What They Brought Along
Among the hardy souls who ventured into the Klondike to seek their fortune was a sizeable contingent of women. A handbook of the day, Klondike and All About It, lent advice to women preparing to make the trek.
"A woman actually needs little in the way of an outfit, presupposing, of course, that she goes with a man who takes the necessary camping outfit and food along. This is what she requires for her personal comfort:
One medicine case, filled on the advice of a good physician
2 pairs of extra-heavy all-wool blankets
1 small pillow
1 fur robe
1 warm shawl
1 fur coat, easy-fitting
3 woolen dresses, with comfortable bodices and skirts knee-length (flannel-lined preferable)
3 pairs of knickers (or bloomers) to match the dresses
3 suits of heavy all-wool underwear
3 warm flannel night-dresses
4 pair of rubber boots
3 gingham aprons that reach from neck to knees,
small roll of flannel, for insoles, wrapping the feet, and bandages
a sewing kit
such toilet articles as are absolutely necessary, including some skin unguent to protect the face from the icy cold
2 light blouses, or shirt waists, for summer wear
1 oilskin blanket to wrap her effects in (to be secured at Juneau or St. Michael's)
1 fur cape
2 pairs of fur gloves
2 pairs of surseal moccasins
2 pairs of mucklucks (wet-weather moccasins)"
The founder of Dawson City, Joseph Ladue, weighed in with his recommendations concerning what supplies would be needed to brave the Klondike in his book, Klondike Facts.
"In the matter of provisions, the following is a list which is considered sufficient to last a man on his trip from Juneau to Dawson City:
20 pounds of flour
12 pounds of bacon
12 pounds of beans
4 pounds of butter
5 pounds of vegetables
4 cans of condensed milk
5 pounds of sugar
1 pound of tea
3 pounds of coffee
1 1/2 pounds of salt
5 pounds of corn meal
A small portion of pepper and mustard.
"The following utensils should be taken:
1 frying pan
1 water kettle
1 Yukon stove
1 bean pot
1 tin drinking cup
1 tea pot
1 knife and fork
1 large and 1 small cooking pan
"The following tools should be brought as part of the outfit. These will be found absolutely necessary to build a boat at Lake Lindeman:
1 jack plane
1 whip saw
1 cross-cut saw
6 pounds of assorted nails
1 pound of oakum
5 pounds of pitch
150 feet of rope
1 Juneau sled
"It is also necessary to have one good duck tent and a rubber blanket. A good piece of mosquito netting will not be heavy and will also be very great comfort on the trip. Do not forget to put in a good supply of matches, and take a small supply of fishing tackle, hooks, etc. It is very important that you have a pair of snow glasses to guard against snow blindness. It will be interesting to know the prices at Dawson City for supplies when I left in June, 1897:
Flour was sold in 50 pound bags at $6.00 a bag.
Fresh beef was supplied at 50 cents a pound.
Bacon was 40 cents.
Coffee was 50 cents per pound.
Brown sugar was 20 cents per pound and granulated sugar was 25 cents a pound.
Condensed milk was 50 cents per can.
Pick axes were $6.00 each.
Miners' shovels were $2.00 each.
Lumber right at Dawson City was $130.00 per thousand feet undressed, and $150.00 per thousand feet dressed.
"It is well perhaps to advise the traveller to supply himself with a small medicine box which can be purchased in Juneau, but it is not necessary if he enjoys good rugged health.
"On arriving at Dawson City, luxuries will be found to be very high; what is to be considered a very cheap cigar in the United States, two for 5 cents, sells in Dawson City at 50 cents each. Liquors command very high prices. Whiskey sells in the saloons for 50 cents a glass, and fluctuates from $15.00 to $25.00 per gallon, according to the supplies received from the at-present overtaxed transportation companies. There was about 12,000 gallons of whiskey imported into the territory from Canada the past year. Smoking tobacco was selling at $1.50 a pound and good plug cut and fancy tobacco was selling at $2.00 a pound. The demand for medicine is very light, but the local traders carry a small stock of patent and proprietary medicines."