Friday, May 2, 2014

Pennsic List!

Yes, it's five AM my time.  Stupid allergies!  While I'm waiting for the allergy pills to take affect so I can go back to sleep without wanting to rip my skin off (I'm really really itchy), I thought I might make a Pennsic list.

Pennsic is the most wonderful event ever.  It's when myself and 10,000+ of my closest friends descend on a small town in Western Pennsylvania for two weeks.  The entire time, you must be dressed in appropriate medieval or Renaissance garb.   When were the middle ages?  Most people - including the SCA handbook- put the start at 600 - once Rome was good and fully gone as a world power in the Ancient world.   This gives everyone a nice 1000 year spread (600-1600) to choose from for garb.

Besides being in garb the entire two weeks, you can fight, take classes, and/or shop.   You'll also be going to parties, meeting new people, and camping.  For two weeks.  A lot of people only come for the second week - I've done that in the past- but this year, I really want to stay the entire two weeks.

My Pennsic list will be different from some others and will also be different from some other camping lists.  First, you need garb - enough for every day that you are there- which you wouldn't on a normal camping list; but also, I have my vardo.

I don't need a tent, a cot, or anything else like that.  My cute little vardo has almost all the comforts of home except a working bathroom.

Pennsic List:

  • Garb - this should include all my "peasant" Italian dresses, my Norse dresses, and a few nobility dresses.  I will also need a new chemise for each day.   Luckily, the vardo has a lot more room than it looks.
  • Bedding - I already have a mattress, sheets, and about a dozen blankets in the vardo so that's taken care of.  Still, an extra set of sheets and a couple of comfy pillows would be nice.
  • Shower tent - I plan on making my own.  I checked on using PVC earlier today to make a decent frame and it is cheap.  It would cost about $20.  However, I also like the idea of keeping to wood which would be the same price for a frame.  Either way, I have the outdoor fabric (it's tan) to make the walls out of.  I found a couple of interesting shower devices.  One creates water pressure with just 4 d cell batteries.  However, you need to provide the water source (typically a large jug painted black to warm the water).  There are also the solar showers that are cheap.  We'll see.
  • Firepit & accessories.   I plan on getting a cheap one at Wally world.  I actually have the lumber, right now, to make a simple table and breakdown chairs for around the firepit.  Although I have a lovely folding table and chairs, I don't want them to get wet!   It rains, a lot, at Pennsic.  So, I need something that I don't care about and will be allowed to get wet if I leave it outside.
  • A gate of some sort.  Most camps have some sort of "here's where you come into the camp" entrance.  It's not necessarily a traditional gate, but just an entrance.  I found a really cool looking one made from two cheap arbors and a bit of fabric going between them.  I think some of the poly saris I have plus craigslist will come in handy for this idea.   
  • Spray paint.  I need it to mark off my encampment.  It's cheaper than buying a lot of rope and stakes.  
  • Personal hygiene accessories.  This includes, but not limited too, shampoo, conditioner, soap, tissues (handkerchiefs work well too), and even a trash can.  I have a small crate I keep most of my stuff in.  This helps when carrying it to and from the shower tent.   (Well, not the tissues, of course!)  I also need to remember towels, washclothes, and clothesline.  The clothesline is very useful for drying out towels or freshly cleaned laundry.  (I have a sink in the vardo.)
  • Kitchen accessories.   I already have a propane stove in the vardo and a tripod with dutch oven for over the firepit. However, I need to remember pots, pans, spatulas, and dish soap.  Pot holders would be nice too.  And my tea kettle.  And my mug.... and probably some utensils.  Maybe some paper plates although I will have my feast gear in the vardo.  Oh! And mixing bowls!  Measuring spoons...measuring cups....  Basically, everything in my real kitchen needs to go into my vardo kitchen. ...tin foil. Parchment/wax paper. Plastic baggies. Trash bags.
  • Food.   Yes, if you really want to, you can easily eat out every day at Pennsic and never cook for yourself.  I'm not like that.  With food, you do need to be sensible about what you bring, however.  The fridge in the vardo - even if I don't get the solar power system for the vardo by then- will act as a good cooler for many raw meats and other items that need to be kept cool. 

    Flour, honey, sugar, olive oil, salt, and some packs of dry yeast are good for making fresh bread over the fire in the dutch oven. All these items also don't need refrigeration. Herbs and spices are great to bring along as well - I'll probably bring basil, oregano, pepper, and maybe some sage. I don't want a whole bunch of spices, but enough to make a good basic alfredo sauce would be nice. On that note, I will also bring almond milk - it won't need refrigeration until after I open it- and shells.

    Potatoes, carrots, and onions are all great for fire cooked meals. Add some beef (that can be kept in the cooler for a couple of days if you actually keep it cool) for something really yummy. The veggies don't need to be kept in the cooler and will last a while - which makes them great for camping. I also like to bring hot dogs to camp - I have a hot dog roasting stick. That with some rice and soy sauce is a "comfort food" for me.
  • Wooden pallets.  Although I no longer need a floor for my tent (Vardos are awesome!), I would like a semi-even surface to put the chairs and table on.   If I throw a board across a couple of pallets, I get an instant (and cheap!) side porch for my vardo.  I've also seen where people have created wooden sidewalks out of old pallets and fire hose.  This would be awesome not only for walking on on the muddy days, but also for throwing beneath the trailer tires should they become stuck.  As pallets are normally free (many smaller hardware stores love it when I ask if I can have a few) it's a very cost effective way to get a platform tent, or, in my case, a nice porch.  
  • Luggage carrier.  I need to borrow the one from my parents.  This is really just to cause a bit more of an airstream around the truck and vardo.  The vardo is a lot taller than the truck, causing air to hit right against the top of the vardo and causing a lot of tension.  It's fine when I'm driving at 55mph...but I can't go over that at all.  To help with some of the aerodynamics of it, a simple luggage carrier should work.
  • A wagon.  I'm borrowing this as well.  I'm just going to use the traditional red wagon to haul stuff up from the grocery store in the middle of Pennsic (yes, there is one) to camp.  This does mean I need to make some sort of cover for the wagon (with dagging!).  I've gone without a wagon before and carrying the bags of ice back to camp without one is not fun.  
I think that's it for my list. Most of it is stuff I already have - garb, kitchen stuff- or stuff I'll need to buy anyway - shampoo, food. Going medieval camping does not need to mean $$$. I think my first year, I spent maybe $300 on everything I needed - and that was from scratch. If you stretch that out over a few months, it's not that bad. Most people can get by in most encampments with just a tent, a cot, and their garb. (You do want to have something that will lift you off the ground. This isn't just because of your back when sleeping on the ground for two weeks- this is because the flooding at Pennsic is the stuff of legends. Keeping stuff off the ground means keeping everything dry.) If you really want, some people buy everything they need at Pennsic - yes, even the tent. I would suggest though buying a tent beforehand. Many cabin tents are between $120-$200. Check military surplus stores for something more medieval looking (many military tents have shapes similar to those you see in the late 16th century).  Also, ebay always has "Civil War" canvas tents up.  Many of these do have older designs and tend to be in the $250 - $300 range ,  Remember, the tent should last you at least five years if not a lot longer.  (you can also do what I did and just make your own..)

You can get a nice, simple, wood bed frame from Ikea for about $40, I think. I can vouch for the twin mattress from Ikea - $79 on sale and very, very comfy. So, for about $120 you get a nice, reusable twin bed to sleep in rather than a normal cot. (It also looks more medieval)

I'm sure the list will get longer as Pennsic approaches.   Candles, lanterns, bug repellent, and other such items are just a few I know I missed.  :-)

1 comment:

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