Stock Image of Warehouse for the Medieval Reenactment and Living History Resource The Turnip of Terror

Packing Up

It’s very easy to find resources on making, repairing, and maintaining your gear. When at an event you get to see what people wear and you get to see how they keep their things while in camp, but what do you do with all your stuff once you’re home? Here’s what I do, in case you need some ideas.

Eons ago when I lived in California I rented a tiny apartment behind a community college. There were communal dumpsters in the parking lot for our trash, as is common in apartment complexes, and at least once or twice a month (when people moved and/or were kicked out) if not more there would be interesting things in and around the dumpster ripe for the rifling through. Dumpster diving in this manner was a past time in our household, especially since my wife and I could score things we couldn’t afford to purchase considering we were broke as beggars. One of those finds was a wooden chest with charming hardware, conveniently weathered.

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It has since been commandeered as my living history chest, and is big enough to store almost everything I currently wear, soft kit wise. It’s conveniently sturdy and doubles as a bench. It’s about the same size as your average large tote from WalMart, so it’s a decent analogue for anyone who is looking to find a storage method that isn’t as period, but is considerably more affordable. I’m not positive what this chest would have cost new, but I know for a fact it would be expensive. When I go “on campaign” I put everything I could possibly want and or fit in it. The only thing I never put in it is armor, with the exception of a small bottle of CLP that I transferred to a glass bottle with cork I found from Hobby Lobby. It makes on site armor and weapon maintenance at the end of the day far more period looking.

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The white rag is just a flour sack cloth, they sell them in packs of five at Wal Mart for a few dollars. Incredibly useful items, you’ll see them crop up again later in the article. The bottom of the chest is lined with “dirty” things, like pattens and shoes. When I pack the chest up I try to take hollow things and fill them with other sundries, such as my bycocket hat full of belts.

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You’ll notice sprinkled throughout the chest are these little fabric button pouch things. I’m not certain what is exactly inside them, but they’re pleasantly fragrant sachets and my wife, who bought them, said they help deal with moisture and pests. I try to layer them between fabric garments and such, so that they’re evenly distributed throughout the chest.

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After that everything is just layered as appropriate, keeping things flat and tidy. When I went down to DoK I rolled up my pennant in my bedroll with my blankets, thinking that would be gentler and keep everything smooth. I was wrong, and it got horribly wrinkly. I’ll need to iron it before I use it again, but since things tend to get a bit frumpy when packed I inevitably empty my entire chest and iron everything before an event anyway. As is, I layered it in the chest and I hope that sandwiching it between some other clothes will help press it out a bit on its own. It’s always good to check your pouch before storage, though on the other hand I was elated to find $20 when I brought it out before DoK. It’s like a winter coat, you don’t really want to waste money to closet limbo… but finding money is always thrilling!

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While at an event my “longer” garments are, necessarily, packed in this chest. However, when at home, I feel like it’s better on the garments to keep them hung up. I take my cotehardie, and my cloak, and my hood (which gets unsightly creases when left folded for too long) and just put them in the hall closet with all my winter coats and other jackets. This is, of course, after everything has been washed, cleaned, and thoroughly febreezed of dirt and campfire smell.

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I generally store my hard kit and armor separate from my civilian or “soft” kit, due to how intrinsically dirty the armor is. I keep it oiled and wrapped when not worn to stave off rust. I don’t want it associating with anything that would be damaged or soiled by some contact transferred CLP. All my armor is stored in a rubbermaid tub. For the sake of saving your bandwidth from too many images, I’ll just use my helmet as an example; the rest of my armor is cared for and wrapped up in similar ways. Using two familiar concepts already discussed, the interior cavity of the helmet is where I shove my linen arming cap and mail standard (reinforced with leather, steel, and shocktec). The standard itself is wrapped up in its own oiled flour sack cloth towel, then the helmet is likewise cleaned, given a new coat of oil, and wrapped up.

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The towel I wrap the helmet up in is the one I use to apply the oil, meaning that the rag I wrap the helmet in works just as hard as the layer of oil applied to the helmet at keeping away moisture. I take the four corners of the towel and tie them in the middle of the helmet. This keeps the standard in place no matter where I move the helmet, and looks tidy.

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My tent, hardware, and its poles go in the basement. The lighting down there is terrible and it’s hard to keep the chained up victims, I mean the embarrassing clutter out of the shot. So I took some pictures while the bags were still on the porch. The stakes and ropes are in small bags, and the walls and roof are in their own two, similarly sized bags. The whole thing fits, once folded tightly and pressed down, on your standard storage rack shelves.

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And that’s it, currently my campaign gear consists of two chests/totes, a small pile of tent canvas, and however large a bedroll of blankets I decide to take with me. How do you store your stuff? Do you box it all away, or do you show some of it off? I’m thinking of making display stands for some of it, like my shiny dagger, so it’s not just boxed up between events. Do you take measures to keep it clean and protected that I haven’t? Leave a comment or join the discussion on the Facebook Page.

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