Prospector Survival Equipment List

Prospector Survival Equipment List

The engineer has often to penetrate difficult or unknown regions. Mineral, irrigation, boundary and railway problems frequently necessitate journeys through, or long residence in, localities whence sustenance cannot be drawn. The selection and conveyance of provisions, outfit and implements thus become a matter of the first importance. Scientific skill, even of the highest order, is powerless unless supported by the proper appliances and foods. The advance of civilization favors the engineer, in that it is constantly enlarging his facilities and thus reducing his difficulties. Notwithstanding this fact, many are yet brought face to face with the problems considered in this paper.

Distinction must be made between parties which are to be in constant or even occasional touch with a base of supplies, and those which will be for a long time dependent on their original outfit. Again, the requirements of a party on the march are different from those of a fixed camp. The district, season, climate, size and personnel of party also influence the character of the outfit. A party that is to be detached from its base of supplies for some time requires a greater variety of food than if it is to be gone for a short time. Much less in proportion need be taken where the journey is not long, so that privation is confined to a limited period. The ability to establish a fixed camp permits a larger outfit than would be possible if the camp were to be moved from day to day. Transportation, climatic and other conditions are thus so varied that lists prepared for one work could hardly be applied to any other without some modification. Lists that have proved successful in some instances may, however, serve as bases to be added to, or otherwise altered, for the case in hand. The mistake usually made is in providing too large an outfit. Every emergency cannot be provided for; so that it is well to take, not what may be needed, but what cannot be spared.

The present subject has been exhaustively studied by the military authorities of all great nations. The requirements of the civilian engineer seem to differ, however, from those of the soldier, the sailor, and others exposed to extreme privation. The soldier is disciplined to hardship, and forms a part of a large, well-supported national system, with facilities differing from those controlling private enterprises. The sailor does not have to take into account the question of transportation, which is usually the all-important factor in the work to be specially considered here. Arctic exploration, on the other hand, subjects its small following to such an abnormal maximum of privation, that preparation for physical requirements assumes the position of first importance. The engineer, who is as pronounced in his needs as the soldier or the sailor, may be subjected to privations so severe as to suggest, at least, those of the explorer, and is often responsible for the health of others. Notwithstanding these facts, the writer has failed to find that any attempt has yet been made to collate and compare the experiences of engineers in this important particular.

The organization of any camp or expedition necessitates attention to one or more of the following departments: Transportation ; food; shelter; clothing; miscellaneous implements; instruments; personnel and medicines. These will be considered in the order given.


The difficulties of camp- and field-life increase in direct proportion to the difficulties of transportation. Where a district is open, so that horses can be employed, or where streams or other water-ways permit the use of boats, or when the work can be done in winter, so that provisions can be packed upon sleds, the problem is much simplified. When, however, a camp is to be established, or a party is to travel in some forest- or mountain-district where neither animals, boats nor other means of conveyance can be utilized, and provisions must be packed upon the backs of men, the most careful forethought must be given to its preparation.

The problem of transportation cannot be intelligently treated without some knowledge of the difficulties to be surmounted. While each geographical section is usually distinguished by local peculiarities (such as those due to climate), topographical difficulties, as a whole, may be conveniently divided, as they are connected with prairies and table-lands, mountains, water-ways, swamps, forests, ice and snow.

Prairies, tablelands, ice, or other flat, open surfaces, usually offer, as principal difficulties, those dependent upon temperature and climate alone. The table-lands of northern Mexico, for example, are swept during rainy seasons by storms so severe that gullies, canons or arroyos, such as do not normally obstruct travel, are rendered well-nigh impassable. Similar surfaces in the North are visited during the winter months by high winds and storms, which often interrupt or entirely suspend out-door operations. Supplies can usually be transported over flat, open country by stout, covered wagons; and sleds can be used during the winters in the colder regions.

Mountain districts are characterized either by such abrupt rocky surfaces as exist in the Andes or the Alps, or by gentler inclines covered with forests and traversed by streams, such as may be seen in Arkansas or in the State of Washington. The difficulties of transportation presented by the former class are commonly local, and, although severe, not widespread in their application. The difficulties presented by the more normal type of mountain-lands more frequently encountered by the engineer are often very considerable, because of the forests with which they are covered or of the streams likely to be encountered. Advantage is sometimes taken of the beds of shallow streams by employing them as roads. The climatic differences between the North and the South should also be noted. The immediate concentration of storm-water into streams is often very formidable in the South; while the North is characterized by snow and ice accumulating on the sides of the mountains, to be precipitated later into the valleys below.

Water-ways may extend toward the objective point, so as to facilitate transportation, or they may be unexpectedly encountered as obstructions in overland journeys. A water-way, extending toward the objective point, is an advantage from the standpoint of transportation in direct proportion to the absence of rapids or of shoals. The danger of such travel is much simplified by prior knowledge of the peculiarities of the stream; but in a journey upon a water-course of which no description is available, constant watchfulness is necessary to avoid rapids, the presence of which is sometimes not evident until it is too late to avoid them. Even with the aid of pilots, failures to pass rapids safely are numerous. Several wrecks occurred daily, during the past season, along the famous White Horse rapids, leading into the Klondike gold-fields, although local pilots were in many instances employed. Shoals are to be feared, as are likewise ponds or bogs, over which a small river sometimes spreads. The latter are sometimes obstructed by grasses or other vegetation to such an extent as to be well-nigh impassable. Rivers, lakes or ponds unexpectedly encountered in overland journeys must be crossed by fording, by felling trees so as to form natural bridges, or on improvised rafts. Solid ice is never to be feared; but solid ice is not apt to form on rapid streams, although the snow by which the ice is covered frequently conceals this fact. A foundation of good ice permits the use of sleds, drawn by horses, dogs or men. The presence of animals, however, is not always wholly desirable under such circumstances, since provision for them, as well as for the party, must be transported.

Swamps may occur in open country or in forests. They are not apt to be large in the former case; in the latter they may be divided according as the water is deep and navigable or as it is shallow. No difficulties are to be anticipated either from the deep-water or open-country swamps. In the Southern States the former are navigable, and the latter, being generally confined to the borders of lakes and ponds, are consequently limited in extent. The shallow-water timbered swamp is, however, very formidable, and can generally be penetrated by pedestrians only. The cedar-swamp of the Lake Superior region, for example, is covered by a growth of white cedar or arbor vitae. The light foliage which characterizes these trees permits them to sustain vigorous branches close to the ground. These meet and cross one another, so that a passage through them greatly resembles a progress through a cultivated hedge. The roots of the trees lie partially out of the mud, and form the most desirable places on which to step. While apparently sound, they are usually slippery and sometimes decayed, so that the traveler, in stepping or springing from one to the other, encumbered by a heavy burden and obstructed by the small, wiry branches, is apt to slip or fall. The constant use of arms and limbs required, together with the strain or shock produced by the shifting of the heavy burden upon the shoulders whenever the traveler slips, combine with the abundance of annoying insects to delay and obstruct progress through a territory of such a nature. One of the difficulties to be surmounted in such a district consists in the location of a camp at nightfall. The termination of the normal working-day may find the party where encampment is well-nigh impossible. Under such circumstances it is usually best to go forward so long as there is a prospect of finding a dry or otherwise suitable camping-ground—a discovery which may not be made for many hours. The day’s work cannot therefore be confined within the ordinary limits. It is usually best to permit the party to remain for some extra time in camp after such an unusual strain. The so-called tamarack-swamp of the northern Central States differs from the cedar-swamp just described in that there is an absence of the dense under-foliage. The cypress is the characteristic swamp-land tree of the Southern States. The open bog or “ muskeg ” of the extreme Northwest is thus described by Professor Russell :

“ The muskeg is a characteristic feature of northern topography. From the International boundary to the Arctic Sea the term is applied to alluvial areas with insufficient drainage, over which moss has accumulated to a considerable depth. These swamps are usually covered with tamarack and fir trees. The typical muskeg is traversed by meandering streams, having deep channels but a scarcely perceptible current. Stagnant pools become coated over with a moss of sufficient strength to temporarily sustain the weight of a man. In places the surface is broken by tall hummocks, the tetes des femmes of the voyageur, which turn under the foot, and sooner or later precipitate the passing pedestrian into the mud or water below. ’’

Forests are to be considered principally as they aggravate or affect the difficulties due to the presence of mountains, water-ways or swamps. They are of themselves difficult in direct proportion to the presence of undergrowth. Surfaces covered by large trees, the lower limbs of which have fallen away, present no obstacles to foot-passengers or pack-animals, while surfaces covered by younger growth are difficult because of thick under-foliage, and because their plants stand so much closer together. “ Windfalls ” must be considered. They are the results of tornadoes or of natural decay, and present a spectacle of trees piled upon one another in utter confusion, the trunks and limbs intermingling, and usually penetrated by wiry second-growth saplings. A passage is made over such a district by walking cautiously back and- forth, up and down over the trunks and limbs. It is ordinarily impossible to proceed in a day’s march more than two or three miles, as measured in a straight line, over such a district.

A considerable range of experiences may thus be encountered upon surfaces coming under the head of forest-lands. The passage may be over clear ground, between widely separated trunks of large trees ; or through the thick, wiry growth of a young forest; or over windfall, or it may be over swamps or mountains, difficult of themselves, but now doubly so through the presence of the foliage. Many contingencies are thus likely to be encountered in forests, and all are frequently encountered within short spaces.

Considerable trouble may be experienced from mosquitoes and similar insects. This is frequently so great as to pass the limit of simple annoyance. Tents hastily erected at nightfall by men fatigued with a long day’s march are often invaded by these pests to such an extent as to interfere with rest.

Unless water-ways or other openings traverse a forest in the direction of the objective point, or a party is large enough to construct its own trails or roads, burdens usually have to be borne upon the backs of men whenever a forest is to be traversed.

Snow and ice are to be considered, because, like trees, they distort or change normal topographical conditions. Ordinarily impassable regions may be penetrated, or passable regions rendered impassable, by the presence or absence of ice and snow. Deep, dry snow, such as is encountered in the Northern forests, is very difficult to traverse. Such deposits are sometimes covered by a crust of sufficient strength, improving the conditions of travel. Should the crust be too weak to bear the full weight of the traveler, yet so strong that it cannot be broken or forced aside by the limbs, the passage becomes exceptionally exhausting. The foot must be lifted so as to be placed upon the top of the crust, which gives way suddenly when the full weight of the body is brought upon it. Not infrequently the early morning hours offer a hard crust, which softens later under the influence of the sun, so as to make treading difficult even upon snowshoes; and parties often stop and wait for the night to restore the practicable surface. Deep snow or ordinary crust should never be attempted by heavy draft-animals. When the snow is hard, or the ice solid, a surface is presented, the desirability of which cannot be excelled. Long journeys are sometimes undertaken in the wilder portions of Manitoba and other Hudson Bay provinces in winter, in preference to summer, for these reasons. Heavy vehicles make journeys over the ice bounding the shores of Lake Superior that would not be normally possible through the dense foliage of the adjoining land. Northern swamp-lands, commonly presenting great difficulties, may usually be penetrated with ease during the winter season. Water-ways too shallow to be available for boats during the summer become available for sleds during the winter. Heavy loads can sometimes be transported over a limited extent of deep snow by sprinkling it with water, which, freezing and compacting the snow, often affords a good footing. This method is employed on an extensive scale in some of the lumber-districts of the Northwest.

Supplies are transported either by boats, wagons, sleds, animals, or upon the backs of men.

Boats intended to traverse rapids are sometimes supplied with life-saving appliances, so as to resemble ordinary life-boats. This was the case in the late survey of the canon of the Colorado by Mr. Robert B. Stanton. Weight is usually a matter of much importance. A boat that can be lifted from one water-way to another, or be conveyed around rapids or other points of difficulty, is generally desirable. Draft should also be considered. Rafts and scows are often improvised for crossing unexpected bodies of water; and no supply-list is complete unless, in view of such necessities, it is provided with long wire-nails and ropes. A small raft, 6 by 9 feet in size, was once constructed by the writer, of dry cedar logs, fastened with wire-nails and the bark of the “ moose-tree.” This raft, built in a few hours, carried himself and one companion for five consecutive days down a series of small lakes and rivers. Whenever rapids are to be passed, the provisions should be divided among several boats; or, if there be but one boat, they should be, in part at least, landed and carried around the rapids, to be restored to the boat below.

Wagons may generally be best selected by assuming that they will have to be driven over boulders, stumps, or similarly rough surfaces. They should be provided with tops, wherever storms are liable to be encountered. Tools for making repairs should be placed in every wagon. In each district the selection of vehicles to be thus used as transports is controlled by local customs, which, being founded upon experience, should not be disregarded.

Sleds are sometimes provided with adjustable runners for passing along narrow trails or between boulders. Last season’s trail over the White Pass, leading into the Alaskan gold-fields, was of such a nature as to restrict traffic to within a gauge of about 26 inches. Some sleds had to be abandoned, and many delays were occasioned by the necessary alterations of others to meet this condition. Hand-sleds are useful, since they may be drawn by either men or dogs. The Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway employed toboggans during the construction of its road throughout the season of 1887.

Draft- and Pack-Animals.—The best draft-animals are oxen, horses, mules and dogs. Reindeer have lately been suggested for work in the North, but their use is yet in an experimental stage. While mules and donkeys are employed frequently, and oxen sometimes, the main reliance is placed upon horses. The use of dogs appears to be restricted to the drawing of sleds over flat ice- or snow-covered surfaces. Horses and mules should not, as a rule, be employed for long journeys, unless some provision for them can be gathered by the way; otherwise, an undue proportion of the burden must consist in food for their sustenance. Horses trained to the conditions they must encounter are generally to be preferred; Indian ponies, for example, will scrape through a moderate layer of snow, to find the dried grass below it. Dogs are probably the most economical animals for winter-service in the North, because their food-requirements are so nearly similar to those of man. The mule and the horse are the best of the lower pack-animals, while man himself must often be relied upon for this service. Horses and mules are provided with pack-saddles over which the burden is uniformly distributed, a task requiring considerable skill and experience. Man is to be preferred as a pack- animal, because his services are available in other ways than in the carrying of burdens. Indian packmen, capable of conveying a burden of 100 pounds throughout the entire day over the roughest country, and who will prepare the meals and camping-ground, are easily procurable. The burden is made up by means of the ordinary pack-straps; the load, being wrapped in the sleeping-blankets, is fastened by the pack-straps, and then adjusted to the shoulders of the carrier.


Foods suitable for camps and expeditions differ from those available for more ordinary conditions in two respects. First, they are deficient in those imperfectly comprehended vital elements which exist in fresh beef, vegetables or fruit, as compared with cured beef, canned vegetables and dried fruit. Second, they are limited in variety. The first difficulty, while important, is not insurmountable. Life and health have been sustained for long periods on imperishable foods such as are here considered. It is, however, very important that the greatest possible variety should be provided. Foods which are at first acceptable, and which are undoubtedly sufficient in nutritive value, become objectionable if persisted in for too long a period. The digestion and working-efficiency of the consumers are also impaired. Members of the party will work more cheerfully, and resist the influences due to an absence of fresh food for an infinitely longer time, where variety is provided. Variety is obtained by the utilization of the many forms of cured or preserved foods available, and also by a knowledge of cooking as applied to such foods. A cook experienced in the requirements of camps will provide a considerable variety of dishes from a comparatively small list of elementary food-substances.

Foods suitable for camps and expeditions should be satisfying, easily packed, readily cooked, and as light in weight as possible.


The choice of meats is unfortunately limited, so that this subject presents many difficulties. Fresh meats should invariably be preferred to any substitutes, and should be procured wherever possible. The United States Government assumes 20 ounces of fresh meat, such as beef or mutton, as an allowance per man per day. This quantity is presumed to be interchangeable with 12 ounces of cured bacon. Canned meats must be more or less resorted to, when the period of exposure is to be long. When well prepared, they are probably the best form of preserved meats, save that they are heavier than some of the others. Beef, mutton, turkey, chicken and ham are the principal meats thus prepared.

Specifications governing the canning of meats have been framed by the United States Navy Department, and will be found to be of service. The preparation of canned foods should be most carefully superintended; and no product should be selected which has not passed the test of actual experience. Canned meats do not always remain good and fresh in warm climates. This is probably due, at least in part, to carelessness in manufacture. It is asserted that these preserved meats have been concentrated, or otherwise altered, so that less weight is required than if the meat were fresh. Such an assumption can hardly be relied upon practically, save as it may refer to the removal of bone and gristle. It is certain, however, that the per cent, of protein is greater in canned meats. Sixteen to eighteen ounces of canned meat should be specified per man per day.

Meat-pastes or mixtures are frequently employed. Pemmican, an illustration of this class of foods, was originally prepared by the North American Indians, and consisted of dry venison which, after having been pounded or otherwise pulverized, was mixed with fats, the flavor being sometimes improved by the addition of herbs. It is now made from the round of beef, cut into strips, dried, shredded, and then mixed with beef-suet and Zante currants. Pemmican resembles the biltong of South Africa. It is sometimes taken on polar expeditions, and can be relied upon to remain good for long periods.

So-called “ Emergency Foods,” in which meat, as an active principle, is combined with other food-elements, are manufactured, to some extent, with the purpose of furnishing a more or less complete animal and vegetable food in as small a bulk as possible. The “ standard emergency-ration,” manufactured by the American Compressed Food Co. of Passaic, N. J., consists of dried meats, meals and vegetables, reduced to convenient form by hydraulic pressure. Three tablets of this compound, with one of compressed and sweetened tea, weigh 1.28 pounds and occupy 27 cubic inches. They are placed in a can of convenient proportions, thus forming what is intended to be an entire day’s allowance. The food appears to possess unusual merit as compared with others of its class. It should, however, be supplemented by other foods. The “ concentrated military soup,” manufactured by the Tanty Canning Co. of Chicago, was originally prepared by M. Tanty, a celebrated French chef, for use in the Russian army. It has since been employed by the government of France. Beef-extract is sometimes combined with partially-cooked beau- or pea-meal, and then placed in films, so as to closely resemble the common sausage. This mixture, known as Erbswurst, is prepared in the shape of soup, only a few minutes’ cooking being necessary. It is manufactured by the C. H. Knorr Co., of Heilbronn, Germany. Although this mixture is designed abroad as an equivalent or substitute for meats in emergency-rations, it would be classified in this country among the vegetable foods.

Some of the emergency-foods are undoubtedly satisfying to individuals. It is not so certain, however, that they would meet, as an exclusive diet, the requirements of the majority. They are certainly useful as occasional substitutes, affording an agreeable temporary change. But too great a reliance should not be placed upon them, since preparations of this kind have received their principal tests in Europe, where the requirements for food are not as high as in the United States.

Bacon and ham are almost universally relied upon in the United States, because they are compact, durable, more or less satisfying, easily cooked, and readily procured in any market. Bacon was recommended by the U. S. Commissary General of Subsistence, as the best emergency-meat, after the consideration of separate reports from eight army departments. Ham differs from bacon in containing much less fat. The two meats may sometimes be combined to advantage. Bacon should be specifically purchased as fat, lean or medium, according to climate or personal preference. The result is likely to be unsatisfactory unless the grade is thus distinctly specified. The recommendation of the U. S. Commissary General, above quoted, was in favor of a preponderance of lean meat. Where bacon alone is to be employed, lean meat should almost invariably be specified, the leanest bacon being sufficiently fat. A larger proportion of fat is permissible where it can be used in combination with ham. Some forms of sausages are useful, because they afford variety. Approximately, thirteen ounces of these meats may be considered as a substitute for twenty ounces of fresh meat, for the conditions now under consideration.

Desiccated or “ crystallized ” eggs have been employed as a camp-food to a moderate extent, and appear to be worthy of a more prominent place in the expedition or camp provision-list. These eggs can be prepared in many ways, notably in omelets, to be used in connection with bacon and ham. This substance, as prepared by the La Monte Desiccated Egg Co. of St. Louis, as distinct from some others, was one of the most satisfactory articles in the outfit of a party recently sent, for scientific purposes, into a very remote region, and detached from its base of supplies for more than six months. One pound of the dried product is said to contain the substance of forty-eight fresh eggs. Crystallized eggs should be combined with cold water before heating.

Evaporated eggs are difficult to obtain in the East in small quantities, but may be procured by the case without difficulty. In many Western cities they are employed by bakers, and can be obtained in small amounts. It is reported that the yolks of eggs, which are discarded in the manufacture of prepared albumen for photographic purposes, are wasted. It would appear that a considerable demand might be created for this most valuable substance.

Condensed milk should be employed wherever possible.

Wild game is frequently considered as a resource. A party which is to pass through a section in which wild game is supposed to abound should not, as a rule, depend unduly upon it. The hunting of game requires much time and heavy weapons, such as are otherwise not usually necessary. Moreover, the hunter’s success is uncertain and intermittent. The work of the party is more likely to progress rapidly and regularly if the possibility of game for food was disregarded when the outfit was made up. Certainly, reliance should never be placed wholly upon game, or any other outside means of support.

Foods Other than Meats

It is not hard to decide upon foods other than meats. White beans, yellow corn-meal, white flour, Carolina rice, oatmeal, baking-powder, sugar, salt, tea, coffee, chocolate, prunes, raisins, Zaute currants, dried apples, peaches and apricots are all available in this connection. All these articles can be prepared so as to remain uninjured for long periods. They meet the requirements for food in this connection, in that they are satisfying, easily packed, readily cooked, sufficient in variety, and comparatively light in weight. The tomato is an unusually acceptable vegetable, and should be included wherever possible; a product containing as little water as possible being preferred. The market offers many compressed vegetable foods, some of which are quite useful. Bean- or pea-soup, either in meal, tablets or sausages, is usually very good. One of the best grades of pea-meal is Erbswurst, the qualities of which have already been referred to. This substance has been tested by the U. S. Commissary Department, which reports that it is a good substitute for all other dry and fresh vegetables, and that it is most satisfactory when mixed with small pieces of bacon, and used as soup. The principal objection to Erbswurst is the difficulty of obtaining it, save in large cities. Other mixtures of similar nature are no doubt more easily available; and some of them may be quite as good. None of them, however, have been so exhaustively tested. The fact that preparations of this kind are partially cooked is important, as raw beans and peas require long-continued preparation. Soup from Erbswurst is not as palatable as that from fresh split peas; yet, during the tests later alluded to, students requested soup from Erbswurst, because of its nutritive qualities, instead of that freshly prepared from the best dried peas.

Saccharine has received considerable attention as a substitute for sugar. It is quite certain that it contains no injurious principle, but is, on the contrary, helpful in correcting some of the intestinal troubles due to camp-life. It is clearly distinguished from sugar, in that sugar is a valuable food, whereas saccharine is simply a flavor. Decent experiments are reported to have been conducted in Germany in which sugar was permitted to form a portion of the daily allowance of a considerable number of soldiers; and it is said that the results, when compared with those obtained from men who abstained from sugar, indicated in a very marked degree its value as a food. The writer has particularly noticed the beneficial effects of sugar when greatly fatigued and living upon low diet. At such times it appears to act as a stimulant, probably because, unlike starch, it is so immediately absorbed. Sugar should certainly never be omitted from camp-supplies, save possibly in case of emergency. Even then its superior qualities are thought to offset any disadvantage due to its greater weight. Two grains of saccharine are said to possess the sweetening- qualities of one ounce of sugar.

Evaporated vegetables are not good from a nutritive point of view. They give variety, however, and are useful in this respect. Dried onions are one of the most reliable, and dried potatoes one of the least so, of these foods. Dried fruits, as distinct from dried vegetables, should invariably be employed, particularly if the expedition is to be out for some time. Prunes, apricots, peaches, apples and raisins have been found to be satisfactory from every point of view. They are not only valuable foods, but supply one of the best means for the prevention of scurvy. One-fifth of a pound of dried fruit may be assumed as the equivalent of one pound of fresh or canned fruit. Numerous varieties of canned vegetables are available where weight is not a consideration. Many, if not most, of the compressed foods specially prepared for the requirements of camps have but little practical value. The stomach requires physical exercise as well as nourishment. This exercise cannot be obtained unless the food is to some extent, bulky. A desiccated or compressed food should be of such a nature that bulk can be given to it by the addition of water. An adjustment must always be made between necessary and needless waste.

Citric acid is desirable as a substitute for the natural acids of fruit. When in solution, the flavor resembles that of lemonade. Concentrated or “ evaporated ” vinegar is more or less pure acetic acid, colored with caramel and flavored with extractive. Chemically pure acid (of 80 per cent, strength) may be handled with perfect safety, and, when diluted with 15 times its own bulk of water, will afford excellent vinegar, particularly if flavored with estragon or some similar substance. White beans are universally relied upon in camp-diet. Their high percentage of protein renders them one of the best vegetable substitutes for meat. One ounce avoirdupois of white beans, measuring 1¼ fluid ounces, increased after cooking to 2¼ ounces in weight and 3 fluid ounces in bulk.

Hardtack must be distinguished from pilot biscuit, which is ordinarily sold as hardtack. The former is harder, and, while less palatable, is more durable.

Rice is one of the valuable articles in this connection. Good, clean, large-kerneled Carolina rice should be selected. One ounce avoirdupois, occupying 1½ fluid ounces, increased after cooking to 5 fluid ounces in bulk and 6¼ ounces in weight.

Tea is generally used by the inhabitants of cold climates, while coffee is preferred by the inhabitants of warmer ones. Tea and coffee have little if any importance as nutrients, but are valuable in that they prevent waste and are harmless stimulants. It is important that personal preference be gratified as regards tea and coffee. An inhabitant of a temperate climate will usually retain his preference as regards tea or coffee when transported to some other climate. Tea is, generally speaking, to be preferred to coffee, in that it is much lighter, one-half ounce of tea being an equivalent of two and a half ounces of roast coffee or three ounces of green coffee. Roasted coffee is to be preferred in traveling, while green coffee may be provided for camp-use.

Chocolate is a food, the value of which is not, as a rule, comprehended in America. In France and in some other European countries, stick-chocolate is devoured as a regular article of diet. In the United States it is regarded as a confection rather than as a food, and the objection urged against it is that it is indigestible. Chocolate is almost invariably easily digested in considerable quantities by those who exercise freely. It is at least as digestible as bacon. It is the experience of the writer, who has invariably employed it for some years, that members of the party who at first regard it with little seriousness, soon begin to depend more or less upon it.

Raisins are valuable as a convenient form of dried fruit edible without cooking. They are also serviceable when boiled with rice, prunes, or other fruit. Raisins are much employed in many of the lumber-camps of the Northwest. They should be kept in tight packages.

Canned vegetables should be selected with the greatest care. None should be chosen that have not previously been tested as regards palatability, as well as general condition. Experiments in this connection are not permissible. The same point does not apply to canned fruits with the same emphasis, since canned fruits are not relied upon to any great extent for nourishment, and also because canned fruits are more apt to be good than some kinds of canned vegetables.

Selection and Quantity

The great bulk of almost all the fresh foods in common use is made up of water. Some foods permit the evaporation of superfluous water without deterioration of the food-substances themselves. The majority of these resume most, if not all, of their original bulk when brought again into contact with water, as they must be during the processes of cooking. Such foods are of great value for the purpose under consideration. An effort should be made to secure as many of them as possible; the resulting list being then supplemented by such other articles as have been proved to be satisfactory for other reasons.

Military authorities recognize the necessity of grouping foods together, so as to meet the requirements of different contingencies. The “ Reserve,” “ Travel,” “ Emergency ” and other rations have been thus called into being. The same necessity for recognizing different requirements exists in civil life. Food- combinations that seem to be best fitted to meet the contingencies of difficult and of easy transportation, of fixed and moving camps, and of emergencies, have therefore been suggested. It is not expected that any one of these combinations can be exclusively adopted, since the work of the civilian, to a degree as great, if not greater, than that of the soldier, exposes him to unexpected contingencies, so that all of the requirements noted are possible within a comparatively short experience. The distinctions between such classes of food must be comprehended, however, if the outfit is to be made up intelligently; and in many cases they must be carried into effect throughout.

Where exposure is to be endured for a short time only, it will usually suffice to rely upon a few appropriate articles, such as can be easily cooked, or, perhaps, need not be cooked at all. Health is not preserved, however, if these abnormal conditions are permitted to exist beyond a very few days. Allowances for such conditions would be entitled “ emergency-rations.” The saving in weight effected by cutting down a full day’s ration to the smallest quantity upon which life or some degree of health can be preserved, is but small. The principal differences, therefore, between rations that are to be used in emergencies or upon the march, and those that are to be used in camp, should be as much as possible along the line of absence or presence of water, variety and ease of cooking. Weight would seem to be less important in emergency-rations than in other cases. The emergency-ration is intended at most for only a very few days. Several ounces daily more or less would therefore result in a total so small that it need hardly be considered. Adding several ounces daily, however, to rations that are to be continued for weeks or months would be more serious. It would seem, therefore, that an emergency-ration should be liberal in quantity, without much regard to weight, but characterized by the simplicity, ease and rapidity with which it can be cooked.

Parties established in well-adjusted fixed camps, where provisions have been unpacked and cooking-facilities have been developed, require, and can employ, a larger variety of foods than those stopping at short intervals, in quickly improvised camps, along the line of a journey. The difference between foods selected where transportation will be easy, and those selected, either for fixed camps or for moving men where transportation is not easy, should lie, as much as possible, along the line of weight of uncooked food. Parties traveling easily by boat, for example, can employ canned fruits; whereas dried fruits, which weigh approximately one-fifth as much, would have to be utilized by those looking forward to transportation over some difficult trail.

Climatic and personal considerations always influence the selection of foods. The Esquimau, for example, requires foods abounding in fats, while the inhabitants of tropical countries require lighter foods. Tea appears, in a general way, to be more appropriate to the North, and coffee to the South. Fruits, peppers and highly seasoned foods are also characteristic features of the Southern or tropical diet. The food-requirements upon a cold day are much in excess of those upon a warm one. Other distinctions also exist. Foods upon which certain nations rely are not always suited to the requirements of other nations. The German diet, for instance, does not appear satisfactory to the Frenchman; while a diet satisfactory to a French soldier would be insufficient for the requirements of an American civilian. A certain amount of adaptation may be expected, where people of one region are transported to another. The subject of quantity is a difficult one, owing to the variation due to weather, climate, labor and personal habits. It is frequently customary to order supplies for parties in bulk, without much attempt at mathematical apportionment, trusting to chance to provide new supplies when the original ones are exhausted. Supplies can be purchased in such large quantities as to be clearly beyond the limit of requirement. Government data are here of imperfect service. The civilian usually requires different foods from those satisfactory to privates in the regular army. American studies in this direction are invariably to be preferred, for American conditions, to those made in Germany or elsewhere, even although more attention has been given to this subject in Europe than in America. Conclusions based upon experience are invariably to be preferred to those derived from chemical analyses. Combinations of food could be arranged that would be theoretically sufficient for life and health, while practically insufficient to preserve either. The chemistry of the vital elements of food is not yet perfectly comprehended. In the absence of other data, foods may be theoretically measured or compared by the presence of a series of substances called protein, and by other series of substances classified as fats and carbohydrates.

The former are supposed to be valuable in promoting or sustaining tissue, while the latter are associated with warmth and muscular action. Prof. W. O. Atwater, one of the foremost American authorities on this subject, has established a tentative standard of 150 grammes of protein and 4200 calories of energy as the requirement of a man at hard muscular labor. The average of fourteen dietary studies of mechanics’ families in this country indicates a daily food-consumption corresponding to 103 grammes of protein and 3465 calories of energy. The value of all foods must obviously be judged by other standards than those established by chemistry, even if these were entirely reliable. Digestibility and palatability are always important; while foods that are intended for special purposes, such as those called for by camps and expeditions, must, as has been indicated, be judged according to weight, appropriateness, climate and other standards. After substances have been selected so as to accord with all of these more important standards, they may then, perhaps, be measured or compared in terms of their protein and of their energy. It is believed that, although the following lists have been compiled with a view to meeting average conditions, they may also be employed as bases for others, intended to meet extraordinary conditions.

Table I

This contains series of provisions suitable for camps and expeditions under average American conditions. The different foods are grouped together, so that a day’s allowance may be formed by selecting any one substance, or a lesser quantity of two or three substances, from each of the several groups of meats, breads, vegetables, etc. The protein and energy-values of each one of the substances thus enumerated are given for ounces. The writer is indebted to Professor Atwater for the latest figures in this connection.foods-particularly-suitable-for-camps-survival-equipment

Table II

This table groups foods best fitted to meet the several conditions of difficult and easy transportation and emergencies. The quantity that is to be taken of each substance is noted, with the corresponding totals of protein and energy. The selection of appropriate foods and figures as to quantity are based upon actual experience, checked by comparison of available data. The lists, with slight variation, have been employed in several instances, and have been found to be satisfactory as to variety. A series of experiments, conducted upon a small body of carefully selected students in order to ascertain what would be a liberal proportion of the foods in question when thus used in combination, indicates that the amounts allowed are at least approximately correct for average conditions.


Cans, bones and other waste must be taken into account.

Two-pound tins of canned corned beef were found to consist of 25½ ounces meat and 6½ ounces can. Twenty-ounce cans of condensed milk of 17½ ounces milk and 2½ ounces tin. Cans of average good tomatoes weighing 2 pounds 9 ounces were composed of 2 pounds 3 ounces tomatoes and 6 ounces tin. These same tomatoes, when evaporated to ordinary table consistency, weighed 1 pound 10 ounces, or, approximately, 65 per cent, of the original package. The larger the can the less is its proportionate weight. Canned corn, succotash, or vegetables other than tomatoes, contain much less water than tomatoes, and may be calculated without further deduction than the weight of the can. This same care in determining the waste of other useless parts does not apply in the same degree to canned fruits, since canned fruits are not relied upon for nourishment. Meats differ in their proportion of waste. Five pounds of superfluous fat, bone and rind, have been removed from a twelve-pound ham. At least 5 per cent, of bacon consists of rind. Ham may be relieved of much of the superfluous fat and all of the bone and repacked without injury.


It is usually wise to recognize the fact that some claims will be made upon the party in the way of hospitality or the actual relief of others. It would hardly be practicable to calculate so closely that such contingencies would embarrass the outfit. It is well to remember that such claims will have to be met. Deterioration, loss and detention by accidents must also, at least, be considered.


It is often convenient to divide everything, save fresh meat, proportionately, so as to form packages of perhaps fifty pounds each. Each package may be placed in an air-tight can, with lids and seams tightly soldered. These cans should not be round, but flattened upon the two opposite sides, so that they can be readily packed and carried. Matches should be included in each can, and one can only should be opened at a time. Where articles are thus divided among several packages, the contents of each one should be checked twice before it is finally enveloped. Paper should not be used for making up packages, because of its disposition to soften under moisture. Canvas bags should be employed. Where provisions are to be transported upon the backs of men, the packs are made up by placing cans or canvas bags filled with provisions in the center of the sleeping-blanket, which is then folded around the load and fastened with the ordinary pack-strap. The load is then adjusted to the shoulders. Attention has been called to the wisdom of dividing the outfit among several boats, when passing rapids, or among several parties when upon the march. Every article should be selected, if possible, by the leader personally; and each parcel should be packed in his presence, or in the presence of some competent representative.


Shelter may be classed as the camp is to be permanent, or as it is to be moved from day to day. A large tent, such as would be useful for a permanent camp, is sometimes too heavy and difficult of erection to be employed upon the march. Permanent shelter is obtained by the use of tents or by the construction of log- or bark-houses. A light wooden frame, covered with tar-paper, is sometimes employed. Portable wooden or metallic houses may be relied upon if transportation is not an objection. Light shelter- or dog-tents, like those employed for military purposes, are very serviceable upon the march. A party must necessarily often adjust the requirements of the march with those of the fixed camp, so as to avoid duplication.


Cotton cloth should not be employed, because it is a poor protector against heat or cold. It is also inflammable, and, when wet, is difficult to dry. A tough cloth that will not readily tear should be preferred. Attention can profitably be given to the subject of foot-gear. Sore feet are a constant menace to the welfare of an expedition. A single man thus affected may impede or obstruct the entire work. A shoe should not be depended upon, unless it has been broken in or otherwise tested. Leather or top-boots should not be chosen by those who are not accustomed to wearing them, as they are apt, when new, to create sores upon the ankles. The rubber boot can only be employed for limited periods and in fairly cool weather, and can never be worn with comfort for any extended time. This is particularly the case if the weather be hot. The unlined gum boot is to be preferred to the glazed lined boot, because of its wearing qualities, and because the interior of the lined boot can be more easily dried when occasion requires. The shoe-pack, which is a kind of soled moccasin, is very serviceable, and is procurable from most of the supply-stores in the West. These shoe-packs are ready for immediate use, and are particularly good when conditions such as those existing in forest-lands are to be encountered. The felt boot, or German sock (Our current list of best work socks), is serviceable in cold climates, where there is much dry snow. It is buckled above the knee and worn with a light over-shoe. When a variety of temperature- or moisture-conditions are to be encountered, or when some unknown district is to be penetrated, an ordinary stout English walking-shoe may be selected with but little risk.

Each member of the party should be provided with one or more pairs of woolen blankets. Sleeping-bags are to be preferred whenever the work is to be carried into a.cold climate. They are composed of thicknesses of warm water-proof material, and can be drawn about the body so as to furnish almost complete shelter.

Miscellaneous Implements

Camp-stoves or Dutch ovens are conveniences which should not be omitted where weight is not an object. The weight of a stove is comparatively small, while, by its use, the labor of preparing fuel is reduced to a minimum, and good fires can be made in rainy weather. Dutch ovens make cooking possible that could not be accomplished with ordinary open fires. Camp- kettles, frying-pans and coffee-pots are the only other necessary cooking utensils. Kettles are manufactured so as to be placed one within another, several thus occupying the room of one. Copper kettles are generally preferred. They should invariably be rivet-fastened, no solder being permissible. Aluminum is available in this connection, and should be employed as much as possible. One or more axes are indispensable; and other tools should be added if the camp is to be permanent. Matches, rubber or black varnished cloth, cheese-cloth and mosquito-netting, strong twine, needles, thread, long wire-nails, soap, lead-pencils and paper should be included. Matches which do not soften or suffer injury from dampness should be preferred. Black varnished cloth is light and cheaper than rubber-cloth, and will do as well for short periods. It is employed to protect the cameras or similar delicate instruments during the daytime, and maybe spread upon the ground for sleeping at night. Cheese-cloth is light, strong and useful against the smallest insects. It is frequently more satisfactory than mosquito-netting, while, as distinct from the latter, it can be employed for many other purposes, such as bandages when accidents occur. Long wire-nails are serviceable for building rafts for crossing unexpected lakes and rivers. A few of these nails will save long hours of exertion, otherwise made necessary in creating a serviceable float.

Attention has been called to the doubtful wisdom of including heavy weapons for the hunting of game; but fishing-tackle, weighing but little, may be of service.


The selection of instruments will obviously depend upon the work for which the camp or expedition is to be conducted, and must largely be influenced by the wisdom or preference of the officer in charge. The chance of error in this direction is usually less than in any other. Instruments are generally selected with the greatest accuracy. The work is sometimes embarrassed, however, because equal attention is not expended upon the more common-place subjects of food and clothing. Besides such special instruments as are indicated by the nature of the work, some others should almost invariably be considered. Every member of the party, for example, should be provided with a small pocket-compass. A large compass, the needle of which should not be sensitive, so that it will come quickly to rest as soon as the instrument has been placed in position, is most useful in guiding the party through swamps or similar sections, where a sort of rude navigation must be practiced in order to keep account of its position. It is best to ascertain beyond question that every member of the party has become familiar with the practical workings of this instrument. An aneroid barometer is generally advisable. Surveying, astronomical or similar instruments should obviously be as light and compact as possible. Combination-instruments should at least be considered. Telescopic tripods are convenient in forest or mountain sections. A camera should always be included if possible. Although films are unsatisfactory, they may occasionally be used at the beginning of the work, being forwarded to some photographer for development until outside communication has been suspended.


Every effort should be made toward concentration. Each member of the party should be able to perform several duties. Labor cannot be divided or exactly allotted in this, as in other work. Good nature, physical strength and common sense are important. It is always fortunate when the several members of a party are congenial to one another, since they must necessarily depend so much upon one another for companionship. It is usually better to fill the lower positions with men drawn from localities as near the work as possible. There is a saving in transportation, and a probability of greater usefulness and local knowledge, than when men are selected at some headquarters, because of influence or their general reputation.

Local men are usually more pliable than those appointed through influence at head-quarters. They can be discharged more easily, and are commonly more modest in their demands.


A large party is sometimes provided with a surgeon. This is particularly the case if it is to be gone for some time. It usually happens, however, that injury and sickness are not taken into account; so that when these emergencies arise they must be met, if at all, by the head of the party. Fortunately, men subjected to out-door conditions of life are usually quite healthy. Sickness will arise, however; or, more often, accidents will happen. At these times the head of the party is usually looked to for assistance. Where a medicine-chest must be entrusted to one who is not a physician, it should contain only such safe and well-known remedies as are clearly indicated by indispositions of the more ordinary types.

It is difficult to know just how much medicine to provide. It is not sufficient to take a small sample of each remedy selected. If anyone medicine is required, a considerable amount of it is likely to be necessary. Although it is probable that only one or two things will be needed, a sufficiency of each one of the many things that go to make up the chest should be determined upon. A medicine-chest can be put up more economically for three persons than for one, since it is not likely that each one of the three would have the same needs. Three persons should not require more than twice as much as one person.

Dry medicines should be preferred to wet medicines, because of danger from freezing, as well as because there is a saving in weight. Wherever fluid extracts are selected, they should be placed in bottles of the ordinary kind, closed by cork stoppers, unless the fluid is of such a nature as to attack the cork. Each article should be carefully purchased from some reputable firm in that line, and not from a general equipment-house.

The following remedies may be advantageously considered in this connection: quinine, compound cathartic pills, bismuth, sub-nitrate, “ Sun ” cholera-mixture, cough-mixture, borax, paregoric, tincture of iron, acetanilide, chlorate of potash, citric acid, vaseline, mustard-plasters, belladonna-plasters, toothache-plasters, carbolic salve, chloroform-liniment, iodoform, “ blue ointment,” absorbent cotton, aromatic spirits of ammonia, and whiskey. These medicines are sufficient for the treatment of such probable and ordinary indispositions as malaria, fevers, constipation, diarrhoea, dysentery, inflamed eyes, sore throat, toothache, sprains, bruises, wounds or shock. It is suggested that the head of the party should become familiar with the action of these simple remedies, and that he should also understand the principles of camp-hygiene. He would do well to receive such instruction as is given under the name of “ first aid to the injured.” The distinctions between the conditions of travel and those of fixed residence apply here as elsewhere. The indispositions likely to occur upon the trail are augmented by a new series, as soon as the party is established in a fixed camp. The literature on camp-hygiene is voluminous and exhaustive. The causes of such fevers as are associated with camp-life are well understood, so that little excuse for their prevalence appears to exist. Water should be boiled for some minutes before use, and camp-drainage should be attended to. Much depends upon the location of a camp. Trouble will usually be experienced in enforcing rules with relation to the boiling of water, and other customs upon which the health of the camp so greatly depends. Men who will not hesitate to obey any directions in the line of ordinary duty, will hesitate when requested to dig trenches or arrange drains, the need for which they do not comprehend. The selection and conduct of the camp are quite as important as the food and general equipment. Men upon restricted or unusual diet should not be subjected to unhealthy conditions. The literature on first aid to the injured might well be increased by such a treatise as would include not only such subjects as wounds, shocks or accidents, but the more common forms of sickness. Such a treatise might be framed for use by the trained scientist, as distinct from the average layman.


Quinine.—Antidote and preventive for malarial diseases. Also tonic. Malaria recognized by headache, fever or chills, recurring after more or less regular intervals. Dose for developed case, 20 grains, taken several hours before expected attack. Repeat for one or more days. Afterwards lesser doses, distributed throughout day. As preventative when in malarial country, 8 to 10 grains daily. As tonic, 6 grains in three doses before eating, continued for one or two weeks. Extreme doses of 40 grains tolerated by most adults without danger or great discomfort. Others suffer with 30 or even 20 grains. Large doses should be given in several parts, with intervals between, and not continued beyond a day. Select 2-grain gelatin-coated pills ; pack in tight bottles of 100 each.

Compound Cathartic Pills.—For constipation ; do not omit. Preparation is standard ; employ as required.

Bismuth Subnitrate.—For diarrhoea. Compressed into 5-grain tablets ; use one every two or three hours until relieved.

“Sun” Cholera Mixture.—For violent diarrhoea with pain, dysentery and cholera. Now procurable in tablets, each representing one teaspoon of mixture. Dose, one tablet hourly for several hours, then one every three hours until relieved. Remain quiet, restrict diet, removing cause if possible. Dysentery may require additional treatment, as paregoric (see Paregoric), bismuth and stimulant (as brandy). Danger is from exhaustion or haemorrhage. “ Sun ” mixture also good after exposure to cold or wet, as it promotes warmth.

Borax.—Inflamed eyes. Dissolve as much as possible in small quantity of water. Drop in eyes. Harmless.

Paregoric.—Label “Poison.” Exercise care. Paregoric a dilute solution of opium. Use after “Sun” cholera mixture for dysentery. Dose, 10 drops in water, repeated every two hours until relief from diarrhoea. In severe cases 15-, 20- or even 30-drop doses, until drowsiness. Resume after reappearance of diarrhoea. Exercise judgment in use of paregoric, because of easily formed opium habit.

Tincture of Iron.—Useful tonic when upon low diet. Need indicated by continued whiteness of lips. Three 10-drop doses daily, largely diluted with water. Take upon full stomach.

Acetanelid.—Use for neuralgia or headache. A coal-tar compound, similar to, often substituted for, but safer than, phenacetine. Obtain 2-grain tablets. Dose, two grains, repeating after half hour, if necessary. Six doses daily for several days in extreme cases. For neuralgia of face and headache, suspected to be due to malarial conditions ; add small doses of quinine. Extreme daily allowance of acetanelid, 12 to 15 grains.

Chlorate of Potash.— Sore throat. Dissolve 5-grain tablet in one-third glass of water and gargle. Poisonous if swallowed in quantity. Bandage throat in warm compress.

Citric Acid.—Scnrvy preventive. Regard as food, use as desired, sweetened, diluted with water.

Vaseline.—Use as required.

Mustard-Plasters.—For cold on chest, pains in chest or stomach. Use as required. Moisten before using.

Belladonna-Plasters.—Pains of muscular rheumatism, neuralgia, lumbago, etc. Bathe the part, dry well, and apply plaster of proper size, renewing if necessary after a day or two. Chloroform liniment preferable.

Carbolic Salve.—External dressing, sores, burns, cuts or other wounds. Composed of 1 percent, carbolic acid in vaseline. Apply when necessary.

Toothache-Plasters.—Apply when needed.

Choloroform-Liniment.—For external application. Muscular pains, rheumatism and neuralgia. Similar in result to belladonna-plasters. Apply small quantities gently but thoroughly, afterwards warmly covering part. Composed of one part choloform, two parts of either mineral oil or soap liniment. Mix well. Dangerous to eyes.

Iodoform.—Label “Poison.” For external application only, or sores, cuts or other wounds, especially if redness, tenderness, suppuration or signs of inflammation exist. Use only in small quantities and over small areas. Use carbolic salve over areas larger than a few square inches. Excessive external use of iodoform results in delirium. Mix pinch of iodoform with scant teaspoonful of vaseline and apply in form of salve.

Blue Ointment.—Destroys certain forms of vermin, as lice, etc. Shave, cleanse with soap, then apply small quantity of ointment, rubbing in with hand ; protect by soft cloths.

Assorted Bandages. —Prefer 1-inch and 1½-inch widths.

Absorbent Cotton.—To dress and protect wounds.

Aromatic Spirits of Ammonia. — Heart stimulant in case of fainting, over-fatigue or prostration, or as substitute for whiskey in cases of drunkenness. Dose, half teaspoonful in little water. Repeat in half hour if needed. One teaspoonful may be used in extreme cases. If unable to swallow, apply by inhalation similarly to salts, camphor, cologne, etc.

Whiskey.—Shock, prostration, bites of serpents.

The writer has consulted, among other authorities, the various publications of the experimental stations connected with the United States Department of Agriculture, as well as those published by the Commissary Department of the United States Army. He is under obligations to the engineers of several of our Western railways, to Mr. William Northrop, of St. Louis, Mo., and to Professor Robert W. Hall, of York University, as well as to the students who have assisted him in his experiments.