Wood Pack Frame?

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Boat

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Interested in Trekking, but want to have a shelter such as a oil skin Diamond Shelter, I find it hard to carry all goods necessary for, say a 3-4 day rendezvous without employing a ladder type frame built out of small diameter saplings and carrying straps. The one I built is very comfortable, but concerned about authenticity. I think it would be neat to walk in to a camp with everything you need and then when its over pack up and walk out.
 

David Veale

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I've had the same thought and asked the same question. So far as I can gather, pack frames were in use (my period of interest is late 18th century). There are a number of drawings depicting their use both here and in Europe, and there is documented use among the native americans as well. Specifics on design, on the other hand, are something I wasn't really able to find aside from the native american designs (one of which uses a tumpline instead of shoulder straps). I believe the all-important waist belt was not in use until the 20th century, however, so it's all on the shoulders if you want to remain PC.
 

tenngun

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Wood frames are know back to the ice age, but in paintings of the time we see knapsacks and some basket designs, or stuff in a blanket roll. I do not recall seeing a horseshoe blanket over the shoulder until the WBTS.
Military went out often hard leather boxes as a pack. What did a guy do if forced to go on foot for some distance? We just have little documentation from the time, and things are shaded by bushcraft.
I use a snapsack and a bag like a haversack. We can look to military packs, but how common was that a civilian?
People did go on foot, but mostly in an emergency. A guy going in to the tall timber had a horse or mule or canoe. Or would make camp by building a shelter for overnight that we may not be able to do today.
 

Silky921

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I modeled a pack from identical to the one that Carbon6 posted. I believe he goes by Green Mountain Boy on here, and by all means appears to be very legit.

It's a very useful pack frame and handy to have. Can post pictures of mine if you'd like.
 

Brokennock

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I modeled a pack from identical to the one that Carbon6 posted. I believe he goes by Green Mountain Boy on here, and by all means appears to be very legit.

It's a very useful pack frame and handy to have. Can post pictures of mine if you'd like.
Man, what ever became of that guy, Green Mountain Boy? I miss his hunting posts and such.

Please feel free to indulge us with pictures.
 

Einsiedler

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I have absolutely no way to document it, so I’m not trying to pass anything off as legit PC-wise, but if I were wanting to make a pack frame I think I’d cut the back off an old high back chair. And get after it with my own finger weaving or twined web strapings. Leather and rawhide is another option. Sure seems to be a practical and easier route.

But it is totally against my religion to stick one of them things on my back again, EVER!

Just codgitating out loud. Please continue.
 

Carbon 6

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I have absolutely no way to document it, so I’m not trying to pass anything off as legit PC-wise, but if I were wanting to make a pack frame I think I’d cut the back off an old high back chair. And get after it with my own finger weaving or twined web strapings. Leather and rawhide is another option. Sure seems to be a practical and easier route.

But it is totally against my religion to stick one of them things on my back again, EVER!

Just codgitating out loud. Please continue.
Now I know I saw a painting somewhere of the entire chair used as a pack frame.
 

Einsiedler

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Carbon 6,

I saw a photograph (actually archaeologist son shared it with me) of an Alaskan Sourdough’s packframe made from a chair back rigged and all loaded with gear circa gold rush 1898. It appeard to be a well thought out rig and didn’t look all that difficult to put together. I have an old Trapper Nelson pack and frame and an old bentwood frame ( circa 1930’s) I re-rigged with packstraps, leather backing, and an old canvas yucca pack. It’s not hard.

But I do not have any documentation any older than the above dates.
 

Stophel

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I don't know what time period is the area of interest, but basically, I'll come right out and say that for the 18th, and probably most of the 19th century, a pack frame would be pure fantasy. Yes, they had large wood frames that people would carry huge loads of goods to sell at market, and they even had pack baskets, and perhaps the military may have even had frames for carrying some specific equipment (I can only guess), but not really what anyone would call a normal "backpack frame". I have yet to see or even hear a rumor about evidence of a frame backpack in any European/American context. None. I'm sure someone could contrive some story about how they had spent some time in Siberia or somewhere, and you were using a type of pack frame that they used, but that's all it would be... a contrived story.

I personally don't have any problem with someone making and using some kind of pack frame, but please don't try to say it's "authentic".

People today also have to take into account the situation of the time, and how everything was WAY different than it is today. People didn't go "camping". They did not go "hiking". It was not a hobby. If you HAD to go out, it would preferably be with a large party of men.... with pack horses. Wandering about the woods alone, on foot, was dangerous.... even suicidal. This was hostile territory, remember. If it was absolutely necessary to go through the wilderness, you got from point A to point B as quickly and as quietly as you could... carrying as little gear as absolutely necessary.... most people didn't have lots of gear anyway! It's amazing to read how woodsmen would go out with virtually NOTHING on them. Gun, knife, blanket, belt axe.. that's about it. While they may not have all been quite that minimal, still, they didn't carry much. People today in general pack around way too much stuff.
 

Carbon 6

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Sure, from Otzi to Lloyd Nelson, there are gaps in the documentation, but I think they still existed.
upload_2020-2-13_22-15-6.jpeg




Two examples of external frame backpack designs dating to the 1860s





As long as it doesn't have an aluminum frame and nylon straps I won't complain.


I believe these are early Japanese frames




Another Asian one.


An A frame pack, supposedly American.
 
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tenngun

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I would say one area not much talked about. People didn’t go camping back then,or hiking as we do today, and documentation for pack frames is nonexistent. Sort of.
1770 Kentucky was not a place for a lone man. 1810 Maine or much of North Carolina not a place where a ‘bar or redskin were a lurking ‘hind every tree’.
Teen, maybe tween boys, and young unmarried men might take a day or a fortnight to fish or hunt in the rough.
Shooting stuff, a blanket and a haversack full of Johnny cakes might be all their kit.
It is unlikely they had a pack frame.... I Think.
Today we may be in a place where we can’t make a shelter, we mostly can’t shoot camp meat except at certain times of the year.
With all due respect C6, I don’t think there were a lot of Japanese Farmers tramping around the north woods in 1800:)
 

Carbon 6

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I would say one area not much talked about. People didn’t go camping back then,or hiking as we do today, and documentation for pack frames is nonexistent. Sort of.
You are right, mostly. But whenever someone needed to go where a horse couldn't or carry a really heavy or awkward load they employed a frame for stability and ease of carry.
Take a surveyor for example. Lot's of awkward gear, spent most of there time "camping".


If a ladder style pack is what it takes to get someone Trekking, I won't complain one bit.
 

Einsiedler

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Like the Trapper Nelson pak above with the kid in it. Looks just like the one hanging in my bedroom.

I’m happy not putting a pack on my back, ever again! . My poor back, knees, and hip ain’t gonna handle that anymore! These days I have a small hand sewn haversack of my mfg, and a simple bedroll. I don’t venture far. But to those that do, MORE power to you! I think it’s great!!!
 
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