This article is by Fermina Caballo (then Lady, now Baroness Fermina), who was hospitaller of al-Barran when it was first written and published in The Baronial Shaft in April and May, 1997. It was reprinted in the May 2007 Shaft and on this page by gracious permission of the author.
S.C.A. hospitality being what it is, surviving an event is really not an issue. You will always be surrounded by friends and family who are not going to let you starve or make you sleep out in the rain. However, everyone will like you even more if you do not always show up around mealtimes and then crash in their tent. Providing for your own needs enables you to enjoy yourself more.
Providing for your own needs means more than bringing your own tent and sleeping bag. It means packing a few extra things to keep you comfortable. Over the past couple of years, I have learned a few tips on how to keep myself comfortable so I can relax and enjoy the event. I have compiled a list of tips and necessities from many sources including The Known World Handbook, several different handouts, talking to a lot of people, and personal experience. Many of these things you can survive without, but I have found S.C.A. living to be much more enjoyable with. I strongly recommend you create your own list that you can refer to before each event. If you discover some new tips for comfort, share them with others.
1. Keep your body clean. Bathe just before leaving for an event. You may not get to for a few days. If you have long hair, braid it. It will stay cleaner. Clip your fingernails. For extended camping, bring a solar shower.
2. Consider your medical needs. Camping in the Outlands tends to entail a lot of sun and even more dust and cactus. Be prepared for reactions due to these factors.
3. Keep warm/cool. Expect all types of weather. Afternoon temperatures in the mountains can reach into the high eighties after a morning in the fifties. You also must be prepared for wind, rain, hail, sleet and snow Anticipate the temperature change in the evening. Put on warm clothes before you get cold. During the heat of the day, carry a small shoulder bag that can hold a bottle of water. Wear layers of clothe to insulate from heat and cold. Use natural fabrics.
4. Sleep well. Many people, including myself, like to stay up very late at camping events. So, it is important that the sleep you do get is good. If you get tired in the afternoon, take a short nap. At night, a warm rock from around the campfire can be wrapped in a towel and put in the food of your sleeping bag for extra warmth.
5. Keep a clean, comfortable camp. Make your camp a place where you can relax and lounge around after a long day of fighting. Carpets out front help to keep the dust and mud out of the tent. Burning incense helps to keep the bugs away.
6. Eat and drink well. Avoid food poisoning by keeping foods cool. Have separate coolers for food and drink so that the one with the food can be kept closed more. Freeze water in small bottles and use as ice in the cooler. Wash and rinse dishes really well. Store everything in tupperware. Eat breakfast. Drink lots of water. Prepare as much as you can in advance and freeze it.
7. Have fun!
With all this stuff, not only will you be comfortable, you will be ready for just about any situation that may arise.
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