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Thread: What to bring to my first National Event?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008


    I try to travel light at the big events, mostly because getting your vehicle to where you are camped can be a major PITA. Everyone else and their dog are all trying to get in and out on the same little dusty or muddy road, and too many folks don't stop to think about anyone but themselves. For me, the idea is to be able to get to the highway as quickly as possible. I'm hot, tired. grumpy, and about willing to commit felony for that first Big Gulp!

    -Bring extra TP in an airtight bag and keep it hidden in your knapsack! It won't hurt if you don't need it, but on the other hand...

    -These sorts of events are good to practice your campaign-style camping. Leave the cooler at home, eat foods that don't require a lot of preparation, a gum blanket under you and another one to act as a shebang are about all you need for shelter if you're a little creative. You might also sneak in some bug spray and crotch powder in the same place you hide your TP.

    -Start drinking a lot of water two weeks before the event. Being pre-hydrated doesn't make any logical sense to me, but I tell ya' it really works.

    -Have at least a quart of water in your car for when you leave. It'll be warm, but it'll help to get you rehydrated quicker. Then stop at the 1st convenience store you pass and buy something cold.

    You specifically mentioned going to one of the G'Burg events, but this advice, and that offered by other posters, works just as well at any big National.

    Good luck, and have fun!
    Mel Glover
    -GG grandson of Cpl Christian Greener, 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, Co. F

    -Rob Weaver is my guru:
    -" of the characteristics of a good reenactor is the willingness to not be bulletproof."
    -"Be more concerned with your own impression than with anyone else's."
    -"Be a joyful and competent warrior and other reenactors will want to be around you."

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by indguard View Post
    The Bookkeeper's mess

    I'll second that-----------------------------MONEY. That many Sutlers, your going to find something you don't need.

    Enjoy-----------------Picketts Charge at the 145th GAC-was a grand.

    Doug Thomas
    Lyons-Kentucky CS
    Last edited by captdougofky; 01-21-2013 at 11:24 AM. Reason: wording
    Holding on the High ground

  3. #13


    I will vote early and often for sunscreen.
    Mike Schramm

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    A good attitude. BTW, our Iron Brigade will look better than yours.

    Mike Phineas
    Arlington, TX
    24th Missouri
    Independent Volunteer Battalion

    \"The floggings will continue until morale improves...\"

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    off the bottom of the scale


    Don't just show up, and think you're going to be okay. Practice going light at all the events you do this season before going to GAC. Make a written inventory of all your stuff before your first event. This includes food. Within twenty-four hours after that event, remove from you list what you didn't use or didn't really need. Repeat.

    I do two airplane trips a year to events. All my stuff fits into my knapsack and a large duffle bag which is about twelve to eighteen inches deeper than the standard size. If you cannot fit all your personal stuff into a knapsack and duffle, you've got too much stuff.

    I often bring a batch of hardtack to faraway events because it increases the odds that I'll have decent meals. Remember there are stores in Gettysburg and the surrounding area. Purchase a bag of salad. Since I use vinegar at events, I'll add some to the salad. (Have a swig of balsamic vinegar with every meal during the weekend. Your stomach will thank you later.) Buy an apple while you're at it. Get a bag of rasins. Purchase a half pound of bacon per day in the field. Upon arrival at the site, find a fire and fry all your bacon. Eat your salad, hardtack and apple while frying that bacon. Have some raisins for dessert. Now you can snack all weekend out of your haversack and scrounge when opportunity presents itself.

    Try to use period solutions to modern problems. For example, make your morning coffee before you go to bed by putting ground beans into your boiler and filling it to the top with water. Let it seep overnight. You can place it on a fire in the morning. When it's hot, it's done. It's like instant coffee only better. You can drink it cold if necessary. It will be the best coffee you have all day. The two most difficult things about premaking coffee are (1) taking the time to do it and (2) stashing the boiler where some Jonah - or you - won't knock it over in the middle of the night.
    - Silas Tackitt

    "Civilian Camps are Resource Pigs. Let's do something about that. Hardly an original concept, nor are the solutions. Civilian Camps tend to suck up more of the wood resources of an event because each and every Canvas Palace has to have its very own fire in which to cook its very own Plumb Duff and Roast Beast." - - Terre Lawson, 27 April 2015.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Milwaukee, WI


    Thank you everyone that has contributed to this discussion it has definitely helped alot!
    "Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo."

    Second WI Volunteer infantry
    Co. K

    Anthony Burzinski

  7. #17


    Be prepared for heat. It's hot in Gettysburg in the summertime, even if you're not wearing what is considered to be winter clothing (i.e. wool clothing). Be aware of what heat exhaustion looks like, and drink lots of water. Bring a good attitude. You will be standing around a lot, because it's hard to get thousands of reenactors pointed in the same direction. And look me up. I'll be the guy in the black hat.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  8. #18


    This is not so much what to bring as a useful tip...

    When you get close to Gettysburg (or the closest main town to any re-enactment), top off your gas tank and a jug of water. Use the facilities.

    You do not want to be trying to remember where you were told your camp is, where you were told to park, directions to various places, and the entire registration process and parking process while needing the facilities.

    The process of finding your camp and parking will take longer than expected. That's why you fill your car tank. You want to be able to take the time to be patient and courteous in this process, rather than panicked over if you will have enough gas to not get stuck. If you will be concealing a phone with a camera in your modern gear, snap a picture of your car in the parking area (preferably with a landmark in the background.)

    As to things to bring... the gents are smart to suggest trying campaigner for large events... and also consider and make arrangements for heat, humidity, and insect life. The less things you bring, the less you need to keep track of, carry with you, pack and unpack and re-pack... providing increased efficiency and allowing more time doing the event instead of preparing for the event.
    -Elaine Kessinger

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Bring a blanket! At the 135th, it dropped to around 40 degrees one night.
    Frank Brower

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Wheaton, IL


    Frank: 52 degrees but I hear you on the need for a blanket.....
    RJ Samp
    Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
    "But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "

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