I don’t live in the past—I only visit—and so can you!

VIKING HIKING VIII

Staves

Shorter canes are infrequently found, but walking staves are not. The staves should be simple and probably weighted at the end. Calling them trekking poles, Christine Bore notes that “On those uphill climbs, trekking poles help take some of the weight off your hips and legs by utilizing your arm strength.

On the downhill, they help ease the pressure on your knees. And on those stream crossings, these puppies have saved me more times than I can count by helping me balance.”

Weapons

The trekker is not going to war, so hopefully he will not be dressing to go to war. Maille and a helmet are heavy, and there are some weapons which will hinder rather than help you on the trek. Some weapons are designed primarily for war—for killing people—and not merely for defense. Some weapons are for war, while others may be used for war but are primarily meant to be utility tools.

The sword—both the single-sided scramsax and the double-sided broadsword—was not only primarily a weapon of war but would be rather awkward on treks.

The spear could be used in various incarnations as, for example, a boar spear, and it could be used as a staff and was certainly not as clumsy and single purposed as a sword.

The axe was famously a heavy-duty weapon, but smaller, lighter, more easily transportable axes and hatchets were used primarily for cutting and shaping wood although if needed, it could be a weapon of self-defense.

Bows were of different strengths, but they were used for many purposes. The arrowheads determined the real purpose of the archery.

On the other hand, there are certain weapons—tools if you prefer—that are essential, both for hunting and for working in the wilderness.

Bows and arrows could be used for hunting and were fairly easy to transport.

Axes and hatchets were extremely useful for practical purposes.

The seax or knif could be used as a weapon of last result but was primarily used for practical, small tasks. It cuts cord, slices food, could prepare kindling and do many other practical tasks. Everyone of the time had at least one seax; even the thralls had a—presumably small—utility seax because it was so useful.

Some kind of whetstone should be brought. Like a utility seax, it is essential!

Beneath it All

There is precious little that we know about what was worn as underwear in period. If any was worn as all. As long as the underwear is not seen and does not affect the silhouette, wear what is needed unless you are trying to duplicate what might have been experienced at the time. If the weather is cool or cold, feel free to wear thermal underwear and woolen socks.

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