Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Hard Kit is all other accoutrements that are not clothing, weapons or armour. This includes pots and tents, and flint & steel, and other things like that.

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Glaenry
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Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Glaenry » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:03 am

If you came from my soft kit post, thanks for helping me out! If you just found this, welcome, I am looking for things people think can be improved upon, added, taken away, etc from my hard kit. There are some things I already know I still need like fire kit, first aid, sewing, a spoon (I am carving one now) cordage, but anything else I might be missing please let me know!

*Not pictured because I forgot (and not all may be used):
Leather Bracers
Black, Long gambeson w/ removable sleeves
My Bow, which is back home in CT. It's not directly ME accurate as it's a recurve with a polycarbonate handle and detachable wooden limbs, but I have sent for it nonetheless. I've been thinking about using throwing knives as well. Also, not pictured here.
Machete, which would look rather falchion like if I rehandled it, which I plan to do.

Hard Kit.jpg
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Pictured top to bottom and left to right:
1. Waxed canvas backpack
2. reversible shoulder or belt bag, one side is green for day, the other, dark blue for night, as to better walk unseen.
3. Cowhorn mug, may be replaced by a kuksa if I am able to find a good burl to carve one.
4. Sword and scabbard. 42 inch type XIV bastard sword, sharpened.
5. Small cooking pot, fairly light
6. little leather bag for herbs, or what have you
7. large leather pouch currently for pipe, though could be a needs wallet instead. But a ranger needs pipe weed too...
8. suede pouch (not pictured, my other 3 for a total of 4)
9. Seax knife. Razor sharp. I plan on making a scabbard.
10. Wooden bowl, could also serve as a cup if need be
11. small phial hopefully for cordial if I can find a good recipe to brew. Thinking of using absinthe instead of vodka as my extractant.
12. brooch
13. Small clay pipe (as per Gandalf in the hobbit)
14. Wooden churchwarden (Gimli's pipe, for you eagle eyed viewers)
15. Round pouch with cake tobacco in it
16. Water skin (not totally period)
17. Pocket whetstone
18. Small notebook for musings, lessons learned, maps, troop movements of the Enemy

Let me know what you all think. For food, I'm thinking, jerky, portable soup, flour, a small back of dried beans or something, small potatoes and onions and dried fruit.
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Darnokthemage
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Darnokthemage » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:51 pm

We know the Lake-men used long swords, so this sword would fit!
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Elleth
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Elleth » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:59 pm

Cool! I think you have a fantastic start!
Don't have time at the moment for a full review, but a few thoughts -

Backpack: looks fantastically functional.
IF it matters, we've found that backpacks/knapsacks don't tend to work well with back quivers, and for the most part have settled on some combination of blanketroll and snapsack to solve the same dilemma. If you're not carrying a quiver however, the point is totally moot - and we do have pictures by the Professor's own pen of Dwarves carrying baggage on their backs, so they're clearly a known thing in Middle-earth. That said, the Professor has also said that cotton does not exist in Middle-earth: at least in Eriador. It's not something I'd make a priority right away, but eventually I'd think about replacing it with a pack of linen or leather.

Cowhorn mug: I have a set of them I use at parties and LOVE them - but I don't think they're especially suited to the trail. One had the handle break off when a guest simply dropped it on the floor while washing, and horn softens in contact with hot liquids. While I don't know if kuskas are a Middle-earth thing, I have one for another context and absolutely adore it. There's just something about a personal cup of the forest filled with flame-boiled water that's magical.

Pot: What RULES is that it's clearly a "brought from home" affair. Given the relative material poverty of a pre-industrial culture, I rather suspect those would be more common that the personal little boilers some of us have. That said, it's got a modern look to it. I think I'd be looking to replace it eventually with (preferably) a small iron cauldron or (just fine) an early style pot of copper or brass: I'll find some examples later today.

Cordial - cool! I have a recipe I love. Let me find the recipe....

edit: here we go:
1 cup(ish) brandy
¾ cup (ish) whole oats
1 Tbsp Basil leaf
1 Tbsp Nettle Seed
2 Tbsp Nettle Leaf
- once tincture infused, mix 2 parts tincture: 1 part honey


viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3211
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Darnokthemage
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Darnokthemage » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:50 pm

On the topic of Kuskas, they have the same origin as the viking wooden drinking bowls, and i think they easily can be used as Northman drinking bowls. If you get one in wood, moght be fun to make some waterbird carvings in it. Mine has a reindeer carving on the horn decoration. I like taking inspiration from them when drawing Dwarven and Northmen stuff, at least the eastern kind.
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Elleth » Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:11 pm

More thoughts about pots/kettles:

Leaving aside unique eBay finds, antique store finds, etc -

Since our version of "historical trekking" springs mostly from 18th century historical trekking hobby of a generation or so ago, we've sort of inherited the copper corn boiler as a default trekking pot -

Greg really recommends Backwoods Tin:
http://www.backwoodstin.com/
( I believe item ck-19 - Corn Boiler)

Other vendors of the same manner of small trekking boiler are:

Goosebay Workshop: http://goosebay-workshops.com/Pots-and-Kettles (corn boiler, porridge pot, English and French trade kettles)
Westminster Forge: http://westminsterforge.com/cookingpots.html (corn boilers, early trade pots)

merf-kettles-backwoods-westminster-boilers.jpg
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I've a sentimental preference for Goose Bay copper, but they're all very good.
(I think the flared "bucket" pots from Westminster on the right there look quite Hobbity)

For the last decade or so in 18th c. circles, corn boilers have started falling out of favor in the "stitch counter contingent" to the better attested trade kettles:
merf-kettles-goose-bay-trade-kettle.jpg
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These are still fairly expensive from the usual suppliers.
(Crazy Crow has a cheaper version, though their cheapest stuff is generally more suited to mid-19th century. You can also sometimes find the same manner of vessel they sell as a flower pot on eBay and the like - just be sure to get a tin lining)
Finally, at least in the Northeast US, you can still find the "brass pail" kind of kettle pretty regularly in antique stores, although you have to look out for cracks/leaks and (toxic!) verdigris.
If you're willing to put in the time for the hunt however, the originals are still sometimes cheaper than the repros.

ALL THAT SAID -
For "our period" I think we generally want to look farther back, at least for those outside the rather anachronistic Shire.

Taurinor has a redware pipkin from Townsends that I believe gives good service, albeit with more fragility and weight:
merf-kettles-townsends-pipkin.jpg
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https://www.townsends.us/products/redwa ... 180-p-1214

Medieval models are as I recall pretty darn close. Someone more expert than I could go into differences in design and glazing, but I still think it works PERFECTLY for his "common man from Bree" impression.

My personal favorite for Middle-earth and medievally fantasy generally however is pieced iron.
I love love love the custom piece I got from Royal Oak back before he got super-famous with a wait list years long -
Image
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=3867
https://royaloakarmoury.com/

He might still be able to squeeze a little iron trekking pot in sooner, but I can't speak to that.
Greg recently commisioned one from him as well. Hopefully at some point the pictures return - viewtopic.php?f=27&t=4226

A cheaper faster option is Taberna Vagantis -
https://www.etsy.com/listing/204851566/ ... handicraft
I purchased a larger kettle from Merek there last year - a buddy of his in fact makes the things, and he's willing to take a bit of custom direction.
I asked for mine without paint, which I think has worked well - I prefer the fire-blackened look.

The finish is rougher than Royal Oak, the surface hammering perhaps not quite so artistically done - but they absolutely look period, hold water, and serve well.

Either way, I *love* pieced iron, and I think it's absolutely the way to go for any Middle-earth persona intentionally heading into the wilds.
But of course I'm biased. :)


Finally -
CAST iron pots are - if you care - generally from a later period than we're interested in here. It's my understanding the metal technology just wasn't there for cast iron vessels until the post-medieval period.
I'm totally willing to buy the Dwarves managed it though. I can totally see them running blast furnaces in those mountain chasms, and the Dwarven cast iron pot designs from the Hobbit films are amazing!
Regardless, cast iron generally is too heavy to make it a good trekking choice. The historical stuff is thinner/lighter than modern repros generally, but it's still not a first choice for us and wasn't in period either.
(In fact, there's a cute true story from the RevWar period of a band of soldiers just getting tired of carrying their cast iron kettle and leaving it by the side of the road. :mrgreen: )

That said, I recently brought home a darling little cast iron "pipkin" that would make a quite good trekker's pot.

merf-kettles-cast-iron-pipkin.jpg
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I don't personally think it works for Middle-earth, but like it on its own merits nonetheless. it's not *terribly* heavy, and despite a crack still seems to hold water well enough to make a porridge.
It's probably mid-18th century, and for all I know actually did sit over some hidden campfire back when this land was still howling wilderness hundreds of years ago.

Hope that helps.
Last edited by Elleth on Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Darnokthemage
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Darnokthemage » Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:58 pm

Image

On the Topic of cast iron, this is the depiction of the Trolls couldron in the hobbit. Might be cast iron or Bronze, fat too big to be used when trekking! Tho if anyone is building a farmstead, it might be useful information.

(Also, id that three drinking bowls we see the Trolls use?)
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Elleth
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Elleth » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:24 pm

Oh! One last thing about waterskins.

Ursus has a good post on overhauling those commercial botas to look more "rangery" here -
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=3920
Image

If you want to go whole hog traditional, here's the best way I've found, with links to vendors:
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=4143
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Elleth
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Elleth » Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:43 pm

Last thing re: cast iron. I dug up the pictures of WETA's stab at Dwarven cast iron:

merf-weta-dwarven-kettles.jpg
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It looks like the original sketches were pretty fleshed out, but in the end in production constraints meant they just customized some off-the-shelf cast iron.
Hardly anything to complain about, it looks like their plate was pretty full.

Some of those original designs though, maybe even in bronze... yum!

(I'm quite fond of that bag on bottom left to!)
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TaylorSteiner
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby TaylorSteiner » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:48 pm

Awesome! Love the Darksword armory blade! I've heard of them flying apart though! Be careful ranger!
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Darnokthemage
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Darnokthemage » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:58 pm

If they do, might want to replace the handle with one of Viking asthethics, if your going barding, that is. Would be perfect for lake-men longsword.
Last edited by Darnokthemage on Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Glaenry
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Glaenry » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:52 pm

I'd heard that too, but upon further research, I decided a lot was actually negative hype from competitors. They also revamped their tang construction in recent years to make consumers feel more confident in the blades. Norse style 2 handed swords are beautiful though, saw some pics in other sword related posts here. Flattered you recognized the maker! My only complaint is that it came "sharp" but it needs a lot more work. I don't want it razor sharp, but sharper than it is now.

I really do want to go the Barding route, the only thing really holding me back, is how sad it makes me that I won't be able to call myself a Ranger. I am currently doing historical research to see what evidence there is for a scout style trekker in Nordic countries. I might also decide to take a Dwarvish word for my title, something that will fill me with just as much pride to be called as would the term Ranger.
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Glaenry » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:56 pm

Darnokthemage wrote:We know the Lake-men used long swords, so this sword would fit!


Can you point me in the direction of the sources for this? I'd love to read. Your post on Lakemen/barding clothing was also a fascinating read, thanks so much! I was actually afraid that they didn't use longswords, but this is great news!!
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Darnokthemage
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Darnokthemage » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:04 pm

Can you point me in the direction of the sources for this? I'd love to read. Your post on Lakemen/barding clothing was also a fascinating read, thanks so much! I was actually afraid that they didn't use longswords, but this is great news!!


"beside them came the men of the Lake with long swords"

The hobbit, somewhere in the battle of five armies, have gathered all the interesting quotes in your first post, A question for Loremasters. :)
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby TaylorSteiner » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:10 pm

Sad to hear that Darksword had unnecessary bad hype. Glad to hear they've improved! How old is your sword?
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Re: Looking to have my kit critiqued part 2

Postby Glaenry » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:17 pm

TaylorSteiner wrote:Sad to hear that Darksword had unnecessary bad hype. Glad to hear they've improved! How old is your sword?

Very new, just bought it this past March. Hasn't seen combat, I've only been able to swing it around by myself.

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