How did the fabled cowboys of the Wild West survive the Wild in the West?

Have you ever wondered how the cowboys of the Wild West suffered through harsh winters and the unforgiving sun in the wilderness? A lot of Clint Eastwood movies try to do justice to their dangerous yet exciting lives, but their lives were more than dueling and riding on horseback looking all glamorous.

Here are a few things cowboys of the heyday always carried to save himself and his best friend from the dangers of the wilderness –


A firearm and a knife were constant companions of the cowboys. While the firearm could protect him from gunslingers and dacoits, the knife could help him cut and clean game and split firewood.

Clean water

Large canteens were a ubiquitous part of any cowboy’s belongings. These canteens could carry up to a gallon of fresh water just in case they wandered too far into the wild. Most canteens were leather, but some were military-grade steel as well.


Carrying bedding on horseback was a pretty common site back in the days. They usually contained three sougans wrapped in heavy-duty tarpaulin. They usually strapped it to the saddles and headed off to the unknown no horseback for months at a stretch. These rides were very different from the short races we see on


While matches were there, they were expensive and much harder to find. Almost all cowboys had tinderboxes on them while traveling. They were not waterproof, so most of them resorted to rain slickers. They usually carried unraveled cotton with a flint inside metal boxes. These helped them start and can control the fire.

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Cowboys always had their paracord. In case that wasn’t available, they could even make do with leather or thongs from rawhide. They used these to tie their horses down when they visited taverns or boarded in motels for a good night’s rest.

Stuff for cold weather

In the western weather, cold is bitter, and hypothermia was very common back in the days of cowboys and dacoits. The Cowboys had basic but warm cold weather gear that was light but effective. They often included an ex-army greatcoat or a long coat, mittens or gloves and a silk scarf.

A bandana

Right now, it is a style statement for the hipster crowds, but back then a bandana was a valuable gear. When the dry air rose, and the sand took flight with it, that simple cloth over the nose and mouth saved more than a few precious lives. Once they decided to rest, the bandana became a washcloth or a bandage for a new wound or a sling for an injured arm!

Lots of awesomeness!

Cowboys were anything but not awesome! Compared to the modern GPS dependent world and electronics addicted youth, they were superheroes. They survived deserts, rains, cold and wild animal attacks without any help from online survival tips, camping guides and mobile apps. They knew the best ways to survive, and they always knew which way led home.

These gears are gadgets might be enough for Bear Grylls right now, but none of the city crowd would be able to camp out in the wild with these limited resources and emerge unscathed.

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