What to Take


This is the real reason I started writing this, to give a basic checklist. For ease of reference, the list is broken into two Sections: that which you need and that which might come in handy.


The following should not be left at home. If you have limited room, the items on this list can all fit in one duffel bag or two medium sized bags.


  • Enough of any prescription medication that you need for the length of your stay.


  • Sleeping bag and pad. You can always bum a place to sleep, but you ought to have something to sleep in, even if it is just a couple of blankets. This area can get down into the 50's on warm nights. This is no joke. The pad can just be something to keep you off of the cold ground; a thicker pad adds to comfort immensely.


  • Rain gear. Rain coat or poncho, boots for mucking about, wool socks, plastic tarps. While a heavy, somber toned poncho most resembles an oil skin cloak (period rain wear), use what you have. Better safe than soaked; I have found mundanity is accepted when it is bucketing rain and you are holding down a tent (especially someone else's tent).


  • Hat. This gets a separate item because it is important. A hat keeps the rain off, cuts body heat loss in the cold or at night, and keeps the sun from boiling your brain as quickly. Sun stroke and sun burn can be a drag. The hat should be medieval looking, but that leaves a lot of lee way. All oriental hats, many straw hats, and some leather cowboy hats look right. A note on hat etiquette: remove your hat in buildings, tents, or even shade. As well as being polite, wearing a hat out of the sun is almost bad for you as no hat in the sun.


  • A warm cloak (or a friend that has one) or a plain blanket that can be worn as one and can be sat on. Again, the nights can get cold and the dew falls heavily even (especially) after the hottest days.


  • Garb. This is an SCA event, and some attempt should be made to dress in period as much of the time as possible. Mundane costumes are fine for under armour or for going into town (but you might get complaints even then).


    • Simple tunics or dresses in some light colored solid, with trousers or skirts to match, if desired. These should be a natural fiber that breaths well (e.g. cotton, linen, et cetera), as light as possible, while preserving modesty.


    • Warm garb, or an over-tunic to pull on over a light tunic (layering is very effective), for cold nights or days. Wool works well, or even heavy trigger or cheap velour as both have a high polyester content and do not breath much.


    • One good or semi-good outfit for court, going to the taverns, or visiting the campsite of someone you wish to impress.


    • Light shoes or sandals, unless you want to slop around bare foot. Be warned, the gravel on the roads is sharp.


    • Heavy shoes or boots if you plan to go into the woods.


    • Accessories. A belt with a pouch and knife are good things to have around.


  • Change of other clothes for the time spent, plus two that are wrapped in plastic to keep dry. If you do not have extra socks, you will need them, and there is nothing worse than getting clean and then having to climb back into dirty, sweaty clothes. While washers are available, it is best not to rely on them, unless you like hanging out in laundromats. It is a good idea to have at least one change of clothes in your vehicle in case all of your clothes on site get soaked.


  • Portable light sources, both for camp and the port-a-castle. Authentic if possible, but a hand flash is sometimes more convenient. If you use propane lanterns, be aware that they are bright. They can hurt the eyes of those of us who adjust well to the dark and provide quite a show if used as out-house illumination in a plastic port-a-castle.


  • Toiletries. The usual stuff (soap, towel, toothbrush, etc.), and do not forget the shower gear.


  • Money to buy fresh food, firewood, drink, trinkets, instruments, garb, armour, art, or whatever else you cannot live without. Note: there are two ATM machines at Pennsic, and the camp store (and many merchants) will take credit/debit cards.


  • Sunscreen. If you are a typical SCA member, this is the most sun you will see all year. Getting severe sunburn can take a lot of the fun out of the War; armor chafes in new places, tunics rub, and you feel crummy. If you are fair skinned and/or do not get much sun, take precautions.


  • A bottle opener, can opener, and/or corkscrew. I have seen people offered peerages for these things.

Et Cetera

What follows is a list of things that are handy but may be left out if you do not want (or cannot afford) to overburden yourself.


  • Armour. This is not mandatory, unless you want to fight or scout. There is still lots to do without fighting. I know a couple of knights who have just left their harness at home and relaxed at a War (O.K., so one marshaled a couple of times and the other was doing his thing as a Laurel).


  • Instruments. Whether to just use at bardic circles or for more serious music, instruments can add to the fun. If you are a serious musician, or would like to be, this is about the best place you will find for SCA jam sessions.


  • Song books. Bardic circles, or a large tent during a storm, are a great place to sing old favorites and learn new songs.


  • Eating utensils. What type depends on how you plan to eat. If you are taking care of yourself, you will also need cooking and clean up gear.


  • Grill, spit, tripod, camps stove, or some other way to tame fire and hold cooking pots. Which of these you use depends on preference, experience, and level of authenticity.


  • Swim suit and towel. While there is no swimming permitted at Cooper's Lake, nearby Moraine State Park has lakeside beaches and public swimming facilities.


  • A tent or tents. An extra tent allows more room for storage and hospitality. While pavilions are nice, modern tents are acceptable.


  • Coolers are always welcome. They also can be packed with gear during travel.


  • Plastic jugs of any size for water and mixed soft drinks. Canned and bottled drinks are good, but powdered Gator- Aid and Kool-Aid are cheaper and easier to pack.


  • Extra and/or fancy garb.


  • Camp lights. Kerosene torches, candles with chimneys, hurricane lamps, or what ever. They give a campsite a nice look and keep people from literally tripping around.


  • Hand Fan. It may not be 100 degrees in the shade, but a fan is still "a good thing."


  • Books and games in case things get slow (or hot).


  • Bandannas, Band-Aids, bug spray (Avon Skin-So-Soft skin lotion is an effective and pleasant smelling substitute), hatchet, jack knife, matches (or flint and steel), rope, string, sewing kit, safety pins, and anything else that is handy in camp.

Bullying Policy

THE SCA PROHIBITS HARASSMENT AND BULLYING OF ALL INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS. Participants engaging in this behavior are subject to appropriate sanctions. If you are subjected to harassment, bullying, or retaliation, or if you become aware of anyone being harassed or bullied, contact a seneschal, President of the SCA, or your Kingdom’s Board Ombudsman.

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