What supplies to take was the most important decision
the emigrant had to make. They had just so much room on the wagon so
they depended on Oregon Trail Guide book and other books to advise them.
Each wagon did not have the same supplies, but they were similar. We
would like to share with you some examples of clothing, pioneer games,
recipes, some interesting facts and examples of animals of the trail.
All the links are at the top of this page.
A covered wagon or as the pioneers called them, "Prairie
Schooners," had a white canvas cloth on top with 4 wheels on the
bottom. The wagons were known as the "Prairie Schooner" because
the white canvas reminded many pioneers of sailing ships. The wagons
were made out of wood 4 feet wide by 12 feet long. The bottom of the
wagon looked like a "normal" wagon except that the front wheels
were smaller than the back wheels because it helped to turn quickly
when needed. The supplies they carried in the wagons were mainly tools,
food and family treasures.
The pioneers would grease the canvas so it would be
waterproof. The canvas was stretched over the bows the curved wood used
to make a "roof" onn the wagon. and there were drawstrings
to close and open the ends for protection from the weather and dust.
Inside the wagon there were wooden hoops with hooks
on them to hang guns, milk cans, spoons, bonnets, jackets, dolls and
anything else there was room for.
The wagon was packed with supplies for a 3-5 month journey.
The cost of the journey was expensive but they managed to either borrow
or save for the trip.
Most of the treasures were luxury items and usually
didn't make it all the way to Oregon City. The trail was marked by items
discarded by pioneers.
Handcarts were also used. The handcarts were made of
wood with either rawhide or light metal tires. They came in three sizes
and weighed 60 lbs. Sometimes they were poorly made and often needed
repair. Pioneers pulled the carts across the trail.