Monday, February 24, 2020

SCA Heavy Fighter Practice


Finally over the last month or so, I have had the opportunity to start getting back in armour and getting back to fighting fit. This has brought up again the old question: what should a fighter practice consist of, and what's the best way to train to up your skill level? Heavy Combat in the SCA is a martial art, and like any martial art, sparring is only a portion of what it takes to get better. You also need to practice the skills you have and make a concerted effort to learn new techniques to add to your tool box. I have heard from many people and seen practices that just consist of people showing up eventually throwing on armour, running pickups for a little bit and then going home. While it feels to me that this will certainly keep the rust off, and might help you improve if you are fortunate enough to have high quality fighters at your local practice,I don’t think it’s the most effective way to grow your skill level.

I feel that the best way to make an efficient practice is to have it split into three portions: Technique and Drills, Sparring, and Melee/War Practices. This is in addition to the time spent armouring up and padding down being used to discuss repairs or any other things people need help with. This setup gives plenty of time to work on hands-on fighting as well as time to work with fighters who need to practice specific aspects of fighting.

Technique and Drills

The first chunk of fighter practice is a great time to work on drills and practice work. It’s a good opportunity for new fighters to learn the basic shots or combos, and for experienced fighters to warm up and keep building the muscle memory that they need to be highly successful. Personally, I would split this portion in two parts itself: a general technique or drill that the person running the practice wants to work on, and a portion where experienced fighters can help newer fighters with things they want to learn. In my experience, teaching is a great way to make sure you understand a topic, something I have seen incorporated into martial arts programs of all sorts. It gives the teacher a chance to see how the more experienced fighters are progressing as far as their understanding of things, and allows the one-on-one time to polish the newer fighters.

The drills themselves can take many forms, ranging from footwork drills to combo drills where fighters pair off and throw a specific set of attacks while their partner blocks and then they switch. Depending on the location of the practice and what's available, it can even be pell drills where fighters take turns going through a series of attacks on the pell.

Examples of Drills
Bellatrix Fighting School-
Footwork and Pell Drills from SCA Heavy Youtube Channel-
Four Strike Drill at Southkeep’s Local Practice-

At my last practice, one of the senior fighters made the comment “Muscle memory is what your body defaults to when the tank is empty and you have nothing left to give”. This made a ton of sense to me. Drills, Katas, and Pell Work all fall into this category of teaching your body to know what to do even when your mind isn't caught up or you feel too tired to go on. Too often in the SCA I have noticed this is the part that gets ignored at practice. Everyone is excited to get in armour and play, but imagine going to a sports practice and just doing scrim
mages, or a dojo and just sparring. In any other martial art, practice of techniques is the lion's share of the training. It's important that we build this habit at our practices, to help prevent fighters from getting frustrated at plateaus in their skill, and also to continue to grow the overall skill level of the practice.


Heavy combat in the SCA can be won as often by endurance as it can by skill, especially in situations where we are talking about a long tournament or war situation. One of the best ways to build endurance is by pushing your limits while in armour, which means participating in exercises like bear pits and round robins where you’ll end up fighting for a prolonged period of time. Sparring also gives everyone a chance to use the techniques they were practicing in the technique portion of the practice and see how they can best incorporate it into their fighting.

I recently had the opportunity to see a round robin training circle used as part of a practice, and I thought it was completely brilliant. Previously I’d thought bear pits were the best way to spar, since they gave everyone a chance to fight and build endurance. The round robin I think, does even better: in addition to everyone getting plenty of fights and limits being tested, it allows everyone in the circle to watch the fights. This means that the people watching have the opportunity to either catch a mistake the fighters are making or learn new things to incorporate into their own repertoire. It also helps to have people cheering you on when you feel you have nothing left to give. I would suggest keeping the circles no larger than 15; any bigger than that and it takes too long for everyone to get their fights in. If your practice space is large enough and you are fortunate enough to have 16+
fighters you can easily set up two or more circles.

Once the training circle is done, I would suggest a few more pickups for fun so that the people who still have gas can keep going. This also gives fighters the chance to ask for specific types of practice, such as allowing someone to just practice defense while being attacked, or try a style they don't normally use.

Melee/War Training

The final portion of practice is another piece I feel is often left out: war preparation. Tourney fighting is all well and good, but in my opinion the most fun you can have is going to war and fighting as a unit. Training the basic concepts at a local practice will dramatically improve your overall performance at war. Not only will it help you stay safe during the large battles, but it will allow you to make the most of your time there.

This portion of practice should also be split into two sections: a practice portion where you go over techniques or maneuver practice, and (if you have enough people) mock battles. I would say that the minimum you need for a decent mock battle would be six fighters, three per team. This allows you to practice small squad tactics and work on battlefield awareness and communication. 

The practice portion can be used to teach how to lock up shields, or move as a unit. Ideally you would use everyone as one unit for this. That would allow the group to practice large unit movement. For testing shield locks, it’is a good idea to have the unit lock up and then one or two other fighters do pulse charges trying to break through. You can almost run this like a football drill:

4-6 shield men locked up
One fighter charges the line then takes his place in the formation.
One of the other fighters leaves the formation and charges
Repeat until tired or the line breaks.

This drill would also have the added benefit of showing fighters how to file in when there is a casualty by showing them how to move into new positions to keep the line going.

I have seen a wide variety of useful drills when it comes to melee practice, everything from linking back up when returning for resurrection point to how to react when the line gets split. The most important part with the first part of the practice is to teach the unit how to move together and how to respond to commands.

The second portion of melee practice involves splitting the unit into two parts and having a 20-30 minute resurrection battle. If there are fewer than 5 people per side, I feel it's better to do several, or anything else that gets fighters mobile and having fun. After the ‘boring’ marching drills, it's important to do something light to end practice. All of these games also build endurance since they involve a ton of motion and fighting.
rounds rather than a resurrection battle. For the resurrection battle, you can do something simple like King of the Hill, or if you have enough people, capture the flag. This is also a good time to do fun things like Jugging, Knattleikr (

Wrap up practice with conversation on the melee portion while padding down, give everyone the chance to discuss things they thought went well or things they want to improve on. This builds unit cohesion and with many eyes on the field it's easier to catch mistakes.


As always, let's be clear: these are just my ideas on how a practice could run to give a variety of training situations, and allow people to work on a range of skills each week. In addition to group practice, it is important to make sure that fighters are practicing by themselves on the pell or something similar. Some physical conditioning throughout the week is also good; like any sport, improving your physical fitness will improve your overall performance in heavy combat. I would also add that once a month or so it would be a good idea to get the whole group and travel to another group’s local practice. This gives everyone a chance to face off against other fighters and to see what other groups are doing.

Let me know what you all do at your practice, do you have any tips and tricks for new fighters trying to get things squared away? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tourney of the Three Ships 2020


It’s been a long while since I did an event overview post, but this weekend marked a special time for me. It was the seventh Tourney of the Three Ships, an event that I helped get started, and it was the start of my return to the SCA in a real sense. Over the last year, as I have gotten steadily into the blog again, I have mentioned a few times that because of outside circumstances my wife and I had to take a very real break from the SCA. This break wasn’t because the SCA had burnt us out, but because we were just incapable of doing the SCA with everything pressing down on us.

This weekend felt a lot to me like coming home: not only was it to our local event that I love so much, but it was an event for the whole family. From the moment we arrived on site Friday night to start helping with set up and moving things around, everything just felt right. I was walking down paths that I had walked a dozen-dozen times, and it made me happy. This feeling of comfort reminded me of why the SCA was so important to me in the first place, something that I had lost in the hustle and bustle of mundane life.

Our lovely Princess Islay Elspeth of Glen Meara had made the trek from the Barony of Darkwater to visit our corner of the Kingdom. It is always appreciated when anyone makes this trip, doubly so when any of the Royals do, given how far it is and how many groups they need to visit during their time on the throne. Our Kingdom stretches from Key West to Jacksonville, and is the width of Florida, which means that we often have people who make a 6+ hour drive just to attend our event.


The entire concept behind Three Ships is that it is a competition between local groups to see who has the best warriors among three disciplines: Heavy Fighting, Rapier, and Archery. Each year, we have asked for the groups to submit teams and the scores would be tallied, but this year I did the scoring a little differently to try and take some of the work off the attendees:  I took the highest scoring warrior from each shire in each discipline. This let everyone feel like they were working towards their team score without giving larger groups the advantage. I think next year, I’d like to do a presentation of teams before the Crown or populace to build some more of that pageantry and local group pride.

Typically, I enjoy an event to have pretty tight theming between tourneys, feast, and decorations. Three Ships has always had an overall nautical theme focusing on one time period or another. This year was no different as we focused on Magellan’s trip around the world. To keep that in mind with our martial events, each tourney had its own set of special rules. The archery was a shoot where the targets were bags of spice, which was the main motivator for Magellan’s trip in the first place. Our rapier tourney decided to take a note from the idea of the constantly changing ports, and made a tourney where a fighter could only use a given style once until the finals. Then for heavy tourney, we made it a counted blows tournament to represent the kind of fighting that might have been done for fun while bored at sea.

The Archery shoot was very well attended, with some notable archers from around the kingdom. I believe our last count was 10 archers from 5 or 6 different groups. However when all was said and done, there could only be one winner, and it was our recent transplant to Tri Os, Master Rupert the Unbalanced, who took first place. He has only recently come to Southern Trimaris from the East Kingdom, and we are happy to have another master archer in our midst.

The Heavy tourney was well attended: we had 10 fighters sign up, with a handful more who padded up later for pick ups. Five counted blows can take a ton of stamina among equally-matched fighters and this tourney was no exception. The best example was the battle between brothers from Sergio and Augustin de Leon, who fought great sword with the added caveat of no thrusting, something to make it more interesting since they are both fencers. In the end, it was Azrael von Licht that took the field going undefeated.

The Rapier tourney had fewer fighters than we are accustomed to, but was still a great test of skill from all of our fighters,  with Don Zhao Fong coming down from the frozen north of Castlemere to best his opponents and earn his prize. He performed so well that despite being the only member of Castlemere in attendance, the Barony still ended up in 5th place among all the groups who attended.

Overall the lysts were fun to watch, and gave us a wide variety of local groups in the competition, possibly the most of any year. All of the Southern Shires were represented as well as Darkwater, Castlemere, and Marcaster. Hopefully next year we can get even more people to come down and represent their local groups. However for this year, for the first time ever, the Shire of Seamarch came out ahead, beating Southkeep by three points and Sangre del Sol by four points.


With our Princess in attendance, we were graced with a Royal court, something we are very fortunate to have always had at Three Ships since it’s very difficult for many of our local members to attend larger events. The major benefit of the Royals taking the time to visit us is that it gives the opportunity for members who travel less to be recognized. This year, two dear friends got their first awards ever, Jen of Southkeep and Red of Southkeep. They have worked tirelessly at a local level, and the Princess was thrilled to be able to acknowledge and reward that; she was most gracious in the way that she spoke about reaching out to the more distant portions of the Kingdom. Cian and Cera, the Mom and Pop of our local shire, were also honoured, with Cera getting a Healer’s Lamp. This was an award that had originally existed for members of the Chiurgeonate, but has been reworked to be an acknowledgement of someone who has gone above and beyond in the service of the populace. I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.

Aeta Ulfhamar showing off her device, from
Mistress Sibeal's silk painting class.
Court is also where we award the prizes to the winners. One of the secrets to the success of Three Ships over the years are the amazing craftspeople of the Shire. Every year they create amazing prizes for each of the individual tourney winners. This year the prizes were handcrafted boxes made with dark walnut inlays and dovetail joints. We also give out scrolls to each of the winners done up by our local scribes, with the final prize being our Travelling Scroll, made of leather tooled and painted by HL Robert de Cleftlands, and calligraphed each year with the names of the winners. The scroll makes it home each year to be conquered again


Our other big secret is feast… I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Southkeep brings the tasty grub! We have had carefully researched delicious Norse feasts, homemade bread accompanying a German feast with all the fixings, roast turkeys with a fan of their feathers, and this year the feast steward lived up to all of that in her kitchen debut! Lady Margarita di Rossi treated us to a caprese salad with mozzarella and tomatoes, pea soup, and chicken or eggplant rollatini with bechamel or tomato sauce. Each course was tastier than the last, but it was dessert where she really slayed the whole of the dining hall. She presented to the high table an individually portioned homemade cheesecake topped with a chocolate mouse… but wait, there's more! The chocolate mouse was filled with raspberry jelly and chocolate mousse! Due to tempering issues with the chocolate (the fact that she managed to get eight mice to temper in an open kitchen in Miami is astonishing), the populace didn’t get the mice; they did, however, get a lovely portion of jelly and mousse atop individually crafted cheesecakes. This might be the best dessert I have ever had at an SCA feast, and I am not ashamed to say that I got seconds!


Overall this Three Ships was a ton of fun, and I honestly can’t wait to do it again next year. Every year, we learn new things and the event runs smoother. Next year will mark 7 years since Cian and I ran the first Three Ships. It’s remarkable how quickly time has passed. Thank you to the wonderful staff who made this event possible. Thank you to all the attendees who, without, it would just be a very expensive Shire meeting. We hope to see all of you back next year so that we can do it again!

Writer's Note: This year, I completely failed to get pictures of anything. I will be looking for pictures over the next couple of days and add them to the post as they get found.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Norse Combat Archery


Before getting into the actual blog post for today, I would like to take a moment to discuss the blog overall. This post marks my 50th! It has been more than six years since I started this blog as a place for me to put down my thoughts and chronicle my journey in the SCA. Over the last year, I haven’t been as active in the SCA as I would have liked to have been, but writing here has really helped me stay on top of research and improving myself even when I couldn’t get to events. I would like to thank everyone who shares these posts, and all of you who read and comment… the interaction helps me improve my writing and decide what topics I need to get into. It has  been a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

Recently, I was approached by someone who wanted to get into the SCA specifically for combat archery. During my time as Hospitaller and Seneschal for the Shire I put a lot of work into honing a good overall speech of what you need to get started in the hobby. Combat archery is a little different, and early period makes it even further removed from the “normal” idea of coming into the hobby as a fighter. This inspired me to write this post, first looking into what an archer from the Nordic countries might have used or looked like in the 8-10c, and then how this would translate into gear to get involved in the SCA.

The Way of the Bow- Northman Style

Most of the time, when we picture the savage Northmen going aviking, the bow isn’t what comes to mind first: we have a mental image of giant warriors swinging large axes or broadswords, but that
Depiction of Ullr on the Boksta
doesn’t mean that the Norse were not a bow-using society. We know for a fact that bows were a common tool used for hunting and that they formed a part of daily life; arrowheads are actually a relatively common find, and so we have many examples of the different styles that may have been used throughout the Viking age. We also have evidence of bow usage on runestones, and in mythologies: Ullr and Skadi are both often depicted with bow in hand.

Since there is plenty of evidence that bows existed and were common during this time, the question then becomes how were they used, and what types of bows did we see. We’ll explore the latter a little later in the blog when we discuss equipment for archers. For now, let's discuss use. Evidence points to bows being primarily a tool for hunting. When used in combat, we see it most often discussed as an opening volley for mass combat, or as a means of attack during naval engagements. In the Sagas, arrows account for less than 5% of all attacks that we see. Now, the Sagas primarily discuss small combats, but this still gives us a decent idea of how bows were used in regards to fighting. Oddly enough, the most specific use of a bow as a weapon rather than a tool was actually done by Gunnar when defending his home. This gives me the idea that the bow was stored in the same way as other weapons, close at hand in the event that it is needed for defense.


Artists depiction of an archer
in the 7-9c.
It would be easy to imagine that an archer would be equipped in much the same manner as any other warrior, and since we know that Norse soldiers in the 11c had a pretty specific list of equipment that included a bow for every 10 or so men, we know that archers weren’t a special corps of soldiers they way you would see in later English forces. The archers in the Norse armies appear to simply be the best shots/who ever can get to the bow, and their job is to fire initial volleys until battle is joined, and
then jump in themselves, similar to the way Yeoman in the SCA work.

Armour- Viking Age soldiers were very limited in armour, according to our finds. Leather wasn’t common enough for leather armour to be prevalent, and mail was very costly. I would imagine that your average warrior had a helm, and maybe a padded coat of some nature, but there is little evidence of that. In the 11c, all soldiers were required a helm, but mail shirts were usually only for the leader of each warband or elite units.

Secondary Weapons- By the 11c, there were attempts to standardize the equipment of the Nordic soldiers. The basic weapon for everyone was a spear, and it is easy to imagine that most warriors would also carry a long seax. In the sagas, axes were also a common weapon, so a hand axe as a weapon on the belt of an archer wouldn’t be too far off from the possible, and they have the advantage of also being tools.

Bows- We have one complete extant bow that was found at Hedeby. It was ~72in long, just over 6ft, making it what most people would call a longbow. Like the English bows, many people are accustomed to seeing it was made of yew. Based on other fragments that have been found, bows were between 60-80in long. I would think that, since bows were personal tools that were brought along to war, it is quite likely that they varied a ton from person to person based on height, strength, and draw length. We even see evidence of this in the sagas were Einar complains about the king’s bow being too weak.

Quivers- There are no extant quivers for the Viking Age. We have some scraps from Hedeby that have been listed as remnants of a quiver, but nothing solid. The word for quiver appears in the sagas, and is said to have been carried on the back.

Collection of 7-9c Arrowheads.
Arrows- The majority of extant arrows from this time period were constructed in the same fashion, full tang drilled into the shaft. We know from other cultures that different arrows were used in combat than for hunting, but since the gravesites in which arrowheads were found didn’t belong to warriors, it is difficult to know what the Norse might have used in battle. Although as a matter of speculation, given the light armour that we know was common, any arrow would likely do, with broader-headed
arrows of the type used for big game probably being better.

Recurve Bows and Crossbows- Recurve bows and crossbows both fall into either outside the actual time period for the Viking Age, or outside the general area that the Norse were in. Crossbows were present in the Norman army at the very end of the Viking Age, so you could have a later Norse persona with a crossbow. Recurve bows were used by many cultures the Norse interacted with, so there is no reason a persona couldn’t have taken a fancy to one. Neither of these weapons would have been common or the norm.

A Viking Age Combat Archer

In the SCA, we are all about research and the creation of a persona. Towards that end, let's discuss what type of person a Viking Age archer might have been. The most likely circumstance in my mind is that a person who uses a bow as their main weapon was a hunter who has come along to the raids, or is defending their homeland. This person would be equipped a little differently than your standard warrior.

Armour- SCA combat archers have all the same armour requirements as heavy fighters, which means that you need to have rigid protection for your kidneys, floating ribs, wrists, hands, elbows, forearms, knees, throat, and head. For more specifics on what that means, check out either my article on armour ( or your local
Illustration of the Hedeby bow.
marshallete handbook.

In my opinion, the best way to handle armour for an early period combat archer would be to make as much of it as hidden as possible, and to wear close to minimum armour. This will give the overall look of someone without access to a ton of metal armour. I could see an argument being made that, if the archer is a hunter, they might have more access to leather, and some sort of leather armour being used, but it isn't supported historically. I’d find it reasonable, but the choice is up to each person. The one thing I will comment on is that for an archer, visibility is a hugely important part of choosing a helmet. Make sure you can see out of whatever you buy.

Bow- The best thing I have seen for representing a longbow on the field is a youth fiberglass bow. They tend to be a little short, but the draw weights fall within the rules, and they are really sturdy. The last thing anyone wants is to spend money on a really nice longbow only to have it damaged when a piece of siege ammunition hits it.

Arrows- SCA combat arrows are very specific in their design to maximize the safety and durability of the arrows. These blunts can be purchased from many different shops, but I have always been a fan of Sir Erika and Northstar Archery. That could just be Trimarian bias though! Combat archery arrows are made from rubber heads with a fiberglass shaft and a plastic anti-penetration device as the fletching. Most retailers would give you the option of buying them made or as kits. If you don’t have a local combat archery marshall to help you learn the right way to do it, I would suggest buying them made so that all you have to do is label them.

Quivers- This to me is one of the most difficult parts to get right about a combat archery kit. The bulkiness of the blunts and rules about fallen ammunition mean that you really want a good quiver. The best pattern I have seen takes PVC pipes slightly larger than the blunts and makes a bundle. This bundle is then covered with linen or leather to look like a quiver. This has the advantage that your arrows don't get tangled, but it gets very bulky or carries few arrows. I have seen many archers use basket quivers, which lets them carry a large amount, but does require care when drawing arrows. It might take a while to find a quiver setup that works for you. Talk to people and get advice.

Samurai Combat Archer at
Gulf Wars in Lumberton, MS
Secondary Weapons- In the SCA, an archer can not switch to fighting with other weapons unless they put down their ranged weapon in a safe place, and they are authorized in that weapon style. This can mean going off the field or having a partner who holds the weapons when fighting gets in close. I would suggest having your melee weapons just off the field where you can go and switch out, at which point anything you want can be your secondary. In resurrection battles, it's a particularly good idea to have secondary weapons for when the arrows run out.

This brings me to a slightly adjacent point: I always tell people who want to do combat archery that it’s a good idea to authorize heavy as well. It gives you the option to fight when you run out of ammo, but also there are many more heavy combat events in the year than combat archery events. You already have the armour so there is no additional investment, and you get the chance to play that much more. This could just be my thinking, but I am authorized in both Combat Archery and Heavy Combat, and I am authorized in Rapier just in case that's what people are fighting on any given day.


Combat archers are one of the really cool parts of the SCA: it's what helps us recreate battles as opposed to just tourneys. It can be a ton of fun to get out there and just loose arrows, and it can fit in within a variety of time periods. One can easily do a Viking Age persona whose focus is archery. I hope this post has given you some of the information you need to get started, and as always, if you have any questions or if I missed anything let me know!


Analysis of Weapons Used in the Sagas by the Hurstwic Institute-
Viking Bow by the Hurstwic Institute-
Viking Military Organization-
Trimaris Marshall’s Webpage-
Northstar Archery-

Friday, December 27, 2019

Yule- the Winter Solstice Norse Style


Merry Christmas, Good Yule, and Happy Holidays to all!
I am hoping everyone has had a good winter season so far, and that it only gets better as we go into the New Year. In today’s blog post, we are going to be talking about Yule, the celebration of the Winter Solstice as we currently practice it, and the research into how it was celebrated by our ancestors.

I’ll be splitting this blog post into two sections along those lines: first, I will go into what we know of the old ways, and then I will get into how we do things inside our clan.

Ancient Norse Yule

From what I have read and been able to decipher in the Viking Age, Yule was celebrated as the longest night of the year, the ending of the previous year, and that Fenris hadn’t swallowed the sun.
The Wild Hunt which appears in both Norse and
Celtic mythologies is a precursor to Santa. As is Odin himself.
The celebration itself would last until the sun rose, and the time was spent feasting and drinking. Specifics on how the ancestors celebrated are scarce, as with many things. All we can do is count on secondary sources to get an idea of what may have been. We do know from historical sources that many of what are now Christian traditions have their start in the way the Norse used to celebrate Yule: things like the Christmas Tree, holly as a decoration, Santa’s ride around the world, and even stockings all have a start in the Norse traditions.

By looking at these traditions, we can sort of build what a Yule celebration might have looked like, but mostly it has a lot to do with celebrating the meaning of the Blot as best we can, in a way that -to us- honours the gods and our ancestors.

Our Yule

For our clan’s celebration of Yule, we mix traditions created by us with others taken from historical records, combining the two to create something that means family and winter holidays to us. The worry on Yule has always been that the Ragnarok has come, that with the setting of the sun Fenris has risen and Fimbulwinter has at last begun, so we gather the clan and prepare for what may be. While we wait for the sun to return we feast, drink, and game the night away!

It is now time to choose our champions! We create challenges of Strength, Skill, and Wisdom. Each
Norse children would leave snacks for Sleipnir in their boots
and in exchange Odin would leave them sweets. This
became the stocking tradition.
year, a new challenge is chosen by the previous year’s champion to represent what games have always been: playing to have fun, while also training and preparing for anything life throws at you.

Our Test of Strength is almost always as much about endurance as actual strength, a way to display our prowess as a clan, and to cheer on our kin as they compete to be the best. Since the previous year’s champion picks the challenge, we have had a really wide variety of tests throughout the decade: everything from planks to wrestling to shot put, each one adding to the atmosphere of festivities while also giving us the chance to show off and brag. I can’t think of anything more Norse than that!

The Test of Skill is a little bit more finicky, since skill can be highly subjective: for one champion it may be a test of agility; for another, a test of aim; and for another still, juggling. These are often the most entertaining to watch, as people are essentially learning a new thing to try and win! This last year we did Nerf gun duels, and in the past we’ve had knife throwing, darts, juggling, and even parrying Nerf darts with lightsabers! The physical tests give us something to gather around and watch while we wait for the food to be served, and it gets everyone talking and laughing.

The final test is the Test of Wisdom, which is almost always some sort of puzzle or riddle challenge that people can submit their answers to the Goði. The first person to submit the correct answer is declared the winner. In the past we have also done a riddle contest in the style of Odin and Vafthrudnir, with questions being passed around until a person can no longer answer and then they are removed from the game, until only one is left standing. I favour this kind of contest or chess riddles because they give everyone the opportunity to learn and grow.

After the challenges are won, it’s time to feast. We like to do a potluck so that the clan comes together as a whole to feed everyone. To me, this also plays into that idea of family and hospitality, that we are all in this together and here for each other. As the hosts, my wife and I usually provide a roast pork shoulder or similar, as well as breads and salad. Each of the other guests bring things that they enjoy, or that show off a special recipe or dish. This leads us to a very international feast with a huge variety of foods, and there’s always more than enough to eat. When the feasting is done, everyone helps to clear the table and we all prepare for the next activities.

After feast, we gather in a circle and each tell tales of our wins and losses of the previous year. We also review the boasts that we made to allow the clan to decide if we had succeeded or not. These are a big portion of the night, and they happen after the tale-telling, representing improvements that we want to make to ourselves or adventures we wish to embark upon before next Yule… sort of a bucket
Christmas trees come from the tradition
of decorating wild trees during the winter time. This
practice is even spoken against in the Bible.
list before the world might end, and a New Year’s Resolution all combined into one. Once we have gone over the boasts and tales of the previous year, the Goði stands and blesses the horn. Our tradition is to sing the Song of Odin by Karl Donaldsson, but we have also taken this time to read a passage from the Eddas or Hávamál that might be meaningful in the coming year.

The horn itself represents an oath to the clan and to the people who share the blot with us. It says “I am here and you are my chosen kin.” When you are part of the clan and the circle, it means that you don’t have to go it alone, whether that means help moving, an extra push to complete your boast, or a couch to sleep on because life has become hard, we are all in it together. Family was one of the cornerstones of Ancient Norse life, and it's just as important to us.

When the horn is blessed, we pass it around, each person making their boast for the coming year. A boast should be a specific task that you will complete before the next Yule, and to make sure you do, you also state before the clan what the consequences will be if you don’t. Our Goði is fond of suggesting people shave their heads as a consequence, but oftentimes people choose things that give back to the clan as a whole. One person offered, should they fail their boast, to give a certain amount of rides uber-style to members of the clan. Things like this reinforce the idea of us all being in it together, and gives you the motivation to push through and complete your boast.

A sample boast:
I, Rurik Ulfhamar, boast that by next Yule I will have gathered enough savings to cover three months of my bills. If I fail to do so, I will sell off two of my collector’s edition books to add to my savings.

This isn’t the most exciting boast… it involves making responsible choices and working hard. It is, however, an important boast to me and to my family after the last couple of years of financial hardship. It creates accountability towards the goal that I want to achieve, and produces hard consequences should I fail.

Another example:
Before next Yule, I will run a marathon. If I fail, I will take the clan out to dinner at Flannigans.

Clear goal, clear consequence. These types of direct boasts are best because they give you a defined end point.

Now, you don’t need to boast to drink from the horn; it’s a good thing to do but not a requirement. Drinking from the horn is creating a bond to the clan; making an oath is making a promise to yourself. Once you have made your oath and drunk from the horn, you pass it to the next person in the circle until everyone has had their turn. Then the Goði pours out some of the horn for our ancestors and those who could not be there, and then finishes it himself, sealing the pact.

We then spend the rest of the night playing games and spending time with our kin who we don’t get to see nearly often enough given how hectic life can get. We don’t usually stay until sunrise, but it's a pretty close thing. Usually the Godhi, the wife,  and I stay hanging out with the last stragglers until 4-5 in the morning.

In our house, a sort of odd morning-after tradition has begun to take shape over the last 3-4 years. As many of you know, we have three daughters, and the morning after Yule they wake up extra early and make it a point to clean up the entire house and do the dishes so that we don’t have to worry about it.
Leaping over the Yule log is a test of bravery, and
is supposed to bring good luck in the coming year.
It was a huge surprise to my wife and I when they did it the first time, and the fact that they have continued makes it even more impressive, especially since the older two are hitting the teen years pretty hard and often don’t even want to clean their room!

There are a couple of traditions I am wanting to add in future years, one I can’t do until have a backyard of my own, and another from Iceland I intend to start this coming year. The first is the leaping over the Yule log. I currently don't have anywhere to make a proper and decent sized bonfire of a log for people to jump over! During the Viking Age, jumping over the Yule log was supposed to give you good luck for the coming year, but for now we will make do with a Yule log on the TV while the boasts are happening.

The second tradition I’d like to start is based on the jolabokaflod, the Yule Book Flood! This is a tradition in Iceland where books are exchanged on Christmas Eve and then the evening is spent reading them. For the Clan Book Flood, my idea is to do a Secret Santa style event where each person gives one other person a book of their choosing. This way we can share books that are meaningful to us, and everyone gets more books, which everybody knows is really the reason for the season!


I hope you all enjoyed this glimpse into how we celebrate Yule, and an example of how you can build your own Yule traditions. Let me know how you celebrate it in the comments below, and if there are any traditions you think I should look into, share that too!

References  (pretty funny and partially true) Odin's Song by Karl Donaldsson

Monday, December 9, 2019



This post is going to be a little different than some of my others. I want to talk about something that, while important to being Asatru and a Norseman, it doesn’t really tie into my research or my journey in the SCA. Instead, it sort of ties in with the camping posts I have been making, because it is about home. Home
is something that is incredibly personal, not just in what it physically is, but also in what
it represents. To some cultures, home is the extended family all living in a single building; to others, it is just a little apartment that you have gotten on your own. In the 10c, home was a homestead, a small farm with several buildings where an extended (possibly, but not confirmed multigenerational) family lived and worked.  To me, my home is a place where my nuclear family lives, but the extended clan that I am a part of can gather for holy days. As a family of 5, finding an ideal space that doesn’t break the bank in Miami is heartbreaking. Too often you find yourself priced out of any home that makes sense for your family, and this is just talking about rentals, we aren’t even attempting to buy at this time.

I provide this as a bit of background information to give an idea of where I am and why I am writing this. Regular readers may remember that for about three years I owned a game store and it took a lot out of me. My wife and I sacrificed a ton to try and keep it open, including our home. We were never without shelter; I am very fortunate that my mother was able to take us all in and give us a place to live while we kept at the store. Eventually, the store closed despite our best efforts, but we remained living at my mother’s as we figured out our next step. We lived there for just under 14 months, which gave me a ton of time to think and ponder the meaning of home. This past weekend, we finally
moved into a townhouse, and while it wasn’t a storybook move, it already feels like home.

Home vs Shelter

We are all raised with sayings like “a man’s home is his castle”, “home is where the heart rests’ etc. These things all speak of this feeling of safety and belonging that not everyone gets: for so many people, the place where they live is under threat or so far from ideal that they never feel like they have a home. I spent the last 14 months homeless, but I was not without somewhere to live. I was incredibly lucky that I had a roof and a warm bed. That's a lot more than many people have, but I didn’t have a home. Oddly enough, this is a distinction I might not have noticed a decade ago, when I was younger and in my first marriage. I had never really had that sense of safety: we moved around a lot and never really set down roots. It wasn’t until I moved in with Beatrice that I realized how much a home means… to have a place that you can come home to and rest and feel safe.

Shelter is a place that protects you from the outside; it’s one of the first things that survival manuals tell you to focus on, and one of the base Maslow needs. It keeps you safe, but it doesn’t nourish you and it doesn’t allow you to recharge and grow. A shelter might be an apartment you rent that was all you can find, but it's in a bad neighborhood or maybe the price is just out of your range so you are always in danger of losing it. In my case, my shelter for the last 14 months was actually my childhood home, a beautiful house that my mother still lives in. The problem was that it couldn’t be “our home” due to differences in opinion and the crowding of space. My mother was welcoming in every way she could be, but in the end neither of us were really raised to have a multigenerational home and the house wasn’t suited to it. This caused clashes in the raising of the girls, the use of common areas, and so much more. Add to that the simple idea of having known your own space and privacy and now not having it, and it became a strain to bear.

Our Journey

The last time my little family really had a home that wasn’t under threat was before the store opened, nearly four years ago. We had just moved into a small townhouse, but everyone was excited about it. We made that place our home, and you could feel it.  We had started to buy our furniture for it, and overall it felt like we had gained some stability, or as Maslow would put it security. We weren’t totally there but it felt like we were on our way. When we felt like we were doing well, we made the choice to take the risk of opening our own business, and that security was the first thing we sacrificed.

Along the way, we had to move two more times before we ended up at mom’s, and each place felt like a stopping point. They didn’t feel like home, each for their own reasons, but the main cause of the lack of security was the lack of solid stable income. We were always scared we were going to lose everything.

Over the three years of all this instability, it has caused us as a family some spiritual damage. We are all scared now of losing the things we have, we are all worried about every bump in the road. Our girls, who are still too young for such things, understand entirely too intimately that money is finite and that we as a family don’t have as much as some others. We do try and teach them that while there are always people who have more, there are also people who have less, and that we should be grateful for all the things we do have. This is a tough lesson to learn for a preteen who wants to have the newest clothes or accessories to fit in.

Our New Home

Six months ago, after the store closed down, I was fortunate enough to have help finding a job by a good friend of mine. I was scared to go back into the workforce, especially into a corporate position of this nature, but it has done wonders for me. I have time off, I can be with my children and not just around them like when they were at the store with me. More than any of that, I have a stable paycheck. This has been the start of us rebuilding our lives, a stable job that allowed us to save enough money to finally begin the long search to find our new home.

Our family preparing for a hurricane. 
At first, the search was disheartening: everything was too small, too far, or too expensive. In Miami, the cost-of-living-to-wage ratio is among the worst in the nation, and even though we both work very hard to earn enough money, the last thing we wanted to do was live outside our means and have our home remain under threat.  Finally, after months of either searching on our own or with unreliable realtors, we were very lucky to meet Anthony Maiello (, a realtor who genuinely cared about our needs and wanted to find us the perfect home for our family, not just a shelter for us and a commission for him. With his help we were able to find our new townhome. It isn’t the perfect place (I doubt we will find that until we buy our forever home), but it is certainly a great beautiful place for us to build a home and take the next steps in our lives.

The Move

I spent the weeks leading up to the move in a ball of nerves. I was worried we would get denied at the last moment by the landlords. I was worried that we wouldn’t have the money for the last of the down payment. I was terrified that the girls wouldn't like the house or we wouldn't be able to fit our needs in it. I was worried that things just wouldn't go the right way. The week of the move, I was so worried about not being able to move everything properly that I went to work everyday in jeans and a t-shirt (instead of my usual business attire) so that I could run out and head to storage to take another load of things to the house. My wife, while not understanding why this move had me so nervous, did everything she could to help ease my fears. She was also going to storage every day and grabbing things, but more importantly she and her mom set up our daughters’ rooms so they would move into their new space as if it was their old space and better. Anything to make the move smooth for everyone.

The day of the move, only a few of our friends were able to help. This led to more panic in me, but the truth is that the Stophers’ are some of the best people I know and with all their help we moved faster and more efficiently than ever before. By 4pm, everything was in the new house and we were all on the couch pondering our new aches and pains. It was done, at least the first step… now, to turn it from a shelter to a home. I imagine that will take a few weeks, but I already feel better.

The Girls

To me, the scariest part of the move was that even after everything was done and the girls were in the new house... they didn’t feel safe.You could see it in the way they reacted: it wasn’t the innocent joy of when we moved into that home all those years ago; it was a tentative and cautious thing, unsure yet if this was their home. That’s the hardest part to me. So now, it's time to give them that safe space, build it up again so they know they have stability. Our core needs are met, now we need to build security.


Too often we settle for shelter, or are forced to settle for it. We have lost sight of how important an actual home is. Home is where the heart rests, shelter is where the body rests. If you don’t have both, you will start to feel rundown and tired, and how will you continue to best the struggles of life when
you lose sight of what you are fighting for?

Remember that as long as we keep stepping forward, we will get to our goals. Christopher Reeve said it best “ So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

Monday, November 25, 2019

SCA Camping 101: Our Home Away from Home


In my last post, I went over the basics of SCA camping and provided a quick-start guide. For this one, I want to get into the specifics of what I have been using as well as share some of the advice and responses that I received from readers of the other post. A couple of things first: these images are a couple of years old and they are from before our canvas tent was destroyed. Our furnishings are essentially the same, but we have a modern tent again (something I will be remedying in the near future, ancestors willing). Secondly, it took us 3-4 years, during which the SCA was our primary hobby and where we were spending our extra money, to get our tent to this point. There isn’t a rush or a race to get to any step; take your time, build at your own pace, and have fun. Finally, this tent was less a period accurate encampment than either my wife or I wanted when we first started, but because of financial limitations and the differences in personas, this is the direction we were going. To follow Taka’s example, it’s neither one period nor the other, it’s an SCA camp.


As I said before and likely will say again, the details are what make things come together. In the case of your camp, it’s your furnishings and decorations. When picking furnishings, you also need to consider function as well as form. It is important to have things that you like the look of, but they need to serve a purpose, otherwise they are a lot of work to be transported without need. All that being said, sometimes looking good is its own purpose.

At the time of these pictures, we were still using a queen-sized air mattress of the extra thick variety. This worked great because it gave us enough height to sit on the bed and put on shoes, but sleeping on a giant cushion of air was murder for my wife on cold nights. To make up for this, we had a ton of blankets including a faux fur to try and stay warm. The changes in temperature also meant that no matter what we did, the bed would deflate somewhat through the night. We changed the mattress to a full-size futon, both to save space inside the tent and to keep us a little warmer. Getting an actual camp bed frame is now high on the list, since the futon is on the floor. These camp frames are also useful because, if planned right, you can store things underneath them.

A lovely friend of ours, Lady Sabine de Saintes, built us this amazing closet. It flat-packs and gives us shelvings. This was a huge step in organizing our space and having our clothing readily available. The closet also worked really well to split the space up, essentially giving us a front room and a bedroom.

In our front room, we used a plastic folding table as our main flat surface. Usually, this had snacks and drinks on it, but inevitably it also gathered baskets and purchases throughout war. The good thing
about these tables is that they are tall, so we could easily tuck our plastic drawers underneath. Our
plan had been to get a large table cloth to cover the table and drawers which would have helped the overall look somewhat. In the bedroom we have small folding tables, serving as valets to hold our accessories and what not when we were not wearing them. We also had two more of the same type of tables that acted as nightstands.

Seating is one of those things that, no matter what you do, it always feels like you do not have enough. At the time of the pictures, we were still using folding camp chairs; these chairs have served us well for years and we still take two with us to events. However, our big upgrade was that Southkeep’s own carpenter extraordinaire Cian Mac Cullough helped us out by making us each a chair accurate to our personas. For Bea, that was a very pretty Tudor-style chair (it folds for easy transport!), and for me it was a nice low three legged stool. These chairs are amazing, doing a great job of showing who we are and gussying up our living spaces nicely. Both chairs were built so they could pack easier, which is also really important when trying to get to events.


You will see that nearly every inch of floor in the pictures is covered with a rug. This is because the floor is plastic, and rugs are pretty. Having a fully appointed tent with rugs, to me at least, is immediately transportative. It's a small touch so different from modern camping, and in many cases
even modern homes. It's one of my favourite things that we were able to acquire, through luck at Goodwill and family gifts. The only other decorations we wanted to add were coverings for all the modern furniture as I said above, and some lanterns to hide modern lamps.

Tips from Readers

  1. Make sure the stakes you have are for the ground you are going to be camping on. Tents usually don’t come with good stakes; in Trimaris with our sandy ground and windy weather, this is particularly important. Also be sure to drive the stakes deep enough.
  2. Always lay down a ground tarp underneath your tent. Even if it doesn’t rain it helps keep down the wear on the tent itself. It's much easier to replace tarps than to replace a tent. This is actually something I do that I forgot to mention in the other article. The ground tarp also has the added benefit of being the tarp I use to cover the cargo in the bed of the pickup.
  3. Here is a great source for more information on packing:
  4. Extension cord. If you need electricity, never assume that it will be close to you. This is particularly true of people who need CPAP machines and similar. 
  5. Take into consideration the incline of the area when choosing tent facing and bed placement. It sucks to get into your tent after the first day of an event and realize you have set your bed up at an angle. 
  6. The SCA subreddit r/sca is a great resource with plenty of people happy to answer questions. Many of the tips on this list came from there.


By reader request, I’ll be going more in-depth in the near future on specific items for Norse campsites. Things like chairs, six board boxes, and even kitchen set-ups. If there are any topics you would like me to touch on in particular, let me know! I am always looking for requests.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

SCA Camping 101


Working with the SCA, especially as a Seneschal or Hospitaller, you will be asked many questions as people get situated and find their place within the group. One of the questions I get asked the most is: What do I need to bring camping? Veteran SCAdians will tell you it's not a straightforward question. What you bring entirely depends on what you do, who you are, and what you want to have with you at camp.

I know people who don't leave home without their keg and tap because their campsite is the site of many a late night party. There are others who bring only a hammock and a bag of clothes and toiletries. Neither person is wrong, they just have different needs. This is why the question is such a personal one. When I am asked this question I give a list of basic essentials that I have always found useful. I then tell them as they camp they will find things that they need which they should add to the kit, and things they don't need which they can leave at home. This article is both to address your basic needs and give newbies ideas on how to make their campsite have a little more period presence.

The Basics

This is the list of basic essentials that I tell people they should get together to make sure they don't have any nasty surprises on their first camping trip.

  • Tent
  • Garb (1-2 outfits for a weekend event)
  • Toiletries
  • Air Mattress or Cot
  • Towel (Don't Forget Your Towel)
  • Snacks
  • A Small Cooler for your drinks
  • Feast Gear
  • Blankets and Bed Linens (amount and thickness depending on weather)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Change of clothes in a waterproof container

I also like to add a trenching tool and a hatchet to the basics, just in case. With these basics, you should be able to enjoy your even without worrying about minor inconveniences. From here, I suggest people add storage and minor furnishings to keep your tent organized and your possessions safe from leaks, and anything else that might happen. As a fighter you should add an extra change of clothes (that you fight in), your armour kit, and your basic repair kit. For more information about what I carry as my armour kit, check out my old blog post ( I went over some of the things you need for field repairs. For longer events like war you may want to take a more robust kit, because an armour malfunction can put you out for the week.

One of our first events, with Nikola and Augustine.

...And the Kitchen Sink

The next big question is: what is over preparation, or what is too much stuff? My rule of thumb is what you can comfortably carry and set up on your own. While the SCA is full of helpful people, I am a big fan of self reliance. What I mean by this is that your tent and your load should be something that you can handle on your own. This way, if you get help it’s a bonus and not a requirement.

The exception to this rule is if you are in a household or camping as a group and you  split the additional gear amongst the whole, or you are the camp cook or similar post. These things obviously will have you packing more than your needs, and your group should help you unpack.

Like your needs, ‘how much is too much’ is something that you will find organically, and it will vary wildly from person to person depending on their vehicle and capabilities.

My wife and I fill a full-size pickup truck up just for our things. It's a big part of why we have the truck in the first place. This is our comfort level, and truth be told if we could afford and store a trailer we would probably use one! I'll get more into our set up a little further down in the blog.

Home is where the heart rests

You'll notice the first thing on my list is the tent. While I know many people who only see the inside of their tent long enough to change into the next outfit and possibly catch a nap between activities, for most people the tent functions as your home away from home. In the Trimarian rain, there have been times we have spent a fair bit of time just wanting for a break. The wife and I tend to have a tent large enough that we can host company in the front area, making even the worst weather a chance to indulge in hanging out with friends. During Gulfnado a few years back, we actually ended up with a largeish group taking shelter in our tent while we waited for the worst to pass.

When picking the right tent there are three main factors to take into consideration: size, price, and weather. Size has to do with what you are comfortable setting up and what your space needs are. I always suggest that you pick a tent that you can stand up in or close to it. Getting dressed in a crouch, especially in some period clothing, is a pain in the butt. I am also going to remind you that the tent sizing guidelines (sleeps x people) are about maximum floor space, not necessarily actual space. We have had three different tents, the third was the same tent as the first bought again. In each case, we have bought a tent large enough where we can fit all of the furnishings we take as well as be able to split the space into various areas. In the case of our current tent, it's actually broken down into three 8x8 rooms. This is very convenient for us as far as comfort and how we set our things up. Essentially the first room is our main living area: armour, snacks, and seating all there. The second room is where we get dressed, and the third is our sleeping quarters. Set-up for modern tents tend to be easy enough that even larger ones can be set up by one or two people without much difficulty. This only really becomes a concern on large period tents.

The next two factors when it comes to tent are weather and price. Price is an easy enough one to understand. Buy a tent that you can afford, no need to go bankrupt. The only thing I will add to this is that if you are even moderately active in the SCA you will spend a lot of time every year in your tent. Before I opened my store and slowed down my activity, Bea and I were averaging about 30 nights a year in the tent. Keep that in mind when deciding your budget. I have a very good friend who went very cheap on her tent, and decided she hated the SCA because she tried camping in August in
One of my Dream projects is to make a tent like this one.
Central Florida in a tent that she couldn't stand up in and had no windows. Which brings me to weather: different areas have different needs when it comes to weather. Do you need a tent that will keep you warm? Something that will keep you cool? Is your area very windy? Keep all these in mind when you go to pick yours out, and don't be scared to ask questions, either of other local SCAdians or, hell, if nothing else shoot me a message on here. I’d much rather help out than you have a bad experience.

I am going to touch for a moment on period style tents vs modern tents. Period tents are prettier and they add to the Dream we are all working to build, but they are difficult to set up, difficult to store, and much more expensive. If given a choice, I will always pick the period tent, but that's because I have a pick up truck to transport the large poles and a partner and household willing to help set up. That being said, we spent $1300 on a period tent, and it served us amazingly well. No weather affected us, it wasn't hot, it wasn't even particularly bad to set up. It was, however, a huge headache to dry after events, and eventually because of storage issues during one of the rain storms here in Miami, water got into the tupper with the canvas and completely ruined it. We haven't had the money to buy a new canvas tent, but when we do, I am going to make an oilcloth bag for the canvas, even if it is in a tupper, in hopes of stopping this from happening again.

Where do we sit?

Drawings thought to be the original designs for the
Fields of Cloth of Gold Tent.
In period, especially the later periods, nobles camped essentially with an entire house worth of furniture and a wagon train of servants, the most over-the-top example being Henry VIII and his Fields of Cloth of Gold. In the SCA we don't quite go that far (although some campsites at war are amazing!), but we do expect a certain level of comfort from our homes away from home, which normally means at least some furniture. For some, this is as simple as some camp chairs and large tupper containers for their stuff. For others, it’s a chance to flex their woodworking skills and their research on what is accurate to their persona. The details are what really completes the picture, whether we are discussing garb or a campsite.

The SCA is a hobby where one builds upon their experience year to year, and it is no different when it comes to your camp. Figure out the things you need the most first and then work from there. Most of the time it will be seating first, and then storage. While it is easy to get a camp chair, and they can be comfortable, with just a little more effort you can get a chair that is period appropriate for you. A fauldstool for example is a quick build (or cheap option) that has existed throughout most of known history. This gives you an option that is easy to carry and adds to the overall look of the camp. Another option is to do things in the Viking way. A six-board box gives you storage space and doubles as a stool. This is easy enough that anyone can make it with a little bit of time. His Lordship Kelvin Alistair MacGowan in Trimaris often teaches his six-board class both in the Kingdom and at war. There are also a ton of good tutorials online, this one is based on an extant piece ( Six-board boxes also cover the next major piece of furniture most people need: storage. Simple chests work really well as a manner to carry your things to events and keep them organized when you are there, and they also have the added benefit of being stackable and as such easy to store!

Once you have gotten over these first two simple steps, the next one is completely based on your needs. I have seen amazing camp beds, closets, cabinets, and full camp kitchens. It's just a matter of what priorities are for you and what you have as a skill set.


This is a topic that I am only going to touch on in brief detail because while the others have things that sort of stitch together many personas, decorations are as personal as it can get. A 10c Norseman and 16c courtesan would have very different ideas of what an appropriate camp decoration is. What I will suggest is some sort of heraldic display as appropriate to your persona to let people know whose camp it is. Not only will it give you a chance to display the heraldry you worked so hard on, but there is very little as inspiring in my mind as a campsite full of fluttering banners.


Hopefully this post gives you guys an idea of how to get started on your camping equipment, and how to expand it to enhance the Dream. When I get out to my next camping event, I will do a small follow-up on to show off Bea’s and my setup. While it isn't as period as I would like, I can make it about what I have now and the upgrades I am hoping to do in the future. Our campsite is particularly challenging because of the 600-year gap in our personas!

What does your campsite look like? What tricks do you have for camping events? Let me know in the comments below!