Survival Gear: A Look Back at the Hudson Bay Survival Kit

The Hudson's Bay Company, founded in 1670, is one of the oldest companies in the world and the oldest commercial corporation in North America. Much of the company's existence was founded on the fur trade in North America, specifically in Canada. With traders, hunters and trappers wandering so much of the untamed North, good survival gear was critical.

While this kit seems antiquated by today's standards, I think there is a lot of wisdom built into this collection of food, gear and supplies. I know I'd rather have all this stuff than not have it if my plane went down or my canoe got smashed.

The Equipment
'How to Stay Alive in the Woods' by Brad Angier gives us a 1900's look at the traditional equipment roster, which was standard issue to all HBC aircraft at the time. The kit measured 12 x 11 x 3 1/2 inches, and weighed 11 pounds. The small crate was packaged so that it was watertight and would be able to float. It is supposed to sustain a person for one to two weeks in the wilderness.

Here are the classic contents:
28 tea bags
50 Vitamin pills
30 oz. Pilot Bread (aka hardtack, which is a form of simple cracker made from flour, water and sometimes salt.)
16 oz Butter
14 1/2 oz Strawberry Jam
12 oz Klik (canned ham)
14 oz Condensed Milk
10.5 oz Chocolate Bars
100 Matches
1 Knife
1 Spoon
1 Whistle
1 two sided mirror
1 Fishing line
4 Fishhooks
1oz Snare Wire
2 Candles
Kleenex (small amount)
Camphor

Ever packed this kind of gear? Or stocked a cabin or vehicle like this? Tell us how you relied on these kinds of supplies by leaving us a comment below.