Sunday, 4 September 2011

5 Easily Forgotten Things You Must Pack For A Larp

This week I will primarily be focused on packing for my seasonal larp - Maelstrom. I mean to write up a piece on how excellent this game is. However, now is not the time. Today I will share:

5 Easily Forgotten Things You Must Pack For A Larp

While the obvious rules should be taken into account (pack for all-weathers, remember your tent, don't fill your suitcase with chocolate and porn etc) - these are a collection of simple tips that you can implement right now, absolutely free and will come in absolutely useful to any camping larper.

1) Cling film.
Keep in the cool box
to avoid awkward
cling film wrestling.

An odd first item, but cling film is an unspeakably important substance. For wrapping up any remaining food, keeping bandages in place, wrapping round your shoes in case of mud avalanche, and even for wrapping up a fiddly ground mat that just refuses to go back into it's too-small plastic bag. Endlessly useful stuff! And you've probably got some in your drawer right now.

2) Drugs.
Just please don't take anything you're
not 100% certain of.
No! I am not recommending taking illegal substances to a camp site, you will receive a beating from security and then from me if you do this. Let me explain. I am a terrible migraine sufferer and so practice excellent personal hydration. Nevertheless, while running around at an event (especially summer ones) you will get too hot, you will get a little dehydrated, and (in the case of beast races) your mask or prosthetic will put pressure in just the wrong place.  Headaches are almost unavoidable if they regularly strike at times of stress. The only thing I can do is pack the strongest, most potent pain killers I can, dose myself up all weekend, and not let it ruin my event.
As a side note, no matter how low the pollen count remember that you are camping in a field, hay fever will strike at the most awkward moment. Don't let these afflictions spoil a great event.

3) Blanket.
Colour co-ordinate to match your kit.
Simple enough, but another beautifully multi-functional piece of kit. My first event was in the spring time which I thought would be warm enough - I was very, very wrong.  My sleeping bag broke, I forgot my ground mat and ended up sleeping in a nest built of my clothes, ready to throw-up from shivering at 5am. Desperately unpleasant. Now, not only have I invested in a new sleeping bag, (which is cling-filmed to my ground mat see tip 1), but I pack a blanket. Nothing fancy, a neutral green, fleece blanket from Ikea but, very light and with many uses. When it's too cold I cocoon myself in it before getting into my sleeping bag, when it's too hot I use it as an extra pillow or ultra soft ground sheet.
Once or twice I've found myself crashed out in a friend's IC tent and my blanket has served as a perfect make-shift cloak to blearily make my way back to my own stuff. If you have a nice black, brown or green blanket then this item can double as anything. To keep you warm IC, as a quick cloak, picnic blanket or tent hanging. Never leave home without your warm piece of fabric.

4) Suncream.
Since you can't keep reapplying
be sure to use the highest SPF
you can get your hands on.
To human player characters this tip is simple - If it's sunny, put on your suncream. Yet, for heavily made-up characters this tip is vital. Contrary to popular belief, makeup does not stop the sun's rays. Always remember to apply your suncream before makeup, even if it's not terribly sunny. If the sun comes out halfway through the day, then you're sunk unless you want to take your makeup off and start again.
Another quick tip for those using water activated makeup (like Snazaroo). Use suncream instead of water to apply their paint. Useful both as a way of getting the cream on your skin, but also stops the queues and scramble for limited sink space at events.

5) Cereal Bars, Chewing Gum and Baby Wipes.
Homemade is nice, but buy your
own if you're short on time (which
I always am)!
I treat camping like one big sleepover and am truly terrible and looking after myself. For this reason I've lumped these three together into one category: the easy self-preservation category. I'm usually too broke to take advantage of the lovely caterers and too lazy to prepare clever and subtle camping meals to bring with me - cereal bars are a handy, slow release way of keeping you in nutritional health. Far better than just chocolate, Haribo and alcohol. They also fit nicely in a tupperware box in your bag, and don't need refrigerating. 
(Just before posting, a man who came onto my work place advises an effervescent Berocca tablet in a can of green Relentless. This is untested, but sounds plausible.)

Go for extra strong mint, or a brand
with tooth cleaning bits in.
I always take my toothbrush to these events and every morning when I go to check my makeup I clean my teeth. As I'm usually so obsessed with oral hygiene this is a must. However, as the evening wears on and I start flagging, the thought of traipsing all the way to the bathrooms to scrub up before bed is the last thing I want. Especially when I've had a few and I'm about to crash in a friend's tent! Then I will reach for chewing gum, especially those that are good for after meals, or even with tooth cleaning properties.

Come on guys! Don't be revolting!
This same thinking leads me to baby wipes. Sink showers can be messy and awkward when there are others around you, judging. When you feel less than fresh a quick wipe around all the key areas will give you a little more mileage before actually taking a proper shower. Also deodorant, lots and lots of it. This is not on this list because if you go camping without deodorant you will smell and lose all your friends - rightly so!

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