Summer time is upon us and whilst glorious blue skies and warm sunny days can lead to long days LARPing in the woods, lighter kit and sitting round the camp fire with friends at fests. Fest season is in full swing, and last year I offered my thoughts on preparing for summer LARPing. It can never hurt for a reminder, particularly given that (if we’re lucky) you’ll all be outside during hot summer days enjoying yourselves.
Dressing appropriately for Summer LARP
LARPing in the summer, as I said in my original post, is a chance to shed layers, spruce up your kit and generally have a good time, though you’ve got to be prepared to tackle things like sunburn, dehydration and overheating.
Packing things like suncream and your own bottle(s) of water in your kit bag can help you look after yourself and is something that doesn’t take much thought. If it’s in your bag most of the time, you’re more likely to put suncream on yourself before you start getting into your kit – and you can look smug as you hand over your suncream to anyone else who asks “has anyone got any suncream?”
You can buy a bottle bag from most larp kit retailers – like Darkblade or Having a Larp – which can fit a pop bottle. Filling up a couple of bottles of water as you pack up lunch means you can carry water with you when monstering or adventuring. If you’re an armoured character I would suggest you carry your own water than relying on the referees / monster crew to keep you hydrated.
Incorporating a hat / bandanna or similar into your summer kit can help keep you from getting a sunburned scalp and shading your face from the worst of the sun. If you find that you get too warm when out in the summer I suggest reducing your layers or shifting from heavy woollen to linens or linen-type cloth.
Looking after your health during Summer LARP
If you are unlucky enough to get sun burnt, cover the affected area with aftersun creams or lotion. Serious sunburn is where the skin remains hot and may blister, and requires medical attention.
If you don’t drink enough water you might notice you getting dry lips, dizzy or have a lingering headache – the usual signs of dehydration – you should take it easy and slowly sip some water. However, in warm weather you’ll be sweating (particularly if you’re running around escaping monsters or wearing armour) you’ll be at risk of overheating. Sitting in the shade, sipping water or an isotonic drink / rehydration solution can make you feel better as it replaces the salts and similar that you’ve lost through sweating.
If you or your friend find you’ve been sweating and have since stopped but you’re feeling hot and flustered you might be suffering from heatstroke – which definately needs to be remedied fast! You’re looking to help cool the person down since their body has stopped regulating their temperature – so get them into the shade, loosen their clothes or remove layers if you can, and cool them down by either fanning them or dabbing the skin with water to simulate the sweating effect. As you/your patient cools down you will need to keep them from getting cold until their body starts to regulate itself again, so wrap them in a blanket or layers of clothes and keep an eye on them lest they lose consciousness. If this happens – get them to a hospital!
Camping in the summer LARP season
As much as camping and summer go together (isn’t summer the time most people choose to go camping?), camping in the summer can be problematic. I won’t tell you how to go about dealing with bugs and wasps etc (though a plastic bottle with the top cut off and filled with a bit of beer makes an excellent wasp trap FYI), I’m more concerned about getting a good night’s sleep.
The top tips I can find are – find a shady spot to pitch your tent if possible, keep the vents of your tent open to try and get a through draft when the breeze blows, and try to wear light cotton layers when sleeping. Rather than taking a sleeping bag, use cotton sheets instead, but since summer nights can become quite cold it might be wise to have your sleeping bag with you just incase.
Here are some top tips that might be relevant for LARPing, or just general camping.
Nerd East 2016
So, here’s a quick thing. Last weekend was the Nerd East 2016 convention held annually at the Durham Student’s Union since 2010.
I got to meet Russell Smith, writer of the Grenshall Manor Chronicles, and listened to his talk on “Costume and Character”, where the wearing of a suit in Canary Wharf might add +4 to your stealth roles …
I also helped man the Fools and Heroes stall and took part in Dr Jo Bath’s talk on Medieval and Tudor dances. Who knew the opportunities a harmless dance could provide for flirtation and showing off in the 16th Century?
There were LARP kit traders, book sellers, fudge and sword and nerf tournaments, before the evening entertainments kicked off in the form of several one-off larp games and a Magic: the Gathering tournament. I didn’t stick around for these however (I’d spent all day in my banquet gown and heels and had all the steps up to the train station to climb, and I was pretty tired), but I enjoyed my day regardless.