Monday, November 22, 2010

The Cooking Kit of Horace Kephart

Horace Kephart is one of the most respected authors in the bushcraft community, having authored Camping and Woodcraft, published as a two volume book in 1916.

This is a look at some of his personal gear, specifically his cooking kit.

It is clearly a very compact design, made to nest into a felt lined canvas bag.

The kit is comprised of a canteen. Its dimensions are 9.5 inches x 6.5 inches x 3 inches, giving a total volume of about 3 liters. There is also a nesting cup, which judging by the dimensions of the canteen, must be about 1.5 liters in volume. The kit also contains a plate and a pan with a folding handle.

All of the items are made of tin. While steel was available at the time, it was much heavier, and pots tended to be made out of thin sheaths of tin or copper.

This set was manufactured by Abercrombie & Fitch Co., a company known for its clothing line, but which also made limed selections of camping equipment and even axes, mostly for promotional purposes.

He also carried the necessary eating utensils, comprised of a fork and a small and large spoon.

They are all made of hand carved wood. The fork measures 7.9 inches in length, the small spoon 7.5 inches in length and the large spoon 11.5 inches in length.

This appears to have been a personal kit. Many of his writing refer to additional gear which was clearly carried by mule train or divided amongst the group.

The items are stored at the Hunter Library Special Collections, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, and is the source of the above images.