I’ve always been lucky with going to LARP events – I’ve always had my own car to fill with as much stuff as I could squeeze in. I know some friends who regularly take public transport to events and I’m always amazed at how they pack so lightly. Of course that’s slightly disingenuous because I usually take a bell tent and stove (as well as a whole load of other junk) but that’s beside the point.
However for the next Curious Pastimes event I’m packing light. The site doesn’t allow cars to drive right up to where you camp, so (as I understand it) everything must be loaded onto a trailer and taken to your camp. And of course the reverse happens at the end of the weekend. Now, that’s not really for me. I know my limitations and driving right up to where I pitch my tent is more or less a ‘must happen’ experience at LARP for me. But a friend offered me a space in their tent and a lift to site from my front door so I could hardly say no!
So we’re two weeks away from the event and I’m starting to consider what I really need to take in order to have a good time. Food requires the most pre-planning so it’s where I’m going to start. Usually I cook from scratch most meals at an event because I have a Frontier Stove inside the tent. It’s so easy to cook a curry or something in a big pot for a couple of people to share, and it’s cheaper than eating at the traders on site. I also can’t eat a large chunk of the food on offer at the events I go to either, so this means I get what I want.
This time though, I’m taking my Primus ETA Lite stove. It’s basically the twin brother from another mother of the Jetboil that you might be more familiar with. It boils half a litre of water in 60 seconds. It doesn’t really do anything else. You can’t, for instance, cook porridge in it because the heat is so fierce that it will just instantly stick and burn to the bottom. So you have to start thinking in terms of what can be cooked by rehydrating and reheating rather than by simmering.
Oh – and I’m doing it without a coolbox too.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got to eat breakfast each day. If I don’t each breakfast I turn into an even more grumpy version of myself by approximately 1000hrs and by lunchtime I’m unbearable to be around.
Actually breakfast is the easiest meal of the day for me, because I quite often go to the gym first thing in the morning so I’m used to throwing a Fuel10k liquid breakfast down my neck and getting on with it. I might also pack some sachets of instant porridge, but if it’s a hot event I most likely won’t want them anyway. (If it’s cold or wet though…)
So my plan is to wrap each breakfast up in a bag that also contains one of those little Starbucks Via sachets (I’m not an instant coffee drinker and I’d prefer tea generally but there will be no milk), and the tablets I take every day. And then hopefully, I won’t forget anything before I’ve had my first coffee of the day.
I’ve had friends who LARP say to me before that they just forget to eat at events. This is… very much not me. I love food, I love eating, and I’m basically always hungry. My plan is to take snacks to graze on throughout the day instead of having a fixed ‘lunch’.
But a combination of trying to pack light and not having a way of keeping things ice cold rules out most of my usual options. I also need to get all the shopping done early in the week because I have a few things on the days leading up to the event. So where am I with my ideas?
- Laughing cow triangles don’t need to be refrigerated – it says so on their website.
- Oatcakes come in little packs of five in the supermarket in bigger boxes.
- Trailmix can be made up yourself at home (I don’t eat nuts… yeuch).
- You can buy individually wrapped chocolate brioches in the supermarket.
- The crisp and chocolate biscuit aisles are bound to turn something interesting up.
So of course this is going to lead to the kind of pre-LARP shopping trip that I secretly quite enjoy, where I push a trolly around and decide which food I’m going to snack on by which brand has the least offensively out of character packaging. I’m sure my lunches will be entirely random and make no sense at all. Oh, but will include several individually wrapped herbal teabags because I have a cupboard full…
If I was more organised I’m sure I’d cook my own cakes and things to take with me. But the reality is that I’m not.
I’m one of those people that has to eat something hot for at least one meal a day or I turn into a grouch – just like breakfast. So I’m going to do the same as what I do every day at home, and take noodles.
My partner mocks my filthy noodle habit. I buy really cheap Chinese style ones from Amazon in a bulk box of 40 – but I can’t help it, I really love them! Indo Mie Mi Goreng are fried noodles that come with the packets to make a sauce. They’re nothing like Pot Noodles though – they’re a thousand times better. And they only cost 33p a pack so they make me feel more like I’m actually embracing the student lifestyle thing.
Noodles are one of the few things that cook really well in the Primus ETA Lite and Jetboils. I usually add the water and the four sachets of stock ingredients before mixing it up, breaking the noodle block in half and putting them in. Then I light the stove, bring it to the boil (it takes a little longer than it would usually) and keep it boiling for as long as I can before it foams over the top of the cup. The stock ingredients make the water foam when you’re using a jet boil because it’s such a fierce heat. But that’s ok, but the time that happens you can turn the heat off, put the lid on, and wait a few minutes like you would a pot noodle. Then it’s done! Easy. Just be careful about using metal utensils inside your nice non-stock pot (note to self: pack some disposable chopsticks).
So anyway, I hope this has given you some ideas for things to try at an upcoming LARP where you have to pack light. I’ll report back after I’ve done a minimalist (for me) weekend at LRP in a couple of weeks time. My aim is to eat for under about £6 a day, which is the cost of a meal from one of the traders.
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