Camping in 1921   


"Outdoor style" has progressed greatly since this 1921 picture of a camping party in Yellowstone was taken. Gone are the cotton tents, heavy cook-pots, and campaign hats, replaced almost exclusively by synthetics and metal alloys.

To illustrate how far we've come, read these articles from the PATC Archives covering a review of "new" lightweight camping equipment - at least it was new in the 1930's.


Light-Weight Camping Equipment [1933]

A rival to the New England Trail Conference's famous ten-pound pack - the gospel of light-weight camping equipment - is a recent English eleven-pound pack. This outfit was developed by the Camping Club of Great Britain and Ireland. Prepared as a woman's pack, but equally suitable for male pedestrians, the outfit has received extensive use and publicity. A photograph of the outfit and details as to its contents have been obtained by the Club in connection with its own bulletin on Camping and Hiking Equipment.

This eleven-pound pack includes rucksack, sleeping bag (down), tent, guyline, ground cloth, tent pegs, water bucket, walking stick, tent pole, salt box, basin, butter box, grippit, can opener, 2 provision bags, 2 saucepans, frying pan, flashlight, primus stove, matches, cup, plate, spoon, knife, fork, pepper box, stubplate and coat hanger, towel, face flannel, tube soap, handkerchiefs, toothbrush, wool jumper, stockings, woolen vest, rubber shoes, woolen knickers, and swimming suit. Some of the items are home-made, but "Camptors," Camp & Sports, Ltd., 2- 3 Greville Street, London, E. C. 1, England, prominent English outdoor outfitters, supply practically an identical outfit for œ7/6. The down sleeping bag weighs a pound less than the Appalachian Mountain Club bag, much used in this country. The tent is more commodious but 13 ounces heavier, and is more expensive than the A. M. C. tent.

It is well known that English and Continental outdoor clubs (for an interesting account of European walking clubs, see New Trails for Nature Seekers, by Flora G. Orr, in Physical Culture, June, 1932) possess a highly developed technique of light-weight camping equipment. Considerable inquiry has been made to ascertain items serviceable under the conditions prevailing in the central Appalachians. The down sleeping bags and cooking outfits are most promising; several will be listed in the 1933 edition of the Club's Bulletin on Hiking and Camping Equipment. The data with respect to the eleven-pound pack and the English equipment may be obtained from M. H. Avery.



Up to the present the most desirable light-weight sleeping bag for moderate temperatures which could be conveniently carried in a pack has been the A.M.C. wool bat bag obtainable from the Appalachian Mountain Club, 5 Joy Street, Boston. The advantages of down sleeping bags have long been apparent but they have not been generally obtainable in this country. Light-weight English down bags have been prohibitive in cost.

Arrangements have now been made with a Washington branch of a well- known Canadian Sporting Goods manufacturer to make available down bags similar in shape and size to the wool bat bags. These may be ordered by mail from N. E. Phillips, 828 UpshurSt. N. W. The bags are 95 percent wild waterfowl down. The weight is under 3 pounds. Two sizes are carried: large, 32 by 80 inches; medium, 31 by 75 inches. The price is $12.50.

This new bag is a decided boon to the hiker, and the willingness of Mr. Phillips to make up a bag according to the Club's specifications is to be much commended.

In the next Bulletin the Committee hopes to announce the availability of a light tent of the best possible design made of neoprene cloth.



During the past two or three years there has been a development of fabrics and of water-proofing processes which should result in definite improvements in camping equipment. These trends and further developments in light-weight camping equipment are deseribed in the June, 1937, issue of Appalachia under the title of "Trends in Light Weight Camping Technique," by Myron H. Avery. Because of the interest of Club members in these developments, reprints of this article will be sent to members. Additional copies may be obtained from the General Secretary at a cost of ten cents each.

There has been a dearth of literature on winter camping. In the 1937 Annual of the Sierra Club, Mr. Bestor Robinson has contributed an outstanding article based upon extensive winter camps in the High Sierras. This outstanding publication may be obtained by sending 75 cents to the Sierra Club. Mills Tower, San Francisco Calif.

Mr. Avery's article deals with the use of artificial rubber as a tent material. The experiments of the PATC Equipment Committee have led into the field of the use of fabrics coated with rubber. The R. B. Mann Company of New York City has contributed a tent made of rubberized fabric, which has been placed in the tool cache and is available to Club members. The Committee wishes to have this tent tested as completely as possible during the year, Club members are urged to make all possible use of this tent and report their observations to Mr. Watson. The tent is a local adaptation of the model designed by Mr. Bestor Robinson, of the Sierra Club, and is snake and insect proof, with a sewed-in waterproof ground cloth.

Also available at the Tool Cache for use by Club members is the frame of a Bergans pack for carrying heavy loads.