How did Voyagers/HBC Outfitters do it?

billiebob

Well-known member
On topic, this is a great book to read about the Pacific Northwest.
I cannot imagine paddling from Revelstoke BC to Astoria Washington and back today.
Never mind doing it before any other white man did it.

This is a great book. Covering the Hudsons Bay and Northwest Companies too.

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geojag

Member
When using wool blankets in the cold, long fires were commonly used, with a tarp/shelter to reflect heat back in. Read Nessmuck or other early 20th century camping books and you will see keeping warm was a challenge.

There was also a lot of snuggling.....
 

Vincenzo

New member
I suspect a different mindset was at play, i read somewhere on this forum not long ago that any kind of closed toe shoe was just too hot for desert wear. I grew up in central Texas when air conditioning was not all that common, the old guys I remember growing up, worked all day in the hot sun in jeans or khakis, long sleeved t shirts, and long sleeved shirts over them buttoned up to the neck with the sleeves rolled down, and lace up work boots. Were they tougher than folks today? Not likely, they just didnt know or expect any better.
To be fair, as someone that has lived and worked outside in southern Arizona for most of my life, what most people don't realize is that this is the best way to dress for work in the sun and heat. Long sleeves and long pants keep the sun off your skin and you actually end up being overall cooler during the day when outside. I never understood it when I was young but my first roofing job in July taught my to keep everything covered real quick. That bout of heat exhaustion was rough and 20+ years later I remember those lessons learned. Don't forget; insulation works both ways, it keeps hot in and cold away as well as hot away and cold in.
 

ripperj

Explorer
Don’t forget the fact that life was so hard on the body in the 1700/early 1800s that the average male didn’t make it out of his 40s( depends on the source you read and the time frame)


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perterra

Adventurer
To be fair, as someone that has lived and worked outside in southern Arizona for most of my life, what most people don't realize is that this is the best way to dress for work in the sun and heat. Long sleeves and long pants keep the sun off your skin and you actually end up being overall cooler during the day when outside. I never understood it when I was young but my first roofing job in July taught my to keep everything covered real quick. That bout of heat exhaustion was rough and 20+ years later I remember those lessons learned. Don't forget; insulation works both ways, it keeps hot in and cold away as well as hot away and cold in.
Yep, tuaregs ain't wrapped head to toe for style. Colors that reflect heat underneath colors that absorb heat. Like dark guard hairs on an animal, holds the heat where convection can pull it away
 

perterra

Adventurer
Don’t forget the fact that life was so hard on the body in the 1700/early 1800s that the average male didn’t make it out of his 40s( depends on the source you read and the time frame)


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I think infant and child deaths skewed the numbers significantly.
 

Grassland

Well-known member
I guess I'm a soy boy.

2008 or so, my "-1°C" Woods sleeping bag and a thin flannel sheet on a 3/8" foam mat and I slept under a tarp in mild November weather, call it -10°C overnight. Was a bit cold but slept.
Flash forward to a couple weekends ago, in a surveyor tent with a wood stove, overnight low of -10 and the same sleeping bag but my wool blanket inside and I slept about the same, wasn't freezing but wasn't toasty (except when somebody took a bathroom break and tossed some wood in the stove on their way out)

Even two wool blankets combined but no sleeping bag and I don't think I'd be OK. At least I'm truck camping. If I was backpacking or sledding this stuff there is no way of be carrying that.
 
Cool thread! thanks all for the book recommendations too. I would like to think it was a combination of things. They most probably used wool undergarments/skivvies on during sleep with the wool blankets. Plus back then the use of fur was much more widely used. Getting under a fur skin would insulate you much more. looking at the Inuit and Eskimo people's use of furs to stay warm in their extreme climates.

Not to mention those all of the tips and tricks of staying warm like one poster mentioned with long fires under a lean-to to help reflect heat. I would also agree with acclimation to the weather since they were more intimate with it than we are today. Freezing temps are not as cold when your cabin/tent is only a handful of degrees above that.

There's a reason why families were so large back in the day. One was because children are relatively free labor. But more importantly was of staying warm and lack of modern entertainment distractions at bedtime haha.

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billiebob

Well-known member
To be fair, as someone that has lived and worked outside in southern Arizona for most of my life, what most people don't realize is that this is the best way to dress for work in the sun and heat. Long sleeves and long pants keep the sun off your skin and you actually end up being overall cooler during the day when outside. I never understood it when I was young but my first roofing job in July taught my to keep everything covered real quick. That bout of heat exhaustion was rough and 20+ years later I remember those lessons learned. Don't forget; insulation works both ways, it keeps hot in and cold away as well as hot away and cold in.
yep, look at pictures from India, Africa, the Sahara, in WWII any one in the desert is always fully clothed in light cotton or linen natural fabrics..... to be fair, those of us in high tech synthetic fabrics are victims of consumerism, advertizing and the internet. Natural fabrics and the practices of our ancestors are always the intelligent choice.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
The igloo is the ultimate winter structure. A low entry, raised living sleeping, small vent hole. Built in a spiral so a single person can build it. Such basic techniques, principles will help anyone survive today.....

I love this comment lol
"Were they tougher than folks today? Not likely, they just didnt know or expect any better."

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Best silent movie ever..... if you want to see an ancient culture.... this is it.

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billiebob

Well-known member
Heres another fabulous book about our frontier and yes. people were tougher back then.
Gerry was the first licensed female hunting guide in BC.
Shes in her 90s today, still living in the wilds.

We drove into "her" country 25 yearsago. The sign said "You are entering Bracewell Wilderness"
My wife said she reminds me of Audrey Hepburn. I thought yes, but how does BCs first female hunting guide remind us of the star from Breakfast at Tiffanys...... she has a very powerful presence.

From a farm girl hunting squirrels near Clyde, AB to a Canadian Icon in the Chilkootin.
This should be a must read for every hunters kids.
Should be a must read for you too.

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