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10 Survival Items Cowboys Carried On The Trail


10 Survival Items Cowboys Carried On The TrailCowboys had it good when they were in camp, and they had easy access to everything they needed on the Chuck Wagon, but when they headed out on the trail, it was a different story.

On the trail, it was just them and what they could carry on their horse. A lot of the survival items they carried would be considered old school today, but if there’s one lesson we’ve learned from history it’s that the old ways endure.

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Let’s take a look at what a cowboy took out on the trail. In the following video, Sensible Prepper talks about 10 items cowboys took with them on the trail. Here they are:

1. Cowboy Hat – The cowboy hat that’s so familiar to all of us didn’t show up until the 1800s. It was made of wool and the wide brim protected a cowboy’s head and neck from the sun. The hat was warm in winter and the brim helped to shed the rain.

2. The Bandana – A cowboy wore his bandana around his neck to protect it from the sun. It also helped keep him cool in summer and warm in winter. He could also pull the bandana up to cover his mouth and nose to protect from dust.

3. Cowboy Boots – These were designed for rugged use and rough terrain and also protected their ankles and calves from brush.

4. Canteen – Cowboys always had a 2-quart canteen and sometimes two of them hung across their saddle horns. They were often covered in fabric, and when the fabric was wet, it would help keep the water cool.

5. Cookset – The camp cookie didn’t hit the trail with the cowboys; they were on their own and they always brought along a coffee pot, frying pan, bowl, and cup.

6. Sheath KnifeA sheath knife worn on the belt was a standard tool usually 5 to 7 inches long and carried in a leather sheath. It was used for everything from cutting rope to skinning and butchering animals and was the only utensil at every meal.

7. Tinder Box – A tinder box was the usual fire-starting tool and consisted of a closeable metal box with flint and steel, char cloth, waxed jute, and loose tinder inside.

8. Strips of Rawhide – Cowboys always had a rope, but they also carried strips of rawhide to fasten and hold everything that needed fastening or holding.

9. Bedroll – The bedroll was the cowboy sleeping bag and, to some degree, his tent when he slept under the stars. It was a large square of waxed canvas with a wool blanket inside.

10. Rifle and Pistol – A rifle was used for hunting and self-defense, and a 6-shooter was the standard pistol if a cowboy could afford one.

And Oh Yeah – There’s one more thing. Actually two. But you’ll have to watch the video below to learn about them. You’ll want to watch it anyway because he goes into a lot more detail about these 10 survival items.

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  1. M.J. Leger on February 21, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    You didn’t mention saddle-bags, I use one on each side of the horse and put the pot, bowl and cup in there along with other useful things, up high enough on the horse so they’re out of the way of your feet.

  2. M.J. Leger on February 21, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you for that info! I knew most of it but not all. I watch a lot of westerns, one of the few honest themes; of course there were the good guys and the bad guys but the good guys usually won! What could you substitute for raw-hide strips today? Maybe short bungee cords? Depends on what you’re using them for, I guess, but the bandana would tie a lot of things..I don’t know where you’d get jute or strips of rawhide today but I use old dog leashes with the clip cut off for many things. I also use plain medical gauze wet with hand-sanitizer and put into a screw-type pill bottle, but I also have wooden matches dipped in wax in another pill bottle.
    I always chuckle because ALL the camps (in westerns) have a pot of coffee going and then they put out the fire and go to bed. Guess if you’re tired enough from the trail, the coffee won’t keep you awake!

  3. gcaverly901 on February 21, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Cowboy or just regular unban guy / gal you always need to be stocked on the trail. Have a supply and back up supplies of everything and anything you will need. If it ever hits the fan your set.

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