Staff Writer

   Smoke Signals

                   Nov./Dec. '10


 We have had many nice comments about the first part of this article so lets finish the second part of  "Plan Ahead & Prepare - Are You Ready?".  Here we'll continue with the same thoughts on the subject but now looking at our primitive wares as an additional resource.  Note the amounts of each grouping; this is something to consider when going through your camping equipment whether modern or primitive. Most don't realize their homeowner's insurance will probably cover any losses. Keep an accurate list that has current prices on your wares. I try and update about every six months. Pictures help adjusters make a closer value on your losses if this would ever happen.


  In the Sep/Oct issue we looked what was the recommended list of supplies we should have on hand for this growing problem.  At the end of  "Plan Ahead & Prepare - Are You Ready?" I mentioned in the next issue we would look at our primitive camping equipage that would work in this  situation. The camping equipage you have will do dual purpose, use it don't buy for the sake of getting something new.

Plan Ahead & Prepare - Are You Ready? 

(cont from the last issue of Smoke Signals).

Family Preparedness

Here’s how I am approaching this “unwanted task” called such because we are spooled and don’t think such problems will ever reach our shores.

1. List your strengths:
  • Fire:
  • Shelter:
  • Water Procurement:
  • Food Procurement:
  • Signal:
  • Navigation:

2. List your weakness:

  • Fire:
  • Shelter:
  • Water Procurement:
  • Food Procurement:
  • Signal:
  • Navigation:
Items for your kit:
  • Fire method - primary - secondary.
  • Shelter construction - primary - secondary.
  • Water Procurement - primary - secondary.
  • Food Procurement - gathering, cooking, preserving.
  • Signal Method - primary - secondary.
  • Navigation - method.
  • Cutting - implementation.
  • Sewing - materials.
  • First-Aid items.
  • Carrying methods.
  • Other**
Field Test, how did your kit perform in the following areas:
  • Fire:
  • Shelter:
  • Water Procurement:
  • Food Procurement:
  • Signal:
  • Navigation:

Keep your 'kit' small and don't forget to add First-Aid items. This is your last step in being ready for the unknown. Have personal needs and base your wares on those needs and method of carry.

This is our personal list we have on hand, yours will vary with family needs and number of members. We have a number of the items shown by FEMA - LDS - BSA Emergency Preparedness not all items apply to our personal needs. As maybe the same for you, you have to pick and choose what's right for you and your family.


Home is where you will hold up if need be, those thinking of heading to the hills will be sitting in a large traffic jam and then running out of fuel. Plan on staying home for shelter, if your power or gas is shut off cook in the backyard, use the house for shelter. The same with your camping equipment use it at home to survive.


We have on hand in our storage room our emergency food supply that’s rotated with the weekly store bought food. This keeps our sources fresh and we don’t have to worry about bad canned foods, mixes, soups etc. There are freeze dried , dehydrated, MRES, type of foods that have an extremely long shelf life, and nutritious that are kept in the same area for accessibility. Our plan is for a minimum of one month of food per person.

  • MREs - Meals ready to eat. These are ideal for inside and outside storage conditions. These may be stored in the worst of conditions. Long shelf life with no rotation.
  • MRES are available in most food sections, sporting goods stores and on the Internet.


30 gallons per person (2 gallons per person per day for 1 week).

Remember that your water heater in the house is typically 50 gallons, and may be used. For additional water we use 30 gallon plastic drums made for this purpose. Using the formula above, we have 120 gallons in the plastic drums plus the 50 gallon water heater for the two of us.


Barbecue: (2) 20 pound propane bottles with another 20 pound container of propane. A propane camp stove may also be used.

Open fire cooking: I keep an antique large cooking kettle with a copper fire pan and grate in the backyard for decoration that can be readied for outdoor cooking in a manner of a few minutes. A supply of firewood stored near by in a save area of the yard provides the fuel source.


A 24’ enclosed trailer that has been rebuilt and is nicer than some campers inside is sitting along side the house in storage. It contains a small generator, fuel, camp equipment and tools if needed.


First aid kit, medications available.

We have taken a first aid class including CPR.

This is the short list of what is shown above that’s suggested by groups mentioned.



Your house may not be safe to enter, or may catch fire after a disaster like an earthquake. Your car will be one of your most important resources after a disaster strikes. Keep it mechanically sound.

  • Always keep your gas tank full! Fill it when it reaches 1/2 a tank.
  • Keep your supplies in the trunk
  • Keep the car mechanically sound and ready to use, have tools, jumper cables and spare tire available.
  • Keep supplies in the car for use in an emergency, on the road or for work.

Replace your battery every 3-4 years. In an emergency, your car battery will need to run the radio and heater for extended periods.



We have two vehicles, each has the same items.

  • 25’ of parachute cord
  • writing paper, pencils, pens
  • folding knife, hunting knife, box cutter
  • Leatherman tool, pliers
  • Mini Mag flashlight w/extra batteries
  • small hand axe
  • small binoculars (at least 8X21 pwr)
  • diaper wipes, toilet paper
  • space blanket, ground cloth
  • wool cap and gloves
  • soap caddy w/soap
  • small pill box with meds.
  • (5) sandwich bags and (3) storage bags
  • small compass
  • waterproof matches, magnetic striker bar, Bic lighter, (2) film canisters (1) with cotton balls soaped in Vaseline, the other with 0000 steel wool (fire tender).
  • snacks, fruit bars, nuts, trail food, jerky
  • tin can w/candles, matches, tin pie pan (use for a heat source)
  • 10’ orange marking tape
  • 3/8” plastic tubing 2-½’ long (use for retrieving water if needed)
  • pepper spray (Hornet spray works just as well and its cheaper)
  • (2) snap light sticks
  • (2) water bottles, (1) water filter straw
  • Small First aid kit, medications needed - available.

All the items listed above will fit in a day pack for ease of carrying if needed inside work location or having to leave your vehicle going to or from your home

Please don’t just put this on a back shelf, this type of preparedness is needed more than ever before in the history of our country with world situations and weather changes that could happen at any time.



This is a listing of my camp equipage kept cleaned, packed - ready for whatever.

  •  BEDROLL – approximate replacement value $600.00

  • (2) Wool blankets – Witney & Wilde 4 points.
  • (1) Home made quilt made by my Grand Mother.
  • (1) Canvas cover.

Canvas Bag

  • (1) Ground cloth.
  • (1) Lean-too.

  • CAMP COOKING MESS (part of these items are in PORT-MAN-TOU) – approximate replacement value $750.00


This is my complete camp mess that will handle (4) four members of the party.

  • (1) tin water pail approximate (1) gallon with lid.
  • (1) tin lined brass trade kettle with tin lid.
  • (1) HBC tin lined copper boiler with copper lid.
  • (1) folding handle tin lined copper “Gentlemen’s Cup” with chained on lid.
  • (1) 1000 Eye lantern – copper body, greased leather bag.
  • (2) old glass bottles, used for soap & cooking oil.
  • (1) brass tea strainer.
  • (1) tin baking pan.
  • (1) tin of buffalo lard.
  • (1) small tin frying pan with removable handle.
  • (1) hand forged folding fork & wooden spoon.
  • (3) hand forged fork & spoons.
  • (1) hand held small grater.
  • (1) copper box with first aid kit, greased leather bag.
  • (1) tin with tea strainer, spoon, brick tea & maple sugar.
  • (1) strike-a-lite box (fire starting set).
  • (3) hand towel, wash cloth, sea sponge, hot pad & piece of brain tanned leather for hot handles.
  • BOTANIST CASE – includes edibles - approximate replacement value $300.00

  • (1) Botantist Case by GBW (Jefferson copy)..
  • (1) Canvas bag, dried vegetables.
  • (1) Canvas bag, pasta, elk jerky.
  • (1) Canvas bag, dried fruit.
  • (1) Canvas bag, wild rice.
  • (1) Canvas bag, veg. – soup mix.

  • PORT-MAN-TOU – approximate replacement value $650.00

Strapped to case
  • (1) Rain coat
  • (1) Period wool sweater
  • (1) Capote

Inside case

  • (1) tin w/period sunglasses.
  • (1) period wallet w/money clip.
  • (1) tack belt w/buffalo pouch.
  • (1) linen clout, belt.
  • (1) period shirt (wallet).
  • (1) belt axe w/sheath.
  • (1) belt knife w/sheath.
  • (1) pr. of leather leggings.
  • (1) leg ties.
  • (1) elk snow goggles.
  • (1) misc. brass container.
  • (1) mag. glass w/wood container.
  • (1) tin w/period sunglasses.
  • (1) salt horn & horn cup.
  • (1) fingerless wool gloves, wool mittens w/brain tanned covers.
  • (1) wash cloth & towel (wallet).
  • (1) voyager cap (wallet).
  • (1) sewing kit.
  • (1) tin box/blanket pins.
  • (1) oil stone.
  • (1) tin box w/eye glasses.
  • (1) gun maintenance kit.
  • (1) smoking kit, pipe, tamp, tobacco.
  • (1) leather bag w/turkey calls.
  • (1) pair of breeches.
  • (2) pair of long socks.
  • (2) handkerchiefs.
  • TOILET KIT (in PORT-MAN-TOU) – approximate replacement value $125.00

  • (1) Longhunter Leather Co. hemp/bark tan flap bag
  • (1) Medicine bottle.
  • (1) Boar hairbrush
  • (1) horn comb, bone/bristle hair toothbrush
  • (1) toothpaste powder.
  • (1) Small brass box w/period soap.
  • (1) GBW brass framed mirror.
  • (1 pkg) Butt wipes.

  • SHOOTIN’ (rifle) POUCH – approximate replacement value $475.00

  • (1) Shooting pouch (Longhunter Leather Co. bark tan pouch);
  • (1) small wooden short starter.
  • (1) sling for throwing small rocks.
  • (1) small leather bag w/round ball.
  • (1) small leather bag w/buckshot.
  • (1) Powder horn w/bark tan sling.
  • (1) leather bag = flint knapper, pan brush, forged vent pick, Wood’s flint shaper, sm. period bottle of lube.
  • (1) leather bag = gentlemen’s knife, bone short starter, piece of brain tanned leather for holding flint in jaws, buckeye (luck), sm. box-(jag, worm, tools), sm. tube-(tow), sm. rd. tin box-lube.
  • (1) flint wallet (6) flints = hand forged pliers, lady legs (ramrod puller), comb tool w/sheath.
  • (1) horn powder measurer w/bullet board.
  • (1) roll of pillow ticking.

  • BALL CASTING KIT – approximate replacement value $150.00

  • (1) brain tanned bag = hand forged folding ladle, forge ball mold, several pieces of period lead bars.

  • FIRE BUILDING KITS – approximate replacement value $225.00

Buffalo hoof belt bag with fire making accessories.

  • (1) Buffalo hoof belt bag

  • folding hand forged knife

  • mag. glass w/wooden case

  • strike-a-lite kit-brass/copper box

  • extra small pig hide container w/striker on bottom-flint, tow, char inside.

  • MISC. ITEMS worn– clothing, etc. approximate replacement valued $1,200.00


  • (1) Ivory handled neck knife w/rawhide sheath.  
  • (1) Deer horn whistle w/old beads.  
  • (1) Wood cased compass.  
  • (1) Glasses w/tin case.  
  • (1) Pull cords.  
  • (1) Belt wallet.  
  • (1) Note pad w/ pencil.  
  • (1) Period wallet w/money clip.
  • (1) Silk head scarf.  
  • (1) Tack belt w/buffalo pouch – strike-a-lite, folding knife.

  • (1) Copper tinned canteen.  
  • (1) Wide brim hat.  
  • (1) Belt wallet.  
  • (1) Belt axe w/sheath.  
  • (1) Belt knife w/sheath.  
  • (1) Period shirt.  
  • (1) Breech clout.
  • (1) Pr. of leather leggings.
  • (1) Leg ties.
  • (1) Belt.
  • (1) Belt for clout.
  • HAVERSACK (day bag) – approximate replacement value $350.00

  • (1) Haversack (Longhunter Leather Co. bark tan/hemp pouch);
  • (1) tin w/ivory leaf note pad & pencil.
  • (1) sm. bag w/wangs.
  • (1) bundle of butt wipes.
  • (1) small bag w/dried fruit.
  • (1) small bag w/dried jerky.
  • (1) flint & steel w/char in pig skin pouch.
  • (1) leather bag w/wooden cased compass.

Richard Wilson was an English firearm manufacturer working from 1729 until 1751. He designed the Chief’s Grade Trade gun to fit this new demand and actually improved the lock quality by incorporating an internal bridle to keep the parts aligned. The new improved lock and a “stock free from knots and cracks” were 2 of the improvements made to help the competitive trading with the French voyageurs. Although trade guns were not dated, from records showing Wilson’s active years. Records can accurately date this gun in the pre-French and Indian war era. For a documentary on Wilson tradeguns with pictures, refer to “Colonial Frontier Guns” by T.M. Hamilton, pages 78 and 79. This gun is referred to as the O’Connor gun.

My favorite and most used gun (1) Early Wilson Chief’s grade tradegun in 28 ga.

  • WEAPON - replacement value for weapon is $1,850.00

The listing shown of my personal camp equipage is to the bare minimum, good for a long weekend or as long as several months on the ground. Edibles would be the only renewable items needed for most part.
  • I cheat when moving into a distant camp from where the "iron mule" was left. I found a wooden iron rimmed period correct wheelbarrow (made by the Amish in Ohio).  You'll learn to make needed corrections as you grow older, a lesson well learned from old friend & camp mate Stanley Honour.

Try to make everything taken do several jobs.  You will find that your own list will be as long or longer, cut it down, lighter is better.


My camp equipage is kept cleaned & packed ready for the next camp.

EQUIPAGE COST – approximate replacement value $6,000.00 plus or minus a few $1,000.00


Buck Conner

 (not active at this time in either group).


Updated 09/02/2010

The listing shown of my personal camp equipage is to the bare minimum, good for a long weekend or as long as several months on the ground. Edibles would be the only renewable items needed for most part.

  • I cheat when moving into a distant camp from where the "iron mule" was left. I found a wooden iron rimmed period correct wheelbarrow (made by the Amish in Ohio).  You'll learn to make needed corrections as you grow older, a lesson well learned from old friend & camp mate Stanley Honour.

Try to make everything taken do several jobs.  You will find that your own list will be as long or longer, cut it down, lighter is better.



Buck Conner  


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