The longhunter traveled light, therefore his equipment was chosen out of necessity to be minimal, yet effective. The basics were the long rifle or smoothbore, the haversack full of essential items, shooting bag and knife and or axe. My narrative here is meant to be informative for the novice or interested party to trekking. It is not intended as an in-depth anaylsis of the topic, for the student of such.
The Rifle and Shooting Bag
The rifle of the 1750-1820 time period carried by the loghunter would be of flintlock ignition and a muzzleloader, meaing that it is loaded from the muzzle of the barrel. The powder is black powder not the smokeless powder used in modern firearms. Most familiar style of the rifle in what is known as the Kentucky or Pennsylvaina rifle. Its characteristics are a long barrel with a slim stock. This design originated with the colonial gunmakers in Pennsylvania, hence the name. The shooting bag contained the items required to load and maintain the rifle. These were lead balls in a separate ball bag, patching material, extra flints, tow to clean the barrel, ball mould, lead pan and lead, powder measure and screwdriver. The powder horn was worn above the bag.
Here is a picture of my Berks County Shimmel style flintlock rifle and shooting bag
The Knife and Axe
The knife carried by the longhunter was as critical as his rifle. The typical style seems to be a fairly long blade with wood, antler or bone handle. It was used for many tasks to include processing game and general cutting. Sometimes a smaller knife was carried which was used for cutting the patching material for the rifle. An axe was used to chop wood for fires and for hacking into the bone of the game during processing.
The Haversack, Oilskin Cloth and Blanket
The longhunter carried his living essentials in a bag called a haversack. Approximately 14 X 14 inches, it contained a kettle for cooking, utensils, foodstuffs and a firemaking kit. The kettle, better known as a boiler, was used to cook beans or corn and boil water for drinks. Some carried a small folding frying pan, too. Sometimes I carry both but have found that I can do most chores with just the boiler. The frying pan is needed when I tote in slab bacon. An oilskin cloth is a cotton fabric that has been treated with linseed oil to make it waterproof by eighteenth century standards. It can be used as a ground cloth or set up as a fly to sleep under. A heavy wool blanket serves as the sleeping bag of the day.
The longhunter of 1750-1800 wore the common clothes of the time period. Colonists wore linen shirts, breeches and waistcoats with socks and buckle shoes. As longhunters moved into the eastern woods and came in contact with various Native American tribes their garb was influenced. Longhunters, due to the extended trips in the woods, adapted parts of dress of the natives and some even went totally that way. Breechcloths, leggings, mocassins and long linen shirts were used by longhunters. Most any combination goes, but when studying a personna to reenact, it is always best to choose an outfit that would be more common among the population or time period rather than something that may have been used but not as commonly used by the majority. This area of trekking requires much study and attention. It can be taken to extremes as far as material, style and authenticity. I choose to relax on this part and wear an outfit that is authentic but I have merged some time periods together, resulting in a mountain man (1800-1820)/longunter(1750-1800) look. My leather pants may not have been offical for the longhunter and my style of mocassins is a little too western Native American. However, I do tend to be partial to learning and practicing the rifle and survival skills, more than detailing the clothing part.