Search Results for: pack animal

A Manual for the Transport of Sick and Wounded by Pack Animals

A Manual for the Transport of Sick and Wounded by Pack Animals

A report to the Surgeon General on the transport of sick and wounded by pack animals” (1877).

Pack Goats

pack goats

“Goats can be excellent pack animals. A good pack goat will carry at least twenty-five percent of his body weight (a two-hundred-pound wether will pack about fifty pounds), will follow you like a dog, will feed himself along the trail and around camp, and will be a pleasure to have around. Goats have been used as a beast of burden in Europe and Asia for thousands of years.”

Read more:  1 (quote) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5.

Picture found at American Goat.

Related: Pack camels / Pack horses.

Phillips, Decker and Canadian Pack Saddles

Phillips, Decker and Canadian Pack Saddles

Reader BG Hearns writes: “While your link to the 1916 pack manual is of historical interest, what you ought to know is that low-tech packing has advanced considerably over that publication and anyone who wishes to pack with animals should know that there are much superior options available today. The manual describes a very difficult to use piece of equipment that is so easy to get wrong that only a few experts could ever use it properly.

What your readers ought to know is that in 1924, the US army adopted the Phillips Pack Saddle which was much simpler and easier to use. Other advances in pack saddles since then are the Decker style (more) and the Canadian saddle pack, neither of which require complex knots, both of which incorporate simple, effective new design ideas, and both of which could be easily made in a small shop. Perfect for low-tech affictionados.”

Thanks for the note, BG. I have added some more links to your comment.

The Best Invention Since The Wheel

the best invention since the wheel“Between the third and seventh centuries AD, the civilizations of the Near East and North Africa gave up wheeled vehicular transportation and adopted a more efficient and speedier way of moving goods and people: They replaced the wagon and cart with the camel. This deliberate rejection of the wheel in the very region of its invention lasted for more than one thousand years. It came to an end only when major European powers, advancing their imperialistic schemes for the Near East, reintroduced the wheel.”

“The camel as a pack animal was favored over wheeled transportation for reasons that become obvious when the camel is compared with the typical ox-drawn vehicle. The camel can carry more, move faster, and travel farther, on less food and water, than an ox. Pack animals need neither roads nor bridges, they can traverse rough ground and ford rivers and streams, and their full strength is devoted to carrying a load and not wasted on dragging a wagon’s deadweight. Once the camel and ox are compared, one wonders why the wheel was ever adopted in that region in the first place.”

“A large share of the burden of goods in the Near East was always carried by pack animals. A bias for the wheel led Western scholars to underrate the utility of pack animals and overemphasize the contribution made by wheeled vehicles in the years before the camel replaced the wheel. The more we learn about the wheel, the clearer it becomes that its history and influence have been distorted by the extraordinary attention paid to it in Europe and the United States. The Western judgment that the wheel is a universal need (as crucial to life as fire) is of recent origin.”

Quoted from: “The Evolution of Technology“, George Basalla, 1988. See also: “The Camel and the Wheel“, Richard W. Bulliet, 1990 (summary). Previously: Camel trains in Asia, Russia and Australia.

High-Tech Knotting: the Diamond Hitch

High-Tech Knotting the Diamond Hitch

The “Diamond Hitch” is one of the most high-tech knots ever created. It was used to tie loads to pack animals. Many versions existed, not only for different types of loads but also for different types of terrain.

In rough country, where there was a frequent trouble with pack animals falling with their load, packers tied the Diamond Hitch so that the final knot was on top of the animal’s back where it could be easily reached and loosened with the animal down.

There was also a distinction between the one man and the two man Diamond Hitch. The one man version was employed by only one packer and required that he made two trips around the animal in tying it.

Detailed and illustrated instructions for tying the high-tech knot can be found in the 1916 “Manual of pack transportation“.

Update: Phillips, Decker and Canadian Pack saddles.

How to Build a Low-tech Internet

Original article at Low-tech Magazine.

Tegola project low-tech internet 3Wireless internet access is on the rise in both modern consumer societies and in the developing world. In rich countries, however, the focus is on always-on connectivity and ever higher access speeds. In poor countries, on the other hand, connectivity is achieved through much more lowtech, often asynchronous networks.

While the high-tech approach pushes the costs and energy use of the internet higher and higher, the lowtech alternatives result in much cheaper and very energy efficient networks that combine well with renewable power production and are resistant to disruptions.

If we want the internet to keep working in circumstances where access to energy is more limited, we can learn important lessons from alternative network technologies. Best of all, there’s no need to wait for governments or companies to facilitate: we can build our own resilient communication infrastructure if we cooperate with one another. This is demonstrated by several community networks in Europe, of which the largest has more than 35,000 users already. [Read more…]