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This page is for tips and tricks on period camping and reenacting the Texas Revolution. We welcome submissions to this page, but please note that long submissions (lots of detail or drawings / pictures) may be posted as a separate article. Also please note that these are in no particular order.

For those who do not keep everything packed in a trailer between events, it helps a lot to have a "packing list" so needed items do not get left at home. I have one with the following categories: Tent, Kitchen, Food, Firepit, Strikealite (fire starting), Weapons, Fishing, Sewing, Clothing, Personal (personal care), and Misc. -- Webmaster
P.S. Since I got my trailer, I found out I personally still need lists for food, clothing & other consumables (firewood, lamp oil, candles, powder, etc.) - W.

When digging your fire pit, lay the sod aside for replacement later. You can use some of the dirt dug out to create a border or frame around the hole six inches or so to keep the fire from spreading (very useful in dry grass areas). -- Ruth

Some people hide a modern ice chest under canvas. Others custom make a cratelike box with insulating foam inside, and still others use a canvas bag with several layers of blanket lining to hold their cold stuff. If you freeze water in heavy plastic soft drink or juice bottles, your food stays dry and you have cold water to drink if you need it. Also try to minimize the number of times you open your cooler, and keep your cooler out of direct sunlight, to keep stuff cold longer. -- Webmaster

Put a plastic tarp under the canvas floor of your tent. It keeps the ground moisture from rotting the canvas, and keeps your stuff drier. -- A. Dodger (Jim)

Until you get your wooden keg, cover your water cooler with a canvas bag or a blanket, if the event allows. -- A. Dodger

A shade tarp is a wonderful thing. If it's sunny, it's a shade; if it's raining, it's a dry place outside the tent. Most camps have 'em; simple and relatively inexpensive. -- A. Dodger

Some people buy canvas in the paint department (drop cloths). Experience has shown that for tent and fly canvas, you need something with a tight weave.-- Webmaster

Another note on fire safety: One reenactor has stated on the Internet that of the half-dozen or so tent fires he has seen or heard about, a commonality among them was recent use of liquid waterproofing. Most of these are petroleum based, and will allow a single spark to remove the tent and its contents from the camp spectacularly. Flame-retardant, tight weave canvas is the answer to that; do what you can afford, but always be careful.-- Webmaster

I just (July '04) read an article on camping and heating one's temporary quarters... a very old method still used by some is to heat rocks or bricks in the campfire, and carry the hot masonry into the tent. The rocks will give off heat for quite awhile... An old trick was to warm a rock, wrap it in heavy material, and place it between the covers at the foot of the bed, to keep the feet toasty for hours. Newer methods involve cheater-heaters that run on propane, Coleman makes a small one called the Black Cat that is catalytic (gets very hot, but not an open flame, and is UL listed to use in a tent with adequate space & ventilation). Cautions? Of course there's cautions. Overheated rocks can set canvas on fire. Poorly insulated foot-warmers can scorch your feet in your sleep. River rocks and limestone can explode when heated, when the water in them tries to boil. Space heaters need space, carbon monoxide kills, be careful with fire. Read the instructions. Be safe... --Webmaster

Sometimes we need less common foods for demonstrations.. I go to Longhorn Meat Co. (wholesalers) 2411 E Martin Luther King Jr. Austin, TX (512) 476-5228 for slab smoked bacon with the rind on...when at an event I can carve off as much or as little, as thick as I want... Trianon the Coffee Place - No 1, 3201 Bee Caves Road Suite 163, Austin, TX 78746 will sell me green Mexican coffee beans for roasting. You can roast them in a dry skillet, and the coffee is wonderful. You must, however, keep them moving (stirred/shaken so they do not all scorch on one side) and keep a close eye on them. The natural oils that turn the beans brown are flammable. (I have lost a few batches that way.)
So check your local suppliers, and don't be afraid to ask. Either they say no and you are no worse off, or they will make the sale.
Our very own Leo found another Austin area supplier for green coffee beans, at Texas Coffee Traders, 1400 E. 4th Austin, Texas 78702 www.TexasCoffeeTraders.com. They carry beans from Montana, Costa Rica, Texas, Russia, and more. 1-800-343-4875 or 512-476-2279 fax 512-476-3617 Email rc@coffeetraders.com . --Webmaster

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