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10 Things Cowboys Carried With Them In The Wild West To Survive

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If you understand the value of preparedness you have a bugout bag somewhere in your home, ready to grab if you need to leave in a hurry. You want to stay at home if at all possible, but if you do need to make a run for it you’ll need some essentials to keep you going until you can either return or make it to a new refuge. The last thing you want is to be on the move without at least a basic load of survival gear.

But what if you’re on the move most of the time? That’s the situation the cowboys of the Old West were in. For part of the year they would live in a bunkhouse on a ranch, but through spring, summer and fall they’d be pretty much nomadic – riding the range looking after their herds, or driving animals to market. For a cowboy his basic survival kit wasn’t emergency equipment that he kept handy in case he needed it; it was the gear he used for day to day life. Imagine living on the contents of your bug-out bag almost every day you go to work; that’s what the cowboys did.

Cowboys in the heyday of the West were tough – and they had to be. The gear they carried looks unbelievably sparse and crude to a modern outdoorsman. But it worked, and it was all they needed to survive. If you need to, you can survive on similar gear. Here’s the ten most important items you’d find in a bugout bag, Old West-style.

#1. Firearm

Almost every cowboy carried a gun. In the movies we’re used to seeing cowboys with a pair of Colt revolvers and a lever-action carbine, but the reality was that most just carried a long gun – a pistol wasn’t much use for hunting, and against an Indian’s bow and arrows it was dangerously outranged. Many cowboys were US Army veterans and carried their old rifle musket; others used shotguns, which with the right ammunition could take on most game.



#2. Knife

No self-respecting outdoorsman goes anywhere without a good knife, and cowboys were no exception. Most of them carried a sheath knife with a six to eight inch fixed blade, giving them the best combination of strength, portability and cutting power. These knifes had a hard life, being used for everything from cleaning game to splitting firewood, so any time a cowboy saw a suitable piece of stone he’d take the chance to tough up the edge of his knife.

#3. Canteen

Large parts of the West are pretty arid, so being able to carry water was vital. Every cowboy would have at least one canteen as part of his gear. These were larger than modern ones, usually holding at least two quarts of water and sometimes up to a gallon. Most

Source: askaprepper.com