[Periodencampments] Theater or Research?

david friedman ddfr at best.com
Mon May 7 16:20:17 PDT 2001

Wendy F. Otte writes:

>Instead of trying to make the entire camping experience "real", I
>set up historical micro-sites, focussing on using the authentic
>tools and methods for whatever projects I have planned for the
>event, and cheat on the areas that will only exhaust me for no good
>For example, why spend hours slaving over a fire to cook a single
>bowl of oatmeal, especially since I have usually cleaned my
>breakfast dishes before most people have started to even stir?  But
>I will chop the wood and build a fire to try out a new breakfast
>dish - then force it on as many early-risers as possible.
>Have others reached the same point of compromise?  Does anyone know
>of a (cheap) source of porters, so I could camp in style?

An alternative approach is to try to use simple, low work period
solutions for the unimportant things.

Breakfast is an obvious example. Fruit, bread, sausage, dinner
leftovers and many other things are  period foods that you can have
for breakfast with less work than your oatmeal.

If you find a lantern inconvenient, one solution is an OOP
flashlight. Another is to see if you can find things in your tourney
chest at night by touch. Organizing with cloth bags inside the chest
makes it easier.

Part of the fun, for me, of trying to avoid OOP solutions is that it
forces you to think about whether there were easy ways that things
could have been done in period--instead of starting with a hard way,
concluding that you don't have the time and effort to do it with
period technology, and substituting modern technology instead.

To be fair, we still have a few compromises. Our trash goes into a
plastic trash bag concealed inside a cloth bag. We light the fire
with matches, not flint and steel.

But rejecting that last compromise would give us an incentive not
only to learn more about period ways of starting fires but also to
learn more about banking fires for the night so that the coals would
still be available in the morning--which would be interesting.

More information about the Periodencampments mailing list