Packbaskets are sometimes discussed here, usually with someone asking if they are PC/HC. I've just returned from a trip to the Adirondacks where I learned quite a bit about baskets. As I've remarked on the forums before, packbaskets definitely aren't HC/PC for anything other than a portrayal of a northeastern outdoorsman after the Civil War. A researcher at the Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, NY, told me there is scant history of packbaskets being used anytime before the Civil War. Adirondack style packbaskets are used northward into Maine, but aren't indigenous to any other part of the country. Using a packbasket to carry gear to a pre-1840 trans-Mississippi rendezvous definitely is not HC/PC. Nessmuk, who many will be familiar with, mentions packbaskets being used in the early 1880s. I'm told by the museum the baskets were most popular in the late 19th, early 20th centuries. Nessmuk did favor a muzzle loading rifle to the end of his days, so packbaskets and muzzleloaders can be said to go together, I guess, although they were more often used in conjunction with breech loading rifles. Here is a picture of a common commercial packbasket: As you can see it is woven of wide strips. The spokes appear to be actual pounded ash splints, however the weavers are reed. The handle is a leather loop. It's carried by a cotton webbing harness. The rim is attached with clinched nails. This is an example of a very late basket, not handmade, and is only HC/PC for the 20th century. I found this one at a junk shop here in Kansas. I took it with me to the Adirondacks, where I showed it to one of the last living master basket makers, who told me overall it is a good basket. Here is a picture of an actual handwoven basket made by that master weaver: The spokes are slightly narrower than on the commercial basket. The weavers are very much narrower. This basket is made from ash that was soaked as a log in a trout pond for over a year, then pounded until the layers separated. The wood was then split to make basket material. The color of the material is variegated grey-tan. It definitely is not the dark brown sometimes seen on packbaskets. The handle is a piece of bent ash wood, not a leather loop or other device. It isn't quite obvious in the picture, but the basket is woven in such a way as to leave a "notch" under the carrying handle and the packstraps, not a harness, are wrapped around the rim. The straps are nailed to the bottom of the basket. The man who made this basket, now in his 80s, learned to make packbaskets many decades ago from an old Indian who attached the shoulder straps to the basket in the same way. The rim of the handwoven basket is bound with crisscrossed ash splints, and not secured with clinched nails. These are traits of an authentic handmade packbasket, and if you want to create the illusion your packbasket is PC/HC these are traits it should have. Good packbaskets are ridged. Set one on a solid surface, grasp the rim and give it a twist back and forth. If the basket twists, or does the hula, it isn't a good basket, or not as good as it could be. An excellent basket will be nearly as ridged as a box. A basket used a lot, especially if it's taken out into wet weather, will form itself to the carrier's back. The back will be somewhat indented. If you must use a basket to carry your gear to a rendezvous, and you have made an effort to make sure it all looks used and spent some time in the mountains, you should make an effort to shape the back of the basket to match your back. Carry it wet and loaded until it begins to look like it's lived outdoors for a while. The old master showed me a basket made for him long ago by the Indian. That packbasket has spent a lot of time outdoors carrying traps and other items. It's weathered looking, and obviously shaped to it's owner's back. If you're straining for an HC/PC look, let the basket weather. I could tell you where to get authentic real oldtime handmade packbaskets, but I won't, because the master makers are quite elderly, and already have enough work on their hands. They only make a few baskets a year. I'll leave it up to you to seek them out. Expect to pay about $400 for a master craftsman's handiwork. If you are constrained to using a commercially made packbasket, perhaps you can use some of the above information to make it look like it fits in with the remainder of your gear.