Thursday, January 13, 2011

Transporting your gear

One of my personal pet peeves at events is seeing the row of golf bags that people use to cart their gear around. While I do recognize the usefulness of them to transport gear, a row of uncovered bags on the side of a listfield is very visually jarring to me. The simplest option for this is to buy a blanket or other cloth to cover it, there are period ways of transporting gear.

A snapsack is the method I use the majority of the time. It can be made relatively inexpensively, starting at less than $10. When I’ve got a little more stuff to carry for a larger event, I also use a six board bench stool, which can be made for about $25. This is handy to have, as it also doubles as a seat.

To make a snapsack, you only need some basic sewing skills. There is a good set of instructions online at When I made mine, I changed the pattern so the dimensions were 36" wide by 30" tall, so that my fencing mask could fit into it. Experiment with some cotton muslin to make sure that the size you make will hold the gear that you wanted to put into it.

There are two options that can be used for the material of the bag. The simplest is a cloth - I used the 10oz untreated cotton duck from Panther Primitives for mine. Alternatively, leather can also be used, though it would be significantly more expensive.

While the strap can be made out of the leftover canvas from the bag, I decided to go with a leather strap and buckle. The strap I used is 1.5" wide, with an iron buckle from Fort Vause Outfitters. Don’t forget that you need to punch the holes in the strap before sewing it to the bag – a needle will not be able to push through the leather.

A snapsack will not necessarily be your best bet if you carry a lot of blades. Typically I only carry one sword and dagger with me, and everything else goes into the snapsack. Blades can be put into a snapsack, but you may want to make it a bit longer if you wish to do this.

There are times when I can’t fit everything I want to bring out to the field with me in my snapsack. Usually at this point I bring a six panel bench chest I made with instructions from Marco Borromei’s website. While not difficult to make, this does require having access to some woodworking tools. Before deciding on the final measurements for your chest, check to make sure it will fit in your vehicle.

For those looking to carry their stuff in a more period appropriate way, both the snapsack and bench chest are good options. They are relatively easy and inexpensive to make and will more than do the job of getting your gear to the field.

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