_ and telescoping pipe will make the
tent warm and snug. The tent should be fitted with an asbestos ring at
the stovepipe hole as a protection. A pack cloth or tarpaulin will
serve as an adequate and comfortable tent floor.

It is never safe or advisable for one to travel in the wilderness
alone, for a sprained ankle or broken leg in an isolated region would
be more than likely to result in death.

In the Hudson Bay country two pounds of flour, one pound of fat pork,
with baking powder, tea and sugar, form the daily ration for a man. It
is well when possible to carry frozen fresh meat, free from bone, with
a proportion of desiccated vegetables to vary the diet. Butter makes
a tasty variety to the fat, for it will remain sweet at this season.
Prunes and chocolate are both worth while.

Or if the journey is to be extended the menu may be simplified by
the introduction of pemmican and the elimination of other articles.
Pemmican is the best condensed food ever invented for cold weather
work. One pound of pemmican and a quarter pound of pilot biscuit, as
a daily ration, will sustain a man at hard work, though it will prove
a monotonous diet. The above is merely suggested as a basis. It may
be expanded or contracted as circumstances require without disturbing
its mean value. Let it be remembered, however, that ordinary bread and
other moist foodstuffs will freeze as hard as stone. Jerked venison
and desiccated vegetables make tasty and sustaining additions to the
ration, and will not freeze.

A man is supposed to be able to haul at good speed upon a toboggan a
load equal to his own weight. Therefore two men, each weighing 150
pounds, should between them haul 300 pounds. Camp equipment, tent axes,
guns, bedding, extra underclothing and all personal belongings of both,
if proper care be exercised in selection, should weigh not to exceed
140 pounds. Add 80 pounds of food, and we have 220 pounds, or a maximum
load of 110 pounds for each. The tent and general camp outfit is indeed
sufficient for four men. It is presumed that the aluminum cooking
outfit previously described will be chosen. Some eliminations, as,
for example, that of the folding baker, might easily be made without
serious loss of comfort.

To secure the load upon the toboggan, arrange the bags in which it is
packed evenly, taking care that no part of the load extends beyond the
sides of the toboggan. Adjust the tarpaulin or canvas ground cloth
neatly over it. Secure one end of your lash rope to the side rope on
one side at the rear. Bring the other end over and under the side rope
opposite. Cross it back over the load and over and under side rope to
front of next crossbar, and so on to front crossbar, taking slack as
you proceed. From front to rear criss-cross rope in same manner over
load and under side ropes, forming diamonds where the rope crosses
itself on top of load. Bring the end of rope under side rope at rear,
take in all slack and tie.



In considering equipment for dog and sledge traveling, we must
constantly bear in mind the necessity of keeping down weight and
bulk. Not long since, while visiting the establishment of a New York
City outfitter, I saw an equipment which a sportsman ambitious for
experience with dogs and komatik (sledge) had selected for a month's
journey which he was about to undertake. Exclusive of provisions there
was enough material to weight down four eight-dog teams. Among other
things was a specially designed tent stove that would have tipped the
scales at upwards of one hundred pounds.

The would-be traveler declared with pride that he "did not intend to
have cold camps." It certainly gave me "cold feet" to contemplate his
outfit. It was the most ridiculous and impracticable conglomerate
aggregation of camping material that I have ever seen put together,
and I doubt if the would-be traveler ever found a sufficient number of
dogs at any one point to transport it.

While it is the aim of every experienced camper to obtain the greatest
degree of comfort of which circumstances will admit, the voyager with
dogs cannot hope to carry with him the luxuries of a metropolitan
hotel, and one soon learns how little after all is really necessary to
make one comfortable.

How much weight a team of eight good dogs can haul depends upon the
character of the country and the condition of the snow or ice. Under
very favorable conditions I have seen such a team make good progress
with twelve hundred pounds. Ordinarily, however, eight hundred pounds
is a full load, and if much rough ice, hilly country or soft snow is
encountered six hundred pounds will be found all too heavy. I have
heard of cases, when traveling was exceptionally good, of dogs covering
upwards of one hundred miles a day. The biggest day's travel I ever
made with dogs was sixty miles, but often I have toiled day after day,
pulling and hauling with the animals at the traces, lifting the komatik
over rough places, or packing a trail for the team with my snowshoes,
to find myself rewarded with less than ten miles when camping time

In selecting outfit the region to be visited will be a factor to take
into consideration. It would be quite impossible to discuss adequately
in a single chapter all the phases of dog travel to be provided for.
We shall therefore leave out of consideration polar outfitting, or
outfitting for other unusual work, which the reader of this will
scarcely be likely to undertake.

The clothing suggested in the chapter on snowshoe and toboggan travel
is equally well suited to travel with dogs and komatik. Should the
voyager's ambition, however, draw him within the sub-arctic regions or
across the Arctic Circle some additional protection will be needed.

In the far Arctic the natives wear trousers of either polar bear
skin or caribou skin, with an upper garment of caribou skin called,
in Greenland, the "kulutar;" in Labrador, the "kulutuk." The only
difference between the adickey and the kulutuk is that the one is made
of cloth, the other of caribou skin. In Ungava I supplied myself with
caribou skin trousers, which, as is the custom there, I drew on over my
moleskin trousers in windy or intensely cold weather.

The kulutuk takes the place of the moleskin adickey. That is to
say, the kersey adickey worn under the kulutuk will be found ample
protection in any weather, and often the kulutuk of itself will be
found sufficient.

Kulutuk and skin trousers are worn hair side out. Were they worn with
the hairy side in, they would accumulate moisture exuded by the body,
and the moisture would freeze, presently transforming the hair into a
mass of ice. A friend of mine going to the Arctic for the first time
as a member of one of Peary's early Greenland expeditions, turned his
kulutuk inside out and donned it with the hairy side next the body.
The Eskimos laughed, and resenting their levity he assured them it was
much warmer worn in that manner than as they wore it. "No," said one
of them, "if it were warmer worn that way the animals would wear their
fur inside." My friend quickly learned by experience the logic of the
Eskimo's argument.

Deerskin kulutuk and trousers are not easily purchased, though along
any coast where seals are captured similar garments of sealskin may be
procured, which, though not equal to deerskin garments, answer very
well. The skin of the young harbor seal (the ranger seal) is best for
the purpose, as skins of other species are too thick and heavy. When
made of sealskin the upper garment is called a "netsek."

I discovered when traveling among them that some of the Moravian
missionaries of the Labrador coast wore a buckskin suit under their
ordinary trousers and outer shirt. Such a suit is much lighter than
deerskin trousers and kulutuk, and serves nearly as well. It is not
difficult to purchase buckskin from which one may have such a suit
made. It is wind-proof and very light.

All skin garments, including moccasins, should be sewn with animal
sinew. Ordinary thread will quickly break out and will not do.
Thread-sewn moccasins are factory-made, and will give very little

The types of snowshoes suggested in the chapter on snowshoe and
toboggan travel are the types also best suited to dog and komatik work.
Long snowshoes would be very much in the way when one has to go to the
traces and haul with the dogs or lift and assist the komatik over rough
places; and this becomes the rule rather than the exception as one goes

Let me insist that the web should be of good caribou babiche, and not
the ordinary rawhide used in many of the snowshoes offered for sale.
The former will not stretch when wet, while the latter will stretch and
bag so badly as to render the snowshoe practically useless.

It is well to wrap the frame on either side where the babiche is
drawn around it, with buckskin or sealskin. Otherwise even a slight
crust upon the snow will in time cut the babiche strands. Wrapping the
snowshoe in this manner will at least double its life.

What was said in reference to tent, small sheet-iron stove and general
camp and cooking outfit in the previous chapter will apply here, as
well as directions heretofore given for packing in waterproof bags. In
selecting the sleeping bag, give first preference to one of deerskin.

In a barren region where firewood is not to be had, it will be
necessary to carry an alcohol or kerosene burner and stock of fuel. The
former is preferable on account of the low freezing point of alcohol.
Alcohol or oil should be secured in tin cases. It is regularly put up
in this way by dealers.

In such a region, too, it may be necessary to carry snow knives with
which to cut blocks of snow for the erection of snow igloos as shelter.
These knives resemble somewhat the machete. One cannot, however, learn
to build a snow igloo properly without long practice. This phase of
the work is merely referred to as interesting; for anyone traveling
in a country where snow house shelter is necessary will secure the
assistance of a native, who will attend to proper sledge outfitting at
the point of departure.

On regular lines of dog travel opportunities to renew the provision
supply will frequently occur, and cabins for night shelter will be
found. Therefore the food outfit will depend upon the country to be
traversed. Where long stretches occur between supply points, however,
fat pork, pilot bread, tea and sugar should form the basis. The very
best possible food, however, for this work is pemmican, pilot bread,
tea and sugar. Of course a little coffee may be carried, but it is

The traveler will make his selection carefully, building around pork,
pilot bread and pemmican with other articles of food like desiccated
vegetables from which water has been eliminated. Too much salt meat
opens the door to scurvy, unless sufficient variation in the way of
vegetables, fish, or fresh meat is introduced. Dessicated cranberries
are an excellent preventive. A man can do good hard work day in and day
out, as already stated, upon one pound of pemmican and a quarter pound
of pilot bread as a daily ration, and such a ration offers no danger of

Dog pemmican is the best dog food, and the lightest, for dogs will
do pretty well upon one pound of pemmican each a day. To do well
the animals should be given plenty of fat, when pemmican is not
available, though not a clear fat diet, for that will make them sick.
Three-quarters of a pound of fat and three-quarters of a pound of meat
or fish is an ordinary ration. Dogs are fed but once a day--at night.

The number of dogs in a team varies, but the average team is composed
of seven or eight. Eight or nine is the most economical number so far
as results are concerned.

In the Northwest dogs are harnessed tandem. This is the white man's
method. In the Northeast they are harnessed fan fashion--the Eskimo
method. That is to say, each dog has an individual trace secured to
the end of a single thong, leading out from the bow of the komatik and
called the bridle. The individual traces are of various lengths. The
dog with the longest trace is the leader of the pack, and particularly
trained to respond to the driver's directions. The other dogs will
follow his lead.

For open country and sea ice travel the Eskimo method is probably best,
as the work is more evenly distributed and the driver can always tell
whether each dog is doing his share of the work, but for narrow trails
and woods travel the tandem method is more practicable.

Dogs are good, bad and indifferent. One seldom has an opportunity
to pick one's dogs discriminately, and rarely may one purchase them
outright unless contracted for a year in advance, for the native dog
owner seldom maintains animals in excess of his requirements in the
ordinary routine of his life. The traveler will usually be able,
however, to hire a team by employing the owner to drive it, and the
owner of a team will get much more work out of his dogs than a stranger
to the dogs can hope to do.

At least a year's experience is necessary to enable a white man to
handle a dog team with anything approaching efficiency, and even then
one cannot hope to approach the performance of an Eskimo. The failure
to enlist Eskimos as dog drivers has been the real cause of the failure
of many an Arctic expedition.

It is advised, then, that the traveler employ at so much per day or for
the trip driver and dogs. It is an unsafe experiment to start off with
a dog team unattended by an experienced man. The owner of the team will
supply also the necessary dog harness, his own dog whip and general dog
traveling paraphernalia, including the komatik.

Sledges or komatiks vary in different localities as to width, length
and minor methods of construction. The average komatik is two
feet wide and ten feet long but as stated, they vary in different
localities, a uniform width being maintained to suit the local
conditions of the region in which they are used. For example, wide and
comparatively short komatiks are employed in Quebec, while the Ungava
komatik is but sixteen inches wide. These latter komatiks are usually
fifteen or sixteen feet in length, however. The runners stand ten
inches high. This is, in fact, the heaviest and most efficient komatik
I have ever seen. Each runner is made from a single piece of timber
and is from two and one-half to three inches thick. It is designed for
the roughest possible use, and is, I believe, better adapted to this
purpose than the Greenland komatik because more substantially built.
The latter is peculiar in that it has upstands at the rear for guiding

Crossbars, extending an inch or so on either side of the runners and
from one to two inches apart, are lashed into place with rawhide. When
the rawhide shrinks the komatik becomes firm. Iron fastenings being
rigid would break too readily, particularly in intense cold, to be

The traveler will do well, therefore, to purchase if he does not hire
his komatik at the point of departure, as in so doing he will secure
one of correct design for the region to be traversed.

It is well to have a box made the width of the komatik two or three
feet long, and about fourteen inches deep to lash upon the rear end of
the komatik in which cooking utensils and a portion of the food supply,
as well as odds and ends, may be carried. This should be supplied with
a hinged cover, and hook or clasp by which the cover may be securely
fastened down.

The best lash for securing the load in position is one of sealskin,
though ordinary hemp rope will do. Before lashing, the tarpaulin should
be neatly folded over the top of load to protect it.

One end of the lash is secured to an end of the crossbar at the forward
end of the load, brought across the load and under the other end, then
across, skipping a couple of crossbars, and back again skipping a couple
of crossbars, thus threading it from side to side under the ends of
every second or third crossbar to the rear bar, where it is brought
across the load to the opposite end of this crossbar and crisscrossed
across the load again to the forward crossbar to be tied.


Transcriber's note:

Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been retained.
Punctuation has been normalized.

The following errors have been corrected:

  * p. 46 "two or three hundreds" fixed to "... hundred"
  * p. 51 Chapter VII: fixed numbering of topics
  * p. 72 carelessless -> carelessness
  * p. 85 change A_1 to A´ to match the illustration
  * p. 87 graps -> grasps
  * p. 88 "betwee nthem" -> "between them"
  * p. 90 fixed period instead of comma
  * p. 90 graps -> grasps
  * p. 119 removed redundant "of"

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