A LIVING HISTORY BLOG.

18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Costings For Emigrants 1630-




I know that I am more than a bit obsessive when it comes to wilderness survival, survival foods and the tools and equipment one needs to carry for long term survival, but I find the survival of those early settles a facinating topic. As I am also a historical trekker it is very important to me to get it right. As I get older, it becomes even more important to learn the best compromise between maximum self-reliance and minimum weight.
Now I know that the above list is not what anyone would carry on their backs, nor is it a list for poor middling sort of people. But I do find this list interesting just the same.
Right now there are a lot of would be 18th century woodsmen & woods-women trying to put their gear together and wondering what is the best stuff to buy. And your problem is exactly the same problem these Pilgrims, the emigrants had 300 years ago. With such limited funds, what is the best things to purchase?
The only way you can work this out is by putting yourself in these early emigrants shoes. You in reality are about to go historical trekking in the country you live in, but you are going to have to make believe that you are travelling thousands of miles across the ocean to a new land to start a new life.
What are your priorities? Food? Security & protection? Planting a crop? Building a shelter? All these are important, but you have to figure out which is most important and what you actually NEED to start this new life.
Are there things you can make given a few simple tools? Yes of course there are. Give me a couple of different sized augers and a tomahawk and I can make a wheelbarrow and a shelter. A saw would be useful IF I can afford one, but I can  manage without. This is the way you have to think it through, and this is what I will try to focus on in following posts.
Why not start your own list and see what you come up with.

6 comments:

Hutch said...

Posts like this are the ones that keep me coming back day after day. Your additional writing made me think. My experiences, thus far, have always been on what kind of gadgets could I purchase to take with me; I've read almost all of your posts now, and I'm now thinking of what kinds of things I can leave behind. I'll come up with a list here in a bit, and let you critique it. Admittedly, I am no reenactor, so there will absolutely be modern items on the list, BUT, the more I read of your posts and some others, the more interest I have IN reenacting. In other words, I'm looking more towards period correct pieces to take with me-- my favorite period in American history. Thanks!

Le Loup said...

Hutch, it is replies like yours that makes it all worthwhile for me.
Regards, Le Loup.

Gorges Smythe said...

Having used both modern tools and old ones, I will say that modern tools allow unskilled folks to make tolerable products rather quickly, compared to those same people doing things the old way. HOWEVER, once you have the skills of the old-timers, you can often get the job done with old tools in the same time it takes to just set up the modern ones.

Le Loup said...

That sounds about right Gorges.

Hutch said...

At the risk of sounding ignorant, here goes, assuming approximately a 5 day trek:
Cold Steel Kukri and Buck Vanguard
Fishing kit
Tommahawk
Flint and steel
Beans
Bacon wrapped in cheesecloth and oilcloth
My old canvas pup tent
Bedroll (canvas shell with a wool blanket)
Snare wire
Map
Compass
Small sewing kit
Canteen
Kettle
Pen and paper


That's what I'd be comfortable with, now. I assume I would need less as my skills improved, but I also assume there's somewhat of a 'minimum' that someone would take.

Le Loup said...

That looks like a pretty good list Hutch, and with some trail food and some means of hunting meat, would sustain you for a long time in the wilderness.
Well done.