You can take Fifty Pounds of Stuff to the Middle Ages

You have been told you will be taken to any point of your choosing in 1200’s Europe. You have been given basic clothing that matches the period, and a wooden chest that you are allowed to take anything you want so long as you take no more than fifty pounds of material.

What do you take with you and why?


2 pound of antibiotics and 48 pounds of gold.


Good. I think we can roll this poster up as well


While I’m STEM at heart and word as a software engineer, the above is overkill.

I guess it’s great when you want to jumpstart technology by a couple of centuries, but when you are in the Middle Ages, you won’t get far with those.

However, you can do a lot with simple mechanics and knowledge about agriculture and accounting, since you’ll also have to train and work with local people.

Local people, who are as smart as you and I, by the way. There were good reasons why they did things the way they did - lack of knowledge was only one factor. There were many constraints we future people usually are not aware of and underestimate.


I want a similar document but authored by Rick Sanchez.


What are the laws on importing bullion into a potentially xenophobic feudal state? How can one avoid getting caught up with forgery charges?

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Solar charger, ray gun with frikkin’ lazzer beems, false beard, stays-over-my-head drone with glowing halo.

Oooh - and some flyers warning about Trump.

Don’t need nuthin’ else.


Slashdot had some good advice for preparing for Y2K. Might be relevant here.

“Well, well, well. Less than twenty-four hours 'til Ragnarok and I haven’t a stitch to wear.”

Billions of people around the globe are thinking this very thought. Don’t be part of the mass of cannon fodder awaiting their fate on January 1st. I’d like to help others survive and prosper after the Y2K “situation” by describing the preparations I’ve made over the past year for tonight’s Big Event.

  1. The Car
    Nothing says “I’m a survivor!” like a cool set of wheels, which is why I have a 1971 Plymouth HemiCuda [] with a 426ci/425hp V8.
    I took out the rear window and rear seats, and welded in two 55-gallon drums as reserve fuel tanks.
    I filled the trunk with cement so I could ram other vehicles in reverse during “Road Warrior”-type scenarios.
    Due to the weight of the cement in the trunk, I had to replace the rear shocks with solid steel bars, so the suspension is pretty stiff, but boy does it have some range!
    I’ve mounted a 20mm cannon (originally from a AH-1 Cobra helicopter) - that I bought on eBay [] for $35K - to the roof of the car so it faces forward.
    It fires when the left turn signal is activated.
    I use a Xybernaut [] wearable PC for aiming, and I adapted the anti-wobble feature of my camcorder to stabilize the cannon during vehicle movement and firing.
    There is a radiacmeter attached to the grill, so I’ll know when I’m approaching former urban areas.
    I didn’t have time to cut a hole in the hood to accommodate the huge intake of the supercharger attached to the engine, so I just left the hood off.
    The exhaust system has been removed as a vestigial performance-hindering remnant of a civilized era.
  1. The Duds
    I have a fire-resistant Nomex jumpsuit dyed to match desert terrain, as all terrain will soon be desert terrain.
    For formal occasions, black leather chaps are acceptable, but the buttless kind will make you the laughing-stock of Bartertown.
    Accessorize with low-slung pistol holster [], gas mask [], and black leather jackboots [].
    Bandoleers are in this year, but only for survivors with crew-served weapons.
    Fine-grain leather driving gloves will assist you in controlling your vehicle when driving through fallout-blighted areas.
  1. Food
    Pound-for-pound, dry dog food has ten times the nutritional value of boiled potatoes, and it can be stored longer, too!
    Dog food for older dogs is often packed with fillers that you just don’t need, but Puppy Chow [] is geared towards growing dogs, and has more than enough nutrition.
    I’m towing a U-Haul trailer [] full of it, with a few cases of surplus MREs from the Gulf War for special occasions.

I hope I’ve provided some insight into the preparations necessary for surviving the coming hard times.
I am interested in having a traveling companion to help with driving.
Any fertile females interested in repopulating the planet should contact me at


My camp hatchet, pocket saw, a hammer, a trowel, a few different knives along with sharpening kit, compass, some pens and pencils and paper. A couple of spools of cord. My solar USB charger (and a spare). A USB-rechargeable maglite or two. A new tablet pre-loaded with a wikipedia dump and a number of maps and books about that period in history (also about the language spoken then/there). Many ounces of silver bullion. I would say antibiotics and other medicines, but you can’t get a prescription for time-traveling so would have to get some street drugs instead - acid, ketamine, ecstasy, and weed (to ease negotiations), along with a selection of over-the-counter meds for personal use. Several packets of modern seeds from the farm store. A few spare pairs of glasses. Magnifying glass. A few trinkets like silly putty or fidget spinners on the off-chance that someone back then might think them amazing.

50 pounds could be a lot… I don’t know if I could come up with enough stuff to fill it.


A pocket ref, some broad spectrum antibiotics and sulfa drugs, sumatriptan succinate, ten pounds of one gallon zip-lock bags, and the remainder in ingots of stainless steel. The reasons are all obvious, right?

The real problem in such circumstances is language. I speak weirdly enough that I alienate modern people - I forget myself and use words like obviate, caruncle and niggardly - I’d freak the medievals right out. Try speaking Chaucerian English for a full day, I dare you!


I cannot tell you about it. It is a Chaucerful of Secrets.


Modern seeds? I wonder how you get around the DRM…


Just claim that you are from another country.

“What kind of accent are you speaking?” “A foreign one.”

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Gold? Silver? Bah! I’d take what’s truly coveted – 50 pounds of pepper, cayenne, salt, dried herbs, and spices, brought from Terra Incognita. I’d be richer than astronauts.

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Until the first robber.

If you want to make a dent in the time stream, how about a gun, a few pounds of gold, a forged letter of introduction, and a whole lot of heirloom potato seeds?

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If you’re going to England (which I would, since I only speak English) you only have to claim to be from more than 5 miles away to have a different accent :slight_smile: .

It’s more than just accent, though- if you don’t know what prayers are expected at which times (times don’t necessarily have numbers, btw, and even the canonical hours are different in different periods) you’ll need a breviary or you won’t be able to pass for a Christian of good blood - and if you think non-Christians and lowly born people have it bad now, wait till you see the middle ages!


I think the gold will get you quickly murdered. You surely need some spendable money so that you can get established as merchant or some such quickly enough to have somewhere to safely store your wealth.

A copy of A Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur.


Oh yes, I wouldn’t flaunt the stuff or strutt around. Though perhaps I’d join a monastery. I think I couldn’t bear the thought to father a kid I’m likely to lose. Not with knowing how low infant and child mortality was in my time.

The Geordies and Makems do it all the time.

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