“No, it is not a bonnet!”
You have seen an arming cap at the Ren Faire but you may not have realized what you were looking at. The arming cap is a quilted cap that is designed to be worn under a helm, to keep the sharper parts of the helm from hurting your head and to make the helm fit more snuggly on your head.
The first time you see one on the someones head, if they are not also wearing the helm, you are going to think it is a bonnet and wonder to yourself – “Why is that knight wearing a bonnet?” I did. I even asked my friends, who were Rennies – “Why is that guy wearing a bonnet?” And they explained that the arming cap is a vital piece of the armor and is used to protect the head from the helm and to make the helm fit better.
Now, I was new to the game and thought they were full of crap. How could the little piece of quilt help the helm fit better and make it less painful to wear a helm? Then, I got a chance to try a helm on. It didn’t exactly hurt but I could see how the arming cap would be nice. Then I wore the helm for a few more minutes and I got it. Plus, I noticed how the helm didn’t fit exactly right. Now it was not made for me but even with that being said, having a an arming cap on would have made the helm sit better, would have made it easier for me to see out of the helm and had I been going into battle (where I would be wearing the helm for hours) it would have been much more comfortable.
I get the arming cap now. I understand why they were invented but I do have a piece of advice. Don’t wear the arming cap around without the helm on. I know that you think it will look cool with your armor but it does not. You look like a dufus. The arming cap is no substitute for the helm. If you pull the helmet off, take off the arming cap. It is a simple piece of quilted fabric, it can folded or even tied onto your belt. Tuck it into your helm and only put it back on your head as you don your helmet again.
Avoid wearing the arming cap by itself, regardless of color. Even if your arming cap is black… still a dufus. If you are looking for a way to avoid the arming cap altogether, go with a leather helm, no arming cap needed.
Just some advice from your dear uncle – Bobaganush the Pirate