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Trapper Nelson Indian pack boards

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A client came home a few months ago asking me if I could fix his old pack boards.... I told him I would look anthem and let hm know!! After inspections, I don't think it was worth fixing making one by using parts of two frames and I would have had to make the cross pieces anyway... So I decided to build a bending form and started pulling wood out and got going on making new ones, five of them to be more efficient and to at least have one for my self in the end!! He wanted only the frames, no harness no bags no back wrap.

I found out that the up right pieces were originally made out of Alaskan yellow cedar, and the cross pieces out of oak. I have lots of yellow cedar and some oak but I had smaller pieces of White Ash kicking around that would work perfectly for the job so I got on milling all the wood, laminating some cross pieces and all and all!! But I started by making a sample just to make sure ti would all worked out....

So 2 of them are going to the client, just the frames and then I will make proper back wraps, detachable bags and shoulder harness when my fabric arrives!!
 

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as usual the pictures are not in the order that I picked them but you get the idea...
 

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Must be something in the air. I’ve just been researching wooden pack frames, and looked at the trapper Nelson but decided to make the one from the ‘Canoe Guides Handbook ‘. I’ll be following along and as I get going I’ll start a thread on the work I do. I too will most likely make more than one.
Jim
 
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Nice job, those look great!

Gil Gilpatrick illusrates a similar pack frame in his Building Outdoor Gear book where the uprights are shaped as well. I've been sorely tempted to make one because it looks so cool and also looks like a fun project to build; but so far I'm kind of at a loss for how I would use it. Right now I use a huge Cabela's "Boundary Waters" drybag/backpack.
 
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Nice job, those look great!

Gil Gilpatrick illusrates a similar pack frame in his Building Outdoor Gear book where the uprights are shaped as well. I've been sorely tempted to make one because it looks so cool and also looks like a fun project to build; but so far I'm kind of at a loss for how I would use it. Right now I use a huge Cabela's "Boundary Waters" drybag/backpack.

Mine will become my new hunting pack, it will follow me on land and in the canoe... I would love to have a pack basket, but that is not happening, and I think with the removable bag this will be way more versatile! I'm waiting to place an order on some fantastic oilskin fabric from the UK(need to decide on colours) and then I also need to make a pattern for the bag! Anyway there is a lot of work still involve!!
 
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Great post Canotrouge !

This looks like a great winter project and useful !

I really like the idea of lashing it together ! Effective and traditional ! Besides I've run pretty low on epoxy.

Looking forward to seeing the finished pack with bag and straps !


Thanks !

Jim
 
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Great post Canptrouge !

This looks like a great winter project and useful !

I really like the idea of lashing it together ! Effective and traditional ! Besides I've run pretty low on epoxy.

Looking forward to seeing the finished pack with bag and straps !


Thanks !

Jim

Traditionally they were riveted together... Steel rivets, really weird! But I guess it was faster than mortise, tenon and then lashing!!
 
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Alsg, I’m sure that is the same plan as from the book I referenced as it’s from the same author.
Jim

I just looked it up and yes, it appears that yours is an earlier book from the same author so I'm sure it is the same plan as I referred to.
 
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The Gil Gilpatrick frame looks nice, but more complicated than needed in my opinion, to get the shape right to make it comfortable would be tricky in my experience! I like the simplicity of the Trapper Nelson frame, super simple and some what faster to make, light weight and really versatile!!
But if you guys make one please share;)
 
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Back in the last half of 1967 or the first half of 1968 I found a Alaska Sleeping Bag catalog somewhere. I started ordering stuff, a sleeping bag that was warm to -40 degrees F. or C. and a Trapper Nelson Indian Pack. I had them shipped to my parents home in Northern Minnesota. As a military man serving at a little radar site in the northern part of South Vietnam I needed something to look forward to. I believed then as I do now that tomorrow is going to to be a good day, looking forward to going home was something we all did, but I specifically was looking forward to going on a canoe trip to catch a Lake Trout. In those days I was getting paid, but had no place to spend money, other than the buying postal money orders, so that is what I did ordering things that I would need for that trip. The Trapper Nelson Indian Pack was not very good for canoe tripping, it didn't mesh very well with portaging a canoe, so I traded it to my mentor Bob for a #3 Duluth Pack which I still have and use. The -40 degree sleeping bag was much to warm for summer canoe trips, Plus it maybe weighed about 25 pounds, so I traded it away to a friend of mine that was a logger that spent his winters in drafty tar paper logging shacks. He still claims it was the best bed he ever had.
Thank you Canotrouge for bringing back to my mind a 50+ year old memory that I had forgotten. Looks like a good project, I think a your pack board will be great for backing out those moose quarters next fall. If I were going to do any moose packing I would revive my old Trailwise pack frame, it had a hip belt that made packing heavy loads almost easy.
 
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Bought this trapper nelson in the late 60s as it was the only real workhorse pack in northern B.C. We used to have contests to see who could carry the largest load. I never won but I did see a fellow carry a large cast-iron stove with one! I still use it on occasion just for old-times sake.
 

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Looking forward to you taking this to the "Small scale site related retailers" forum.

Very nice job.
 
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Back in the last half of 1967 or the first half of 1968 I found a Alaska Sleeping Bag catalog somewhere. I started ordering stuff, a sleeping bag that was warm to -40 degrees F. or C. and a Trapper Nelson Indian Pack. I had them shipped to my parents home in Northern Minnesota. As a military man serving at a little radar site in the northern part of South Vietnam I needed something to look forward to. I believed then as I do now that tomorrow is going to to be a good day, looking forward to going home was something we all did, but I specifically was looking forward to going on a canoe trip to catch a Lake Trout. In those days I was getting paid, but had no place to spend money, other than the buying postal money orders, so that is what I did ordering things that I would need for that trip. The Trapper Nelson Indian Pack was not very good for canoe tripping, it didn't mesh very well with portaging a canoe, so I traded it to my mentor Bob for a #3 Duluth Pack which I still have and use. The -40 degree sleeping bag was much to warm for summer canoe trips, Plus it maybe weighed about 25 pounds, so I traded it away to a friend of mine that was a logger that spent his winters in drafty tar paper logging shacks. He still claims it was the best bed he ever had.
Thank you Canotrouge for bringing back to my mind a 50+ year old memory that I had forgotten. Looks like a good project, I think a your pack board will be great for backing out those moose quarters next fall. If I were going to do any moose packing I would revive my old Trailwise pack frame, it had a hip belt that made packing heavy loads almost easy.
That is a great story!! I use a tumpline wen ever I need to pack something heavy rather than a hip belt, seems to work better for me on short trips anyway!!
 
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Looks like an awesome packboard! We used to use them to carry 12 x 14 prospector tents, plus chainsaws and gas. I've got an idea that yours would be a lot more comfortable than the ones we made out of hockey sticks, back when hockey sticks were still made out of wood.
 
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My Trapper Nelson is still in good condition but I use it as a display for Dall Sheep horns and am old coffee pot......looks good on the wall.
 
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