5 Things You Don't Need To Bring To An Event

If there are things I always forget, there are just as many things that I bring with me to an event that I don’t really need. As I’ve gotten more streamlined & minimalistic in my reenacting, I’ve started to really consider these over brought items and worked to eliminate them from my packing.

The result isn’t the panicked “oh gosh I really needed that thing” that I thought it would be. Quite the opposite. Instead I find myself not even noticing the extra items left at home, or even actively feeling relieved that I didn’t have that extra stuff to worry about packing back up on Sunday evening when I’m already tired & in need of a hot shower.

So here are the 5 things you can probably safely leave at home from your next event and won’t even miss.

The giant first aid kit.

For years I would bring a stocked first aid kit, complete with compression bandages and children's grade versions of all the adult medications. And guess what. I used nothing more than a handful of bandages from that huge kit. It did nothing more than sit in the bottom of every box & suitcase that I brought, taking up more space than it was worth.

Now I keep a much smaller kit, that contains the first aid items I know we will use regularly and rely on the real professionals (aka paramedics) if something is bad enough to need anything more. For me that kit includes my daily pills, emergency migraine medication, heartburn remedy for those questionable camp meals & plenty of sheer bandaids!

A completely fresh outfit for Sunday (or Saturday night, or Friday after school day etc).

It’s nice to have a fresh pair of underwear & I will always be an advocate for a spare pair of socks, but do you really need an entirely new outfit for Sunday when you’ve barely begun to wear the first outfit on Saturday?

Rather than stressing myself out with putting together 2 completely different outfits for everyday of an event, I now only bring one core outfit and a few accessories to cover any temperature and weather swings. One dress plus a sweater & an extra thick pair of stockings takes up less space than multiple outfits and works just as well. Guess what, so far no one has cared that I’m wearing the same thing 2-3 days in a row. Heck, so far no one has even noticed!

Anything and everything “fancy”.

Jewelry, silk and basically anything that is better suited to the ballroom has little place in a camping reenactment environment. Yes, there are those who love to think they are the “upper crust” and prance around in all the finery, but let's be honest. Are those fancy dressed people really representing the type of person that would be in a camp at all? Do you want to be responsible for keeping everything clean when mud & fire are everywhere? Do those fancy folks really contribute anything to the event other than “looking good”? Save yourself the stress, packing space, not to mention the cleaning bills, and leave the silk & lace at home for special occasions.

That really cool original thing that you just want to show off.

It should be pretty obvious why you should be leaving anything that falls into this category at home. Valuable items and originals that you can’t afford to lose, or would be devastated if they broke, are always better left at the safety of home. Instead of dragging anything precious to an event, take extensive photographs or make a video of it to share with people. This makes for a safe item and a record that can be shared beyond just the people you meet face to face but with collectors & history buffs around the world. Sounds a lot better than regretting losing that original item to me.

Modern clothing to drive home in.

I know, this seems odd. We all want to change out of our stinky reenacting clothing and into something comfortable the minute an event is over. But if your reenacting clothing is already comfortable, why do you need something “modern” to wear home?

Full disclosure, I have been known to wear an 18th century petticoat with a t-shirt while driving home from 18th century events, complete with my messy hair covered in a scarf & bare feet in the summer. Is it the most stylish outfit? Not the slightest. Does anyone at the rest stop in the middle of Indiana at 3 in the morning care what I look like? Have you seen what “normal” people at a rest stop in Indiana look like? I’m almost over dressed sometimes!

Rather than using up valuable space packing extra clothing that you can only wear after the event is over, try simply throwing on whatever combination of modern clothing you wore to the event plus the comfortable reenacting clothes you’ve already been wearing and focus on getting through the hardest part of the weekend, the long drive home.

I hope these ideas help you consider the amount that you are bringing with you to events and maybe gives you some ideas for areas that you can minimalize when packing. Even if you just pare down a few things for each event, the added space & lower stress is bound to be beneficial. In the end, the less stuff we bring, the more we can focus our energy on representing the past and living historically. Plus, who doesn’t want less junk to try cramming into the care at the end of the weekend?

See you in the past!