Does your ward or stake have a pioneer trek coming up soon? Are you wondering how you can make it as authentic, impactful, and spiritual as possible? Clothing is one factor to consider in making the trek as realistic as possible. Below are some considerations (with a hat tip to http://handcart-trek.org) :
Men’s shirts are worn loose. Plain colors were common, but stripes or plaids were also used. Light colors will be coolest. Choose something larger than a regular fit, with long sleeves.
Pants were also worn loose. Wool or linen were used. Corduroy, twill and canvas pants are good choices. Trekker in our day find that wool is to hot but that cotton work great. Colors include blue, black, gray, browns, especially beige and tan. Choose rather loose fitting through the crotch and thigh area to add comfort In walking.
Suspenders: Men’s pants were held up by suspenders that were buttoned on the outside of the waistband, and crossed in the back.
Hats: Men’s everyday hats ranged from pilot caps, straw hats, wide brimmed low felt hats, or round crowned hat. No ball caps allowed.
Ties: Usually vests/ties were worn only on Sunday or when attending a meeting or social event. Ties were small, black and silky. Wrapped around the neck one and tied in the front with a square knot.
Dresses: Women’s basic dresses were floor length. It could be plain or have many ruffles. The sleeves were full, and long, with buttons or bands at the writs. Necklines were usually high, with buttons up the front. Fabrics were cotton in solid colors or small print. Bright colors were popular (especially bright yellow) Blouses and long skirts or jumpers could be used. Pioneer trekkers now have found that dresses and skirts should be mid-calf or above top of a hiking boot in length (so the girls do not trip over their skirts while pulling).
Aprons: The standard apron was six to twelve inches shorter than the skirt length. It gathered at the waist and tied. The bib attached at the waist and was pinned to the dress bodice at the top two corners. Hence, the name pinafore (Pinned at two of the for corners). Daytime aprons were made of calico remnants. Sunday aprons were made from white fabric and did not have a bib. For trekking today, large deep pockets are important to be able to carry different items along the trial. Here’s a pattern you can use: http://handcart-trek.org/patterns/Aprons.pdf
Bonnets: Women wore bonnets whenever they were outside. They were made of cotton with a deep stiffened brim and back ruffle to protect the neck. They could be white, plain colors or a print, but they never matched the fabric of the dress. Today, bonnets or straw hats for the girls are important, they need to have something they will wear to protect them from the sun.
Pantaloons: Worn underneath the dress and were normally white. Reached between knee and mid calf. Could use scrubs or pajama pants hemmed shorter. Wearing pantaloons helps maintain modesty in trekking situations. (Although the young women often wear denim jeans, on the trek they should be discouraged because they are too tight, hot and don’t breathe.) Here’s a pattern: http://handcart-trek.org/patterns/Petticoats.pdf
Shoes: For both women and men, shoes need not be “period” style. Comfort is most important. Do not wear new hiking boots unless you have taken at least two months to break them in. Bring two pair, so if one gets wet or cause blisters, the other pair can be worn.
Socks: Pack clean socks for each day.
Clothing Sources: 2nd hand stores or borrowed clothing.
What NOT TO Wear
Blue jeans, baseball caps, tank tops, t shirts, tight/short dresses, brand new shoes.
The Historical Pattern Company: www.pastpatterns.com/1830.html
Various men’s and women’s patterns are shown on this website.
Water Bottle Holder for Handcart
If you would like to make a water bottle holder for your handcart like the picture below you can download a pattern for it HERE.
On a slightly different (but related) note, the Church has some fun videos on trek safety HERE.