Why do you have to waste your time free from tournaments in vain? Let’s put it to good use!
The restrictions associated with the spread of the Covid-19 have not yet been lifted, and it is impossible to hold tournaments and other mass events. For those HMB athletes who are not used to inaction, we decided to help to prepare their camps for the upcoming international tournaments. We hope that soon we will come back to the lists of the HMB tournaments around the world!
Milica Kovacevic, Head of the HMBIA Authenticity Committee, gave a number of very efficient and detailed recommendations on how to organize the Medieval camp right, to the delight of oneself and the envy of opponents.
“If you are a fighter with a reenactment background, the medieval camp living experience is nothing new for you. You already know both the bad and good sides. But if you are considering getting a medieval camp for future tournaments without having previous experience with tents and camping gear, you could use some useful tips before going for it”, said Milica.
So, here are guidelines and recommendations for authentic medieval camp from the Head of the HMBIA Authenticity Committee
1. Picking period camp
When deciding how your camp will look in general, you should go with matching period tents. Most of the fighters use late XIV century, early to mid-century kits, and choices for that timeframe are plentiful. They can be small or big, with decorative ornaments or without, but have in mind that all ornaments should have patterns based on historical sources.
There is a great difference between Eastern and Western-style camps, even though it is not obligatory to have specific camps to match your team kit, it is recommendable. Avoid mixing different culture styles in one camp.
2. Basic stuff your camp should have
Beds, kitchen gear (if you plan to prepare food), portable fire pit (some castles, parks, etc. forbid fire on grass surfaces), tables, benches, shelves for your weapons and armour display, chests…are some of the things most medieval camps have. All this takes some space but it gives you the necessary comfortable camp life. If you want to go full medieval, period beds can be easily made to be practical and comfortable. If you don’t want to be bothered with it, sleeping bags will do. Tables and benches will give your camp a richer look and they will be used for practically anything (gatherings, rest, having meals…). Shelves and armor stands are very useful for storing your weapons and armor (drying gambesons and displaying armor). Chests would be good for storing basically anything from food to modern things. And you can always go with details such as wooden and pottery bowls, plates, cups…especially if you plan to have someone who will cook for you on-site. In such cases, you could go with a tripod and some cooking pots. Of course, all these things are optional but totally worth it.
3. Easy transport and practicality
Your historical tent should be made from natural materials (most often is used impregnated linen or cotton canvas). The structure should be wooden, but if you plan to keep the inside of your tent hidden, a metal structure is allowed (even though it’s not accurate, it is long-lasting and easier to transport).
4. Trying out if you’re fit for such a challenge
If you are considering getting a medieval camp, I’d advise you to try it out first with some reenactment groups. Also, you can ask some fellow country representatives that already have a good authentic camp to show you around and share their experiences. If you are not a heavy sleeper, this might not be a good option for you. But speaking from experience, even the lightest sleepers get exhausted after a busy day of events.
We all love comfortable beds, but there is something about staying late around a campfire, and waking up early in the morning, in clean air, very often with the sound of birds. There is no greater feeling.
5. Authenticity Committee best national camp category
At the Battle of the Nations X in Smederevo teams had the opportunity to participate in the best medieval camp category Authenticity Contest. The Authenticity Committee had a hard time deciding who’s the winner. But, taking into consideration all factors and criteria, the team Ukraine won. During the past ten years at Battle of the Nations, we had the chance to see a lot of great examples. Some countries were exemplary since the beginning. We always enjoyed seeing medieval camps of French, German, Switzerland national representations throughout the years.
Our goal is to make this category permanent in future BotN contests, and in that way encourage others to try out this amazing camp experience. The AC judging criteria consist of 3 factors – consistency of maintaining a historic camp, keeping a camp clean without modern things on a display (will not be judged when team armouring up for the fights), and historical authenticity of the camp itself. These camps will be situated in historical (reenactment) areas of the event. Have in mind that all modern things should be hidden.
“There are a lot of pros and cons when it comes to this way of participating in the events. The weather that might influence your experience is one thing. But then again, you might enjoy it more than you know it and you will definitely save a lot of money on accommodation. Previous year and covid restrictions had robbed us of tournament experiences and spending time with our brothers in arms. Which better way there is than rejoicing by the campfire, exchanging stories and experiences from teams all over the world?”.
We are confident that following these tips, you will be able to arrange your medieval life so that in any country, at any tournament, you will feel at home. And a nice bonus to your own comfort will also be the prize for the best authentic camp from our Authenticity Committee!
HMBIA News thanks Milica Kovacevic and her team for their work and great help in this article preparation.