Lewis and Clark Expedition List

The Lewis and Clark Packing List – What They Took With Them

Being a preparedness site, I thought it might be interesting to look at the Lewis and Clark packing list. Maybe we can learn a thing or two from it?

Here is Meriwether Lewis’ packing list for his expedition (1804).

The categories within the Lewis and Clark packing list include Mathematical Instruments, Arms, Ammunition, Clothing, Camp Equipment, Provisions and Means of Subsistence, Indian Presents, Means of Transportation, Medicine, Materials to make Packs.

Portrait of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

Route of Lewis and Clark Expedition (shown with modern borders)

image: By Goszei, from original by User:Sardon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=101365097

Lewis and Clark Packing List

(original spelling & terminology)

Mathematical Instruments

 

1

Hadley’s Quadrant

 

1

Mariner’s Compas & 2 pole chain

 

1

Sett of plotting instruments

 

3

Thermometers

 

1

Cheap portable Microscope

 

1

Pocket Compass

 

1

brass Scale one foot in length

 

6

Magnetic needles in small straight silver or brass cases opening on the side with hinges.

 

1

Instrument for measuring made of tape with feet & inches mark’d on it,…

 

2

Hydrometers

 

1

Theodolite

 

1

Sett of planespheres

 

2

Artificial Horizons

 

1

Patent log

 

6

papers of Ink powder

 

4

Metal Pens brass or silver

 

1

Set of Small Slates & pencils

 

2

Creyons

  

Sealing wax one bundle

 

1

Miller’s edition of Lineus in 2 Vol:

  

Books

  

Maps

  

Charts

  

Blank Vocabularies

  

Writing paper

 

1

Pair large brass money scales with two setts of weights.

Arms & Accoutrements

 

15

Rifle

 

15

Powder Horns & pouches complete

 

15

Pairs of Bullet Moulds

 

15

do. (ditto) Of Wipers or Gun worms

 

15

Ball Screws

 

24

Pipe Tomahawks

 

24

large knives

  

Extra parts of Locks & tools for repairing arms

 

15

Gun Slings

 

500

best Flints


Ammunition

 

200

Lbs. Best rifle powder

 

400

lbs. Lead

Clothing

 

15

3 pt. Blankets

 

15

Watch Coats with Hoods & belts

 

15

Woolen Overalls

 

15

Rifle Frocks of waterproof Cloth if possible

 

30

Pairs of Socks or half Stockings

 

20

Fatigue Frocks or hinting shirts

 

30

Shirts of Strong linnen

 

30

yds. Common flannel.


Camp Equipage

 

6

Copper kettles (1 of 5 Gallons, 1 of 3, 2 of 2, & 2 of 1)

 

35

falling Axes.

 

4

Drawing Knives, short & strong

 

2

Augers of the patent kind.

 

1

Small permanent Vice

 

1

Hand Vice

 

36

Gimblets assorted

 

24

Files do. (ditto)

 

12

Chisels do. (ditto)

 

10

Nails do. (ditto)

 

2

Steel plate hand saws

 

2

Vials of Phosforus

 

1

do. (ditto) Of Phosforus made of allum & sugar

 

4

Groce fishing Hooks assorted

 

12

Bunches of Drum Line

 

2

Foot Adzes

 

12

Bunches of Small cord

 

2

Pick Axes

 

3

Coils of rope

 

2

Spades

 

12

Bunches Small fishing line assorted

 

1

lb. Turkey or Oil Stone

 

1

Iron Mill for Grinding Corn

 

20

yds. Oil linnen for wrapping & securing Articles

 

10

yds do. do. (ditto) Of thicker quality for covering and lining boxes. &c

 

40

yds Do. Do. (ditto) To form two half faced Tents or Shelters.

 

4

Tin blowing Trumpets

 

2

hand or spiral spring Steelyards

 

20

yds Strong Oznaburgs (strong cloth)

 

24

Iron Spoons

 

24

Pint Tin Cups (without handles)

 

30

Steels for striking or making fire

 

100

Flints for do. do. do. (ditto)

 

2

Frows

 

6

Saddlers large Needles

 

6

Do. (ditto) Large Awls

  

Muscatoe Curtains

 

2

patent chamber lamps & wicks

 

15

Oil Cloth Bags for securing provision

 

1

Sea Grass Hammock

Provisions and Means of Subsistence

 

150

lbs. Portable Soup.

 

3

bushels of Allum or Rock Salt

  

Spicies assorted

 

6

Kegs of 5 Gallons each making 30 Gallons of rectified pirits such as is used for the Indian trade

 

6

Kegs bound with iron Hoops


Indian Presents

 

5

lbs. White Wampum

 

5

lbs. White Glass Beads mostly small

 

20

lbs. Red Do. Do. (ditto) Assorted

 

5

lbs. Yellow or Orange Do. Do. (ditto) Assorted

 

30

Calico Shirts

 

12

Pieces of East India muslin Hanckerchiefs striped or check’d with brilliant Colours.

 

12

Red Silk Hanckerchiefs

 

144

Small cheap looking Glasses

 

100

Burning Glasses

 

4

Vials of Phosforus

 

288

Steels for striking fire

 

144

Small cheap Scizors

 

20

Pair large Do. (ditto)

 

12

Groces Needles Assorted No. 1 to 8 Common points

 

12

Groces Do. (ditto) Assorted with points for sewing leather

 

288

Common brass thimbles – part W. office

 

10

lbs. Sewing Thread assorted

 

24

Hanks Sewing Silk

 

8

lbs. Red Lead

 

2

lbs. Vermillion – at War Office

 

288

Knives Small such as are generally used for the Indian trade, with fix’d blades & handles inlaid with brass

 

36

Large knives

 

36

Pipe Tomahawks – at H. Ferry

 

12

lbs. Brass wire Assorted

 

12

lbs. Iron do. Do. (ditto) generally large

 

6

Belts of narrow Ribbons colours assorted

 

50

lbs. Spun Tobacco.

 

20

Small falling axes to be obtained in Tennessee

 

40

fish Griggs such as the Indians use with a single barbed point – at Harper’s ferry

 

3

Groce fishing Hooks assorted

 

3

Groce Mockerson awls assorted

 

50

lbs. Powder secured in a Keg covered with oil Cloth

 

24

Belts of Worsted feiret (woven wool tape) or Gartering Colours brilliant and Assorted

 

15

Sheets of Copper Cut into strips of an inch in width & a foot long

 

20

Sheets of Tin

 

12

lbs. Strips of Sheet iron 1 In. wide 1 foot long

 

1

Pc. Red Cloth second quality

 

1

Nest of 8 or 9 small copper kettles

 

100

Block-tin rings cheap kind ornamented with Colour’d Glass or Mock-Stone

 

2

Groces of brass Curtain Rings & sufficently large for the Finger

 

1

Groce Cast Iron Combs

 

18

Cheap brass Combs

 

24

Blankets.

 

12

Arm Bands Silver at War Office

 

12

Wrist do. do. Do. (ditto)

 

36

Ear Trinkets Do. Part do. (ditto)

 

6

Groces Drops of Do. Part Do. (ditto)

 

4

doz Rings for Fingers of do. (ditto)

 

4

Groces Broaches of do. (ditto)

 

12

Small Medals do. (ditto)

Means of Transportation

 

1

Keeled Boat light strong at least 60 feet in length her burthen equal to 8 Tons

 

1

Iron frame of Canoe 40 feet long

 

1

Large Wooden Canoe

 

12

Spikes for Setting-Poles

 

4

Boat Hooks & points Complete

 

2

Chains & Pad-Locks for confining the Boat & Canoes &c.

Medicine

 

15

lbs. Best powder’s Bark

 

10

lbs. Epsom or Glauber Salts

 

4

oz. Calomel

 

12

oz. Opium

 

_

oz. Tarter emetic

 

8

oz. Borax

 

4

oz. Powder’d Ipecacuana

 

8

oz. Powder Jalap

 

8

oz. Powdered Rhubarb

 

6

Best lancets

 

2

oz. White Vitriol

 

4

oz. Lacteaum Saturni

 

4

Pewter Penis syringes

 

1

Flour of Sulphur

 

3

Clyster pipes

 

4

oz. Turlingtons Balsam

 

2

lbs. Yellow Bascilicum

 

2

Sticks of Symple Diachylon

 

1

lb. Blistering Ointments

 

2

lbs. Nitre

 

2

lbs. Coperas


Materials for making up the Various Articles into portable Packs

 

30

Sheep skins taken off the Animal as perfectly whole aspossible, without being split on the belly as usual and dress’d only with lime to free them from the wool; or otherwise about the same quantity of Oil Cloth bags well painted

  

Raw hide for pack strings

  

Dress’d letter for Hoppus (knapsack)-Straps

  

Other packing

   

ALL RELATED BOOKS OF THIS EXPEDITION ON AMZN

Lewis and Clark expedition list

image: Adobe photo illustration

Lessons Learned From The Lewis & Clark List

From a preparedness standpoint, I enjoyed discovering the categories of what Lewis and Clark deemed important for their expedition.

INSTRUMENTS
Navigation, weighing, measuring, writing, reading

ARMS & AMMUNTION
Weapons, rifles, knives, powder & lead

CLOTHING
The basics. Wool and strong linens.

CAMP GEAR
Lots of Axes! (Need wood for fire). Plenty of cordage. Lots of flint (Fire!). Cooking gear. They had the 5 C’s of survivability covered pretty well within the entire list here (cutting, combustion, cover (shelter), cordage, container (cooking) ).

PROVISIONS/FOOD
Portable soup? (lots of that). Lots of salt. Lots of ‘rectified spirits’ (alcohol).
Soup-Salt-Booze…

INDIAN PRESENTS
Lots of stuff here! Barter. Make peace. Avoid getting scalped.

TRANSPORTATION
Boats and Canoes. Missouri River travel.

MEDICINE
How interesting to look at this list before the days of modern medicine. This was ‘modern’ for its day…

MATERIALS FOR PACKS
You couldn’t go down to Cabellas and buy 30 backpacks. You had to make them yourself…

More about the expedition: (Wikipedia)

( source: https://www.monticello.org/ )

Corps of Discovery meet Chinooks on the Lower Columbia, October 1805 (Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia painted by Charles Marion Russel)

Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia

Some interesting stats on the early settlers and pioneers on the Oregon Trail.

It typically took 4-5 months, while walking 15-20 miles per day. ( Roughly 1200 calories/day walking across the prairie.

They were more concerned about having enough food than “ stuff “. If they had to get rid of some “ stuff “ in order to make room for more food, then they did.

The typical family of four had:
600 lbs. of flour
400 lbs. of bacon
400 lbs. of lard
100 lbs. of sugar
60 lbs. of coffee
4 lbs. of tea
Dried peaches and apples
Sacks of rice, also cornmeal, salt, vinegar, butter, and baking soda.

These food stuffs were supplemented with hunting and fishing.

They were often helped by, and traded with the Indians. At least until the buffalos started to disappear.

If you ever get out to the great west, check out the Immigrant Trail Interpretive Center outside Elko, NV on I-80.

Fascinating, to see those scant supplies and the kit they used to try and get across the great American Desert. ( If you look on Google earth, you can still see wagon ruts left by wagons in the desert soils).

They were some tough individuals.

~ Minerjim (commentator on MSB)

Some absolutely tough individuals! And most, who were not small children or elderly adults, walked the trail because of a lack of room for them in the wagon due to the wagon being loaded.

Plus the hazards of the trail which included rattlesnakes, dysentery, animals and people lost to drowning when crossing a river, wagons breaking down ( they usually had some spare parts), not enough for the animals to eat, some froze to death because of getting stuck in the snow and ice in the mountains, etc.

Life long friendships were forged by them enduring the hardships together, and helping each other survive the Trail.

That’s what they were willing to endure for the American promise of FREEDOM and their own land.

~ SpiritOf76 (commentator on MSB)

[ Read: 1816 – Year Without A Summer – Massive Crop Failure, Food Shortages ]