Exhibit: Outdoor Life: Camping
In Camping and Woodcraft,
Horace Kephart offers suggestions
for surviving in the woods with
little more than a hatchet,
knife, gun, and waterproof matches.
However this information is
primarily included for readers
who become lost. Kephart himself
spent a lifetime seeking new
ways to make life outdoors more
comfortable through improved
equipment, provisions, and techniques.
As his career in outdoor writing
progressed, Kephart was frequently
asked to test and review equipment.
Ultimately, Kephart helped design
some equipment, including the
sheath knife that bears his
rotating image of folding
rotating image of canteen
and mess kit
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Camping and Woodcraft, vol.
1, pages 25-26:
It is great fun, in the long winter evenings, to sort
over your beloved duffel, to make
and fit up the little boxes and
hold-alls, in which everything has
its proper place, to contrive new
wrinkles that nobody but yourself
has the gigantic brain to conceive,
to concoct mysterious dopes that
fill you house with unsanctimonious
smells, to fish around for materials,
in odd corners where you have no
business, and, generally, to set
the female members of the household
buzzing around in curiosity, disapproval,
and sundry other states of mind.
To be sure, even through a man rigs up his own outfit,
he never gets it quite to suit him. Every season sees the downfall of
some cherished scheme, the failure of some fond contrivance. Every winter
sees you again fussing over your kit, altering this, substituting that,
and flogging your wits with the same old problems of how to save weight
and bulk without sacrifice of utility. All thoroughbred campers do this
as regularly as the birds come back in the spring, and their kind has
been doing it since the world began. It is good for us. If some misguided
genius should invent a camping equipment that nobody could find fault
with, half our pleasure in life would be swept away.
Feb. 27, 1923.
My dear Berge:-
I have been bedeviled nearly to death by overwork and loss of sleep.
First, I had a job of writing that I had agreed to finish for the publisher
by March 1st, though it should have taken a month longer. That meant full
speed, high pressure, overtime and neglect of everything else. Then old
lady Cooper, at the hotel, got very sick; there was no trained nurse;
they depended on me; and I was called at all hours of the day and night.
She is still living, but probably will soon pass away.
So this is why I have been behindhand
with your list.
I inclose herewith a partial list, and return yours. The list I have
made includes only the camping equipment; but I believe it to be quite
The problem has been a new one. It is one thing to suggest an outfit
for a particular region, season and purpose; but something else to design
a universal kit, standardized, for any and all countries and conditions.
I believe this comes as near it as you will get.
The tent is a kind that is easiest and quickest of all to set up.
One man can do it alone in five minutes, anywhere, in the woods or on
the desert, day or night. It uses only one pole, a jointed one of short
sections. It is large enough to provide roomy quarters for two men in
which they can spend a rainy day in comfort, or will sleep a party of
four. There is enough headroom to stand up and dress in. It will shed
any rain and will not blow down in any wind. When camp is made where poles
are procurable, it can be set up on a tripod outside, using the rope,
and there will be no center pole in the way at all. Or, if there happens
to be a tree limb handy overhead, just throw the rope over the limb and
hoist up taut, after pegging down the tent bottom, and make the rope fast.
A 7x7x7 ft. tent of same design would have left very little headroom,
would only sleep two, and would have been only 3½ lbs. Lighter,
including poles and all. The material of this tent is excellent and will
last for years. It is proof against mildew as well as rain.
I have specified bedding for only one man. The other fellow is supposed
to supply his own. The air mattress is a luxury that will sure pay its
freight. It simplifies bed making and absolutely ensures a soft, perfectly
dry bed for your weary bones, no matter where you camp-- on bare earth,
sand, rocks, wet ground, anywhere-- without skirmishing around in the
wet or dark for grass or boughs to make a bed with. Its weight may seem
to much for a canoeing trip; but half of that weight would otherwise have
been taken by a ground cloth or other waterproof, and the other 5 lbs.
I would rather subtract from customary superfluities than from every night's