Traveller Life

Every traveler has a campfire has the center of daily life. The hearth has been our home for 1.5 - 2 million years now. No wonder it fascinates us and brings so much comfort. Nomads in a stationary culture are often tolerated at best and left only marginal space to congregate. This will probably never … Continue reading Traveller Life

Classic Liquid Fuel Stoves

A look at the origins and evolution of our favorite camp stove... This post was going to be a few words about the Primus stoves we all love and some images I've collected from around the web.  As usual, I found myself rambling all over the topic without a clear direction but here is a … Continue reading Classic Liquid Fuel Stoves

Boy Scout Gear from 1925

This is a pretty good setup for any outdoorsman (our outdoors woman for that matter). By 1925, the scouts had worked out a pretty good uniform and gear setup based on many old experts not the least of which was the US Army. If there's a bit of a paramilitary look to the scouts it … Continue reading Boy Scout Gear from 1925

Car Camping – bathing in camp

For most of human history we have moved across the surface of the Earth as more-or-less self-contained units. Rarely alone and generally with all the stuff we owned. Obviously, this was before the age of Consumption as a way of life.I love to see the details; the wash basin, table and chair, the little mirror... … Continue reading Car Camping – bathing in camp

Traveler’s Wallet

Once again, I am producing some large, traveler's wallets.  While some are waiting their finishing touches, here's the first of six.  They are all of the same general size and design but each has some variation in shape and closure type. I think my dying is improving.  Having read more on the subject, I've been … Continue reading Traveler’s Wallet

Leather Knapsack Prototype

Why do this? In my life-long quest for better designs and finer gear, I am constantly on some sort of hare-brained mission to make something new.  Some readers may remember the earlier backpack I made and eventually traded off to a new owner.   My friend Jacob, even made a fine copy for himself and it … Continue reading Leather Knapsack Prototype

Work from the Leather Shop

Long, cold nights in the Midwest.  Limited mobility due to injury.  A need to create new things A desire to fund my trips later this year... This is a recipe for high productivity in the workshop. Fortunately, I have a fairly large stockpile of leather and supplies to see me through my projects as I … Continue reading Work from the Leather Shop

Campsite Life

Scenes of life on the road and around the campsites. This is part of a series of images, mostly Romany, Irish, and Scottish Travellers collected from around the internet.  Many of these historic images found on the web are without citation.  When a clear link to a source is found, I try to include it.  … Continue reading Campsite Life

Caravans

Here's another excellent photo of a pack of vardos (caravans) in the wild.  It looks like everyone came out and maybe even spruced themselves up for the photo.  I couldn't find any metadata on this one but it looks fairly early, probably late nineteenth century.  These appear to be high-end models in great condition still. … Continue reading Caravans

Community of Wanderers

Nomads are not loners.  In fact, humans do not do well alone in any setting.  We have always been communal people, depending upon one another for help and support.  Many hands make light work and it is essential to be near others you can depend on. I have been collecting images of Traveller communities for … Continue reading Community of Wanderers

Close Call at 65 mph

I decided this was worth a re-post. An incident that could have gone far worse in many ways.

Preindustrial Craftsmanship

I had to wait a while to publish this one but maybe I just need to get it out…

I like to think I’m a safe person.  At least to the point of looking out for others if not always myself.  I don’t drive aggressively, I maintain my vehicles, and don’t take big chances on the road.  That said, I probably stress my truck and the vardo more than most people would.  The truck has spent sixteen years as an archaeologist’s field vehicle and has gone into places I would have never thought I would take it.  I have crept into BLM campsites with the vardo that required it to be tipped up to 45 degrees and I was certain it was going to go over.  I’ve intentionally jack-knifed the whole thing just to push it into place between boulders.

These things are just the nature of travel in the…

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More Wallets

Maybe this is a little mundane but I've been using the cold and snowy weather as an excuse to do some cutting and sewing of leather.  I completed a passport wallet and finished up another minimalist wallet design.  I got the pattern for the larger travel wallet from Tony, the owner/designer at DieselpunkRo.  He sells … Continue reading More Wallets

A View from the Vardo

Working away on a weekend day a little while back.  Enjoying time on the prairie in my little rolling home; coffee, a banjo, and connection to a HotSpot so I can get some work done.  The best of all worlds. I don't remember for sure but I suspect there is a dog or two laying … Continue reading A View from the Vardo

Early Car Camping

I love finding old images like this.  They show that we never really change yet are on a continuum of adaptation.  The bows that support the canvas top on this (I believe aftermarket) truck bed are reminiscent of much earlier wagons of the Old West. Space was extremely limited in the cab of these old … Continue reading Early Car Camping

Gymnacyclidium

That's quite a velocipede indeed! Gymnacyclidium - This sounds like something for which you could be administered a shot to clear it up.  I thought these monstrosities worth looking at for the danger factor if nothing else.  Let's hope the young lady is wearing adequate undergarments as it seems certain she will be taking a … Continue reading Gymnacyclidium

Wooden Packframe – The Final Draft

Expanding on Lessons Learned In 2012 I decided to build a wooden packframe.  What started out as a Sunday afternoon project led me down many paths, from Iron-Age Europe to 21st Century military designs and it took about a year of stewing around before I actually got around to building something. It was fortuitous for … Continue reading Wooden Packframe – The Final Draft

Hiking, Backpacking, or Just Enjoy the Walk

"Hiking - I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the … Continue reading Hiking, Backpacking, or Just Enjoy the Walk

A Fine Old Sheepherder Wagon

I love these the old sheepherder camps.  I've seen quite a few parked on ranches from Colorado to Idaho and even a few in Arizona.  I know they aren't highway capable but it seems they could provide a real housing alternative for low-income minimalists who have access to land.  Far better than a housing complex … Continue reading A Fine Old Sheepherder Wagon

Scout Staff Hiking Stick

Sometimes I wish carrying a walking stick was more acceptable in daily life. Maybe it's just my yeoman heritage or my fondness for the old ways... To do so now, you tend to either look like a hoodlum or the walking wounded.  Living for so long in wild country I found that a staff was … Continue reading Scout Staff Hiking Stick

Three Men in a Boat (a book of subtle humor and deep philosophy)

“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need—a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough … Continue reading Three Men in a Boat (a book of subtle humor and deep philosophy)

Yet Another Sheepherder…

(from the Paleotool vault) I love these things.  I saw quite a few parked on ranches from Colorado to Idaho last week.  I know they aren't highway capable but it seems they could provide a real housing alternative for low-income minimalists.  Way better than a housing complex or apartment for sure.  The photos link to … Continue reading Yet Another Sheepherder…

More of The Beautiful Japanese Vardo

This is a follow-up to the previous post. I say Vardo because that's really what it is.  You can sense that the presenter of this show isn't too familiar with true rolling homes, caravans, vardos, or whatever you want to label them but his enthusiasm is real.  I like this home a lot but there … Continue reading More of The Beautiful Japanese Vardo

Enjoy the Ride; Happy Birthday Edward Abbey

Don't Forget to Enjoy the Ride This is a re-post from last year.  However, I think the message is a strong one and worth think about again. Life is short.  If you're fortunate enough to live with the means and privilege and food security, consider yourself lucky.  When I feel low or unhappy, I always … Continue reading Enjoy the Ride; Happy Birthday Edward Abbey

Man Powered Vardo

A desperate man with some ambition and the gumption to not be beaten can make himself a man-powered vardo (I'm thinking of you, Jim).  An alternative to homelessness with a minimum of skills and materials. In 1935 David Weatherhead, an unemployed shipyard worker from Sunderland, toured the county (England) looking for work in this one … Continue reading Man Powered Vardo

Hamlet, A Tale of the Road Less Traveled

A mid-40s couple restores a tiny canned-ham trailer, leaves their mundane careers, and takes off on a journey across the continent.  Sounds pretty good to me. When it comes to making enough money to get by, the two have a unique system. “In our ideal setting,” Hutchison explains, “is four months of working somewhere, [or] … Continue reading Hamlet, A Tale of the Road Less Traveled

Another Look

Here's another look at an image I posted quite a while ago.  I really like this photo.  These Scottish Travellers give a glimpse of some less-than-stereotypical living waggons (sic).  Very few wanderers could afford the classic Dunton Reading wagon but made do with more affordable accommodations; possibly even owner-built. All three of the caravans pictured … Continue reading Another Look

Grow in the Open Air

"Here is the test of wisdom, Wisdom is not finally tested in schools, Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof, Applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content, Is the certainty of … Continue reading Grow in the Open Air