First Time In Armor

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(Note: This article is currently tailored toward armored combat. A similar article, or this one will be edited for rapier combat in the future.)


Loaner Armor

Armored combat is a staple of the SCA. A goal of most groups running this activity is to increase participation. In many cases, loaner armor will be available for you to try out. Loaner armor is almost always a challenge since it is often hand-me-down equipment in varying sizes.

As a consequence, loaner armor seldom fits perfectly. The primary goal of loaner armor, and your first experiences in it, is to be safe. Your host group will be aware of current Middle Kingdom armor standards should ensure that you have a safe experience.

What to Bring

Even when your host group has a supply of loaner armor, there are things you should expect to bring. For garments, some of these may depend on your host group's loaner armor; please discuss it with them.

Legal Bits

  • ID if you look young.
  • Parents if you are young (under 18). Please note that youth combat is an activity that requires separation authorizations for fighters and marshals, so please confirm appropriate individuals are available. Also, armor standards for youth fighting differ from those for adults.
  • You will be asked to sign a waiver if you don't already have one on file with the SCA.


There are two goals for your garments: You should be able to easily move in them. They're there to prevent the armor from rubbing against your skin.

  • Groin protection appropriate to your sex. I.e. an athletic cup or a "jill".
  • Long sleeved shirt. Long sleeves are often helpful if you'll be wearing vambraces or other forearm protection.
  • Long pants.
  • Work gloves.
  • Something to keep the sweat out of your eyes. A bandana works well here as do biker skull caps.
  • Closed toed shoes.

Completely optional: A change of clothes for when you're done. You'll be getting heavy exercise, so expect to sweat!


  • A large bottle of water or sports drink. Some venues where practices are done don't have easy access to water.

What Next?

You had fun in armor and want to know what to do to continue to participate?

  • Look at the Midrealm Marshal's Webpage for lots of resources.
  • Read the rules of the list! You probably went through some of the basics as part of your practice.
  • Start discussing how to acquire or make your first set of armor. Do yourself a favor, focus on what gets you into your own armor no matter how ugly, first. Pretty and historically accurate comes with time!
    • Consider discussing purchases with your local group before ordering stuff. While many online merchants offer "SCA ready" gear, you'll want to get the opinion of the people who've been doing this for a while before ordering.
    • Your local group can also help you check into the reputation of online merchants, especially for expensive items like helmets.
  • Join the SCA. Membership is required to fight in the Middle Kingdom.
  • Work on getting authorized

Most of all, be safe and have fun.

See you on the field!

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