It all depends…the time of year, the climate of the Gathering land, and the location of the space.
I’ve been to the “big four” Faerie Sanctuaries, in Oregon (Wolf Creek), New Mexico (Zuni Mountain Sanctuary), Tennessee (Short Mountain), and Vermont (Camp Destiny). While each camp may require specific things not needed in the others, this is a list of what can be taken, in two suitcases or less, to any of these four lands. Most of the gatherings are held in the summer months, so this list reflects the hottest days of the year.
Depending on where the gathering is held, clothing conducive to the weather expected. Rain coat in Tennessee, hiking boots for inclement weather in New Mexico, and jackets and sweaters, for nearly every location. It’s good to have a set of cold weather clothing, even in the summer. I generally pack thermal undies and shirts. Don’t forget your “gay apparel!”
A good-quality tent, a spare tarp, and tent-mending glue. The tarp is for wet weather conditions, to supplement the rain fly. Tents invariably leak, sometimes with disasterous results, so prepare to repair! Inside the tent, bring a battery-powered inflator and an inflatable bed. I use a rechargable tent inflator, made by Coleman. If you’re packing light, just take a sleeping bag and an “egg crate” to lay on–the ground can be deceptive!
It gets dark quickly in the forests where we find Faerie gatherings. I usually purchase cheap LED flashlights at Dollar Tree, to supplement my solar-battery flashlight, and the light with the “hand crank.” Always bring spare batteries, for the lights that need replacement batteries. And a recycle bag for the disposed batteries. “Head strap” lights are handy when you’re setting up camp at night, and you need to use both hands. I sometimes bring solar battery LED yard lights, but with a caveat: you’ll need to move the lights to a sunny location in the daytime, and such lights don’t always recharge on a cloudy day.
Remember that ZMS, Short Mountain, and Destiny are off the electric grid, and as such, anything that runs on 120v AC power may not work, during cloudy days (ZMS). You might be limited in the use of computers, PDAs and other electronic items, since all four locations are far from cell phone towers, and the WiFi that is available, is often limited. Destiny has no electric service, phone lines, or powered anything.
Personal Grooming and Bathing Supplies:
Bring at least one, if not two, bath towels for your own use. Bio-degradeable soap and shampoo is a must. Solar heated showers are found at all four sanctuaries, so plan to use the shower late in the day, providing that the sun’s been out most of the day, if you prefer heated water. Don’t forget your “manual” toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste!
Food and Drinks:
Bring food to share in the communal meals. You’ll be loved greatly, if you ask ahead of the Gathering, and find out what food is acceptable. Sometimes it’s a “veggie only” gathering, sometimes it’s not. Also check in with the gathering organizers, to find if alcoholic beverages are OK to bring and share.
I recommend that you bring drinking water for yourself, to a Faerie Gathering, Though the water at all of the sanctuaries is safe and potable, I prefer to have my own “stash,” just in case the water serving the kitchen is disrupted, or when there’s a problem with the plumbing or the pump delivering the water.
Bring a camera:
to photograph the landscape, and some of the people. All of the sanctuaries offer picture-conducive settings. When taking pictures of fellow gathering attendees, always ask if you can take pictures of them. Some of your fellows may come to the gathering seeking anonymity and freedom from being photographed.
Things to leave behind (or stored in your car):
Candles, and “Open Flame” items. Particularly in the summer, when fire danger is high, all of the sanctuaries frown on any open flame. Also plan on using the communal fire pit, since often it’s the only place to burn anything, even in wet summers. As you make your plans, check in with the gathering organizers, to see if firewood is needed. Usually, it’s not, since the forests surrounding our sanctuaries provide lots of free firewood.
Leave your cell phone in your car, since the only thing that may work is the clock. Time goes by at gatherings, so a clock is non-essential, too. Recharging cell phones is limited, and may not be possible at all.
Clothing to exchange, at the “Faerie Drag Closets.” I take clothing I no longer need to the sanctuaries, and usually find clothing I can wear and exchange. Book exchanges may also be available at the sanctuaries. Enjoy the “free trade” that is found in sanctuary.
So that takes care of the basics–housing, clothing, food, water, cleansing, and night light.
Finally, remember to Pack It In and Pack It Out. Bring a bag for your disposed items, including tents with bad zippers! Take your trash and recycleables home with you, and then dispose of them properly. Our Sanctuary Stewards and residents appreciate this–and will love you for it!