Generally I try not to do product- based blog entries (here or on my personal ones) but I think sharing good items with people is key to making working at a hot, wearying renaissance faire a little better. Here are some items I was SO grateful to have this last weekend.

As the butt of the joke-‘what sits in the sun and smells like bacon?-An Irishman’, I’m a little obsessive about -Sunscreen: My absolute favorite is the Neutrogena line of sunscreens. We have a member with an Aloe allergy, so it’s all he can use and these are smooth, drying and resilient. They are expensive. As a friend used to say, it’s a good purchase to the get the high end of a relatively inexpensive product. If you don’t care for these then I can say nice things about the Aveeno line and these have special sweat-tolerant  ones as well. I rarely use Banana Boat if I can help it as it has ruined a number of my shirts with bizarre stains. Even a mediocre sunscreen is better than none at all. And be diligent about reapplication. Few things are worse than doing a second day at the faire, sweating onto burned skin and feeling twice the burn.  And almost everyone in Phoenix Swords wears HATS. It may seem counter to staying cool but it really is not only a great accessory but protection.

Bugs: I buy the stuff with DEET, specifically the Off products. Other ways we cope: eating garlic, using lavender oil and Avon’s skin so soft. But some of the places we travel I swear the mosquitos just lick the oil off and treat it like a sauce.  I get that we all want to be environmentally friendly but in my green little heart I have made my peace with DEET products. And I’m not just going to talk about outdoor bugs, you need to think about indoor ones as well. Because not every place has good exterminators or sometimes it’s just part of the landscape. In the South, roaches are a fact of life-be it a mansion or a tin-roof shack.  New England is rife with Lyme Disease, Budbugs are a plague in New York. And if you haven’t experienced chiggers…well you are going to have some long-lasting scars.

You should do Tick checks
How to do a bedbug check

We have a “roach protocol”-that we store dirty laundry separately and knot up the bag when we finish. We keep our luggage away from roach “happy places” coffee machines, microwaves, trash, the bathroom, food. We recommend bounce sheets for those without allergies. We shake out everything before the re-pack and if there is any additional confirmation of roaches before leaving. The luggage gets fumigated in a bag and lives in the car for a couple of days.  So far, so good.

It’s good to have flip-flops (just like camp) if your hotel is seedy. And I like to have a good vinegar rinse when I come home and soaking your poor bug-eaten feet in some vinegar and water  helps take out the sting.

We have  a first aid kit (actually more like four) but we keep trash bags, safety pins, a sewing kit and random bottle of water with it as well. Also-device that tells time, we have a rule: no running to shows and be alert.

I’m going to finish it up with BE RESPONSIBLE. When you are neglectful of your own pre-planning and equipment, that is YOUR fault. Not the people beside you, not the faire organizer or the staff or your group. This is not an end-all be all list but some things you need to keep in mind as well as all the other items like your sets, shows and safety!

If anyone has additional suggestions/ideas –throw them into the comments!