Weight and bulk add up fast on a horse pack trip so be prepared to bring just the essentials. This means packing as light as possible. If you are hiring a packer to haul your gear they will carry the food, kitchen, tents and such; but you may be carrying your personal items, like clothing, on your own horse.
You may even be responsible for taking in your own sleeping bag and grain for your horse. Make sure someone has the first aid kit. Find out ahead of time what you will be responsible for carrying.
Packers usually allow only so much weight per person over and above the weight of the camp supplies. The size of your party, the number of people and the length of your trip determine how many pack animals they will need to get you and your gear in.
Roll your pillow up inside of your sleeping bag. It will stay clean that way!
How much clothing you bring will depend on how many days you will be out. If you are only going on a 2-4 day pack trip you can just bring the jeans you are wearing. If you plan on being out longer, pack an extra pair.
An old army tip I learned from my Marine brother-in-law: Fold shirts (clothes) and then roll each up tightly like tiny sleeping bags to maximize space.
Wear a belt so you can carry things on it ( knife, cell phone, pouch for chap stick ect…)Don’t forget to charge your cell phone! (If you have reception…)
Now I know you ladies out there have all heard that you should not wear make-up while camping on a horse pack trip because it attracts bears. I say “poppycock!” There is no way I’m going without my makeup! That’s what dogs and firearms are for. Unless you are going to be out for a while, leave the shampoo, otherwise bring a travel sized bottle.
Put any bottle or tube that can leak if smashed in a plastic zip-lock bag
Find out how the horses will be handled for green grass foraging. You will be responsible for looking after your horse during grazing time. Plan on bringing a ground stake and long line, hobbles or a portable electric fence. Also find out what the overnight ‘tie’ plans are. Will the packer provide a high line for you to tie your horse or will you need to secure your horse for the night on your own?
Let your horse wear his halter under his bridle for the duration of the trip.
In order to carry all this stuff, you’re going to need at least two sets of saddle bags. I have found this horse pack trip system to be very effective. Drape your filled homemade grain-carry bags over your saddle horn. Next drape a smaller set of saddle bags over your horn. These bags are great for things you want to have access too while riding. Place your bigger set of bags behind the saddle. These ones will have your clothes and toiletries in them. Put your sleeping bag and jackets across the top of your rear saddle bags. Tie your canteen and lead rope on anywhere you can find a place to attach them. Your set!
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Tips for camping at designated horse friendly camps.
Back Country Horsemen
Interview with Carol Polasek on Back Country Horsemen of America.
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Find out what items you need to build a well rounded horse first aid kit for your barn, your truck and on the trail.
Packing With Horses
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Mule iPhone 5 Case by Artist Cathy Cleveland