Don't Forget the Fun!: A checklist for women camping at events

Dear Newbie is beyond excited. She's going to her first camping event soon. She's in a dither over what to bring. Today I'll discuss just that... a packing list to make sure one has remembered what they need and probably a few items they didn't realize they needed. (Candles are great... until you can't find a flame. D'oh!)

First establish what sort of event you are attending and review the guidelines and safety protocols. You will want to have enough time to bring your gear into compliance. Pay special attention to requests like: "Participants will be sharing fire pits and accompanying duties." "Participants are required to have a canteen of water upon themselves at all times away from their home camp." "Live flame lighting is not permitted in the buildings at any time." Such requests in the guidelines or safety protocols are important for the event to run smoothly and be safe and fair to all participants.

On to the checklists... I organize mine into sections of like items, so that's how I will present them.

1) Shelter- maybe you are lucky and get a fully-furnished house to play in... or maybe you get a farmer's back field he was kind enough to mow with a weed-wacker... but it is shelter. If you need a canvas home, make sure yours is in compliance with the event guidelines.
  • Canvas Home
  • Ridge Poles, Main Poles, Support Poles
  • Ropes
  • Stakes- (I find it courteous and safety-minded to bring small strips of white fabric to tie to the stakes so folks don't trip over them in dim lighting.)
  • Mallet and Stake Puller
  • Ground Cloth
Links: "Tents and Camping" by Anna Worden Bauersmith
2) Household Convenience- some folks go quite elaborate here... some folks keep it very minimalist... Either way, a few conveniences go a long way toward making an event comfortable.
  • Seating- chairs, sturdy boxes/crates, stumps
  • Flat surface- tables, plank between boxes, taller crates/kegs
  • Lighting- candle with holder, lantern with candle, oil lamp, MATCHES!! (A quick note here: If you don't care to handle live-flame lighting, search theatrical props stores for flicker-flame LED lanterns that simulate candle-flame lanterns. Even better, look right after halloween at the stores specializing in haunted houses.)
  • Pegs for hanging- I use a coat rack. Friends have those nifty tent-pole hanger loop thingies. Either work nicely.
  • Chamber Pot- and damp rags. (Do you really want to rush all the way to the porta-privy in the middle of the night? Really?)
  • Large Crate or Trunk to store and corral your items- might serve as a seat, too 
Link: "Creature Comforts" by Anna Worden Bauersmith,  "Hanging It Up.. Or Not" by Virginia Mescher, "Before "Paper or Plastic?": The Universal Basket" by Virginia Mescher

3) Bedding- some folks have reproduction travel beds... some folks pile various layers on the ground... again, it will be what you are comfortable with.
  • Cloth impervious to wet and mud- 
  • Mattress Tick- of straw or feathers
  • Wool layer under
  • Light cotton over- such as a percale sheet (some folks prefer smooth cotton to wool, some don't care)
  • Wool layer over- as many as it takes
  • Pillow in a case 
Link: "Where To Lay the Weary Head" by Elizabeth Stewart Clark
4) Food- you will want to decide your meals ahead, which will guide what kitchen items you'll need. It is often helpful to find menu items that don't need cooking or refrigeration.

  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Snacks
  • Nice Baked Goods by way of a "thank you kindly" to those nice soldiers who helped you put up your canvas home.
Link: "No Refrigeration Needed" by Elizabeth Stewart Clark, "Hunger Strike: Living History and the Picky Eater" by Elizabeth Stewart Clark
5) Kitchen Items- your menu will further guide your choices here, but most folks will need a few things every time
  • Easily portable water container, such as a period bottle, civilian model canteen, large flask, small jug
  • Larger container to carry water in such as a basin, bucket, or large bowl
  • Container to boil liquids in
  • Plate or bowl to eat from
  • Cup or mug to drink from
  • Fork and Spoon
  • Knife- maybe choose one that serves both at table and food prep
  • Apron to cover your dress and serve as a basket when needed
  • Hatchet to split small wood pieces
Link: "Everything... AND the Kitchen Sink"
6) Wardrobe- some friends recommend arriving dressed to save room, but sometimes this isn't practical.
  • Extra PINS- one never knows when a wardrobe malfunction will call for one
  • Keep small items in the pocket of a dress or a loose pocket and pin the pocket shut
  • "Mom Sweater"- no matter the forecast, carry at least one warm layer such as a shawl or sontag in case the weather changes suddenly (*eyes rolling ...*SIGH... Yes, Mom!)
  • Wet Weather Gear- umbrella, rain poncho or rain paletot and hood, over-shoes, or close-woven shawl
  • Night-wear- no matter your choice, you will want a period (or period looking) layer and easy to slip on shoes in case you need to leave your canvas home in a hurry. 
  • A hankie or several... they just come in handy
7)Toiletries- personal hygiene is just that... personal. ...but you still don't want to forget something.
  • Tooth Care
  • Hair care- include extra pins.. again, ya never know when you'll need one
  • Rags and towels- they just come in handy
  • Containers of OTC pain relief and stomach relief
  • Soap- just in case
  • Mirror of a decent size
  • Discreet bag of "moderns"- include contacts and solution, modern medications, feminine products, camera... whatever is needful to you
Link: "Are You Hot In That?" from History Hallway Heartburn
 From Elizabeth Stewart Clark: "Surviving the 19th Scent-ury" , "Historic Hygiene" , "Dressing Infants for Cold Weather", "Dressing Children for Cold Weather"

8) Impression-Specific and Entertainment- what do you *Do* all day?
  • Easily ported hand-work
  • Reading Matter
  • Impression ID
  • Impression-specific tools-of-trade
  • Pocket Trash
I'd also recommend copying your health information onto a pocket-size card and having it laminated to carry with you in case of emergencies. Carry only a bit of money or a card for visiting the merchants and only the key to your vehicle. Secure the rest of your "purse" in your vehicle. Camping events are not unsafe, but crime happens everywhere.

For a look at an actual packing list of mine, take a look at Google Docs

Don't forget the fun! I'll see you in the field.

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