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Before nylon or Mountain House

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For our trip to Africa, we tried to find a few books to read.  There were a couple that were really good, including "A Primate's Memoir" by Robert Sapolsky, and "Affluence without Abundance" by James Suzman.  Both excellent. 

But we also read that classic African adventure novel of the late 1800's, "King Solomon's Mines" by Rider Haggard. It was not excellent, but it did capture some of the colonial perceptions of the British Empire back then.  It wasn't a pretty picture.  But in the middle of the book, the heroes undertake a long cross-country hike that made us think of backpacking.  Except they had a slightly different take on ultralight. In the book, five men start out on the journey cross the desert, each one carrying a load of forty pounds.  

Here's the packing list for the group--described as traveling light! 

3 express rifles and 200 rounds of ammunition.

2 Winchester rifles and 200 rounds

3 colt revolvers and 60 rounds

5 one gallon water bottles

5 blankets

25 pounds of Biltong (like jerky)

10 pounds mixed beads for trade a selection of medicines and surgical instruments

Knives, compass, matches, pocket filter, tobacco, a trowel and a bottle of brandy

Times have changed... 

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  • 1 year later...

They used porters to pack all of their gear and equipment.  The British liked to bring cases of champagne, gin beer and lots of other heavy stuff. 

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