Nemo's Dwarf Kit

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Nemo of Calh
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Nemo's Dwarf Kit

Postby Nemo of Calh » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:59 pm

So, I've been meaning to do it for a year, but I finally got my Dwarf gear up and running. For a bit there, I was waffling on the time period for it. I didn't know whether I wanted to do Second Age from Khazad Dum, who was trained by Elves of Eregion in woodcraft and fought in the Last Alliance, or whether I wanted to do an Erebor exile who could have more influences from the cultures we know more about from the north in the Hobbit/LOTR. The advantage from the first would be "mithril" armor (shark maille) that I could wear easily all the time, and the advantages to the second would be a pipe and more references to gear in the books. I guess I'm settling on an Erebor dwarf at this point.

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This is the most recent picture I have of my main set of garb for this character. I'm second in from the right, and I've been growing out my beard for a while now. It's meant to accentuate my height (or lack thereof) and girth. It's a padded "jacket" with a hood, a la the dwarves from the Hobbit. The sword was just because it looked cool at the Ren Faire we were at, it's not part of the main kit. The fur I might keep with the kit, especially since it would help pad the straps on my pack frame, and I could use it as a bed roll, but I'm not sold on it. Under the jacket is a maille hauberk, since Dwarves think light of burdens.

The garb is pretty much staying the same, but I couldn't use it this past weekend, since the event I went to, SCA's Great Northern Thyng, was around 95-100 degrees the whole time, and I didn't feel like making it any harder on myself to sweat through my clothes and start to cool off.

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Here I am in lighter garb, with all of my kit. My goal for the weekend was to be able to carry all of my gear (minus SCA fencing equipment) with me to get to camp. I had to modify that plan when my girlfriend said she wanted to come with me, which is way better but also required different prep. We roughed it significantly less than I would have otherwise. So, we dropped off all of our shared gear at camp with the car (my large oilskin I folded into an enclosed tent, air mattress, her gear, some of the food, etc.), and I "hiked" in with my kit for only about a quarter mile or so. I wore baggier garb still to accentuate my dwarvishness, but with the heat I kept it to thinner layers. The sternum strap on the pack frame is adjustable via a taut line hitch and is kept attached on one side with an S hook. I like this solution because it could easily have been done in period, and it is a possible solution to the hooks that kept the Dwarves' packs "about their shoulders" in the Hobbit.

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The pack is surprisingly comfortable to wear, though I need practice having that much weight solely on my shoulders and not on my hips at all. The way everything is lashed is convenient to get to with the pack off, and anything I might need while actively walking is kept on my belt or in my haversack (weapons, a few rations, water, pipe, fire kit), so I can keep the pack on as long as possible.

On the outside, what you're looking at is, top to bottom, oilskin tarp, blanket cloak (pin is kept on the haversack flap), oilskin food bag, and oilskin miscellaneous bag, which is currently holding a second wool blanket and my backup clothes. On the left side of the frame is my flute (going to make an oil skin bag for it), and on the outside of the compartments is my backup axe (which will be replaced with a mattock eventually), and my corn boiler. Everything is as quick and easy to get off the frame as it can be. I wanted to stay away from leather as much as possible not for any practical reasons or anything in the source material but because of an idea I have about Dwarves that they would like to use the most crafted materials possible, so woven textiles would be a more time/skill intensive item than leather, giving the dwarves more of an opportunity to show off their skill.

I wish I could show off the actual camp setup, but there are a few reasons why I can't. First, both me and my girlfriend are terrible at remembering to take pictures. Second, since I was setting up a bigger camp than usual, it wouldn't look how I'd want it to. And third, even though I set up my new, smaller oilskin as a gear tent outside of our small sleeping tent, a massive thunderstorm hit Saturday afternoon. We were prepared, and I'd set up a modern tarp to cover the gear which worked better than half the modern tents everyone else had set up, but the wind changed direction just before the storm to the EXACT OPPOSITE DIRECTION my tarp was set up to handle. By that point, the modern tarp was set up to cover the proper direction, so I just took down the oilskin and stored it rather than risking ruining all that work I did on it. I really wanted to test it though, and the rain we got would have been perfect. The rest of my camp weathered the storm perfectly, and all of the gear was dry enough thanks to my old oilskin and the modern tarp (both of which shed water rather than absorbing it) that I didn't even have to dry anything before storing it when we got home.

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Here's the full kit spread out. Directly on the table is my oilskin, my cloak, and my blanket. Top left are the three bags: haversack, food, and clothing, all now empty. Bottom left are my extra clothes, largely just for changing into at the end of the day so they're dry. I'm going to replace the wool doublet with a wool tunic. Top right are my cotton rope, canteen (will be replaced with a leather one), and corn boiler. Across the top are all my weapons: sling staff (more info on that when it's 100% complete; it's going to be what I carry in places where people might get worried if I constantly have a weapon in my hand), walking axe, hand axe, seax (an upcoming project will be to make a new sheath that doesn't include the by knives, since I have a utility seax now), and backup axe (which as mentioned before, will be replaced with a mattock). Bottom center is my food, kept wrapped up in cloths: hard cheese, dried apples, dried beef, sausage, and walnuts (meant to make hard tack before this event but forgot, also not pictured is the dried oats that are in a plastic bag). The center cloth is kept in my haversack to be close at hand while walking and includes a small selection of all of the rest of the food.

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A closeup of the smaller stuff, which is kept partly in my haversack and partly in my possibles pouch. Utility seax, pipe/tobacco pouch, needle case (going to upgrade it to sewing kit by wrapping it in various threads/sinews and patches), bone spoon, and flint and steel fire kit (going to switch from mostly punk wood to mostly charcloth for the aforementioned Dwarven craftiness reasons).

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There's only a few things I currently want to update:
-Aforementioned seax sheath, finishing of sling staff, better water bottle, oilskin flute bag
-Small shot pouch for sling
-Mid sized knife or seax that can be lashed to the staff to make a spear
-Oiled strike a light bag that can hold some tinder in addition to the fire kit
-Fishing kit for the possibles pouch
-Bracers to bulk up my forearms

I'm sure I forgot to mention something because I'm writing this more or less stream of consciousness. Also, hopefully the pictures work. Apparently Photobucket charges to host pictures now so I'm trying to use facebook to host them.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
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Elleth
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Re: Nemo's Dwarf Kit

Postby Elleth » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:39 am

Cool! That's nicely thought out!

I can't help but like external wood frame packs for Dwarves, but confess I don't recall the reference. Am I just imagining things based on a vague memory of the Professor's doodles, or does he actually go into detail in the Hobbit somewhere I'm missing?

The walking axe is grand. :)
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Nemo of Calh
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Re: Nemo's Dwarf Kit

Postby Nemo of Calh » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:54 am

Thanks! There's no explicit reference as far as I know; I also just liked the idea of dwarves with external frame packs. I need to go back through the Hobbit and jot down every reference to dwarf equipment. The only one that springs to mind about packs is the part in Mirkwood when they take one of the hooks that Tolkien says they used to secure their packs "about their shoulders" and use it to get the boat they find across the stream. There was a thread about it a while back here. All that really tells us is that the pack was on more than one shoulder and used at least one hook to secure it. I think it's also the same thread where there's a picture that Tolkien drew off all of the dwarves walking, and they have phrygian caps (I'm really happy I found one in my colors) and packs evenly spaced on their backs, which in my mind likely means they're across both shoulders. Basically, it frees me up from using a bedroll, which I don't find comfortable to carry personally.

I'm a big fan of my walking axe. It's custom built, with a Damascus bit, and the spike on the back is mainly for arresting a fall on ice, since I'm theoretically going to be crossing mountains a decent amount. At least, that was the plan when I designed it.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
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Iodo
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Re: Nemo's Dwarf Kit

Postby Iodo » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:58 pm

That's an amazing kit, I really like your interpretation of the reference of a pack hook from The Hobbit, I puzzled over that for quite a while and ended up deciding that it might mean a hook on the end of a burden strap of some kind. The frame pack has a really dwarven feel to it, the only thing stopping me going down that road is that it's hard to make work with a cloak and I like cloaks to much

I've just got to say it though, with that pack and that kit, you look exactly like I imagined one of the traveling dwarves exiled from Erebor would :P


Nemo of Calh wrote:I wanted to stay away from leather as much as possible not for any practical reasons or anything in the source material but because of an idea I have about Dwarves that they would like to use the most crafted materials possible, so woven textiles would be a more time/skill intensive item than leather, giving the dwarves more of an opportunity to show off their skill

What an interesting thought, is this why you've used a lot of fabric straps on the pack when they could have been leather? I should give this some thought, in most cases If I can use leather I usually do

Also you mentioned the fur, maybe a dark partly felted sheepskin might look more road-worn and suited to the traveling dwarf? It could be waterproofed with lanolin? and the sling staff looks really interesting, I'll look foreword to more info
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
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Udwin
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Re: Nemo's Dwarf Kit

Postby Udwin » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:11 pm

Well done! (If I may say so, I think you have a very dwarvish face so it really helps sell the impression!) Quite an improvement from your Nemo of Calh kit years ago...
Good job on finding a way to make that hook reference work in a functional way. Is the 'full kit' picture everything you would carry on the trail? (I just ask because three axes/hatchets seems a bit excessive) I look forward to seeing your walking kit once you have mattock in hand and phrygian hat on your head!
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Nemo of Calh
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Re: Nemo's Dwarf Kit

Postby Nemo of Calh » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:43 pm

Iodo wrote:
Nemo of Calh wrote:I wanted to stay away from leather as much as possible not for any practical reasons or anything in the source material but because of an idea I have about Dwarves that they would like to use the most crafted materials possible, so woven textiles would be a more time/skill intensive item than leather, giving the dwarves more of an opportunity to show off their skill

What an interesting thought, is this why you've used a lot of fabric straps on the pack when they could have been leather? I should give this some thought, in most cases If I can use leather I usually do

Also you mentioned the fur, maybe a dark partly felted sheepskin might look more road-worn and suited to the traveling dwarf? It could be waterproofed with lanolin? and the sling staff looks really interesting, I'll look foreword to more info


That was my plan with the cloth straps and the sash. In cases where I had to use leather for durability purposes, like boots, belt, sheaths, that's what I went with. I don't know if I'll stick with it for the pack frame or not. Leather straps and buckles would make everything more adjustable in the ways I need it to be. We'll see how much I like what I have now.

Udwin wrote:Well done! (If I may say so, I think you have a very dwarvish face so it really helps sell the impression!) Quite an improvement from your Nemo of Calh kit years ago...
Good job on finding a way to make that hook reference work in a functional way. Is the 'full kit' picture everything you would carry on the trail? (I just ask because three axes/hatchets seems a bit excessive) I look forward to seeing your walking kit once you have mattock in hand and phrygian hat on your head!


I'd like to think I have a pretty dwarvish face! The Nemo kit was pure fantasy that was originally rooted in the movie Ithilien Rangers, then got influences from various video games. It looked cool, but was way too fantastical in what I carried. I had almost no room for food, but I had pouches of various stuff I would never need. I also never understood until I tried sleeping in it how little insulation leather provides and how cold sleeping in sweaty clothes makes you.

The full spread picture is what I currently would carry on the trail, but I do need to replace the natural handle tomahawk. It's a placeholder for weight purposes right now, and also something I can feel free to beat up rather than my custom Damascus bitted tomahawk. The walking axe is almost totally a weapon. The head and haft are pretty thin, so I do not want to be cutting wood with it. The tomahawk is the wood processing tool, but also a ranged weapon and backup melee weapon. When I get the mattock, it'll be 100% tool except as a last resort. Mostly for digging, somewhat for high angle walking for arresting falls.

I also kind of want to get more of these Cold Steel trail hawks, cause the weight and size are pretty darn close to my custom axe, and I can practice throwing them and not care.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
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Taurinor
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Re: Nemo's Dwarf Kit

Postby Taurinor » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:12 pm

I agree with Udwin - your kit has come a long way! Good thinking to pack your gear in; even short little trips like that can provide you with a lot of valuable information. When I go to the southeastern Ranger moots, I always try to limit myself to the gear that I can carry into camp on my back in one trip, even though those events are basically car camping with old fashioned gear. Since it's a short walk, I still carry a couple extra things that I don't when I'm out on a proper pack-in overnighter, but I feel like it keeps my "stuff" down to a reasonable amount.

Nemo of Calh wrote:There's no explicit reference as far as I know; I also just liked the idea of dwarves with external frame packs. I need to go back through the Hobbit and jot down every reference to dwarf equipment. The only one that springs to mind about packs is the part in Mirkwood when they take one of the hooks that Tolkien says they used to secure their packs "about their shoulders" and use it to get the boat they find across the stream. There was a thread about it a while back here. All that really tells us is that the pack was on more than one shoulder and used at least one hook to secure it. I think it's also the same thread where there's a picture that Tolkien drew off all of the dwarves walking, and they have phrygian caps (I'm really happy I found one in my colors) and packs evenly spaced on their backs, which in my mind likely means they're across both shoulders. Basically, it frees me up from using a bedroll, which I don't find comfortable to carry personally.

Here is the Dwarvish backpack thread - it contains both the image and the hook quote that you're referring to, as well as some possible interpretations.
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Nemo of Calh
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Re: Nemo's Dwarf Kit

Postby Nemo of Calh » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:45 pm

That's the one! I was real excited when that thread appeared. Whenever I'm camping, with modern stuff, for work, or for fun using period gear, I always want to just take what I can fit on my person. I hate taking forever to unload a car. I'm glad I finally found a way to carry everything on my back or my belt. It's much more convenient.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

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