Kephart Days: Americana At Its Finest

kephartJust like apple pie and baseball, camping was purely American.

We look back with a refreshing sense of nostalgia somehow hoping to hear echoes from the past.  Voices from men like Beard, Seton, and White.

But it’s Kephart that speaks clearly on this day.  For it’s him that we celebrate at Horace Kephart Days.

Classic Camping

ACORN Patrol

The A.C.O.R.N. Patrol

The folks in the timeless photo are a group led by Steve Watts that perform Classic Camping demonstrations.

I was fortunate enough to chat with a few members at the original Woodsmoke symposium and they are just the greatest folks you could ever meet.

To learn more about the ACORN Patrol, visit Woodsmoke Camping Company to learn more.

There are a number of sources to get started in the classic camping revival movement, if you are interested.

I would highly recommend the iconic book titled ‘Camping in the Old Style’ by author David Wescott.  Look for future works from “Uncle Dave” in the near future right here on MW.

Who is Horace Kephart

Horace Kephart

Horace Kephart

Considered by several million to be THE authority on camping regardless of time period, he was certainly one of the most influential men of his time.

Right or wrong, his was a life dedicated to the idea that man should be living simply in nature.

If you are interested, PBS has a quick bio that includes a little background on George Masa also.

What is Horace Kephart Days

It’s a celebration to honor the man but also to show patronage to our own roots of camping in the old style.

Check out this article that Chris posted about Kephart Days.  It goes into more depth than I ever could alone.

When is Horace Kephart Days

Every Autumn when the Fall leaves paint the Eastern Woodlands with exotic orange and rarely seen reds.

This is a great time to experience “Life Under Canvas“.

*Check back for next years exact date


Where Is Horace Kephart Days

Its rich heritage begins in the most poetic of places.

The Cradle of Forestry.  If you aren’t familiar with the term,

If you would like to camp nearby, visit

Below are some pictures from the event.


Is that Horace Kephart? Nope. That’s Master Woodsman writer Tom Ray.

Up first is a series of shots from an MW staff writer and all around Master Woodsman, Tom Ray.


Exact replica of the desk Kephart made. This one was made by Tom Ray also shown.

Tom made an exact replica of the desk that Horace Kephart himself made. I will prod Tom for the details and perhaps a future article about this little wonder.


Collapsible Beeswax Lantern

These collapsible beeswax lanterns were a popular item of the time.  You can find them on Ebay if you are putting together a classic camping kit.  😉


A modern version of the ‘Kephart’ Knife Design

This Iconic design has been copied perhaps more than any other in history. The Kephart knife design is favored and loved by many modern woodsmen, sportsmen, and general loafers alike.


This compass also displays time using a sundial

How cool is this little beauty? A compass that also displays time. What a novel Idea.


Take-down Cupboard

A collapsible, hang-up cupboard is great for organization. A luxurious addition to any loafing trip or extended camp.


These tins were popular in the Golden Age as well as today

Whether Golden Age or new school, the traveling woodsman needs a sure way of starting fire.

Well you’ve made it.  Thank you for bearing through to the end!  If you’ve enjoyed, please say so.

Also if you would like to attend Kephart Days next year, please visit and don’t miss this opportunity to experience REAL Americana!'

About Chad

Chad is a Native son of Medicine Lodge, Kansas. A founder of, he spends most of his time in "no man's land," NWOK wilderness!

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3 Responses to Kephart Days: Americana At Its Finest

    Tom Ray October 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    Thanks so much Chris and Chad! Fantastic job!

  2. Chris October 30, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Great article and video Chad!

    And great news about this event as there will be TWO next year! The first, Horace Kephart Days Celebration, May 15th & 16th, 2015 will be at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia, NC. And in the fall, back at the Cradle of Forestry, Camping in the Old Style with the ACORN Classic Camping Demonstration Team. Trust me, will we give you a reminder when we get close to these dates and they are also on our Events page now.


  1. Steven Miles Watts - - April 23, 2016

    […] workshops, aboriginal technology demonstrations and classic camping skills trainings (with the Acorn Patrol), throughout North America, not to mention Watts & Wescott co-authored numerous articles […]

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