Then and Now: Camping Gear History

We’ve come a long way from camping gear of the past. And while we might get nostalgic for a few of our favorite past camping gear items, it’s probably a good thing there’s been huge advancements in camping gear technology. Heavy gear that was cumbersome and difficult to use is a thing of the past. Here’s a blast from camping gear’s past:


Soldatliv i Bivuakk / Soldier Life in the Bivouac (ca. 1903)Old tents were made of super thick and heavy canvas that soaked up moisture like the dickens and got even heavier when it rained. Few tents had floors, meaning you really were sleeping on the ground with no protection whatsoever from drafts or creepy crawlies that migrated into your sleeping bag. Now tents are streamlined and weight next to nothing, are super portable, and give you unrivaled protection against the elements with super thin tech coatings.


Hiker near Pyramid Peak, 1939The gear junkie’s favorite carry-all, the backpack has change significantly to be more efficient, lightweight, and visually appealing. The old backpacks were external frame packs or rucksacks made of durable canvas (notice a trend?) that weren’t weatherproof and not very comfortable on long hikes. Usually outfitted with a couple of exterior pockets, there wasn’t many bits and bobs to attach all your gear like the packs of today. Packs now even take into consideration hip to shoulder weight distribution to make you less top heavy and ready to stand your ground rather than go over the side of a cliff at a huge gust. Not that has ever happened.

Sleeping Bags

sleeping-bag-eurklisia-rugEver hear of the Euklisia Rug? It’s the original sleeping bag! A wool blanket with an off-centered inflatable pillow, it let the sleeper lie down on one side and fold the other side over to make a sort of insecure wool blanket taco. They were mass-produced first for the Russian Army and then sold to the public after the Russo-Turkish War left the manufacturer with thousands of them made and no one to sell them to. Today’s sleeping bags are more like a cocoon than a taco and we’re thankful for that on cold nights!




While we’re glad that old camping gear is a thing of the past, there are still something things that are tried and true and bits of advice every camper should know. What’s your favorite tip another camper passed down to you?

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