Reenactment made Easy

How to get started

On this page we will continually update with simple information about how to get going in the right direction.
When possible we will make examples of techniques and use a grading system based on four levels NO!, OK, good and great. If you follow this system you will be able to avoid many of the costly traps in starting your reenactment journey. Investing many many hours and hundreds of euro in the wrong equipment has a nasty sting later on. TRUST US ON THIS.
We tell you this not to ruin the fun but to help you make a choise of purchase that you dont have to replace in the future when your standards are higher.

Grading system:

NO! – Dont do this, even if it may be others that do it.
OK – You are welcome to join markets and groups in this equipment as a good start!
Better – Well on your way! This typically comes in after 1-2 years of practice.
Great – A never ending journey constantly challenging your gear.

Rules of thumb:

  1. Regular people in the viking age where not millionaires.
    Everyone worked on a farm so try to avoid too fancy things in the beginning.
  2. Do not use things that have no anchoring in archaeology. If there are no findings of the objects you wish to wear, don’t!
    Ask someone who knows! Or us.
  3. Don’t break the illusion – avoid modern things whenever possible.
  4. You WILL get dirty. Start with clothes to work in.
  5. It will be hot in the day but much much colder at night, even in the summer.
  6. It will rain, so make sure you can stay dry and warm.
  7. Up until the 1990 we did not really have a throw away culture. Worn and repaired are preferred and a great example of housekeeping.
  8. Want to try Fighting? A sword was as expensive as a longhouse. Start with an axe or a spear.
  9. Less is more 

The Clothes

Models

Start with simple clothes. Wool skinny pants in no or weak color (beige, gray, brown or dark gray), think about what colors sheep have as the wool you wear historically comes from the sheep you or others would have on your farms. If you dye your fabrics, ideally dye them with plants.

You will work a lot in these clothes with cooking, carrying wood, water and equipment.

Naturally colored well used Linen tunic

Simple plant dyed wool pants and linen tunic

Simple brown woolen tunic

Start with a simple leather pouch to carry around your belongings in. Keep the strings as short as possible since pouches bounce around quite a bit when walking.

Fabric

The main fabrics of the Viking age are wool, nettle, linen and hemp. Linen, hemp and nettle look VERY similar and linen is the easiest to buy today.

Dying fabric to color was an expensive practice on most part. Simple mellow nuances of yellows and green and orange are cheaper. Blue and purple where very expensive! Try to match your equipment to befit the role you want to represent in a viking age society.

Wool: easily dyed. If you want colors you can buy colored wool.
Linen: only 1 red and 1 blue fragment of dyed linen have been found so there are no evidence for other colors. Also the fibers of linen fabrics, compared to wool, does not hold on to color as well and bleaches very easily in the sun (making it an unnecessary cost by viking age standards). 

Avoid colored linen! 

Simpler is better! In the pictures below you can see two different sets of plant dyed fabrics.
Plain colors (of sheep) are as always preferred!

Fabric patterns

To begin with, use plain single color fabrics.
There are other fabric patterns but avoid them if you are not sure about the archaeological findings or ask a friend. Colors, pattern and pattern sizes are important for the right choice.
More info on this topic in coming.

NO! – Plastic or cotton fabrics. Bright colors in patterns.
OK – Simple colored wool
Good – Plain plant dyed wool
Great – Hand made, spun and colored fabric, in historic patterns and pattern sizes.

Sewing

NO! – Machine sewn clothes with visible tangled thread. 
Ok – Machine sewn clothes are of course ok. Try to avoid visible machine seems and visible threads and tangles.
Better – Machine sews clothes with handmade visible seems. You are thinking about the role you are reenacting and the clothes to match.
Best – Plant dyed fabric and all visible seems are made by hand. seams in the inside are laid flat with tiny stitches.

Knife

NO! – Modern knife with plastic handle
OK – Simple hunters or bushcraft knife with leather sheet and wooden/horn handle brass fittings are ok.
Good – Simple knife wooden handle
Great – A periodic knife to fit your role!

Shoes

NO! – Bright colored sneakers, flipflops.
OK – Discreet brown leather or fake leather shoes or sandals. Barefoot! But not if you are in a rich role!
Good – Periodic shoes in leather, plastic sole to keep ground moisture out and increase lifetime of the shoes.
Great – Periodic shoes with natural sole and size to fit archaeological findings.

Eating utensils

Wooden spoon. *Very easy to find at flee markets
Wooden plate without glue. *Very easy to find at flee markets
Clean your knife and use that.
Ceramic cup without glaze on the outside. 

NO! – coming soon
OK – coming soon
Good – coming soon
Great – coming soon

A Nice table

A beautiful spring morning with a wooden table and stools.

Sleeping

NO! – Plastic tent or bright colored cotton. modern or medieval pattern.
OK – Cotton tent or tarp in periodic shape.
Good – Linen or wool tent in periodic shape
Great – Camp equipment to create a living camp for you and your group.

A nice and tidy tent, open for display! Any modern items are hidden in the basket chests and the modern mattresses are covered by blankets and pelts.

Camp Equipment

Every viking camp needs a good axe. There are thousands of axe heads found from the viking age with great variation in design. Make sure you also have sharpening tools to keep it in good shape. If you don't havea grindstone just ask someone in the market and you're sure to get help.
A wooden chest or wicker basket is practical to keep your belongings in as well as a nice addition to the camp. A wooden chest is also good for sitting on!
A stool with three legs is a classic design from the viking age. Easy, light and practical.

A linnen sack is also good for storing personal belongings in hidden from the eye.

Cooking in a historic manor is a sure way to create a great, lively camp!