What to wear - comprehension activity exploring a soldier's kit

Soft kit or full armour?

In this activity, your class will learn about the two different kits (soft kit and full armour) that a soldier could wear. They will then be given a list of jobs that a soldier might do and will have to decide which kit they think the soldier should wear to do this job.

Download: What to wear - comprehension activity exploring a soldier's kit PDF resource (982 KB)

Download: What to wear - comprehension activity answer PDF resource (421 KB)

What to wear?

Auxiliary soldiers wore armour for protection, but they did not have to wear their full armour all the time. It would have been very uncomfortable!

For lighter jobs, called fatigues, they would wear ‘soft kit’. 

Soft Kit
Undertunic, tunic, trousers, belt, socks, boots. Cloak (with brooch) worn on cold or wet days. 

Full armour
Undertunic, tunic, trousers, scarf, socks, boots.
Padded top, body armour, belt, soft hat, helmet, shield.
Spear, sword, dagger.
Cloak with brooch (for night or wet weather duty but not when fighting)   

Different jobs an auxiliary soldier might do

Have a look below at the different jobs an auxiliary soldier might do

  • Guard duty at one of the gates to make sure whoever comes in the fort has permission to do so. 
  • Fetching water, boiling it and filling water jugs. 
  • Guarding the cattle and horses grazing in fields outside the fort. 
  • Cleaning and maintaining the fort and barracks. Re-painting buildings, doing minor repairs to buildings and roads, cleaning out drains and latrines. 
  • Going on patrol outside the fort. 
  • Attending religious ceremonies.
  • Cleaning and maintaining the bath-house. 
  • Unloading, storing and distributing supplies such as food, drink and firewood from ships or wagons. 
  • Grinding flour, collecting rations, cooking meals. 
  • Cleaning, polishing and mending armour and equipment and mending boots. 
  • Guard duty at the shrine of the standards in the headquarters building. 
  • Cavalry soldier: looking after horse, grooming etc (although the groom, usually a slave would have to do much of that); exercising the off- duty horses to keep them fit. 
  • Cleaning barrack room, sweeping, washing, dusting (every couple of years refill mattresses with new hay or straw), empty chamber pots etc. 
  • Night-watch duty: keeping an eye out for any- one creeping up on the fort. 

Think about how safe the soldier would be doing these jobs. 

Which jobs could he do in soft kit? Which jobs would need full armour?