How to keep your pants warm and dry when hiking through rough, wet terrain?
I can't even begin to describe how practical and useful the legwraps are.
Looking the part
In my early days as a Viking re-enactor my main concern was having all the clothes and bling that others had. I would spot something lovely (in an event or online) and hurry up to make my own copy.
My so-called reconstruction would be based on something I saw, not on actual research.
My Viking garbs were lovely, impractical carnival costumes not fit for working, hiking or getting dirty and wet. I elaborate further on this phenomenon - the phenomenon of "fashionable authenticity" - in this article. I also have a PechaKucha talk on the topic.
In 2011, around the time I met Rickard, I was wearing male garbs.
Since I was only copying other peoples work and focusing on looking the part, I never really understood the purpose of some of the garments.
My early use of legwraps is a very good example of this!
Me in 2011:
I would wear legwraps as a decoration with my Birka/Rus pants.
I didn't know how to wear the legwraps or how to fasten them. They would untangle and slide off, ending with me stepping on them and tripping.
What I know now, that I did not know back then, is that the legwraps are supposed to go OVER your leg muscle...
When hiking in terrain wearing your woolen pants and hose your legwraps will provide protection from branches and thorns.
They will also prevent mud or other wet substances from getting your pants wet.
Then, when you reach camp, get ready for the night and take the leg wraps off, your pants and hoses are still dry.
Viking turnshoes provide very little support for your ankles. The legwrap supports your ankles when you hike.
And here are some fun facts:
King Edgar of England's Legwraps, 966 CE.
Legwraps shown in the Bayeux Tapestry - Scene 57 -Battle of Hastings, 1066 CE.
In WW1, soldiers from several countries wore legwraps.