Culinary History,  Food History,  History,  Travel,  West,  Western

Packing to Survive…

As a pioneer, if you were packing to leave your home for good and start over somewhere new, there was a lot of supplies that you needed! There were no grocery stores or convenience stores or drug stores along that vast stretch of land where you could stop and stock up on groceries and snacks! Yes, there were towns along the way, but it might take you a long time to get to them and they may not have what you needed when you did. Depending on how far you were going helped determine how much to take.

People realized that they were leaving civilization behind them. Civilization may lay ahead for them depending on where they were headed or it might not. So, the best thing you could do was go as prepared as possible and hope for the best! 

Here is an example of what you needed to bring from a pioneer named, Joe Palmer. He wrote a guide to help pioneers know what to bring to survive on the Oregon Trail. Keep in mind these amounts are only for one adult!

  • two hundred pounds of flour
  • thirty pounds of pilot bread
  • seventy-five pounds of bacon
  • ten pounds of rice
  • five pounds of coffee
  • two pounds of tea
  • twenty-five pounds of sugar
  • half a bushel of dried beans
  • one bushel of dried fruit
  • two pound of saleratus [baking soda]
  • ten pounds of salt
  • half a bushel of corn meal
  • half a bushel of corn, parched and ground
  • a small keg of vinegar should also be taken

If you were going on the Alaskan Gold Rush into the Klondike to strike it rich, here is the list of items you would need. Most people were not allowed to start out on the Klondike trail until they could prove they had all these provisions.

150 lbs. bacon                                                                                                       
400 lbs. flour
25 lbs. rolled oats
125 lbs. beans
10 lbs. tea
10 lbs. coffee
25 lbs. sugar
25 lbs. dried potatoes
2 lbs. dried onions
15 lbs. salt
1 lb. pepper
75 lbs. dried fruits
8 lbs. baking powder
2 lbs. soda
1/2 lb. evaporated vinegar
12 oz. compressed soup
1 can mustard
1 tin matches (for four men)
Stove for four men
Gold pan for each
Set granite buckets
Large bucket
Knife, fork, spoon, cup, and plate
Frying pan
Coffee and teapot
Scythe stone
Two picks and one shovel
One whipsaw
Pack strap
Two axes for four men and one extra handle
Six 8 inch files and two taper files for the party
Draw knife, brace and bits, jack plane, and hammer for party
200 feet three-eights-inch rope
8 lbs. of pitch and 5 lbs. of oakum for four men
Nails, five lbs. each of 6,8,10 and 12 penny, for four men
Tent, 10 x 12 feet for four men
Canvas for wrapping
Two oil blankets to each boat
5 yards of mosquito netting for each man
3 suits of heavy underwear
1 heavy mackinaw coat
2 pairs heavy machinaw trousers
1 heavy rubber-lined coat
1 dozen heavy wool socks
1/2 dozen heavy wool mittens
2 heavy overshirts
2 pairs heavy snagproof rubber boots
2 pairs shoes
4 pairs blankets (for two men)
4 towels
2 pairs overalls
1 suit oil clothing
Several changes of summer clothing
Small assortment of medicines

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *