As the end of the year draws neigh, thoughts of course turn to favourite holiday.
No, not Christmas but Rowany. Alright, it is still months off, but I heard my first Christmas carol the other day while shopping and I thought it is never too early to start planning for festival.
Next year we are going to have to cope with a new experience, rain and mud. Ask some of the older members and we can all regale you with stories of wet festival, tents that turned into paddling pools and fire pits that became water features. Ah the good old days ;-)
It has been years since a wet festival and even some of the current festival veterans have not had the joy of mud before so here are some suggestions which you may wish to consider in your planning.
The first joy of wet weather camping is trying to keep things dry.
Check your tent before you go, not just the roof but the flooring as well for any cracks that may let water seep in. While standard tactics of digging a trench around your tent will help divert water, if it rains for more than a day or two then water will seep under your flooring. Remember what I said about the tent paddling pool, yep it did happen. Next is clothing and bedding, keep them both off the ground or in waterproof containers. That way if anything does leak then you will still have something to wear and keep you warm. If you don't want to spend the next part of the year polishing off rust then armour should also be kept off the ground.
One of the hardest things to keep dry are shoes.
Take some extra time before going to festival to waterproof your shoes. Better yet keep them from getting wet. Patterns are wooden shoes which strap to the bottom of your shoe, these period devices help keep your shoes out of the mud and water. At least take down extra socks so that you can feet dry if water does get in your shoe.
For women one of the hardest things to keep dry are skirt hems.
Hems act like a wick and tend to soak up water at every opportunity, the effect of a muddy wet hem was such a common event at old festivals that the mud marks used to be called Rowany braid. If you can't elevate yourself out of the water with patterns then you need to raise the hem. In period (and you can see a number of illuminations showing this) women would wear their belts lower around there hips and puff their skirts over the belt raising the hem. It also helps to have any petticoat or under dress hems shorter than normal so once you raise your outer dress hem you are not leaving another layer dragging in the mud. Better yet, choose dress styles which don't have too much excessive fabric in the skirts, or have something like boy garb as a back up for really bad days.
The next joy of wet weather is that things don't dry easily, which means that you will need to take extra care to help dry anything that gets wet.
A drying rack or even a coat hanger tied to the top of your tent will help to get your towel dry. Better yet, take more than one towel down so that you have a back up if days get bad. It is also a good idea to have some old cloth for drying down shoes or other things when you get into your tent so that you don't track in water. Extra chemises are also a good idea, you can't wash and wear garb at a wet festival. By the time they dry, festival will be over. At worst plan for a trip off site to a Laundromat and use a dryer.
Keeping warm when things are wet is also worth thinking about. Wool is fabulous for this as wool can absorb up to 80% of its weight in water and still keep you warm, this is the reason that wool jumpers are so popular with sailors. You can help things by scotch guarding your cloaks or hoods before festival; this will help them shed water in light showers.
The last joy of a wet festival is packing up wet things. Taking down some good strong garbage bags is also an idea that way you can pack up your wet muddy things separate from your clean gear. Make sure you unpack these as soon as possible otherwise you will have mould as well as mud to launder out.