Native Americans on the great plains led nomadic lives. They used buffalo for almost everything, eating their meat and making clothes and tent coverings from their skin. The Invention of Travois

The Invention of Travois

Living on herds of animals that were always on the move they were constantly on the move too, which meant living in tents and owning only what could be carried to the next camp.

The Invention of Travois
The Invention of Travois

Ideally, however, people like to carry more than can fit into one bag.

On roadways and hard ground carts are the best solution and in the far north snow and ice lie on the ground and dragging a sled is easy because the ground is slippery.

Traveling across the soft soil, however neither of these options work. The response of the Native Americans was to invent the travois.

The travois was a tall wooden  “A”,6.5 feet (2m) high where the things to be carried sit on the crossbar and the whole thing is dragged along on the splayed poles.

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The dragging ends move along quietly and with little friction.

Before the Spanish arrived and introduced horses into the new world dogs were used; harnessed to the travois they could drag up to 66 pounds(30kg).

For the horse, the travois was scaled up and carried bigger loads. Occasionally native Americans used the travois to carry multiple dogs.

Boy Scouts continue to be taught to use the travoic for dragging wounded comrades to this day.

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