This week Frank’s cupboard contains some essential equipment for the Victorian camping enthusiast…

For convenience the following list is inserted here. It is condensed from a number of notes made for trips of all sorts, except boating and horseback-riding. It is by no means exhaustive… Be careful not to be led astray by it into overloading yourself, or filling your camp with useless luggage. Be sure to remember this.

Axe (in cover). Axle-grease. Bacon. Barometer (pocket). Bean-pot. Beans (in bag). Beef (dried). Beeswax. Bible. Blacking and brush. Blankets. Boxes. Bread for lunch. Brogans (oiled). Broom. Butter-dish and cover. Canned goods. Chalk. Cheese. Clothes-brush. Cod-line. Coffee and pot. Comb. Compass. Condensed milk. Cups. Currycomb. Dates. Dippers. Dishes. Dish-towels. Drawers. Dried fruits. Dutch oven. Envelopes. Figs. Firkin. Fishing-tackle. Flour (prepared). Frying-pan. Guide-book. Half-barrel. Halter. Hammer. Hard-bread. Harness (examine!). Hatchet. Haversack. Ink (portable bottle). Knives (sheath, table, pocket and butcher). Lemons. Liniment. Lunch for day or two. Maps. Matches and safe. Marline. Meal (in bag). Meal-bag. Medicines. Milk-can. Molasses. Money (“change”). Monkey-wrench. Mosquito-bar. Mustard and pot. Nails. Neat’s-foot oil. Night-shirt. Oatmeal. Oil-can. Opera-glass. Overcoat. Padlock and key. Pails. Paper. Paper collars. Pens. Pepper. Pickles. Pins. Portfolio. Postage stamps. Postal cards. Rope. Rubber blanket. Rubber coat. Rubber boots. Sail-needle. Salt. Salt fish. Salt pork. Salve. Saw. Shingles (for plates). Shirts. Shoes and strings. Slippers. Soap. Song-book. Spade. Spoons. Stove (utensils in bags). Sugar. Tea. Tents. Tent poles. Tent pins. Tooth-brush. Towels. Twine. Vinegar. Watch and key.

John M Gould, How To Camp Out (1877)

Gould has winnowed out some of the items deemed essential earlier in the century. As Anne Fadiman records in Ex Libris : Confessions Of A Common Reader (1998):

Who but an Englishman, the legendary Sir John Franklin, could have managed to die of starvation and scurvy along with all 129 of his men in a region of the Canadian Arctic whose game had supported an Eskimo colony for centuries? When the corpses of some of Franklin’s officers and crew were later discovered, miles from their ships, the men were found to have left behind their guns but to have lugged such essentials as monogrammed silver cutlery, a backgammon board, a cigar case, a clothes brush, a tin of button polish, and a copy of The Vicar Of Wakefield. These men may have been incompetent bunglers, but, by God, they were gentlemen.



By Aerostat to Hooting Yard: A Frank Key Reader is available to buy for Kindle from Amazon now.

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  1. malty on Friday 11, 2014

    Excellent, although omitted from the list is a large fly swat (repelling of scoutmasters for the use of.) Today’s camping is all about image…10 inch ipad, Mammut packing list, Mammut, Mammut, Mammut, Mammut, Mammut, Jack Wolfskin, Jack Wolfskin, Jack Wolfskin, Mountain Equipment, Mountain Equipment, Gucci.

    No North Face, obviously, so South Tyneside, don’t you think.

  2. Peter on Friday 11, 2014


    • Brit on Friday 11, 2014

      To accompany your salt pork, along with the mustard (and pot).

  3. Peter on Friday 11, 2014

    Ah, I see. Imagine the social disgrace of the philistine who ate them with his “bread for lunch”.

    Love the clothes-brush and blacking.

  4. Worm on Friday 11, 2014

    I’m off camping today and this list has reminded me to stock up on oiled brogans, you can never have too many