Saturday, January 24, 2015

Planning for Camping

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to focus on for Historical Sew (Fortnightly) Monthly this year. It doesn't look like I'll be making it to Costume College this year but I am hoping to be more involved in SCA so pre-1600 is where I'll be doing most often. My big project for the year is going to be the Borgia dress. I've got the fabric for it already but I still need to buy trim. That plus feeling a bit nervous about cutting into my silk means I'll probably be pushing that off to later in the year and working on it on and off.

I do really want to try and do all of the challenges this year since there are half as many and I've made at least half in the previous years. So I had to do some brain storming to plan out the year. One thing I think that I want to do is attend an SCA camping event. I'm not huge on camping but I love the idea of an extended SCA event. Plus I love the fact that many of my lower class costumes feel more like clothes than costumes. I'd love to get away with wearing them on a regular basis in real life.

So what do you need to in your kit for camping?

Shifts, shifts, shifts! Preferably one per day but less if there is access to washing facilities. I'm not planning on anything as intense as Pennsic so I think my four shifts are a great start in this direction.

Moving outward, petticoats are next. I only have one but a spare would be nice! I could probably whip one up easily for a challenge.

Kirtles are the main piece of an outfit for 16th century Elizabethan peasant. I have three although one is technically a bodied petticoat so a new kirtle is not a priority althought I really do like them. Depending on the location and time of year, my wool kirtle will not be too useful.

I've got a nice set of accessories-coif, apron, sleeves and pocket. But you can always need extras. For February, I'm planning on a wool apron since wool is great for working near fires. It doesn't burn like linen. Expect loads of these small projects this year. They are easy and budget friendly plus I'll have time to handsew them!

I do have one nice pair of shoes but they are definitely not camping shoes! While I do want to learn how to make shoes one day, I'll probably be buying this year if new shoes are in my future.

Lastly, are layers for warmth. Florida is pretty warm but can get chilly in the evenings and mornings. I do have my English fitted gown, but I think that will be overkill for most of the year. I purchased fabric for a wool jacket to fill in this gap and if that goes well, I may make a linen one too.

And, if camping becomes a reality, I'll have to outfit my husband too!

Have you ever been to a costuming or re-enacting camping event? Any tips?


  1. So having done Pensic a few times, here's a handful of tips (but the SCA has TONS of pre-camping check lists and guidelines).

    -- Wear cotton boxers. In a summer event, your thighs can chafe way too easily, so wear boxers as an extra layer to protect yourself.
    -- get a straw hat. No really. Hats are a must, and straw is breathable.
    -- have a fan and learn to use it. Not dying of heat is really important. There are flag shaped fans that are really easy to use -- it's as simple as twirling a pencil between your fingers, and you get a nice breeze.
    -- bring peppermint oil. A little goes a long way (and too much can do a surface burn on skin), but it will feel cooling. Add a drop to your fan so you have cool-feeling breezes with it. Put some along your arms to feel a tingle there. Don't put it on your face, and be careful about putting it in sensitive areas. (Accidently over-minted my breastbone once -- it felt like a burning pain! :-P )
    -- look into hoops. As you walk, it scoops a little puff of air under your skirts which is a godsend.
    -- look into Middle Eastern! Turkish is a solid bet -- Persian actually is too many layers.
    -- avoid synthetics like the plague. You'll regret that poly-cotton on sale when it's 110F out.
    -- figure out how you're going to carry everything. A basket? Attached to your belt?
    -- have water on you at all times. Also, a little snackie. Or maybe look into things like the vinegar water Ma Ingalls made for the threshers. Don't get dehydrated!
    -- don't be upset if you have to make a last minute store-run. It happens to us all.
    -- plan your cooking in advance.
    -- expect rain. It almost always happens.
    -- expect cold.
    -- expect hot.
    -- the weather will always suck the most on your camping trip.
    -- have more than one cloak. So when the one is hanging, drying, you can still go out to use the bathroom.
    -- have more than one pair of shoes for the same reason.
    -- figure out what you'll do with hair. I would put my hair in two braids, and hair-tape them to my head. I could sleep in that, and go for about 4 days before really really needing to shower and take my hair down. It makes the camping much easier.

    And above all, have fun! The SCA can be a delightful group. Sadly, the area near me has a high creeper-to-fun person ratio, and so I have dropped out. But it can be a joy! Attend dance practice! Watch archery and sword-fighting! Attend costuming and sewing classes! And travel to other camps and meet people (and eat food :-P).

  2. Oh, and above all, remember that Duct tape is period!

  3. My god you are ambitious! I love camping, but I don't know if I could handle doing it in costume.

    1. Well, picking a period where I don't have to wear a corset helps a lot! No camping in corsets!

  4. I just got back from Alafia River Rendezvous in Florida. I second bring double the shifts you'll need. Also really necessary is a thorough sewing kit. I end up spending a good chunk of time mending clothes that I've sewn. I would also recommend a non HA pair of jockey slip shorts, to prevent chafing. Are you period or modern camping?