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Packing for the Oregon Trail

It cost between $800 and $1,200 for migrants to outfit themselves for the trail. This included food, clothing, equipment, cooking supplies and tools. "The Emigrant's Guide to California," published in 1849, suggested Western-bound travelers equip themselves with the following supplies:

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ItemsCost
3 rifles$60
3 pairs of pistols$45
5 barrels of flour$20
6 sacks of bacon$30
Coffee$8
Lard$1
Tea$2.75
Sugar $7
Rice$3.75
Dried Fruit$3
Salt and pepper$3
Lead$1.20
Tent$5
Bedding$22.50
Cooking utensils$4
Matches$1
Candles and soap$5.30
Personal baggage-----

In "The Prairie Traveler: A Handbook for Overland Expeditions," published by the U.S. War Department in 1859, Capt. Randolph Barnes Marcy recommends purchasing wool clothing to protect travelers against the sun, rain and sudden changes in temperature.

He supplied the following list for one man traveling by foot on the Oregon Trail: two flannel overshirts, two woolen undershirts, two pairs thick cotton drawers, two pairs thick cotton socks, four silk handkerchiefs, two pairs stout shoes, three towels, one gutta-percha (a sort of natural latex) poncho, one broad-brimmed hat, one comb and brush, two tooth brushes, four pounds of soap, one belt-knife, stout linen thread, large needles, beeswax, buttons, paper of pins and a thimble for making clothing repairs."

-- Posted: July 7, 2004

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