8 Live Roleplayers Share Their Best Packing List Tips (LARP Packing)

Joining live action roleplaying (LARP) is great fun, but you need to make sure you bring everything you need.

Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a great adventure and realize you forgot something at home 🙁

To improve how we pack our bags, we have talked with 8 experienced live roleplayers and asked them to share their best advice.

Read on and learn from their best tips and tricks (all of them have years of experience, so they really know what they are talking about!).

Live roleplaying, equipped horse

The 8 Live Roleplayers


Robbie Leggett

I have pretty much grew up in Devon had the pleasure of attending a ‘local’ LARP for nearly 10 years now. Just was lucky to have a group of friends all shared similar interest, and one year we all decided to try it out together. Looking forward to experiencing new LARP’s in the near future and even going abroad to try a LARP in Europe!


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all live roleplayers bring?

I am quite responsible for a large group of people camping together. Because of this we end up grouping together for a Van and bring a lot more of the luxurious items such as a wooden table and a black bin with a lid. I also bring a length of solar charged fairy lights, this makes our encampment rather pretty and it is practical on deterring anyone wanting to be sneaky.

How do you bring things with you?

Now these items come in their own crates, or just as is in the Van. But I keep all my costumes, underclothes, and toiletries in my Mountain Warehouse hiking bag. The multiple compartments keeps my items organised when in my tent and being able to be carried on my back can really make a difference if the camping area is far from where I can park the Van.

What are your top tips for other live roleplayers?

Layers for warmth and plenty of socks is key to surviving most events. Sun cream and drinking water is the thing I have seen a lot of role-players mess up with, too many prepare for the cold and rain and forget that heat and sun can be just as dangerous, especially when it is cloudy.

Most people’s dreams about LARP are always blown out the water withing the first day of an event. But you will never have the pleasure of experiencing this if you do not try, get a group of friends together and dive right in!

Visit Robbie Leggett (Committee Member)’s website


Deborah Myers

I live in Devon UK, I became a LARPer because it’s my now husband’s hobby and he got me hooked. It was our first trip away together and I spent the whole weekend confused but had an amazing time.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all live roleplayers bring?

  • Carpet – last year we upgraded our bell tent to have a carpeted floor. It was well worth the extra space it took up in the boot, it kept the tent warmer at night, made it easier to keep the tent floor dry and clean because we always took our boots off instead of just walking in and out with dirty boots. It also help stop the blow up bed from deflating as quickly as normal.
  • Portable sewing machine – I have a mini crafting sewing machine that works off batteries. It’s great for fixing costume emergencies on the field. I help run an event and sometimes you have to prep for things players spring on you out of nowhere including making costumes from scratch for certain unexpected plot lines, this makes it a whole lot easier.
  • Tarpaulin – this can be used for so many things, making a quick shelter, loading and unloading your camling kit on to it if the ground is particularly wet or muddy, can even be used to water proof your tent if it start to leak chuck it over the top, add an extra entrance to your tent by using it as a canopy or for an area for some much needed role play in the rain.

What are your top tips for other live roleplayers?

I always buy my food and drink after I’ve set up at the event, as long as I know I’ll have time and there is a local store. It saves room in the car for kit on the travel to the event. I try to eat all the food I buy so I don’t have to take it home again or I give out what’s left to other players before I leave to lighten my load home.

You only need two costume changes unless you plan on dying a lot. With just two costume change, you can easily make a 3rd or even 4th just by mixing and matching your two main changes maybe even ask the crew if they have any spare kit just to cover you for the weekend.

I see a lot of people invest a lot of time and money into one character costume and pack only that. Always bring spare clothes in case your character dies or you get wet and muddy you need to keep warm and dry. So make sure your costume isn’t in eight bags because you need 12 layers for that gypsy skirt and a handful of pouches that hang off of four different belts. Make sure your costume is detailed of course but if you can lighten your load by even a few items and the costume still looks amazing then it’s best to do so.

LARP isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you think you would like then find a small local group that caters to new players and send them an email. Ask them if they have any advice, could you meet a member of the games team to help explain the rules, could they put you in contact with a person who is also new to the hobby that might have joined their club recently and could help you as there were where you are now not that long ago. The larp community is one of the friendliest bunch of people you might come across, never a stupid question or a wrong answer just friendly advice.

Visit Deborah Myers’ website


Aesa Garcia
I am originally from Niagara Falls, NY. I currently live in Fort Worth, TX. I got into LARP after a friend I knew through bellydance was talking about a new campaign starting up in the DFW area in 2012.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all live roleplayers bring?

  • Shower tote that looks like this: https://www.amazon.com/Attmu-Organizer-Compartments-Conditioner-Accessories/dp/B00LSN9TFA It’s usually where all my toiletries live, and it’s separate from my costuming/luggage so I can take it on the small hike usually required to get to the bathroom/showers.
  • External charger for phone. A/C power is usually pretty rare on sites, so having an external charger means I don’t have my phone dying mid-weekend.
  • Flashlight: I tend to use these ones: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Gear-Flashlight-Whistle-Lanyard/dp/B004D33ONK Having the option to have the light be white/colored is good for not breaking immersion, and is super handy for getting stuff out of my luggage without waking up the room, going to the bathroom in unlit buildings, navigating dangerous terrain, etc.

Things people bring that are useless: Not sure I’ve seen much that’s ‘useless’, but more uncommon things I’ve seen are dry-cleaning clothes hangers (most people don’t bother), things that use electricity on sites that don’t support it, anything overly valuable or breakable or sentimental, and impractical food options (insufficient water, high sugar foods, things that are not able to be cooked on site, etc.)

How do you bring things with you?

My current bags are American Tourister, which was a set that had two suitcases (medium and large) and a duffel. They are brick red, which is nice since it fits my character’s color scheme. Usually I put socks in one internal pocket, underwear in another. On the outside pockets, I’ll either put flat character props, or a change of clean clothes for game-off. One pocket sometimes becomes the ‘dirty laundry’ pocket to separate clothes as they get used/dirty.

Inside I’ll divide clothes into outfits, so that it’s easy to grab a stack and change. Pajamas will be in one corner. Soonest to be used clothes on top, backup layers underneath. I will tuck larger props (weapons, extra shoes) along the sides. If I have room, my toiletries bag will go into the suitcase on top. If traveling out of state, I might take two suitcases, one for game, and one for doing real-world things on the days before/after. Sometimes it’s a duffel + suitcase.

I feel I’ve gotten better at using space efficiently, but generally a larger suitcase is better than a medium one.

What are your top tips for other live roleplayers?

I find it’s very helpful to pack clothes in ‘changes of clothes’, so I’m not bringing things I don’t need. Having extras like socks easily accessible is great. I usually bring some layers that are changeable with the weather, and check the weather before I go.

Wheels are also a huge help. Some sites you can’t drive close to your area of staying, and you have to go across rough terrain. Suitcases that are sturdy with larger wheels and good tow-straps or handles are ideal. You also usually are lugging your luggage in and out of your house to wash your costuming 1-2x a month, so making it easy to load/unload from the car and get upstairs as needed is great. Some sites provide carts, but others do not, and if you’re arriving after game-on, there may not be transportation. Hauling a suitcase up a gravel road at night is exhausting. Don’t do that if you can help it.

Visit Aesa Garcia’s website


Chaosgate
We are a Live-action Roleplay company set in the heart of Cornwall, offering a high fantasy style game. The admin team have almost sixty years combined experience as larpers/players. We decided to create Chaosgate as it can be a hassle for Cornish larpers to travel to most other events in the country, as it can cost a lot of money, and we wanted to bring the fun closer to home.

We now have a good-sized larp community right here on our doorsteps and it feels like an extended family to us, one we hope to continue to expand in the years to come.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all live roleplayers bring?

  • A travel alarm clock! It’s amazing how helpful it is to know what the time is as an event organiser, but you don’t want to be looking at a watch or pulling your mobile out every five minutes as it breaks the immersion of the game.. Popping back to the tent to check the time when you need to is so much easier.
  • A very large, heavy cloak.. It looks awesome as part of your characters kit, and has the added bonus of keeping you warm and dry in the inevitable British summer (it tends to rain a lot!) Plus, if you get chilly at night, hey presto! Instant extra blanket.
  • A hot water bottle.. Yes it may sound like you’re an old lady, but pre-heating your sleeping bag can make it feel just a little bit more like home and not so uncomfortable or cold when you finally crawl into your tent after drinking round the campfire.

How do you bring things with you?

We tend to use a variety of bags and suitcases. The best way to bring your sleeping gear (sleeping bag, SIM, pillows and blankets) is in a large laundry bag as it keeps it all together. Character kit and accessories and regular clothes etc tends to be packed in a hard shell suitcase as it holds its shape and can easily be stacked in the car.. Anything else gets packed in a collapsible basket that then doubled up as storage inside the tent.

Larp weapons, especially longer ones like spears or staves, benefit from being packed in a fishing rod bag as it’s designed specifically to make carrying long items easier. We have seen allotted though, golf bags, gun bags, and even the odd musical instrument cases (1930’s gangster style!)..

We’ve tried various ways of packing over the years and have found the best way is to section your stuff.. Character kit one end, mundane/regular clothing at the other. And lots of mini bags/cases to keep your toiletries, medication, make-up, accessories etc separate and easy to grab without having to rifle through your whole case.

Visit Chaosgate ‘s website


Dr. JodyLee Estrada Duek
From Los Angeles, California.

Recently retired as a biology professor at a small college in Tucson, Arizona.

Two years ago, my husband saw an ad for a three-day LARP. It sounded interesting so we went, although it was a long trip to Philadelphia to Dragon Thrones 1. Since then we’ve attended Dragon Thrones 2 and 3 and Cursed Castle, and are signed up for Dragon Thrones 4.

We’ve also done online LARPs which are usually three hours at a time for three consecutive weeks.
We’ve been both cast and participants at Renaissance Faires across the nation for just under 15 years, so LARPs were an obvious extension of that.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all live roleplayers bring?

  • Folding laundry hamper with net laundry bag to deal with soiled clothing
  • A baggie filled with herbal teas and sweeteners
  • A lanyard with space for passport, $, tickets, iPhone with music, eyemask, and herbal supplement for travel.

The most useless thing was the portable scale we bought. It lasted one trip, and was dead a month later. New batteries didn’t help. Waste of money.

These items above a) keep me organized, b) provide the things I like to have at hand, and c) things that help me relax (teas, music, eyemask, supplement)

How do you bring things with you?

Sorry, I’m at a meeting and don’t have the name of my luggage. I use one large and a matching smaller one, plus a large non-matching carryon.

I organize things with the little mesh packing cubes. One for undies, one for socks, one for t-shirts, one for long sleeved blouses and sweaters. One for skirts or pants. Then the largest cubes I can put an entire set of garb in a single cube, complete with jewelry, headwear, scarves, belt, etc.). When unpacking I can put the entire cube in a drawer and they keep me organized and greatly ease unpacking at the hotel.

Of course, I don’t have enough room. I could always bring an extra set of garb, or a larger headpiece, or…

If you wish I can file an amended record tonight with the name of my luggage.

What are your top tips for other live roleplayers?

For role players specifically, I’d suggest organizing things by day / event. Then putting each pile into a large packing cube – include everything you will wear, jewelry, etc., and any headwear, specific prosthetics such as ears or scales, and makeup.

Visit Dr. JodyLee Estrada Duek’s website


Tom Dowler
I’m a live action roleplayer and general narrative enthusiast based near Cambridge in the UK. I run The Wayfarer Chronicles, who have recently run our flagship LARP game, Exiled on the Shores of Carmoa. Exiled is a Small Fest LARP based around a personal IP, that takes my love of the Golden Age of Piracy, and all those amazing Rogues in stories and gives them a place to play!


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all live roleplayers bring?

  • I have a faux fur blanket that goes everywhere with me (for LARP) it’s the warmest thing in the world.
  • I’m a bit of a regular joe, I bring all the regular stuff. A mad amount of socks and boxers. Always!
  • A good cloak.. Just,… why wouldn’t you, it’s a blanket, a disguise. It’s everything you need in one bit of kit.

How do you bring things with you?

I tend to have mostly unbranded stuff, whatever I can lay my hands on, a couple of boxes of kit, that are just ottoman boxes bought from a local Dunelm Mill, which do really need replacing, it’s quite hard to find things that look in character though that are hardy and wearing and don’t hurt to lug around. There was a Wax Cotton sailors pack I saw once that would have been perfect, but it was super expensive and I didn’t have the money at the time.

I definitely never feel like I have enough kit when I set off to site, but I do normally make it through the event. I’ve been looking to travel to different countries to LARP also and it’d be nice to have an In Character looking back that I could fit all of my armour and kit into along with my civilian clothes.

The hardest things to pack are always Shields and weapons. You have to be super careful with them and often pack them on top of everything else, which makes for super funny looks when driving on the motorway or carrying them on trains.

I’m a victim of also never packing enough bin liners to put wet items in, some way to separate out your dirty stuff from the not so. That’d be nice!

What are your top tips for other live roleplayers?

Good boots.

Lots of clean, fresh underwear.

Socks (preferably some seal skins. Those bad boys are AMAZING)

Something to sit on.

Be awesome to one another, a lot of the people in our community are amazing, and they see you struggling, they’ll do everything that they can to help. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Visit Tom Dowler’s website


Nicola Iliffe
Photo credit: Mark Petrie

I’m a live action roleplayer from the UK, and have been a member of the Fools and Heroes system for the last eight years. I fell into LARPing by accident through meeting the local Liason Officer for the system whilst at University, and found it to be such a welcoming and vibrant community that I’ve never looked back. Our system runs across many branches throughout the UK, so there is always somewhere running most weekends, and I feel blessed with the friends I have made up and down the country over the years. I help out as a first aider, props and costume maker, and the occasional ideas generator for one of the game runners.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all live roleplayers bring?

The top three things I bring to weekend LARP events would be my camping chair, a canvas bag and my sewing kit. The chair helps keep me comfortable when sat around in my camping area or whilst in the in-character camp, my canvas bag allows me to carry my toiletries and clothes from my tent to the showers and back again on a morning with little fuss, and my sewing kit has helped patch kit whilst in the field.

One time I had to sew up a sleeping bag after the zip tore, another time I’ve added some ties to a banner to help it hang straighter when set dressing one of the Knightly Order’s tents; and at a recent gathering my sewing kit was borrowed by the referee to fix a monster costume that had suffered a little under the attacks by the players. It was nice to know that I helped in a small way just by having my sewing kit to hand and supplied with plenty of thread, cord and safety pins.

The most useless things I have seen people bring are flimsy pop up tents that are used and abused for one event and then discarded. As much as it’s great people are able to buy tents on the cheap and have one for their gear and one for themselves, it’s distressing to me to see them abandoned in the skip at the end of the event – all I can think about is the waste of money and the effect on the environment.

How do you bring things with you?

When I used to travel to events crammed in a small car with several people I did my best to limit my gear to one rucksack (Hi Gear phantom 55+10 SD) of clothes, a heavy duty reusable shopping bag of armour and my sleeping bag and mat. Now that I travel in my own car I’ve found my kit has expanded as I can afford to pack the car differently. I usually split my gear into heavy duty reusable shopping bags for the heavy armour (plate, leathers and chainmail), monster gear and some of the bulkier pieces of character kit, with in-character and out-of-character clothing packed into a cargo bag (Hi Gear Lugga 65L cargo). Splitting the gear into the shopping bags allows me to carry my gear across the camping area from the car with relative ease and helps keep my tent in some vague semblance of order.

I probably don’t have enough space in my bags as everything always seems to be spilling out over the top, but being able to lift the bags in and out of the boot of the car on game days makes things easier to manage. I probably need to take less stuff, but I’ve found that as the space available has grown so too has the pile of kit I ‘need’ to take – no matter how kit-light I attempt to make my characters. The cargo bags are fantastic though as they have shoulder straps like a rucksack with the space of a suitcase, and can be squashed down into spaces better than a hard-shelled suitcase.

Photo credit: Ian Hiddleston

What are your top tips for other live roleplayers?

When packing for LARP, I recommend people consider their mode of transport first, then the gear they ‘have’ to take second. If you’re travelling solo by train you’ll have to pack differently to if you are travelling in your own car. Once you know the bags you’re able to take, you can review your character kit and pack the essentials that are your character (armour, key pieces of kit); then the essentials for life like toiletries, extra socks and underwear, street clothes for the return journey, sleeping bag, tent and walking boots. I always recommend taking a personal first aid kit and some snacks for yourself to keep you going between meals, but these can take up space that may be needed for the important things. Having several pairs of fresh clean socks at a wet weekend event will lift the spirits more than having a first aid kit you don’t use.

There is no point taking every piece of armour or clothing your character might own if you’re trying to pack light, as lots of things can be reused. Changing underwear is a must in my book, but if your tunic and shirt are worn a couple of days in a row it isn’t the end of the world. Pack a few spare items just in case your gear gets sodden in bad weather, but apart from that just try to fit as much of your gear as is reasonable into the bags you’re planning to take. It might be possible to pack as you would to go on holiday, but I try to make things easily accessible for each day of the event and pack it so that I can grab a set of clothes each morning when heading to the showers, rather than in flat layers.

The best recommendation I can make about getting involved in the hobby is just to get up and go. There are often local groups all over the place and once you’ve reached out and got in touch with their organisers, they can fill you in on what you need. Sometimes a group can offer simple gear to help out newcomers or to equip a starter character on their first events, so you don’t even need to have a completed costume to start. Every LARPer has been where you are as a beginner; and are happy to offer pointers or share costuming tips or resources to help you develop your character’s gear and skills. But you won’t know that until you’ve reached out and begun your journey to becoming an adventurer.

Visit Nicola Iliffe’s website


Hollie

I’m a larper and event organiser based near Manchester, UK. I run a Manchester-based low fantasy system called ERDA, which is going into its 5th year this season. I also have a degree in games design.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all live roleplayers bring?

  • I bring a power brick for my phone: I mainly run events right now, but there’s nothing more annoying than being at the furthest point of the site without a working phone. It’s my torch, a way to get in touch with my team members.
  • I also bring an electric heating pad or hot water bottle: I get very cold at night no matter if I’m indoors and outdoors, I also bring fuzzy blankets along with my sleeping bag. As nearly everyone’s mum says – You can always take layers off! A hot water bottle or heat pad also eases muscle aches if you need it.
  • Slippers!: If you’re in a big bell tent or sleeping inside, they’re very useful to have around the tent or building especially first thing in the morning – I hate having cold feet in the morning and helps your temperature stay up before bed. Just make sure you take them off if you’re going outside – I have destroyed slippers like that before. Whoops.

How do you bring things with you?

Unbranded Duffle bags, normally. They’ve got a bit of give for soft stuff – though I have brought stuff in plastic or cardboard boxes previously. When I’ve taken public transport, a luggage case has been my friend. I’ve always wrapped my weapons in things to not only protect them but to not freak anyone out too, though when I have had them exposed, UK police officers have always been friendly about them. If I have overspill, I normally throw stuff in plastic bags.

What are your top tips for other live roleplayers?

If you’re concerned about forgetting something, make a list in advance and check it off as you pack – which is normally my modus operandi.

Please make sure you have excellent boots. Boot covers are always a thing if you’re worried about the aesthetic but boots have saved me from several broken/sprained ankles previously.

We’re all in our games together – if you’ve forgotten something or need something, please don’t be afraid to ask – there should be something knocking around to help you, or someone can offer a lift somewhere for you to go get what you need. Please make sure you drink enough water and have enough to eat – low blood sugar is very nasty. Also, bags for muddy shoes: very useful.

Visit Hollie’s website



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