BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


Vanity Fair

William Thackery


Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse


Camping out

by Warren Hastings Miller

Excerpt:

Here are a few of the conditions that must be provided for if the cruise is to be of indefinite duration and to be a pleasurable experience rather than a species of punishment: The weather will change—you will get everything, bitter cold, rain, snow and hot weather; they all occur in almost any two weeks of spring or fall in our climate; your food must be nourishing, palatable and good for your body to assimilate, yet light—that is, your cooking outfit must boil, bake, fry and stew; your pack must weigh altogether less than thirty pounds, except at the start, where thirty-five for the first few days is permissible; you must have a tent to live in at night, and your sleeping accommodations must be warm, cool, comfortable and not bulky; you must have light at night; provision against sickness and accident; and change of clothing, because of wetness, perspiration, burning up or scorching; all this must go on your back or about your person and be light enough so that carrying it fifteen miles a day in the mountains is no hardship.

Many hands make light work, so that, in a party of four or more, all these matters are so subdivided among the members of the party that almost any modern camping equipment is ample. But suppose the party is but two, or a lone hike? The writer's habits of hitting the trail often at all months of the year have led him to devise a twoman outfit that meets all these conditions and seems worthy of description in some detail for the benefit of others.

I have but two packs: the January pack and the June one. One is used from November to April and the other from May to October. They both weigh about the same when I start out, from thirty to thirty-five pounds, and my own weight

is 130, height five feet eight inches; strong for my weight, but a lightweight, a cold-frog, easily fatigued and quickly susceptible to poorly cooked food. So much for the human equation. To meet the demands for comforts in the wilderness for my wretched body I have been forced to do considerable experimenting, scheming and devising. Yet time and again have I set off into the mountains with one or the other of those packs, taking along a friend, and have spent from five days to a week fishing, hunting or timber-cruising in most enjoyable fashion, with no fatigue and no harrowing hardships. Yet I have had more than my share of stern weather conditions to face.

Almost invariably the friend has showed up with a bulky sleeping-rig weighing not less than fifteen pounds, a duffle-bag, weighing as mucli more, crammed with his personal effects, no means of carrying it, and no reserve to carry his share of the outfit. If he could carry just his share of the grub alone I would not kick, but as soon as he gets out of the range of porters, autos, teams and canoes he begins to make heavy weather of it, and because of his duffle the trips often cost double the intended expense. As a rule the best solution is to fit him up with one of my own outfits and leave his stuff at the house.

To begin with the weather. Most tyros do not seem to realise that, while the weather may be fine and dandy when starting out, it will most likely be mean within two days from the start of the trip, and, as the old guide used to say, "What's the weather got to do with it, anyway I" No one proposes to den up and halt the trip just because the woods are wet or it is drizzling, though I usually make myself comfortable in camp in a hard rainstorm, unless it is only a thunder shower. But the candidates show up with no raincoat, light khaki coat and trousers, no hat that will keep rain out of the neck and off the shoulders, and then expect to duck for shelter at the first sign of storm.

Tied up with this consideration is that of getting through the train trip and city connections without looking like the wild man of Borneo. No one likes to look conspicuous or bizarre in making one's train, yet at most little jumping-off places the facilities for changing city clothes—and disposing of them when changed—are limited, not to say absent. My rig, winter or summer, has boiled down to a grey woollen suit, the coat of which was once of a standard double-breasted city suit, and the trousers are all-wool homespun, rather thin-cut lower down so that they will fold easily inside one's hunting-boots. I long ago discarded the army breeches; they are no good to sleep in, and the cuffs are a nuisance, particularly if you are wearing larrigans that come not much higher than your shoes. Going to the train I wear the above-described suit with the trousers pulled down outside my hunting-boots, sport a linen collar and shirt, a red leather four-in-hand tie presented to me by a cowboy friend, a Stetson hat and a green woven-wool skating vest. Except for the hat, I look about the same as any one else in city duds and attract no particular attention.


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