Camping Tips
By Dave


This page is for your contribution as well as ours. If you have any camping tips or advice please email them to me here.

This page is not a camping manual. It is meant to contain collective wisdom of our players and should grow over time. It is hoped that even experienced campers will see something of use here. OK! OK! Some of you cannot afford a large tent or just have too much to carry to manage one. Like everything else in life it comes to a compromise. Hopefully this will help you choose what you do and don't take when you see the problems.

I have been going to Mayfest for years now and with one exception, when it was hot and sunny every day, there has been at least a little rain. We have had extremes. The festival often referred to as Mudfest was the wettest. Ideal live role play weather is dry but not hot.

Most events have some rain, some sun and quite a lot of neither. Rain, however, usually results in mud.

Wet Weather

Assuming you have checked your tent beforehand to make sure it is waterproof and that you know how to put it up, the first few tips are to help combat rain and mud.

Make sure that your costume has a waterproof outer garment. All too often I have seen players at events with sodden robes and cloaks. Remember that if your costume is wet and you have no alternative then putting it on the following day is very unpleasant!

If you are lucky enough to have the room try to bring spare costume. You do not have to use it but at least you will have other dry things to wear when they are needed.

Always have a set of dry clothing to change into for that journey home. After a good event leaving is often a bit of a downer but dry clothes help!

Have good footware. This means waterproof and with a grip and have at least one spare pair of socks (or whatever) for each day.

Now this tip will not suit everyone, I sweat easily and so it is no good for me. Bring a couple of waterproof poly bags big enough to fit over the feet and wrap around your ankles. Put these on over your socks - great for keeping rain out and socks dry. Remember to use foot powder or talc on your feet first!

Use talc or foot powder on your feet quite a bit - it absorbes moisure and thus keeps your feet dryer. OK it won't deal with gallons of water but it really does aid comfort and help prevent trench rot!

One lad suggests wiping your boots with kitchen towels when you take them off and then sticking a couple of the towels inside them while they are not worn. Another lad suggests cleaning them and hanging them up near the top of the tent where the air is warmer.

Use as large a tent as you can. OK there are constraints on both cost and transport room (especially if hiking or using public transport). You can manage in a small dome tent (and many do) but a larger tent means that you can hang up damp garments and you are not sleeping virtually on top of them. If you are camping as a group then you might have a communal tent where you can change into and out of costume as well as air damp clothing/costume. If so do use it. I have found that a large dome tent with two double sleeping compartments works for me. I sleep in one, store things in the other and can hang up damp gear between them.

Remember if you have come in a vehicle it likely provides a secure dry place to keep things.

Mud easily travels from one bit of clothing to another. A usual example of this occurs when folk get something from their tent. they open the front and kneel down with their knees on the dry inside. Someone outside says something to them and they sit back onto their heels to answer. that is why so many folk get mud onto the seat of their costume.

Reserve a patch of your tent to keep muddy boots - near the opening is a good idea!

Bring quite a few extra plastic carrier bags. These can be used to stand damp or muddy things on and to keep them in - especially if in a cramped tent. Try to air damp things when you can.

In wet weather the portable toilets quickly get wet and muddy floors even though we frequently clean them. If you can it is a good idea to wear as little costume as is reasonable before you use them. Though they may look fairly roomy they can soon become awkward when cluttered with a huge latex weapon, armour, cloak and other bits and pieces that have to be removed. Even without a wet floor this can be awkward.

Hot Weather

The other unpleasant weather condition that has happened at events is heat. If it is hot a lot of costume becomes a bane! Lots of makeup (I am thinking Drow here) can also add to discomfort. If you start to feel unwell in such conditions go to the admin tent where there will be help.Dehydration can result in headaches, queasiness and even fainting. In hot weather it is a good idea to make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, especially if you drink a lot of alcoholic ones!

A Rehydration mix is also a good idea. The one I use to restore folk that are feeling ill because of dehydration is made up as follows:

1. Take a pint of water.
2. Add two desert spoons of sugar and one of salt (euk!).
3. Add an eigth to a quarter pint of lime cordial.

Mix thoroughly. The resulting drink is strangely palatable. People who have been sure they were at death's door have been fully revived within half an our or so of drinking this and have been feeling better within ten minutes of drinking it.

Note : For those of you who don't fancy the idea of a home made Rehydration mix check out your local chemist or Boots they will probably have a premixed branded version.

If you can have a hot weather costume, as well as your normal one worn in cooler/damp weather.


If possible completely change before bed and ensure your body is dry. Arrange your costume so that it will be in the best possible state for putting on when you get up and get the clothes you will need straight away at hand. The odds are when you wake up you will need to make a quick trip to the toilet and finding a dry pair of socks, say, under that corcumstance becomes a nightmare!

If you have large items that need airing and they are too large to air in your own tent ask the organisors or someone who has the room to hang them up in their area. Most folk will help if they can!

Food and Drink

Food can be a bit of a problem if you cannot get off site and are not relying on the caterers. The event lasts longer than most milk keeps.

To events of this length I usually bring food that will likely go off to eat on the first days and food that will keep (canned, dehydrated and long life) for the rest.

A hole in the ground in a shady spot with a bucket of water in it and something to cover it up is as good as a cool box - often better - for keeping sealed things like milk in. They have to be sealed as they are kept in the water!

Try not to keep food where you sleep. Do your best to clear it up if you spill it in your tent. Apart from the possibility of it going off and smelling, it will attract insects as well as, maybe, farmer's dogs, rodents and starving players! Best to have things that completely seal up to keep food in.

Camping Stoves

So far at various events, the following disasters have occurred because people lit a small stove in their small tent:

The heat from the stove caused the plastic at the top to melt slightly and loose it's ability to keep out rain! I have seen an example where the top centre of a small dome tent had melted away completely.

Everything became suddenly damp due to condensation!

The tent had to be taken down and put up again because of the gas that got into it when the stove went out and no one noticed for a few minutes! {How didn't they notice - that stuff stinks!}

The wind caused the tent to shake that in turn caused the kettle/pan to fall off the stove - the rest you can imagine. This is quite a regular occurence.

I think we can all imagine a worse disaster. With very little imagination and skill this can be avoided by lighting the stove and cooking just outside the tent. Make sure the tent is pitched 'with its back' to the prevailing wind. Erect a small 'shelter' just outside the tent to put the stove in and use it to cook with. One fella has a wooden box about two foot long, a foot deep and a little over a foot wide. He brings a lot of his gear in it. Once he has unloaded it he sets it up outside his tent on its end just to one side of his doorway. Thus he can sit in the front of his tent and cook on the stove that sits in the box.

General tips:

Bring spare tent pegs. They are usefull if you loose any from your tent and, if you have brought spare string, you may need them to keep other things up - like a flagpole say!

Another point! Role playing often means dashing about avoiding the pointy bits of weapons. This takes energy. Even the most fit of our players can be caught out and need to recharge with a chocolate bar or similar. Do make sure that you have such snacks handy - just in case!

So far these tips have come from nine people - let us see this count go up!