Stockpiling food and supplies for an emergency it began thousands of years ago. To the pioneers, stockpiling had to be a way of life. When Old Man Winter came to call, the only thing that would keep them alive was the food and fuel they had stored. If they were not ready, chances were that they wouldn’t make it through the winter.

For most settlers the whole point of heading west was to farm their own land, and you can’t do that without tools. Often you can’t do it without the tools to make other tools.

There were no power tools, just simple hand-operated ones. But those simple tools could do amazing things when used properly, and if society breaks down they’ll do just as good a job for you.

Below we have a few Vital Items the pioneers stockpiled for hard times: 


Salt is essential for life in general, and saltiness is one of the basic human tastes. Salt is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous food seasonings, and salting is an important method of food preservation. While some pioneers would harvest it themselves from salt licks, that only worked for those who had a natural salt lick on their property.


Pioneer… This remarkable jerky is made to an authentic recipe used by Lewis and Clarke on the first animals they shot on their 1804 expedition to explore the West. A few strips of jerky and a couple of campfire biscuits made a pretty good lunch in the saddle.


Winter is a good time to cut and get up a year’s stock of firewood. Pioneers have less work to perform and wood is easier loaded and drawn when there is good sledding, than in summer.

Firewood is a renewable resource. However, demand for this fuel can outpace its ability to regenerate on a local or regional level. Good forestry practices and improvements in devices that use firewood can improve local wood supplies.

Feed for the animals

Anyone who had animals had to consider their needs.

Pioneer families relied on poultry for three major purposes: meat, eggs, and money. Most pioneers who raised pigs built a smokehouse to help preserve the pork.

(Most hay was cut from wild grass growing near the farm).

Wheat flour

Bread was an important staple in the diet. It was a great source of carbohydrates, giving them the energy they needed to burn during the day.

The history of flour and its use would have pressed several things as far as the form of grain on a long trek or cattle drive. Whole grain flour unless used within a short time after milling from the fresh grain will turn rancid.


Bacon was one of the few meat staples that traveled well, whether it was along the emigrant trail or cattle trail.

Weary pioneers found more than just “meat” in bacon; they also turned to the cured meat to cure ailments. Oregon pioneer Mrs. Ernest Truesdell remembered folks wrapping bacon around their necks to cure a sore throat. That must have made the patients smell pretty tasty.

Dried and canned fruit

Drying is one of the oldest techniques used by man to preserve food. Native Americans would dry strips of elk, buffalo and rabbit in the sun. Later, the American pioneers dried their meat by draping it on the side of their wagons on their days-long trips.

Since it kept well, dried fruit was another popular trail food, both for wagon trains and for drifting cowboys. It helped give variety to an otherwise dull diet, as well as providing them something sweet to eat.

Sources include: wikipedia,, 

This content was originally published here.

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