The Kingdom of Trimaris can be a forbiddingly hot place in the summer, especially in 40 pounds of armor. Kyle Swenson, reporter for New Times in Broward County and Palm Beach, Florida, tried his hand at SCA fighting... with mixed results. The story was reprinted in The Week.
From the article:
Ask SCA members to define what the group is and they will usually first school you on what it's not. Sure, technically, it's historical re-enactment, but they don't act out real historical battles, like, say, Civil War re-enactors. And the SCA isn't like a Renaissance Faire either, where the fighting is staged. And it's definitely not LARPing — live-action role-playing — which is like a live game of Dungeons and Dragons, with people tossing beanbags as magic spells and swinging foam swords.
No, the SCA is hard-core. Combat has been part of the SCA since the very beginning, and one could argue that it's the most important element. Historical knowledge is all well and good, acting skills will make a participant popular, but brute force determines who will be king.
Each fighter has to be outfitted with a set of historically accurate armor, including neck, torso, knee, and elbow protection made out of metal or heavy leather. Each helmet must be made of steel. Though some raggedy fighters have been known to start with "armor" fashioned out of a stop sign sandwiched between two pieces of carpet, a new fighter can probably pick up a "cheap" plastic or aluminum outfit for around $250, and a used helmet can go for $150. Some people, though, spend up to $5,000 on suits made by master blacksmiths.