Pennsic for the Beginner - How Camp Works

The information below is for Sternfeld encampment, but most also applies to whatever camp you will be with, with slight variations:

Ok, how this works is that the encampment gets 250 square feet of space for each person who camps with us. This means that the more people who join us, the better it is for our camp extras, like the fire area (150 square foot minimum), our heated shower (about 150 square feet), and the baronial pavilions which we all share as covered dining/living area and camp kitchen (765 square feet). Singles tend to take up more of their allotted space than individuals, but everyone should try to be under that 250 square foot allotment that we get.

To figure out how much room you're actually using with a tent, take the size of the tent, then add 3 feet to each dimension (the required spacing between tents per fire regs), then multiply the length x width. Any non-rectangular/square tents still use up the same amount of room for set-up, as one that is, so even rounds are figured at the square dimensions. So, take a 12x12 tent, which is a pretty standard size for a single person and often for even couples, add 3 feet to each dimension, and you actually use 15x15= 225 square feet.

Now, for singles, about 12x12 tent space works well. For a couples, I can recommend 14x14. Torquil and I have a 16 x 16 and it's very roomy, but we live in it for the 2 1/2 weeks of Pennsic and have four sets of armor and our archery equipment in it with us, and often armor for one or more of our kids. We highly recommend that, if your children are of sufficient age to camp next to you instead of in your tent, that you consider a wedge and just let me know so that I can make sure that you are camped side by side. I've also seen families where there is a smaller tent that only opens into Mom and Dad's tent. For toddlers, we have friends who set up a small pop up modern tent inside of their large tent to give both them and their small child some space. When our kids were younger, we used to run a rope just above head height on the poles of our large tent and curtain off a room for the kids.

In the Baronial camp, we charge people camping with the group $1 per person per day to cover camp expenses. These include: propane for the hot showers (the camp has them, but there are very long waits and the hot water is usually gone), a filter to cut down on the amount of iron and impurities in the water, fire wood to provide both cooking and bonfires, and drinking water so that the high iron content in the water doesn't upset tummies, A note on Pennsic water here, Pennsic water is perfectly safe to drink and must be tested regulary like the rest of the public water supply. However, because it's in the western Pennsylvania foothills, it's loaded with iron, enough so that you can sit a jar of it in the sunshine and have what looks like liquid bricks in about an hour. If you have issues with anemia, I can highly recommend you drink plenty. Many people are sensitive to too much iron and it will upset your digestive track. This is why we wash, shower, and often cook in Pennsic water, but most of us drink bottled.

Baronial camp rules are pretty simple: no obnoxious drunks in camp (quiet drunks stumbling to their tents are fine), no trash burned in the fire, keep your trash picked up, keep knives out of the reach of small hands, no illegal drugs in camp, if you're in camp and it starts to rain, you're expected to do a check of the camp to be neighborly and close people's doors. Everyone must pitch in sometime during the week to do a couple of chores, like digging or filling in the shower drain pit, putting up or taking down the common area pavillions, taking trash down to the dumpsters, filling and lighting the tiki torches and lanterns that we use for camp light.

That also reminds me, don't just bring a ton of tiki torches to Pennsic. Due to the limited space which we have, you can't have open flames just anywhere and definitely not within falling distance of a tent. If you want light right outside of your tent door, try using an enclosed lantern that you can hang on a shepards hook. You also don't want any open flames inside of a tent. The fire hazard is just too much. I use an enclosed lantern, but we have a couple of stable tables where we can set them for safety. If you will have tight space or small children around, go for the modern lighting inside of your tent. If your child wants a night light, bring along one of those rechargeable solar lights and sit it on the ground outside of your tent during the day.

The Baronial encampment uses the Baronial pavillions as a common area. Several people bring tables for us to share and everyone brings thier own chairs to use. This area is used both by people camping with Sternfeld and also our other members who are camping elsewhere but just want to come and visit while at Pennsic. It's where we eat, sit and chat, work on projects, or hold parties. One end of the area is set up as a kitchen. Everyone brings their own cooking gear. Some prefer to cook on propane stoves and some on the campfire.

The Baronial camp is on the serengeti, just a few minutes walk from the vendors at the north end of the merchant's area, the battlefield, and the Arts and Sciences tents. We have lots of drainage so that we never flood in wet weather, and good neighbors. It's a great place for people who are very involved with lots of activities and want a comfortable home while at Pennsic.

Baroness Moira MacGillavrey
Baronial Land Agent for Pennsic

The Camp Sternfeld Yahoo! Group

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