Early settlers use of wagons and modern wheeled carts

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by Natch, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Natch

    Natch Tracker

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    While watching a western last week it hit me how often they used wagons and pack mules to move their families. Homesteaders and settlers used mules and wagons and Mormons used handcarts. These were people who lived off the land without electricity and still felt the need to travel with that much food and gear. Granted, they were usually going a lot further than most of us would in an emergency, but it still has me thinking since my family would have to walk 100+ miles to our closest relatives.

    I wonder if those of us with families are too often trying to cut down on weight and gear instead of following their example or if technology has reached a point where the need for carts or other similar means are negated? I'm not saying don't have a BOB with you as well, but it's making me think about things based on how they traveled historically.
     
  2. bobs1415

    bobs1415 Supporter Supporter

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  3. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

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    When you say "lived off the land", they worked the land, but "living off the land" in the sense that Indians did probably isn't really correct. They took a lot because when they travelled it often took days to get places most of the time. It could be a several day trip to town for supplies, and by supplies, that wouldnt look like our weekly grocery shopping, but more likely buying large bulk bags of basic grains, flour, sugar, salt, beans, lard, and whatever else their own place didn't produce, or was more practical to trade for or buy. They also took a lot because most of what they had was bulky and heavy, like blankets, canvas tarps, grain for their stock if needed, and I recall reading of one family took a wood cookstove on a hunting trip for cooking on. With a wagon and 2 or 4 horses, you can haul a heck of a lot more people and supplies than those 2 or 4 horses could packed with pack saddles and/or carrying people.

    One pass I know of, they would take two teams working together for each wagon, haul the first over, then go back with all the horses for the second, one team wasn't enough to haul wagons and supplies over the pass. I believe it was a 3 day or so trip to town. Some people only went to town once a year.

    I don't know about anyone else, but my vehicle usually has basic camp gear, spare gun, ammo, dog stuff, tools, some recovery gear (tow strap, etc). It can be more com[pact and light weight than what was common in years past when horses were the primary means of transport, but most people just don't carry much around in their vehicles on a regular basis, and it isn't like an expedition to go get groceries or visit. Usually. :)

    If you can lay hands on any of Roosevelts books, he wrote some of the hunting trips he took. Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail is good, there are a couple others. They rode horses and had their camp outfit in wagons and to haul game and hides back to the ranch. I believe his trips were a couple weeks to a month or so depending on where, what they were hunting, and how much time they had.
     
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  4. IamLegend

    IamLegend Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I decided awhile back that some kind of cart like a wagon or some of the newer garden type carts that are out will be a huge asset in any kind of preparedness (what if) scenario. No different from using a pulk or sled in the snow. Invaluable imo!
    I'm gonna build some of those mormon hand carts using bicycle tires when I get a chance.
     
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  5. Natch

    Natch Tracker

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    I could have described it better when I said lived off the land. What I meant was they were more prepared than most of us to deal with life in the outdoors and they still took all those supplies. I'm not someone who is planning to bug out to the mountains or whatever, but that two hour plus car ride to our closest relatives could take days with a family. I'm looking at this from a historical perspective and while I'm obviously not setting out with a wagon team a simple backpack probably won't cut it.
     
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  6. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    I always marveled at the loads these guys pulled and the cobbled together "urban bushcraft" construction of their carts. Kenya style.

    [​IMG]IMG_0767.jpg by Chris Scrivens, on Flickr
     
  7. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Time Outdoorsman Supporter

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    The Mormon handcarts were a stopgap measure for those Mormons who wanted to immigrate to the West from Nauvoo, IL.

    There were only 4-5 handcart companies in total, since most of the immigrants bought wagons pulled by horses or oxen. The handcart companies were driven by necessity, since wagons and draft animals were no longer available in that area.

    Those pulling the cart were limited to 17 pounds of personal property. Each cart carried the belongings of 8-10 people, plus their tent and other gear. They would all take turns pulling and during rough or uphill sections of the trail, they'd all push and pull the cart.

    The trip from Illinois to Salt Lake City was just under 2000 miles. It was a very impressive undertaking.

    Steve
     
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  8. Togus

    Togus Supporter Supporter

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    Wow...$700 for a Mormon cart. I'm pretty sure a close replication of this could be made for much less.
     
  9. morganbw

    morganbw Scout

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    This post is, IMHO, about the uHauls of yesteryear. It was in no way a simple bugout event, but a relocation.
     
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  10. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    I've seen some nice push cart set ups down on lower Water St. in Augusta, apparently made from free materials from abandoned shopping carts and or stolen bicycle wheels with rebar axel.
     
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  11. Togus

    Togus Supporter Supporter

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    Exactly! One of these could be easily modified for WAY less than $700.

    Cart.jpeg
     
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  12. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

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    The two wheeled garden carts may be the simplest and most practical way to carry much, but they probably wouldn't be up to long journeys without some maintenance along the way. Spare wheel bearings, grease and tools might be good to have around. Flat proof tires could also. For sheer practicality of moving people and basic gear, bicycles are probably the best for non-motorized transport. They can be used to carry and tow, or used as wheels and loaded heavy and simply pushed, as the NVA and VC did in Vietnam. If truly concerned, then getting a farm fuel tank and keeping it in use and topped up, and a very fuel efficient car might be best and safest. I take natural disasters into consideration, but am not in the end of the world or major societal collapse camp at all (even in Ferfals writing, there were still people working and vehicle movement was going on, it didn't decline into 1900s level of tech like so many fantasies predict). Still in the context of natural disaster, being able to move injured people or children, supplies, and tools to clear roads/trails, a hand cart could be very useful. I recall seeing wheelbarrows used in evacuating some of the old Yazidi people from Sinjar. Nearly everyone else was walking or were small children being carried by parents and only had what they could carry, which was next to nothing.
     
  13. NattyBo

    NattyBo Bon Vivant Supporter

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    In early PA, the forests were so dense there was no grazing for pack animals or cleared areas wide enough for wagons. Most trade/transportation/immigration, across the ridges and valleys, was done by pack train. On General John Forbes 1758 road building expedition to kick the French out of Ft. Duquesne, it was something like: for every 3 work horses pulling wagons, weapons and such, they needed another 2 horses that would pull the food for all 5. On early maps they marked the location of one of the only non-forested areas in SW PA. It was simply known as The Great Meadow.
     
  14. Natch

    Natch Tracker

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    Well, I don't think there will ever be anything simple about a bug out event with a family, but that is just my opinion. Going 100 miles averaging 5 miles a day would be a 20 day trip. Anyone who has been to an amusement park with little kids knows they aren't walking the entire way, so that alone tells me some sort of wheeled device is going to be required. Even if you have a 20 pound pack carrying a 20-30 pound child under 5 is going to get old really fast and slow you down. Then throw in the food and water that would be needed for that kind of muli-day journey and that's why I started to think about this watching a western. Even a ten day trip would require more food and water than I could carry.
     
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  15. Dravous

    Dravous Scout

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    after reading the posts so far, I thought bicycle trailers would be the modern answer to this and quick google search confirmed it. there's quite an array of options too, even single wheeled ones that could be pulled through very narrow passages.
     
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  16. GotTheCrohns

    GotTheCrohns Tracker

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  17. Eugene

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    Even the native Americans (Indians) didn't carry everything. They would cache stuff in several places and then relocate to each encampment on a set schedule (usually with the change of the seasons). So for purposes of a BOB/BOL you need to cache some items there so you don't have to carry it. The reason the settlers carried so much is they knew they couldn't count on having anything at the destination.
     
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  18. Skotelawe

    Skotelawe Guide

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    Google the Dixon Roller Pack or the Monowalker.
     
  19. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    Worth taking a look at the two wheel game haulers as well. Not real expensive, and as they come they can haul a deer -or an injured or ill person. With a bit of re-engineering of the cart, they can be a reasonable cargo carrier. Pretty good at going across rough terrain as well, if not badly over loaded. I got one for our deer hunting because I worried about getting someone out from some of the mesa slopes and small canyons- easy places to turn or break an ankle and be badly stuck.
     
  20. Kuhlwind

    Kuhlwind Tracker

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    I have a Big Wheeled Garden cart with hard tires- works great to a point. I can move up to 400 lbs. Nothing like a wagon would carry. There's also another option: 012_10.jpg bicycle load.gif
     
  21. hunter63

    hunter63 Bushmaster

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    Cool sites thanks for posting .....

    What about a travois ?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  22. Ephemeral

    Ephemeral Tracker

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    Here is some good information on carts in general from the people who sell the "Game Tote".

    Game Cart Selection Guide

    Game Cart Review

    I got me a couple of these U.S.Army litter carriers for a good price a while back. I am in the process of modifying one for carrying all my "necessary" stuff.

    [​IMG]

    These are aluminum, fold up, or extend legs to stand like a table. The tires and wheels are heavy duty, with bearings, removable by pulling a pin, and the thing rolls great across rough terrain with three full five gallon jerry cans on it. It weighs 45lbs, and supposedly the maximum weight capacity is 500lbs, but I have no intention of putting that much weight on it, as I think something would break going on rough terrain with a load of that size.
     
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  23. gila_dog

    gila_dog BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    I've pushed a lot of wheelbarrows in my day. I've also used a couple of game carriers to haul elk out of the woods. The big problem with all of them is when the terrain is steep or rough. If you are going up or down you have to overcome gravity's pull, either to slow it down, or to pull/push it uphill. We used a home made one wheeled cart a lot like a Chinese wheelbarrow on one of the elk jobs. The elk probably weighed 400 lb without the guts, antlers, and lower legs and feet. The cart used a motorcycle wheel and was made of steel tubing. It was a pretty horrible job because we were coming down a steep hill with lots of rocks and logs to get over. The cart carried the weight, but 3 guys busted their asses keeping it under control and getting it over the rocks and logs.

    I really enjoyed reading about those Chinese wheelbarrows. But you didn't see anybody using them on steep terrain, or where you had to go over rocks, logs and gullies. That's where pack animals really earn their keep. What's the advantage of a 2 wheeled cart over a 1 wheeled cart? I guess each wheel only has to be 1/2 as strong. But 2 wheels sure are a PIA when trying to go over steep, rocky terrain. I learned that on one of our elk retrieval jobs. We used a 2 wheeled game cart with plastic wheels. The terrain was fairly easy and level, but the wheels fell apart before we got back to the road. Too much weight (300 lb of elk).

    I really hope we don't wind up in a end of civilization situation, but to deny that it could happen and refuse to consider it is really just sticking your head in the sand. As Malamute mentioned, those Yazidi people in Syria had to use wheelbarrows to haul their old folks and some of their stuff while escaping the ISIS boys. Why? Probably because there weren't enough cars or gas.
    Bicycles are also great for hauling stuff, but their wheels, tires, and spokes are pretty delicate. And it's not easy to find a place to lean a bike when you want to park it.

    Here's what I eventually started using for hauling my hunting camp into the steep backcountry:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. hunter63

    hunter63 Bushmaster

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    Them there.... "mountain goats"?

    Cool thanks for posting.
     
  25. Mjolnir

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    Parts of the "Great Wall of China" were built using the one wheeled cart over some very rough terrain. It certainly wasn't meant for 'breaking' a trail but as the link pointed out the mighty roads of the Romans deteriorated almost completely in medieval Europe while China augmented some of their road system with cart paths worn smooth over centuries of use.
     
  26. teotwaki

    teotwaki Tracker

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    Monowalker is also pricey Monowalker Shop - Home
     
  27. teotwaki

    teotwaki Tracker

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    Tactical Cargo Walkers and other options
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  28. vdeal

    vdeal Supporter Supporter

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    Check out the Honey Badger Wheel. Something of a modern take on the Chinese wheelbarrow.
     
  29. marbleman

    marbleman Scout

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    Vietnam bicycle supply lines for war.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
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  30. teotwaki

    teotwaki Tracker

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  31. teotwaki

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  32. Skotelawe

    Skotelawe Guide

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    If I were to ever decide to do something along those lines I'd probably just build my own.

    I've seen one of the Dixon's in the field, the person using it said it was great except for climbing hills. From what I understand the maker of the Monowalker ended up being tracked down & ticketed by the US Forestry Service. So he packed up and started trying to push it in Canada.
     
  33. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    I'll down load a picture later.
    Basically took a broken parts missing wheel chair apart and used the wheels ,made a new axil and used electrical conduit and awning parts from the hardware store, and have a cart i can configure at random to fit what ever i need.
    Not only that, I can take the parts and make a shelter or a bed .
    Because the tires are airless I don't have to worry about tire repairs.
    I have hauled as much as 300 lbs . which is important in if a victim needs transport.
    I am thinking of getting a second set of wheel chair wheels and converting the system to a walking beam axil ,which is especially valuable having to haul this by hand.
    The walking beam is unique in that the front wheel takes the rise full distance and the cart its self only rises half the height.
    The follower takes the full rise and finishes the full lift, so each bump is enduring 1/2 the load, where as the single axil is enduring the whole load each time.
    I learned this from a trailer dad had hauling a tractor .being a walking beam , when I pulled it over a curb I never felt the impact as i most certainly expected with a standard axil.
    If I should move to snow country it would be simple to attach skis to the wheels.
     
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  34. Natch

    Natch Tracker

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    That sounds great. I think pushing something sounds a lot easier than pulling, but I could be wrong. Honestly, it would be great to have the ability to push or pull.
     
  35. marbleman

    marbleman Scout

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    I think the option for both would be good. Look at those VC bicycle guys, I can only imagine how sore you would get, pushing a big load like that leaning over one side. They have the option to push from the other side, though. That's perhaps why the second guy has a stick, push from the center.

    Often pulling is easier. Think of oxcarts, plowing with horses, tractors. If you are pushing it could make steering more difficult.

    EDIT: as several of these show, I'm sure balance is a great help!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
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  36. Natch

    Natch Tracker

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    True. I was thinking more along the lines of a jogging stroller for kids, but you make good points.
     
  37. Tanner68

    Tanner68 Scout

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    What's the story from post #31, the 2x2 cart with the green tires. Looks like he is hauling water. A cart makes sense for a desert trip.
     
  38. Ephemeral

    Ephemeral Tracker

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    Ripley Davenport, probably in Mongolia.

    There is more at this link on this subject of carts .........

    trailers-carts-sledges - Armadilling
     
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  39. gila_dog

    gila_dog BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    I sure like the idea of a cart of some kind, but notice in the pics in that link that in every case, they are on flat ground with few rocks, logs, etc.

    The Honey Badger Wheel looks pretty good because it has brakes.

    Notice in the "pack animals and hiking carts" video in that link they are also using packgoats and horses & mules. The guys with the horses have to keep ahold of the reins of their animals so they don't run away. The packgoat guy just walks along and his goats follow.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  40. Skotelawe

    Skotelawe Guide

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    The stick is attached to the handle bars to allow him to steer the bike. If you look close at the first pic they have the same setup.
     
  41. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Pushing a cart putts the angle of attack to an obstruction more direct into the cavity of the object and lift is a cam-over load
    Where as pulling one is merely lifting the load assisting the wheel up.
    I was explaining that a walking beam axil lifts half the way at a time each wheel making it easier to manage.
     

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