Youth from all over the world participate in authentic
Pioneer Handcart Treks sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). These annual events are typically
open to all youth aged 14 to 18, and are designed to provide a
growing experience for all who participate.
Most handcart treks involve dressing in Pioneer style clothing, eating food
prepared and cooked the old fashioned way, and sleeping under the stars
along the trail. These events provide an opportunity for the youth to
experience a small taste of pioneer life as they work hard to cook meals,
push handcarts and build fires without modern day conveniences.
Each day on the trail, trekkers rise early and face a new set of trials and
situations. They encounter huge hills, sandy trails, river crossings, and
all kinds of terrain. When trek families and not busy pulling handcarts,
they also take time along the trail to play pioneer games, shoot at targets
with muzzle loaders, bows and hatchets.
The journey can be long a difficult when pulling heavy handcarts, especially
when the men are called away and enlisted by the Mormon Battalion to help
fight the war with Mexico, leaving the women, to pull their heavy handcarts
Goals of Pioneer Handcart Treks usually include: inviting the spirit,
sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, increasing personal testimonies, and
building on the love and unity among youth within Stakes.
If you would like more information on how to plan a successful Trek and do
it all under budget, please submit the form below and we will email you with
a complete trek planning kit for FREE. Includes How to Plan & Carry
Out A Highly Successful Pioneer Handcart Trek Under Budget
What To Bring On a Trek -
PERSONAL EQUIPMENT LIST :
Everyone should bring....
5 gallon bucket and lid
1 warm sleeping bag (it gets plenty nippy in the
mountains)put inside plastic bag
1 old blanket (wool if possible)
1 old coat (heavy and warm)
1 rain poncho
Visqueen--(enough plastic to serve as a ground cloth and
shelter from the rain)
1 pair of shoes to hike in (don't buy new ones -- they will
give you blisters. Sturdy running or tennis shoes will work
best. Hiking boots tend to be heavy, inflexible and are
likely to rub you wrong which means foot pain and blisters -
therefore we do not recommend that you wear hiking boots)
3 pair of sturdy socks
2 sets of underclothing
fanny pack (day pack for Ma/Pa)
2 bandannas (necessary items)
1 metal pie plate, 1 large spoon attached
1 tin cup
1 small hand towel and a comb or brush
1 toothbrush & baking soda
5 Band-Aids and prescribed medications only
An old set of scriptures and your favorite church magazine
2 heavy duty garbage bags
Chapstick (lip balm), insect repellent, small package of HandiWipesand
sunscreen MEN should bring:
2 pairs of wool, canvas, or cotton pants (not levis)
2 long-sleeved shirts (flannel are best, but any will do)
1 wide-brimmed western style hat (no baseball or army hats allowed)
1 pair suspenders WOMEN should bring:
2 mid-calf length, long-sleeved dresses or 2 mid-calf skirts and 2 long
1 or 2 bonnets
1 pair of knee-length bloomers (can be made out of old pajama bottoms or
hospital pants (patterns are available upon request)
1 flannel nightgown
Feminine hygiene supplies Optional Items:
Camera and film
Personal journal and pen or pencil
A pocket or sheath knife
Harmonica or other small musical instrument (this does not include
walkmans, disc-mans or other
Please arrive dressed in pioneer clothing. You will be wearing one set of
clothing when you arrive, and the
other set you will use for changing. Ask around or visit second-hand stores
such as Deseret Industries.
Don't wear clothing that you wouldn't want subjected to heavy use.
ALL ITEMS MUST FIT IN THE TREK BUCKET:
MA & PA Equipment List EACH MA & PA MUST BRING THE FOLLOWING:
1 Dutch oven deep 14" diameter (tagged)
pair of gloves for hot items
12-quart pot (to cook mush and stewenamel pot may be best)
large serving spoon
large knives (sharp)for food preparation
two 5-gallon water containers (2 enclosed -- with spigot preferable)
5-gallon bucket (washing dishes)
plastic tarps16' x 20'
shovel pointed nose
small basic first aid kit
flashlights w/ batteries
vial consecrated oil
box of matches
2 each stirring spoons
ax sharp with very tight head & sharpening stone
marker dark with medium point
old sheet, blanket, tarp to cover load
possibilities bag to keep stuff in on trail
Family first aid kit (including mole skin and duct tape)
Tarp(s) - for shelter / shade
Misc: ropes, additional ground stakes, etc.
Pioneer Trek Clothing -
What To Wear on Trek
Dressing in pioneer
clothing can have a tremendous impact on the spirit of the trek. The
following is a short description of how pioneers dressed and it is our
hope that the youth will dress likewise for the trek.
Each Ward will have a Clothing Specialist called who will help all their
youth get their clothing together. The Ward Clothing Specialist will
work with the Stake Clothing Specialist to make sure everyone has the
clothes they need for the trek.
Mens shirts worn loose. Plain colors were common, but stripes or plaids
were also used. Light colors will be coolest. Choose something larger
than a regular fit, with long sleeves.
Pants were also worn loose. Wool or linen were used. Corduroy, twill and
canvas pants are good choices. Trekker in our day find that wool is to
hot but that cotton work great. Colors include blue, black, gray,
browns, especially beige and tan. Choose rather loose fitting through
the crotch and thigh area to add comfort In walking.
Suspenders; Mens pants were held up by suspenders that were buttoned on
the outside of the waistband, and crossed in the back.
Hats: Mens everyday hats ranged from pilot caps, straw hats, wide
brimmed low felt hats, or round crowned hat. No ball caps allowed.
Ties; Usually vests/ties were worn only on Sunday or when attending a
meeting or social event. Ties were small, black and silky. Wrapped
around the neck one and tied in the front with a square knot.
**Pricing: The Stake Clothing Specialist purchased enough material to
make an apron, bonnet, and skirt. The total cost in the end was only
$7.00 to make them all. (That did not include thread.)
Dresses: Womens basic dresses were floor length. It could be plain or
have many ruffles. The sleeves were full, and long, with buttons or
bands at the writs. Necklines were usually high, with buttons up the
front. Fabrics were cotton in solid colors or small print. Bright colors
were popular (especially bright yellow) Blouses and long skirts or
jumpers could be used. Pioneer trekkers now have found that dresses and
skirts should be mid-calf or above top of a hiking boot in length (so
the girls do not trip over their skirts while pulling).
Aprons; The standard apron was six to
twelve inches shorter than the skirt length. It gathered at the waist
and tied. The bib attached at the waist and was pinned to the dress
bodice at the top two corners. Hence, the name pinafore (Pinned at two
of the for corners). Daytime aprons were made of calico remnants. Sunday
aprons were made from white fabric and did not have a bib. For trekking
today, large deep pockets are important to be able to carry different
items along the trial. Here's a pattern you can use: http://handcart-trek.org/patterns/Aprons.pdf
Bonnets; Women wore bonnets whenever they were outside. They were made
of cotton with a deep stiffened brim and back ruffle to protect the
neck. They could be white, plain colors or a print, but they never
matched the fabric of the dress. Today, bonnets or straw hats for the
girls are important, they need to have something they will wear to
protect them from the sun.
Pantaloons were worn underneath the dress and were normally white.
Reached between knee and mid calf. Could use scrubs or pajama pants
hemmed shorter. Wearing pantaloons helps maintain modesty in
trekking situations. (Although the young women often wear denim
jeans, on the trek they should be discouraged because they are too
tight, hot and dont breathe.) Here's a pattern: http://handcart-trek.org/patterns/Petticoats.pdf
Shoes; For both women and men, shoes need not be period style.
Comfort is most important. Do not wear new hiking boots unless you have
taken at least two months to break them in. Bring two pair, so if one
gets wet or cause blisters, the other pair can be worn.
Socks; Pack clean socks for each day.
stores or borrowed clothing. A Trek Clothing Specialist will be
available to work with each ward to ensure proper clothing is assembled
for each youth on the trek. Sewing workshops will be arranged to
accomplish the clothing preparation task.
The Stake Youth Conference Specialists will provide a basic pattern for
the womens clothing.
What NOT TO Wear
Blue jeans, baseball caps, tank tops, t shirts, tight/short dresses,
brand new shoes.
Feet for Trek
Wearing the wrong shoes on the trek will rub you wrong and that means foot pain
Remember, your toes need room to expand, because your feet will swell a full
shoe size as you walk on the trek. So be sure to bring only comfy trekking
Running shoes are the best bet for trekkers because they are specifically
designed for cushioning, motion control, and support.
Keep in mind that hiking boots do not provide motion control features that many
people need, and may be inflexible and heavy. And they are certain to rub you
Since you know that you will be trekking soon, try to do a couple of walks with
your trekking shoes and a light backpack. If, or when you feel hot spots
forming, stop! Go home, rub your feet with rubbing alcohol and let them dry out.
This should allow you to form calluses that can protect you on the trek.
To physically prepare yourself for the trek, here are some general guidelines:
Walk 4-5 times per week
For 2-3 times per week, walk 2-3 miles, and 2 times a week, walk 4-5 miles
About 4 times before the actual Trek, walk longer periods of time up hill.
Remember, the trek experience is an authentic one. You will not have canned pop
on the trek. If canned or bottled pop is a habit for you, we encourage you to
"dry up" for at least a week before the trek.
Start preparing for the trek NOW by taking daily walks. Start by walking 15
minutes 3 times a week. After a month, increase your walks to 30 minutes 3 times
Handcart Rental Information
Our handcarts are rented all over the Western United States
(including: Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas, New
Mexico and Wyoming) for a wide variety of events. And our handcarts have been
featured in movies, such as "Trek - The Movie". Our handcarts have been featured
in shows at the LDS Conference Center during the Draper/Oquirrh Mountain Temple
Dedication Ceremony. And have been featured on Temple Square during the
Christmas Light Season.
Handcarts and Trailers
Phillips Handcart Company currently has 87 handcarts and 8 trailers available
for stake or ward groups to rent for pioneer handcart treks. Each handcart box
is four-feet wide by five-feet long by 16 inches deep (larger and deeper than
most), glued for strength, routered for smoothness and built as authentically as
possible. The handcarts are specifically designed with pioneer treks in mind and
we've built them for durability and strength. The wheels for the handcarts are
wooden and crafted authentically. The axels are strong 1 1/8 inch instead of the
weaker, smaller sizes axels which are often used. Additionally, we've lengthened
the draw bars for safety in pulling.
Please treat the handcarts with care, each handcart wheel costs $220. Attached
to the front of each handcart is a 20-foot cotton rope (replacement cost is $100
each), allowing several people to pull the cart. These handcarts were built to
handle the gear for 10-11 people.
The handcarts remain assembled and are moved on a 30-foot flat bed trailer with
a two and 5/16 inch ball hitch (the trailers come with a ball and hitch but
vehicles used to haul the trailers will need to be equipped with a receiver and
a 7 Flat RV style electrical plug-in) . Each trailer holds 10 handcarts and
weighs around 5,000 pounds. Each trailer comes with a spare tire (See pictures
of trailers and handcarts).
Groups will be required to pay rental for the handcarts. Handcarts are rented by
the full trailer load of 10, by the week. If there is any damage done to the
trailers or handcarts, groups pay for the cost of damage. The handcarts are
available for pick up on Tuesday of the week they are being used and returned by
the following Monday unless special arrangements are made with Phillips
Handcart Reservations & Contacts
To reserve handcarts, groups should use the form on this website or
contact Greg Phillips at (801) 360-3919 for reservations. Two weeks prior to
obtaining the handcarts leaders need to call the Greg Phillips at (801)-360-3919
and confirm pick up and drop off times. When leaders come to check out the
handcarts they will receive instructions and review the handcart/trailer safety
Leaders will complete the Handcart Check Out and In Form when they return the