First, find an event! Your local Kingdom website or newsletter contains information regarding what events are happening. If you are not certain what to expect at any event, contact your local Hospitaler who is there to help you get acclimated. If the event has a feast (dinner) then you will want to bring feast gear (plate, cup and utensils). A good wooden bowl or plate is great first choice and can usually be found at most thrift shops.
For other activities, learn what the environment is (camping, a park, recreation center, hotel) and plan for your comfort accordingly. Second, participants need to wear an attempt at pre-17th century clothing. It need not be perfect and if you don’t have any made yet, your local Hospitaler has loaner clothing for you. For more in depth information: see the section titled “Good Gear”.
There are several things you will want to take with you to every event and some things for more demanding events, like one’s where we camp overnight (such as wars).
- A costume: Often called “garb” in the SCA. A basic tunic or peasant style shirt with a baggy pair of pants or sweats is OK for men to start with, a basic tunic or peasant style shirt with a long skirt is good for women to start with. Belts are great for hanging a pouch and a tankard so you can keep yourself watered during your wandering at events. Sandals, simple pull-on slippers or plain boots will do for footwear. A wide-brimmed straw or floppy felt hat will do for head covering for anyone. If you cannot sew or don’t know anyone who does, ask at your local group. Often there will be costumes which can be loaned out for events so you can come and play and see if you like us before you shell out any money for garb. There will usually be people who will help you learn to sew your own costumes, or you can buy or barter costumes from them. Try your local thrift stores. It is amazing what you can find there.
- A chair. Many people just use your average camping chairs to sit in. Get a large piece of cloth to drape it with to cover its mundanity. As you progress in the SCA you may eventually want to get a real, period-style chair.
- Feast gear: A big cup/goblet, mug, or tankard, preferably with an attached lid to keep out bugs, a plate, a bowl, a spoon and sharp knife. Forks were not common until very late period, but many of us use them anyway. These should be made of metal, wood, glass, or ceramics and be of a period-looking style.
More Good Gear
Garb, a chair and feast gear are the three most important things you will need to attend any event. Here are other things you may want to take that are for fun, comfort and to help make a more period environment.
- A little table. Sometimes it is nice to set your goblet on something other than the ground.
- Food! An ice chest with snacks, drinks, or lunch if you plan to be there all day and there is no feast or a late feast. Always take drinking water along with you. Crackers, bread, cheese, fruit, nuts, sliced meats and sausages make for convenient, unobtrusive period type eating. Try offering a passersby water or some of your snacks – it’s a good way to meet people!
- A rug or blanket to spread on the ground if you are outdoors or to cover up if you get cold or sleepy.
- Shade tent of some sort in case there are no trees or ramadas. Sometimes other people will invite you to use their shade, or you may ask if you can sit with them. Explain that you are new.
- Cloths to cover up your table, chairs, and other modern items to help keep the medieval atmosphere.
- A large, sturdy basket with a handle makes an excellent storage for any games, books, or arts projects you are working on, as well as a handy place to keep your feast gear.
- Games you can take along include dominoes, dice, chess, mancala, and backgammon. Ask passersby if they would like to play; it’s another good way to meet people.
For camping you will want any of the comforts you would take with you on a camping trip.