My name is Ingrid Galadriel and this is a blog about my adventures in history, crafting, farm life, film production, music and nature. When I'm not doing farm life activities I'm a documentary producer at UpNorth Film and a project manager in Hands on History.

 I hope you have a nice stay!

Sleeping shelter aka Tarp

Sleeping shelter aka Tarp

Me, Heidi & Rickard decided to start vlogging. We won't make any promises about consistency or quality. We will however promise to have fun. 

Here´s the very first Hands on History vlog post (with some additional info for the true nerds). 

A sleeping shelter - or a Tarp as we call it - can be made from different materials. 

When we were kids we learned how to make them from pine twigs and posts. 

These constructions are called Gapahuk in Norwegian.

The word Gapahuk translates "a gaping something squatting down".  

Photo from  The Viking Way . Gapahuk made from pine twigs and skins. 

Photo from The Viking Way. Gapahuk made from pine twigs and skins. 

When Viking Hiking, building a sleeping shelter from twigs and posts proves to be hard work. 

Both because we are dead tired when we reach camp and because we can't always find materials. 

So, we bringing an extra cloth with us if we want to stay semi dry. 


Another factor is that we don't believe Vikings travelled around with their entire bedroom and living room. A Tarp fits very well with a BWC (Bring What you can Carry) policy. 

What am I saying? 

We don't believe Vikings travelled with a huge A-frame Oseberg tent with a bed and all that jazz. 

Modern aids in Viking disguise.

Come on!? How many horses and servants would you need to replace your fully packed van?


The image above is from a market in the north of Norway late 1800s.

Market tents all built with sails and oars from the boat. 

Even today it might be hard (or even impossible) to find twigs and posts at a public event or market. 

So why not bring a tarp and a couple of oars...? 


A few years ago we made a Viking tent based on the Utrecht Psalter manuscript drawings. 

A tipi consisting of two poles (one in the middle and one optional for holding the door flap open) and a large cone shaped tent cloth. 

This was way more practical than traveling with a Saxon or A-framed tent! 

Still, it was to big and heavy! 

Hence, the Tarp...

Practical details: 

The tarps I talk about in the video are both 3 x 4 m. Here's a close up of the leather reinforcements.

The seam has to be folded - I think it's called folding seam in English - to prevent water leak. 

I notice I talk a lot about angle in the video - the seam is equally important. 


In a previous blog post I promised a funny story about the horse fat. 

We made the horse fat tarp when we were living in a row house in the city. 

Rickard came home with 10 kg horse fat in plastic bags. 

The fat had to be cut in small peaces and then cooked (not boiled) at low heat for a few days so it would dissolve. 

(Imagine the fury of our neighbours). 

Then it was mixed with ochre and water. The cloth was spread out on the lawn and the smear was applied with a brush. 

It had to dry in the sun, on the garage roof, for a few days... 

Then hot liquid beef tallow was rubbed and smoothed into the fabric. 

(One year after it still smells). 

The rest of the horse fat was "saved for later" - placed in a bucket in our basement. 

Then one day Even (the child) went down to the basement to get an ice cream from the fridge. 

He screamed. 

We found him stuck in a bucket of horse fat. 

What a childhood... 


If you want to know more about the woolen tarp treated with horse fat, ochre, water and beef tallow please read this article from the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark. 

That's the spot!

That's the spot!

Wars don't end - I'm expecting a blacksmith!

Wars don't end - I'm expecting a blacksmith!