Shanties like the foregoing are in general use among the old veteran
trappers of all countries, and even to the amateur there is a charm
in a shelter constructed from the rude materials of the woods which
the portable tents do not possess.
Tents, however, are much used both by professionals and amateurs,
and are indeed valuable acquisitions to the trapper's outfit, and
where time is valuable, do away with
the labor which the construction
of a hut or shanty involves.
Tents are of several kinds. Those most commonly used by the trapper
are the house-tent, fly-tent, and half-tent, or shelter-tent.
The first of these is made for prop-poles and a ridge pole, closed
on one end and buttoning up at the other. The sides are perpendicular
for two or three feet, before the slope commences, and the stay-ropes
are fastened to the eaves.
The fly-tent is generally a large, square piece of canvas, with
ropes extending from opposite sides. This is thrown over a ridge
pole, or over a rope extending between two trees, and the sides
are held to the proper slope by tightening and pegging the side
ropes to the ground. Fly-tents are also made with ends, which can
be lowered, and the whole tent may be pegged close to the ground.
The shelter-tent, when erected, resembles, in general shape, the
bark shanty already described. It consists of a strip of canvas,
having each end cut off to a point. The tent is pitched over three
slanting poles, and the ends are brought down and securely pegged.
This is clearly shown in our illustration.
We do not propose giving any extended directions for making tents,
as they are a staple article of trade, and, as a general thing, can
be bought for a figure which would render their domestic manufacture
of little saving or profit. The shelter-tent, however, is so useful
an affair, and withal so very simple made, that we will give a few
directions in regard to its manufacture. It should be made from
stout cotton drilling, or very heavy sheeting. Let the piece
be about thirteen feet in length by six in width. Each end of the
piece should now be cut to a rectangular point, commencing to cut
at a distance of three feet from each corner. In order to render
the cloth waterproof, it should now be dipped in a pail containing
a solution of equal parts of alum and sugar of lead, a couple of
handfuls of each, in tepid water. It should be allowed to remain
several minutes in soak, being dipped and turned occasionally,
after which it should be spread out to dry. This treatment not
only renders the cloth impervious to rain, but the alum tends to
make it fire-proof also. A spark from the fire falling upon a tent
thus prepared, will often rest upon the cloth until it goes out,
without doing the slightest damage.
The manner of pitching the tent has already been alluded to, and
is clear from our illustration. The poles should be three or four
in number, and seven feet in length, inserted in the ground at the
angle denoted. The two outside poles should be seven feet apart,
and the intermediate ones equally disposed. The tent piece should
now be laid over the poles, and the ends brought down and pegged
to the ground at the apex, and rear corners of each side through
loops, which should have been previously attached to these parts.
A tent, thus arranged, affords a safe shelter from the wind or
a moderate storm, and with a bright fire in front, is warm and