Sunday, January 25, 2009
Stewart White (Book of the Forest):
hat with medium brim
socks, wool, 3 pr
tent, Egyptian cotton, 7x7, 8#
firearms (.22 pistol)
cooking utensils. For one: Cup and frying pan. For 2 or 3: Cup, fork and spoon apiece, 1 tea pail, 2 kettles, 1 frying pan
needles and thread
(He specifically recommends no extra trousers, no coat)
Paul Provencher ("The Last Courier du Bois):
In hand or pockets:
slingshot & ammo
rifle & ammo
Calvin Rutstrum listed a Canadian Cree's kit in the early 1900's:
single-shot .22 rifle
moosehide musette bag containing fishing gear and ammo
blanket rolled in a canvas tarp
knife in a moosehide sheath
Edna Calkins Price ("Burro Bill and Me") :
pots and pans
"the clothes on our backs and one extra set"
Lance Corporal George McDonald Fraser's kit during the Burma campaign of WWII ("Quartered Safe Out Here")
Two pairs of trousers
Web belt with cross-braces and pouches
Lee Enfield rifle
Pull-through, for cleaning rifle
Ammunition, 50 rounds
Bren gun magazines, two
Kukri or machete
Field dressing, two
Mess tins, two
Fork, knife, spoon
Needle and thread
Water purification pills
Monday, January 19, 2009
This month's theme seems to be matches.
Good gear stands the test of time. I have a book containing a photograph of a civil war Union infantryman's personal gear, among which is a waterproof, tubular case filled with "Lucifers", as early friction matches were known.
I bought a K&M match case because internet reviews made it sound better than my Silva match case. It is. And as before with other high-quality gear, I contacted the makers and discovered salt-of-the-earth people behind the product. Keith and Marge ("K&M") Lunders machine these at their home in Elk River, Idaho.
They're made from either aluminum or brass, with an excellent Suunto compass inletted into the top. Two O-rings make it waterproof, and a clever lanyard arrangement keeps it closed.
$21 plus shipping may cause you to balk at buying one. But when you hold it in your hand and see the quality of the materials and workmanship, you'll realize that it's a bargain. It will please you every time you use it, the compass won't let you down when you need it, and you'll be able to pass it on to your heirs.
The Lucifers you should put inside your case are REI "Stormproof Matches". They look like larger versions of the NATO "lifeboat" matches. $4.15 for a box of 25, but worth it when your hands are numb, the wind is blowing and the tinder is damp. A dozen of them will fit inside the case, along with the extra striker strips that come in the box. They burn almost like little sparklers for about ten seconds, and can't be blown out. If you dip them in water, they'll reignite as soon as they're exposed to air again. If you're as cheap as I am, they'll even improve your fire-laying skills, because at 17 cents apiece you won't want to waste any.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I was going through a closet and found a book of those green matches that come in MRE's. The cover says "designed especially for damp climates", so they're obviously better than run-of-the-mill book matches, but I don't know how much better.
Anyway, I think the last time Uncle Sam fed me an MRE was the summer of 1991, so they were more than 16 years old, possibly quite a bit more. They all lit on the first strike.