Suggested Wardrobe and Equipment

for 1880's historical reenacting
from the GhostRiders Member's Handbook

The choices of clothing and style define your character in an instant, but could just as easily be a deception.  Is that ragamuffin the new hired gun in town... or is it the duded-up gentleman, or that saddle tramp?  Here are some basic suggestions to getting your wardrobe started.  Keep in mind that nothing here is carved in stone, that your character research will be a never-ending task, and what you make or purchase will depend on the character(s) you intend to portray.

What Works ..... 1880 .....What Dont
Wool, cotton, canvas or leather (as garments or shelter) Polyester, Nylon, synthetics, inorganic plastics. 
Buckles, Buttons, Latigo ties Zippers, snaps, Velcro
Black Powder Smokeless Powder, commercial "poppers"
Vermiculite, Florist foam wadding Wonder Wads, wax, grease, cotton, mud, glued or stapled paper, fiberglass or any foodstuffs as wadding
Slim Jims, Double-loops or Cavalry Holsters (belt usually worn across the navel) Buscadero, Hollywood, low-slung or tie-down holsters (belt usually worn as an athletic supporter)
Cap-and -ball or early metal cartridge, single-action .36,.38,.44,.45 pistols Rugers, double-action or semi-automatic, .22 cal pistols
Wire-frame spectacles, monocle, squinting Plastic framed glasses, plastic nose pieces
Stove-topped or Cavalry Boots, Brogans V-topped, Pointed toe or Cowboy boots
McClellan (59), Grimsley, Jennifer, Plantation Dragoon, Santa Fe or Hopes Saddles and tack Western or English saddles, rodeo gear.
Nylon or Poly tack or lead, Stainless bits
Cigar, pipe, plug Machine rolled cigarette (sissy!)
Fresh hay or straw bedding, buried coals, sharing blankets, night cap Propane heater
Indian Wars and Civil War hand-me-downs, re-worked into civilian duds Absolutely everyone in black dusters
Tin or cast-iron cookware and utensils Blue enameled, stainless steel or aluminum cookware
Pocket Watch Wrist Watch
Wooden boxes, logs, water barrel Lawn Furniture, army cots
Coal oil or candle lantern, campfire Coleman lantern, flashlight
Telling tall tales, blue jokes, or playing period instruments around a campfire Catching an episode of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" on a portable TV
Shebang, lean-to, shelter halves Winebago, Travel Trailer, Holiday Inn
Hungry horses Alarm clock

Most equipment and hard-to-find items can be purchased at Civil War reenactments or Buckskinning Rendezvous from traveling merchants called Sutlers, who follow events and sell wares from their tents (as was done more than a century ago), but not all "modern" sutlers will have what is correct for your impression or time period, so if you are not an informed buyer, bring someone along who is. NOTE: Merchants listed here are for reference only; no warranty or endorsement is expressed nor implied for goods nor services. Improper use of black powder and/or firearms may cause serious injury or death.  Have a nice day.

Sources for reproduction items











MERCHANTS: If you have an online catalog of Old West or Civil War related wares, please Email us with your URL for possible listing on this page. Please, no John Wayne memorabilia, nor modern "cowboy" items. The site linked to must contain items or information pertaining to this time period.

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Last Modified 20 March 99. © 1995-99 GhostRiders Stunt Co.