Bronze's Expedition Log

Expedition Log

Storage Thoughts

I picked up my panniers, as well as a sawbuck saddle, hobbles, manty, rope, scale and pack pad from Western Feed yesterday.  I was very pleased to see that the oversize panniers were indeed quite large and my previous concerns about volume have been allayed.  It appears there will be plenty of room for two 50lb sacks of feed, plus my rations and assorted gear.

I ground up a pound of the dried beef from Tillamook Country Smoker today and started playing around with my pemmican recipe.  It’s starting to look like adding nuts and raisins will affect the consistency of the mixture and inhibit effective shaping into bars.  Perhaps it will be better to just mix the beef and tallow alone–I can have the nuts and berries in a separate container to snack on.  It might be nice to have the variety, instead of one big clump of all the ingredients.

This got me thinking on containers further.  I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to shape the pemmican.  Do I pour a giant batch into a casserole dish and cut it into bricks as I’ve seen others do?  Do I find a 2 or 3 cup container and press each individual ration from that mold?  Do I wrap in wax paper, or cheesecloth, do I dip it in wax?  The stuff is very soft and greasy and crushes easily.

1961-pemmicanI’m toying with the idea, though it would cost $200-300, of buying a case of 16oz tins and making each ration an actual sealed unit.  It would be akin to what might have been provided on an 19th Century military expedition.  This would resolve a lot of questions on how to measure, package, and store my food supplies.  Given that I saved a considerable sum thanks to the beef donation, I could probably afford the purchase of these tins.  It would perhaps give my trip less of a fur trapper aesthetic and more of a military explorer feel, which I would enjoy.  Maybe I’ll even make labels similar to the one pictured for some extra satisfaction.

Other containers I’ll need to acquire are some screw top aluminum or tin bottles.  I’ll be transporting lamp oil for my lantern, denatured alcohol for my stove, and grain alcohol for a night cap.  Each will need a lightweight sealable vessel.  I’ll need tins for my other foodstuffs as well–oats, butter, sugar, coffee.  The more compartmentalized my supplies the easier to load, unload, and find things.

3 Responses to “Storage Thoughts”

  1. jane barr shelofsky says:

    i’m just wonderin’ if packing in wax paper or something really light might be best, to avoid excessive weight. but like you say, the bricks are not firm. hmmm. how much does each tin canister weigh, my little military expedition man?

  2. Nova says:

    Dude, that can was packed here in Glendale!

    Maybe you could put something underneath the bars to give them extra support while being wrapped in wax paper. Something like cardboard, but more 19th century.

  3. bronze says:

    One tin appears to weigh between 2 and 2.5 oz… Assuming 2 tins per day for a 14 day stretch at most, that would add about 4 1/3 lbs to my load. Theoretically not much in the grand scheme of Bootsie’s 150 lbs of hauling power, but I have yet to weigh everything to get my grand total, so it could very well be too much in the end. I know ultralight backpackers cut the handles off toothbrushes! I was hoping to avoid such extremes with a pack animal but who knows?