A 1917 Gear List for the 21st Century
- Wool knickers
- Knee-length wool socks
- Sock liners
- Wool undergarments
- Leather hat
- Rubberized poncho
- Wool hat
- Wool long sleeve shirt
- Wool sweater
- Leather hiking boots
- Wool long underwear (bottom and top)
- Two bandannas
- Leather belt
The clothing worked fine. While a little hot, the long socks offered protection from bugs and vegetation. The wool shirt kept the bugs at bay. The leather hat was heavy and wet, but provided protection from the sun and tree limbs.
I hiked in leather Norwegian welt boots made by Peter Limmer & Sons of Intervale, New Hampshire, who started making boots in the 1920s. To break them in, I wore them to work every day for a year and hiked with them on weekends. I wore a double sock and used a natural foot cream to prevent blisters. The boots worked great, and I didn’t have any significant problems. Limmers are heavy to begin with, and are even heavier when wet. They got wet early on and never really dried out, which added a little extra weight.
- Handwoven ash pack basket
- Wool blanket
- Homemade waterproofed cotton tarp
- Waterproof cotton ground cloth
- Hand-forged camp knife in leather belt sheath
- Two-liter metal canteen and one-liter metal canteen
- Bug net
- Alcohol stove, alcohol in glass bottle
- Tin cup
- Journal, pencil
- 1917 Long Trail Guide
- 2017 Long Trail Guide
- Waxed cotton bag for journal and guidebooks
- Waxed cotton bag for food
- Matches, dental floss, and water purification tablets in a metal box. I used birch and beech twigs as natural toothbrushes (don’t tell my dentist).
- Twine to hang food bag and set up tarp
- Toilet paper
The wool blanket worked well for the first few nights, but on my fourth, at Lost Pond Shelter, the temperature dropped into the high thirties. Even wearing all my clothing and making a bed of leaves, I didn’t have enough insulation. The size of my pack prevented me from exchanging my blanket for a thicker one.
The waxed cotton bags kept my food and books dry—even the one I hung in the pouring rain as a bear bag. By wrapping gear and clothing up in the cotton tarp, I could keep things pretty dry despite rain and wet vegetation.
- Cheddar cheese
- Cured meat: pepperoni, bacon, summer sausage, jerky
- Canned fish: salmon, anchovies
- Hershey’s chocolate bars
- Cashews, almonds, raisins
- Hardboiled eggs
- Coke – glass bottle
- Guinness – glass bottle
- Modern watch and compass
- Cell phone (used as well as carried)
- Modern bug net for sleeping
- Light waterproof ground cloth (not canvas)
- Water purification chemicals
Would you hike in retro gear?