Past Tents…An Adventure in Classic Camping

Last night I hatched a completely ridiculous plan. Fraser was telling me about how horribly out of date one of our Algonquin tripping books was with its references to travelling shoes and canvas tents. We giggled about its advice to bring moccasins for in-camp comfort and other old-fashioned notions. I admit that in the best of conditions, I wouldn’t mind bringing mine along, but…not super practical otherwise. And it’s been almost 20 years since I’ve hauled a wanigan on trip. It was nearly in the same breath that I expressed how much easier modern camping is, that I pronounced it might be educational if not downright kooky fun to plan and execute an authentic old-school camping trip.

It will mean collecting all sorts of impractical gear and researching retired camping methods. I’m pricing out canvas tents and wool bed rolls, tin plates and canteens. The pictures are going to be priceless! Fraser insists that this must be a fair weather trip and we are both worried about a cold and rainy night turning my experiment into a soupy disaster. I can’t wait! I’m talking vintage Pendleton shirts and red laced 15lb boots. I’m picturing sitting around with a coffee pot in the fire and a lantern to find our way at night. It’s going to be epic!

And so I’m sending out the call…does anyone have some treasures hidden in their basement or attic? Do the folks still have their old gear packed away in the garage just waiting to see the light of day again? If you can help me out, I’d love to borrow or adopt your fabulous vintage gear and give it new life. Spread the word… we’re going olde timey camping!



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Marg C on January 25, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    It’s not really very diifcult. I am a historical re-enactor and the principles are still the same. For example, you need to stay dry to be comfortable.

    You may be able to borrow some canvas tents from an old Scout group just make sure that you check that it isn’t mouldy/musty and be sure how to set it up.

    I prefer to buy in Canada but the best prices may be shopping on-line from the U.S.. You could also look to places such as forestry/mining equipment supply stores, and ask for prospector tents. I’m not sure whether they carry smaller tents in canvas. The big advantage of the larger tent is being able to stand up in it, and it truly keeps the weather out much more so than a modern tent.




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