Winter Travel Clothing, 1865

Métis in capotes hunting buffalo in the Red River area 1822
by Peter Rindisbacher, (1806-1834)

Perhaps I am the best clad in the party, and my clothes altogether will not weigh much. A flannel shirt, moleskin pants, full length leggings with garters below the knees, duffil socks and neat moccasins, a Hudson’s Bay capote, unlined and unpadded in any part, a light cap, and mittens which are most of the time tied on the load, while I wear a pair of thin unlined buckskin gloves. This is in a sense almost “laying aside every weight,” but the race which was set before the ordinary dog-driver in the days I am writing of was generally sufficient to keep him warm.

In my own case, I did not for several years wear any underclothing, and though in the buffalo country, and a buffalo hunter, I never had room or transport for a buffalo coat until the Canadian Pacific Railroad reached Alberta, and the era of heavy clothing and ponderous boots came in, with ever and anon men frozen to death in them! Not so with us; we run and lift and pull and push, and are warm.

– by John McDougall, describing winter travel by dogsled circa 1865 in Pathfinding on Plain and Prairie: Stirring Scenes of Life in the Canadian North-West, 1898.

Sleeping Rough

The effect was alchemical. When I stuck my head in the light of dawn… somehow I belonged in a way that I hadn’t before. Sleeping out produced a sense of enhanced connection with the land, a feeling almost akin to ownership: the paradoxical entitlement of the rough sleeper; whose lack of rights somehow grants him a greater right than anyone else.

– by Nick Hunt, describing his first night ‘sleeping rough’ on his long distance walking expedition across Europe in Walking the Woods and the Water: In Patrick Leigh Fermor’s footsteps from the Hook of Holland to the Golden Horn, 2014.