How to sleep comfortably at larps

This upcoming weekend I am going to a medival fantasy larp in Vörå. I will spend two nights in the forest with my fellow larpers. Sleeping at larps has always been kind of an issue for me because I get cold very easily. And for some reason it has taken me a long time to understand how to sleep in the forest without freezing.

So this post will be dedicated to sleeping gear at larps, exempting tents, tarps or the like. I will focus on the blankets etc. that you might be wanting to use. Of course, what you bring with you to sleep in will be dependent on where/how you will sleep.

When I started larping I used too few blankets, had wet feet, got harassed by mosquitoes, had too few blankets again. In the beginning I didn’t have too much money to spend on medieval(ish) camping gear, but over the years I have accumulated some very useful items. My sleeping gear consists of:

  • A camping mattress to isolate from the cold if there will be no other material available. this is easy to disguise with fabric. Sew a bag that fits the mattress. Make it so that you can remove the fabric afterward and wash it.
  • Two sheep skins. These isolate warmth very well and are a wonder to sleep on. But they are a hassle if they get wet and they take up quite a lot of space.
  • Two thick blankets. One is an old army blanket and it is wonderfully warm. The second one is an old blanket I found at our summer cabin. It has been mended many times.
  • For real cold nights I bring a modern sleeping bag that I just cover with my blankets.
  • I also use my cloak as a blanket when I sleep.

Other things to think about when sleeping outdoors:

  • Wear something on your head when you sleep. A lot of body heat escapes through your head some keeping it in is always good. I usually use a long, cotton wrap that I can wrap around my head and neck. It also protects wonderfully against mosquitoes.
  • Dry, warm feet are a true blessing. Keep an extra set of dry socks with you and a pair (or two) of woolen socks to sleep in.
  • Dry clothes to sleep in are a must if there is a chance for rain at the larp.
  • Bring an extra woolen shirt to wear while sleeping on cold weather.
  • It is a good idea to wear many thin layers. Many thin layers give you the opportunity to dress down if you get too hot and preserve warmth better than few thick layers.

Think about where you will sleep: Under bare sky, in a tent or in some kind of building. Some larps require your sleeping gear to look authentic. However, I feel that no matter how historically correct your sleeping gear is required to be it should not hinder you from sleeping comfortably. There are many ways you can sleep more comfortably and only you will know exactly how well you manage in those specific circumstances. Finding out what works for you is a process of trial and error.

Remember: A cold, tired larper is a bad larper. If you can’t sleep because you are cold your day is going to be ruined. So take care when packing for your night(s) out in the forest.

Take care and sleep tight!



The cost of costumes

So let’s face it: larping is a hobby that can be quite costly. A larp might have a fee or it might be free of charge, but even if there is no fee for attending that larp it will still cost money. There is travel costs, food and of course the clothes and props we choose to wear and bring with us. And larp costumes can become very expensive.

I usually make the clothes I will need for specific larps, but over time I’ve built a wardrobe of some basics and some specifics. Some time ago I had to get rid of some things because they were too small (the things I wore as a teen don’t fit a woman’s body), or too used up. I also got rid of things I had not used in a while and that I deemed I would not be using. As I moved to a smaller apartment I didn’t have room to store everything. Some things I have swapped and some I have donated. I’m not going into detail about what should be in a basic larp wardrobe as that depends so much on the types of larps one frequents. I might make a post about my basic larp wardrobe at some point.

What I am going to talk about is how to get costumes for larps and how to do it as cost-efficiently as possible. Some items you can get for nothing, some items will inevitably cost more. Making a whole new set of larp clothes plus props will always be more expensive than building a well stocked wardrobe over time. Here are some tips for keeping costs down:

  1. Borrow from friends and other larpers. If you need a certain piece of clothing or a certain prop you might be able to borrow it from someone.
  2. Renting might be an option for things you will only use once and that are too expensive or time consuming to make yourself.
  3. Swapping is a good option if you have something you don’t need anymore or that you feel it is time to pass on to someone else. Why not host a swapping party?
  4. Thrift stores and flee markets are great places to find little odds and ends that might be useful to you. The best things I’ve found so far include an old military rucksack and a wooden hat bag. Shoes, cups and containers are other things I usually find often, as well as jewelry and other things that can be taken apart to be used as materials.
  5. Reuse and repurpose things that you already own, or mod them to suit the larp you are going to. There are tons of options for this and only your imagination sets the limit.
  6. Make things instead of buying them ready made. If you have the skill for this or are willing to learn then making things yourself will always be cheaper (albeit more time consuming) than readily made merchandise. This will also assure you have a unique object.
  7. If you need to order items online, check with friends if you could place a shared order. That will keep the shipping a bit cheaper.
  8. Plan your costume in as much detail as possible before buying anything. This will help you to buy only what you need and not end up with a dozen items you won’t use.
  9. Keep an inventory of your larp items, or go through them from time to time to check what you might want to get rid of and what might need maintenance.
  10. Take good care of your clothes and props. Needless to say, they will last longer if you show them a little love.

So that’s it for today. The list can also be found under the page “Wardrobe” and that is also where I’ll update it if/when I come up with something new or one of you readers has any ideas that should be added.