Getting Started Resources

Jomsborg is a face-to-face organization: we use the internet to communicate but our real deeds are what matter most. For this reason, your first step in getting started to is to connect with someone in the organization and come out to a weekly training if you can.

  • The structure of the organization and its methods are outlined in the Jomsborg Constitution for fighters, and similar information is outlined for Útland Storm Hearth members in the Útland Storm Hearth Constitution.
  • To get a sense for worldwide Modern Viking culture and especially the culture of Jomsborg, watch the award-winning documentary To Go Viking – [1:45] trailer here.
  • Jomsborg is associated with The Jomsvikings, an organization of worldwide-elite fighters inspired by the historical Jomsvikings.
  • When we train our fighting system and Hearth skills, we dress in casual, modern clothes.  For public shows and formal Viking events, however, we wear “kit” that we strive to make as historically-accurate as possible.

Basic Kit Guide for Beginners

This page is designed to help you create or purchase your first Viking Age reenactment kit. This is a basic guide, intended to serve as a practical “jumping off point” and not an exhaustive list of all the pieces of kit that would be appropriate to wear.

We make suggestions for what we consider the Minimum outfits for males and females, and also Upgrades to add as you flesh out your kit.

For supply sources and vendors you’ll want to know about for the construction of your kit, see our Artisans page.

General Notes for your First Kit

overallKitpic

  • Your basic garments should be made of 100% LINEN or 100% WOOL. Other BAST fibers such as hemp are acceptable, but NO synthetics and no blends (Read all the fiber contents carefully, many fabric stores sell linen/cotton, linen/rayon, and linen/poly blends.) You may use small quantities of silks, such as for trims, cuffs, and embroidery (this item was available to Vikings by trade, but would have been very expensive.) If in doubt, choose a plain weave.
  • For all fiber products, avoid using colors that could not realistically be achieved by a natural dye. Colors on linen should be somewhat muted compared to colors on wool. Avoid bright/true red and solid black on linen.
  • Avoid “T-tunics” and short sleeved tunics. There are many sites that sell them (although, a sleeveless tunic worn as an under-layer is fine.)
  • Keep ALL machine stitching hidden from view. Using tablet woven trim or doing topstitching/simple embroidery by hand (instead of or on top of machine stitching) improves the overall look of your kit. Look at designs from the archaeology as you consider embroidery, such as wood/stone carvings and jewelry finds.
  • Be wary of “Viking-style” trim that is machine made. There is a lot of it around, especially in local fabric stores, and they are usually made of synthetic fibers. Card-woven or tablet-woven trim in wool or linen is best.
  • Regarding footwear, some allowances are made for safety of fighters (non-slip soles, etc.) but please avoid any soles that look like modern workboots.
  • Do not use any modern fittings or notions, such as grommets or zippers. There is no evidence for the use of these in the Viking Age. (Some Eastern style kit MAY include Viking style buttons, but please consult a local member about the most appropriate choice for your kit.)
Vikings carried (and advertised) their wealth on their bodies. Jewelry was used for both decoration and currency. Try to have at least one piece of jewelry in your first kit.
 

Critical Notes:

  • Some vendors produce excellent reenactment-quality items, but almost no vendor’s inventory is categorically acceptable. Before you make significant purchases for your kit, make sure it matches the period and location of the other items in your kit. Feel free to ask!
  • If you are a fighter looking for information/advice about weapons, armor, shields, and other combatant gear, please ask a senior fighter the next time you attend training.

Moving Beyond the Basics

The Vikings roamed far and wide: originating in Scandinavia, they traveled as far west as North America, as far east as Russia and as far south as the eastern Mediterranean. They adopted the cultures of places they traveled, so an Icelandic Viking would look very different from a Rus Viking.

After upgrading your basic kit, you are encouraged to take it in whatever direction you like. However, be very careful to avoid “mixing and matching” between specializations. If you want to build a Western persona, it is important that you keep distinctly Eastern items out of your kit, and vice versa.

map

Minimum Female
Non-Fighter

(dress, belt, shoes)

A. Tunic dress

IMG_1231
Made of linen or wool.

B. Belt

womanbelt
Leather or tablet woven, 1 to 1.5 inches wide.

C. Shoes

smallshoes
Leather turn-shoes with ties or toggles.

Upgrades

(pouch, apron dress, jewelry)

D. Pouch

pouch
Rectangular, leather

E & F. Apron, Brooches and other Jewelry

IMG_1233
Brooches required to connect straps to apron, and women should have at least a beaded necklace, for the neck or between brooches.

Minimum Male/Fighter

(tunic, pants, shoes, belt)

A. Tunic

mensTunic
Made of linen or wool.

B. Pants

pantsSmall
Straight-legged, with a gusset in the crotch, made of linen or wool.

C. Shoes

smallshoes
Leather turnshoes with ties or toggles.

D. Belt

manBelt3
Leather, 1 to 1.5 inches wide.

Upgrades

(weapon, pouch, jewelry)

E. Weapon

smallScram
A scram, axe, spear or sword

F. Pouch

pouch
Rectangular, leather.

G. Jewelry

manJewelry
At least a Thor’s hammer.