Guest Fest, al-Barran
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SCA Camping

Sir Dennis the Wright spoke at GuestFest in al-Barran January 18, 2007, on how to camp safely and comfortably. Below are the texts of his handouts, with items added when he said "and write this down..." Below that (thank you, Sir Dennis!) are the notes from which he worked.

Your Items:

Small sharp knife
First Aid Kit (with four quarters or more phone change, and pencil and paper)
Mundane clothing and garb
Rain gear
Snack food
Sleeping pad
Sleeping bag
Eating kit
Dental floss
Camera and film
Notebook with pens/pencils
Thread and needles
Safety pins
Duct tape

Group Items:

Cooking stove
Cooking utensils – spatula, large spoon, ladle
Plastic trash bags
Toilet paper
Oven mitts or tongs
Several gallon water containers
Washbasin or tubs
Grill, dutch ovens (as needed)
Rope, heavy twine
Aluminum foil
Extra propane
Wet Wipes
Fire extinguisher (but don't set it under or right next to the stove)

Check It:

Anything that you will use that will touch food, carry food, cook food, or clean up after a meal needs to be inspected prior to packing. A non-functional stove will really be upsetting. Coolers need to be totally cleaned and sanitized. The water that collects in the coolers must be something that you would drink. After all, this water is touching your food containers and your hands.

Sleeping pads and sleeping bags need to be checked for overall condition. The sleeping pad only insulates if it inflates and stays inflated. The zipper on the sleeping bag should be functional in order to keep the cold out.

The propane bottles and the stove need to be checked for any leaks. Faulty hoses and/or gaskets can cause fires and fires are a huge issue at SCA camping events.


Everyone’s medicine should be checked prior to packing to ensure that there are enough med’s and that the med’s are current with an accurate label. Getting to an event and running out of needed medicines can lead to serious problems.


Establish a list of who is camping with you and eating with you. Know when people are supposed to arrive at the event and who they are traveling with. If someone is over due, have emergency phone numbers so you can call and find out what (if anything) is wrong.

Go over the menu for the event with everyone to make sure that anyone with a food allergy is not being excluded from a meal. Good food, even with two different meals to accommodate people with allergies, is vital to people having fun.

As much as possible (coordinate with a neighboring camp if necessary) leave someone in camp to watch over your things. This is a safety issue and not an anti-theft issue. Should a fire break out, or someone is lost in your camp, or a member of your camp comes back injured—this person will be a great asset.

If you can, make sure that there is extra space in a truck or trailer in the event that someone’s vehicle breaks down. If you need more space to get things home, check with the people around you. We are a friendly bunch.

Initiate a phone calling tree to check that everyone got back home safely. Again, have emergency numbers to call if a problem arises.

15 Minutes:

The most helpful thing that you can do is to take a break. After you are done packing the vehicle, take a break and look around. Walk through the areas where you were pulling items from. Go over your check list again. Each time that you stop for gas or rest stop, take a break and look around you. Check the load in the vehicle. And at the end of the event, when everything is packed, take a break. Walk through the area where you were camping. Pick up the small bits of trash. Take a break.

The worst thing that you can do in SCA camping is to panic. By taking these simple breaks, you will find that you discover that the sturdy boots are not packed, or the bag of mixed nuts did not make it into the food bag, or you left you hat on a chair. Take a break—it is one of the most important things that you can do.

That was the end of the handout, and below is the outline from which Dennis spoke about enjoying events, with some notes added from the evening.

Fun and Surviving at Outdoor SCA Events
Sir Dennis the Wright, al-Barran
Basics of Camping Cool Weather Hot Weather Anywhere Near the Combat Field Anywhere Near the Party Special Items that I Bring Trouble Signs Neat Things to Do HAVE FUN!

Lady Fermina Caballo's article on More than just Surviving in the SCA *** Sir Stefan on "Snubbery"

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