Show Basics by Ben Connor


I remember rocking up to my first show back in 1999 with only a pair winter M65 trousers (I know, totally incorrect), a 3rd pattern shirt, a pair of repro boots and nothing else, suffice to say the first night was rather uncomfortable. As a group we don't battle, we purely attend shows so investing in comfort gear is sensible. Shows are great to share the hobby with the visitors, educate people on the history of the war, units and the men and women who found themselves in South East Asia, and there is also the social side, sit down and talk about the hobby with other people with the same passion, I guarantee, you will learn things you didn't know!
There may be space in one of the groups tents, but having your own pup tent is a good idea (make sure you buy two sides!, it's called a shelter half for a reason). Thinking about items in the order of importance, a sleeping bag is critical, I would recommend either an M1949 mountain bag or an Extreme Winter bag. A period chair (plenty of period style chairs on ebay). Either a period cot or rubber bitch (Air Mattress). I personally cover my Cot with an ERDL centre seam poncho liner. That then gives me storage below the cot.
As a group we are very well equipped with period items, radios, weapons,  so don't worry if you still have lots to source. There are normally items for sale within the group, so don't spend your money too early, plenty of bargains to be had. The shows we attend have many other Vietnam groups, who all get along great, quite often we jointly sell items. Some of my best purchases have been direct from other re-enactors.

To Summarise

Sleeping Bag : Either an extreme winter bag or M1949 mountain bag
Cot : Period wooden frame cot or later aluminum cot
Chair : Period US military chair or period lawn chair (You will be glad you had a chair!)
Tentage : Shelter half tent x 2 plus poles and pegs
Subsistance : Half tins of food without their labels work well. Evening refreshments