Customary, Custom Gear

If you're planning on being outside for several days in a Canadian winter you're definitely going to want the best of the best gear to keep you warm, happy and comfortable! There is no shortage of shiny new products and materials to tempt us – but are all these new synthetic fabrics and streamlined designs really more functional, warmer or durable than natural materials and crafting traditions of the earliest travellers of our northern landscapes?

Winter tripping guides and traditional crafters Dave and Kai of the Sudbury based business Lure of the North have been leading winter camping excursions since 2011, and have this to say about how they like to outfit themselves for a winter camping trip:

Equipment choices and clothing materials are heavily influenced by the earliest European travellers of this great land, who themselves borrowed heavily from and adapted the practices of indigenous travellers. Just as Europeans developed certain adaptations to indigenous methodologies (eg, steel tools and certain woven fabrics) while maintaining the same basic principles, so too does the modern traveller make material updates while striving to uphold the best time-tested traditions (for example, plastic toboggans have largely replaced wooden ones, but the shape and functionality remains nearly unchanged). Thus, while some (but not all!) materials may have been updated over the ensuing centuries, the form and function of our tools are the same as those developed and perfected over thousands of years spent living on this land.

Check out this video from Lure of the North comparing a traditional and modern snow show in action

If you are interested in taking a guided outdoor camping trip with Lure of the North check out their website here.

Interested in hand crafting a beautiful pair of winter moccasins or snowshoes of your own? The museum is fortunate enough to have Dave and Kai teach a series of workshops right here at the museum! The following is a list of what we have up-coming.