The duffel bag is the ideal poke in which to pack one's belongings. It is waterproof, it makes a good pillow, a far better pillow than an axe and pair of boots on which I myself have rested my weary head many a night, and it also makes a good cushion upon which to sit. The duffel bag may be procured from any outfitting establishment. The ones 1 own are now shiny with dirt and grease, gathered from the camps and forests extending from Maine to the State of Washington, from Northern Quebec to Florida. I love the old bags, for even though they be greasy and shiny, and blackened with the charcoals of many campfires, they are chuck full of delightful memories.
Fig. 220 is the old-time poke made of a bandanna handkerchief, with its ends tied together and swung over a stick.
This is the pack, a cut of which may be found in all the old newspapers antedating the Civil War, where runaway negroes are advertised. It is the sort of pack respectable tramps used to carry, back in the times when tramps were respectable. It is the kind of pack I find represented in an old oil painting hanging on my dining-room wall, which was painted by some European artist back in the seventeenth century. When fellows carry the runaway pack they are "traveling light."
Fig. 229 shows how to construct a makeshift pack. A rope of cedar bark is arranged with a loop C (Fig. 229), for the yoke the ends A and B are brought up under the arms and tied to the yoke C, which then makes a breast band.
For a long hike thirty pounds is enough for a big boy to carry, and it will weigh three hundred and fifty pounds at the end of a hard day's tramp. Heavy packs, big packs, like those shown in Fig. 223, are only used on a portage, that is, for short distance. Of course, you fellows know that in all canoe trips of any consequence one must cross overland from one lake to another, or overland above a waterfall to a safe place below it, or around quick water, or to put it in the words of tenderfeet, water which is too quick for canoe travel, around tumultuous rapids where one must carry his canoe and duffel. But these carries or portages are seldom long. The longest I remember of making was a trifle over five miles in length.
Remember that the weight of a load depends a great deal upon your mind. Consequently for a long distance the load should be light; for a short distance the only limit to the load is the limit of the packer's strength.
But People differ so in regard to how to carry a pack and what kind of a pack to carry, that the author hesitates to recommend any particular sort; personally he thinks that a pack harness hitched on to the duffel bags (Figs. 221, 222 and 224), is the proper and practical thing. Duffel bags, by the way, are water-proof canvas bags (Fig. 225), made of different sizes, in which to pack one's clothes, food, or what not. The portage basket (Fig. 218), is a favorite in the Adirondacks, but it is not a favorite with the writer; the basket itself is heavy and to his mind unnecessary, the knapsack (Fig. 219), is good for short hikes when one does not have to carry much. The best way for the reader to do is to experiment, see how much of a load he can carry; fifty pounds is more than enough for a big strong man to carry all day long, day in and day out, and forty pounds is more than he wants to carry, but a good husky boy may be able to carry forty pounds on his back. At the Army and Navy stores and at the outfitter's you can find all sorts of duffel bags and knapsacks, and at any of the big outfitting stores they will tell you just what kind of baggage you will need for the particular trip, for someone in the stores has been over the very ground that you are going over, for all the clerks and proprietors of the outfitting stores are sportsmen. But—yes, there is a "but"— the real genuine American boy will construct his own outfit duffel bags, mess kit and tents.