Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Authenticity and Survival.

Authenticity and Survival. (copyright).

The majority of living historians strive for authenticity in the equipment they carry and use, but equipment authenticity requires more than just having the correct equipment for the period, it must also be correct for you. There are many historical variations in knives, axes, shot pouches, carrying methods, hats, you name it. But only some of these when put to the test of use in the field will be suitable for you. Why does it matter? Well safety for one, using a knife or tomahawk that does not feel right in the hand can result in an accident. A knife sheath that falls out of you belt is not desirable. So think about these things when putting your gear together, you have choices within the bounds of authenticity.

I have seen many a person wearing a shot pouch which hangs down to mid thigh, I can only assume it is worn this way because it is easier to get into. However, there are other considerations to take into account when wearing your accoutrements. A shot pouch worn so low in the field will lead to problems, mostly through lack of control when moving through the woods, or running or even kneeling. The pouch will swing about when on the move and touch the ground when you bend down or kneel. So sometimes there is a priority beyond ease of use.

I read that French woodsrunners often carried a knife attached to their garters. This may be true, but how? Under the garter, or tied to the garter? The garter secures the leggings below the knee, this means that if a knife were attached to the garter, it would be constantly in motion when walking, and when dog trotting or running it would be shaken about severely. This in itself is not damaging, but the likelihood of losing the knife is high. So I carry my legging knife in the top of my legging. It is secure there and I can feel it without it causing discomfort, and there is far less chance of losing it.

So think about these things when putting your gear together, try things out, and if they don’t work, do not just accept it as a period fact. Do something about it. On a long trek your survival may depend on you having the right equipment carried in the correct manner, and you having the necessary skills. Just as it was 300 years ago. If you are a woodsrunner, man or woman, act like one, be one. Think about your personal needs and combine this with authenticity so it all works for you.


Gorges Smythe said...

Good advice!

Jenny said...

That's lovely embroidery on your knapsack - might you say more about that at some point?

Also - what's the tube-like bag on your pack?

Le Loup said...

Hi Jenny. My wife colied it from an 18th century design. That is my blanket roll.

Murphyfish said...

Evening Keith,
Enjoyable post my good man, the same advice could easily be transferred to today's modern outdoor kit.