This section is from the book "American Game Fishes", by W. A. Perry. Also available from Amazon: American Game Fishes: Their Habits, Habitat, and Peculiarities; How, When, and Where to Angle for Them.
By G. O. Shields.
As many of the best fishing waters are in the wilderness, remote from hotels or even from farm houses and ran-^» ches, and as much of the best fishing can therefore be done only from camps, it is deemed proper to give here some general observations and instructions on the subject of camping out. What I shall say will be designed specially for young sportsmen, or novices in the matter of field sports, and yet it is possible that my thirty years of experience in wood-craft and mountaineering may enable me to say some things that will interest the "old boys," as well.
So many anglers are also devotees of the rifle or gun that it may not be out of place to cover, in so far as it can be done in a limited paper like this, the subject of camping in general, whether for hunting, fishing, or merely for fresh air, rest and recreation.
Before camping come the busy notes of preparation for camping; and the first and most important question on this point is, "What shall I wear?" My answer to this question is, "Whatever you wear, let it be all wool." No matter at what time of year you are going out, whether in mid-summer or in mid-winter, in spring or fall; whether your destination is Alaska or Florida, Canada or California, the Adirondacks or the Rockies, don't put on a garment that has a thread of cotton in it, unless it be in the way of overalls or overcoat. I say this advisedly, and you will agree with me when you have studied and experimented on this subject as long as I have. In fact, this rule should be rigidly adhered to, by every man, woman and child, the year round, at home or abroad. It is adhered to by every man and woman who has given the matter thorough and careful consideration.
Woolen underwear, especially, is cooler in summer and warmer in winter than cotton, linen or silk; does not stick to you when you perspire, and if you wear it you will not know one half the aches, pains and chills you have known while wearing either of the other fabrics. If you are caught out in a rain-storm and get wet to the skin, or if your boat capsizes and you have to swim, neither the water nor the air will feel half so cold to you if dressed in woolen as if in cotton. The woolen goods dry more quickly, and you suffer less than half the ill effects, in either case, that you would have suffered had you been clad in cotton. Observe the loggers, the raftsmen, the cowboys, the miners, professional hunters and trappers. They wear woolen the year round, and they ought to know what is good for them, for nearly their whole lives are spent outdoors and where they are exposed to various kinds and degrees of hardship. Go thou and learn wisdom from them. I have not worn a cotton or linen undergarment, at home or abroad, for years, and I never knew how to enjoy hot weather until I discarded those delusive "duds."
Select then for your outing two suits of woolen underwear -light weight if you are going in hot weather, heavy weight if you are going in cool or cold weather. Let your outside shirts be heavy-weight woolen, no matter what the weather is to be. Dark blue is the best color for these. Socks may be light or heavy, according lothe season, and to your fancy, but heavy weight is best if you are liable to get your feet wet. Six pairs of these and two suits of underwear will be enough for a month in camp. You can wash them or have them washed once a week, or oftener, if you choose. A coat, vest and trousers of almost any strong woolen goods may be worn. An old, cast-off business suit is just the thu'g. Plenty of pockets are desirable, and it is well to have two large inside pockets made in the skirt of your coat, which will be found useful for carrying your lunch, a pair of dry socks, a reel, and other bulky property. A canvas hunting-coat and a pair of canvas overalls may be worn over these if desired.
Personally, I prefer buckskin for hunting, in the late fall or winter. It resists brush and cold winds better than anything, but is likely to be sneered at by the "smart Alecks" in the rural districts.
In summer a light rubber coat should be carried; in fall or winter a Mackintosh is better. It should be made to reach nearly to your heels, and is about the only kind of overcoat that should ever be carried in the woods or mountains. A heavy overcoat is bulky, and is a burden to a man when hunting. If the weather grows extremely cold, put on your other heavy blue flannel shirt. It will answer the same purpose, and be much less burdensome.
If you are to sleep in blankets, a long flannel night-shirt, long enough to come below your feet, will add greatly to your comfort; but if you are to use a sleeping bag this will not be needed, and in fact it cannot be conveniently worn in the bag. In either case, take off all your clothing except undershirt and drawers. The old hunter's plan of sleeping in trousers, vest, and even coat, is not a good one.
About the best head-gear, for winter or summer, North or South, is a medium light-weight, light-colored felt hat with a moderately broad brim. This withstands all kinds of weather, can be rolled up and stuck in the pocket, in a warbag or valise, and is an adequate protection against the rain or the rays of the sun. A pair of ear-muffs should be provided, to wear in extreme cold weather. For mid-winter, in high latitudes, a thick, knitted woolen cap is good, and this should be large enough to come well down over the ears and back of the neck. A silk or light worsted skull-cap is sometimes needed when sleeping outdoors in cold weather, but should not be worn unless absolutely necessary. Never wear a fur cap when hunting, if you value your hair or your health. If you do so, your head will get hot when you walk, and the perspiration will run down your neck; you will take off your cap to get relief, and will get a cold in your head that is liable to last you a month.
As to foot-gear there is a great diversity of opinion among sportsmen. No boot or shoe has ever been made that was perfect in every particular for hunting and fishing. Rubber and leather are both objectionable, under certain conditions. No leather is suitable for wading, nor for walking in the woods in rainy weather or in wet snow, because no leather is waterproof; and none of the so-called water-proofing materials will make it so. They will render it partially so, for a time, but you may soak your boots in the best of it, then put them on and walk half a day in wet grass or wet snow and the water will get in all the same. As good a thing as any extant for all-round hunting and fishing, aside from wading, is a medium-weight leather walking-shoe with a heavy sole and a broad, low heel. It should be made to fit the foot, and if so made one may walk comfortably in it all day. You may be compelled to wade a creek or a swamp occasionally, and so to get your feet wet; but if you wear thick woolen socks, as already advised, no serious trouble is likely to result from this. You are not likely to take cold, your feet are not likely to be blistered, and you will be much less tired than if you had worn a pair of heavy leather boots.