A Newbie Guide to Overnight Events
By Bethany "Dame Freesia" Tozier
So, you've hit practices and you know how to fight. You know your spells and you have hit a few events, maybe a feast, but now comes the big one... a weekend away!
What do you suppose you need?
First and foremost (and everyone will agree) socks, lots of socks. Oldbie extraordinaire Alex
Newbold said: “Put socks in your car or the car you came in so they are dry”. He’s right! Weather can be unpredictable, especially in our neck of the woods. With those extra socks bring an extra pair of sneakers you can also keep dry.
When thinking about cloths, don’t just pack your garb. Yes, you want to dress to impress but you should also be realistic. A change of clothes if you are going to make a coffee run or for your trek home is a good idea. I am partial to loose yoga or sweat pants and a tank top or t-shirt.
Something to sleep in should be on your list. If you’re a nude sleeper think of this: you’re in the woods, maybe you need something to cover your bum? Moving on....
Next, think about where you are sleeping and what time of year it is. Are you staying in a cabin? A Tent? Each will require different sleeping gear. Both require a sleeping bag and an extra blanket. It may be scorching hot during the day, but you may want that extra layer at night. If you forget your pillow, that’s fine, bring that extra blanket. If you’re sleeping in a tent think about the surface you’re going to be on. Do you want or need a mat to separate you from the ground? Long time player Sara Jessop recommends headphones if you need them, “...so I can listen to music while I sleep. Otherwise I can't sleep at an event very well.” The slightest change in a sleeping environment could change you from a deep sleeping to a complete insomniac. If you’re sleeping in a tent, set it up in your yard (or a friend’s yard) a few days before the event.
Not only do you want to make sure you have all the parts but you may want to air out that funk. If you plan to sleep in a cabin (NOT available at all sites) just the sleeping gear bag, blanket, and pillow may be necessary.
Many people will also recommend you think about how you are going to feed yourself. There is usually not a place to cook (unless you bring a camp stove or there is a fire pit). For each day you will be on site think of it this way “If I am active all weekend, I need a snack, I will need a fast breakfast and grab and go lunch. I may need a big dinner, and of course... another snack.” Sandwich fixings are your friend, as well. It’s fast, filling, and all you need is a cooler with ice to make sure you don’t eat sour food. Oh yeah, bring a cooler! Think simple: Poptarts or muffins, Bread, Sandwich meat and condiments, fruit, granola bars. This is where I will add my nutritional two cents: Bring bananas, or apples or another fruit you can grab and go (I do not
recommend grapes). They will help you feel full and will give you real energy during your day.
You’ll want to snack all day if you are active all day. You need to eat, you need energy, make it healthy so you can go longer! Also, Kathy Fey points out “Gatorade or its equivalent.” You’ll want to stay hydrated and while there is water and other drinks usually available, sugars and drink mixes can dehydrate and that may take you out of the quest or tournament early.
There are the basics and the why each may be needed. To give an idea, I have been playing for about 20 years (started in 1995!) and this is my weekend packing list: Socks (2 extra pair per day of the event), underwear (2 extra, and yes I need to write it down sometimes), garb boots and sneakers (or hiking shoes), flashlight, Food (make your own list that goes here), water/Gatorade, sleeping bag, blanket, pillow, cash for a coffee or store run, shower items (shampoo, towel, soap), and other toiletries (toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, etc), garb bin (my garb lives in this bin once it is cleaned). Also, remember we live in New England, that means bugs and the occasional appearance of the sun. Don't forget to pack sun block and bug spray.
And there you have it, the basics of overnight eventing. If you forget something, never fret. Most sites are near stores of some variety (most sites, not all). Also, never be afraid to borrow or ask an oldbie what to do. We've all suffered through freezing nights we were unprepared for, we have all gone hungry in the face of saving the Realms, and we have all had to drive home in wet socks and cloths smelling of all the body odor. Good luck!
"I never thought that someone would honestly ask "what do I bring" when it came to an overnight event. When I hit my first, Henry told me what to pack and expect, Nigel filled in the missing pieces, and kept me fed.... so... I never struggled and it never dawned on me someone might not have that insight."