A guide to re-enactment plastic camping.

by Kate

When we travel to events we stay over at a variety of locations and sites. If we are in a town or city we could stay in bed and breakfast. Most people stay at the event location. Accommodation here comes in two types. The first is the authentic campsite which doubles up as the area open to the public during the day. This contains the authentic tents and LHE (Living history exhibit.). The other option is the plastic campsite….



Preferred Option

 Character building Option

Pack I 
Going away


A vehicle preferably one dedicated for re-enactment purposes only.

This, if you have secure parking, can be left
permanently packed or can be packed at leisure well in advance.

Plenty of mail shirts, one for each day of the event.

Collapsible table, chairs and parasol for those evenings chatting, playing cards and sipping port with your friends.

Leave space to take home those little
campsite leftovers, like the woodpile.

Forget unimportant baggage such as your passengers. 

Big bag at the last minute to contain

Toilet roll, bug repellent. alcohol and food. Stove with spare fuel supply. Mobile armoury. Outsize items such as shields and looms draped about your person or wrapped and left to poke out of the bag.

Two sets of clothing (one authentic and the other not).

That kit making you were going to finish ages ago and the associated equipment, please not the sewing machine.

Forget something important like sleeping bag or tent or both.

Transport Private, Estate car, van, camper…


Public, Taxi drivers who cannot lift your bag into the boot but will insist on maiming themselves in the attempt.

Guide dogs for the blind that are too
interested in the raw hide used to trim your shield.

Locating Campsite Driver that has been there before and can remember the way (but hopefully doesn’t drive) blind folded.

Taxi driver that has already ferried several warriors to the ‘Viking campsite.’ 

Be bothered when arriving in a strange town after dark and the taxi driver says “Where?”

Curse organisers that lovingly mark on maps where the authentic campsite is but give you no idea where the plastic option is. Learn how to camp anywhere until daylight and then try again.

Water supply Temporary supply put in place right next to the campsite.

If indoors it has 24 hour access and a big enough sink you can fit buckets and canisters in under the tap to fill them.

It is in more locations and directions than there are people that you have asked i.e. no one knows.

There isn’t one. It is in a building that closes at 6pm and you arrived on site at 6:05pm

In a building for which there is only one key and no one knows who last had the key. 

Food Walking distance from supermarkets, takeaways, bakers etc. You are at a site in the middle of
nowhere without a hope of a burger van or supermarket. Then you find you
have forgotten one or more of the following: food, stove and fuel.
Toilets Access to facility with proper toilets and hot and cold running showers and that comes with inexhaustible supplies of toilet roll. Portaloos, especially not cleaned
out for the duration of the event and you forgot your toilet roll.

Portaloos are taken away before the end of
the event.

Drink You are camped next
to a Rugby club with a bar that stays open forever.

The event is in Scotland with the advantage
of their licensing hours.

The event includes several traders of a
variety of wine, mead, ale and spirits.

You have found the pub where the
locals are not friendly.

You have found a pub where the locals are
friendly but the walk back across unlit countryside or the local no go
area isn’t.

Twenty of you are wandering around a large city and you cannot find an off-licence.

Pack II ,

Going home


Just sling everything
into your vehicle and whinge at your passengers for not having shoved
everything in the one small bag that you allowed them just as quickly.
Take three times as
long packing as everyone else as the stuff you took has expanded since
you arrived on site. This has nothing to do with the 10 metres of cloth
and half a dozen bottles of mead you have just bought.