Steampunk Camping with The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -

A co-operative group interested in camping and outdoor life with an old school / steampunk twist.

I’ve spent a good deal of my life under canvas from backpacking and bushcraft to festivals and living history camps. I believe the camaraderie of the camp fire is hard to beat and I think there are others out there that feel the same.

As with many of the best ideas the Steam Tent Co-operative is a simple one. we take a group of people interested in camping with an old school / Steampunk twist, we find a site where we can camp and we get together and set up an encampment a little less ordinary.

Camp furniture and equipment. Steampunk Camping with The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -
A small and simple one man patrol tent set up. Steampunk Camping with The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -

If you are interested in getting involved, visit the FaceBook group page where these events will normally be co-ordinated or you can drop me a line for more information here.

Our last event of 2019 was a Crafts and Skills camp on the August Bank Holiday weekend

Click here for a report on that.


a larger, more complex Bell tent interior. Steampunk Camping with The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -
Hurricane lanterns are ideal for lighting. The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -
priming an old brass stove. The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -
Tool boxes for craft workshops. The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -
Building a world a little less ordinary. The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -

Of course, putting such ideas into practice if often not quite so simple but with the right people, willing to work together and give it a go, we might just be able to create something extraordinary.

I know it is possible because I have worked around living history displays, put on for public events for well over twenty years. The big difference with these events is that they will be organised for ourselves. No public to entertain, no clients to satisfy, just us enjoying what we do.

I already have access to a couple of campsites where we could set up a Steampunk encampment. It shouldn’t take much to cover our costs

Old style canvas tents are obviously an ideal choice for these encampments but we would certainly consider other modified tents, vans, trailer tents, as long as they were in an “Steampunk” or “Old school” style. Creativity will be the key.

On some camp sites it may be possible to have a separate “plastic” camping area for modern tents which would allow interested people to join the camp life without the full investment that having old style canvas requires.

Old hurricane lamps are cheap and safe. They can often be bought for peanuts at junk sales but the light they give is very effective and doesn’t wipe out everyone’s night vision like a torch or electric lantern does.

Read more about lighting here.

The important thing will be building and maintaining a atmosphere and that will require co-operation from all involved.

We all know we have to buy and transport our food in plastic containers but it doesn’t take much time to transfer it to an enamel plate or dish in the privacy of our own tent before carrying it to the fire side for cooking.

Likewise, pouring our beer into a tankard or getting some vintage bottles for our evening tipple is not too difficult to do but it maintains the atmosphere that everyone can enjoy.

You can read more about stagecraft and simple tricks to achieve the look we hope for here.

Evening falls at Rough Close. The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -

Cooking over an open fire may suit some but for others it may be a chance to dust off that old Primus stove for a brew up.

Between us, we already have much of the communal equipment we might require but much of it can be found at boot sales often perfectly usable or sometimes in need of just a little restoration.

the perfect blend of vintage, antique and Steampunk.

Some thought may have to be put into your costume,

Everyday Victorian / Edwardian clothing is very practical around camp but you may want to consider just how safe a silk ball gown would be around an open fire.

We should have plenty of water buckets around if they are needed  but we would prefer that people did not require dowsing.

Dressing out your own tent may be just the excuse you need for rummaging around your local antique stores or building that project you have in your mind but don’t know where to display it..

Our Inaugural Gathering at Rough Close, May 2018. Steampunk Camping with The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -
A variety of clothing worn at the Halloween Camp.  The Steam Tent Co-operative. © James Howarth -
The Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson - www.Steamtent.ukThe Steam Tent Co-operative. © Gary Waidson -