1. Tent - Mundane or period, it doesn’t matter but if you’re not in a period tent many groups put modern tents in the “nylon ghetto” usually behind the period tents. If you’re purchasing (or borrowing) a nylon tent consider getting one larger than you’d use for mundane camping so you have a little more elbow room (it makes putting garb on easier if you have more space) and room for your stuff. If you’re in a nylon tent, a plastic tarp for underneath and a rainfly of some sort are recommended.
2. Bed - Air mattress, futon, cot…any of these will work. Pro tip: if using an air mattress at an event that will be cold, put one of those foil emergency blankets under the mattress to help keep cold air from coming up. Also be sure to bring extra blankets, Castle Wars can get really cold!
3. Folding chair - Use it to sit around the campfire or on the field. If you’re using something glaringly mundane like a camp chair, bring a blanket or piece of fabric to throw over it.
4. Cooler - Most camping events don’t provide food so you’ll need to plan ahead. Many times if you’re in an encampment there might be some sort of meal plan for one or more meals so find out ahead of time what you might need to contribute. Snacks such as dried fruit, nuts, chips, meat jerky, cheese and bread are good to keep on hand. Some events will have a fundraiser lunch or even food vendors but not always. If your camping event is in the summer months, be sure to keep plenty of ice in your cooler to prevent food from spoiling and keep your beverages nice and cold. Be sure to pack plenty of drinking water (especially if you’re a fighter!) as most sites don’t have easily accessible spigots.
5. Clothing – Garb, of course. Plan for both warm and cool temperatures. Many times an event that’s warm during the day will get cold in the evening. For winter events, it’s a good idea to bring extra layers like long underwear and socks. For really cold events thermal underwear can be a life-saver. Be sure to pack your cloak!
6. Feast gear – Bring a plate, bowl and silverware in case you need it for meals and of course don’t forget a tankard! You can easily find wooden or pewter feast gear items at thrift stores. Also bring an extra trash bag, as taking your feast gear and washing it at home is easier than trying to clean it on site.
7. Adult Beverages – Check before you go whether the site allows alcohol. If the event is advertised as a “dry site” it means no alcohol is allowed. A “wet site” means alcohol is allowed. Some sites are “discreetly wet” which means you take your empties with you. Of course don’t share any alcohol with anyone underage and always dispose of your empties properly. Don’t forget the bottle opener and/or corkscrew!
8. Directions – Found either in Pop Chiv or the event’s website/Facebook page. Keep an eye out for SCA signs to help guide you to the site. Or offer to pitch in for gas and get a ride with a friend!
- Flashlight, plus extra batteries to navigate your way to the bathroom at night.
- Sunscreen (yes even in winter). You can also wear a straw or felt hat.
- Extra towels are often useful, especially at rainy events.
- Trash bags can be used (obviously) for trash but also for wet clothing.
- Pack extra socks and/or t-shirt for rainy events just in case.
10. Other things you could bring (but if you don’t have it’s ok!):
- Firepit – for cooking, smores and keeping war. Be sure to keep water or fire extinguisher near by.
- Pop-up – for on the field or as a kitchen/storage area in camp.
- Propane Heater - A great way to stay warm and dry. FOR CANVAS TENTS ONLY. Don’t use in a nylon tent, people have died that way.
- Camp stove
Feel free to ask more experienced Shire folk for help or advice on getting ready for an event.
~Lady Fiora Valori