Horse Pack Trip Checklist
Pack light - Pack Smart - Printable Checklist

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.

Your Ready Made Horse Pack Trip Checklist


Horse Pack Trip Tip

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.

  • Tank top
  • Tee shirt (s)
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Light jacket
  • Warm coat
  • Rain slicker or poncho
  • Socks/underwear 1 pair for every day out
  • Swim suit or shorts
  • Hat
  • The boots you are wearing
  • Gloves if in cold country
  • Plastic bag to separate dirty clothes from clean

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

  • Small makeup bag with only the essentials
  • Travel sized face wipes (to remove makeup, wash face or hands)
  • Sun block
  • Chap stick
  • Small mirror
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Sanitary supplies (just in case!)
  • Tooth brush
  • Travel sized toothpaste
  • Travel sized hand lotion
  • Travel sized deodorant
  • Hair ties (to hide hat hair and your need for a shampoo!)
  • Travel sized bar soap in a plastic zip-lock baggie
  • Aspirin or any medications you may need
  • Wash cloth and a towel
  • Toilet paper 

Stuff to Carry on Your Sadddle

  • Pocket Knife or multi-use tool
  • Firearm or bear spray (know firearm regulations first)
  • Water canteen
  • Camera
  • Flashlight
  • Leather cording or boot laces (to make emergency tack repairs)
  • Sun glasses
  • Snack (jerky, nuts, granola bars or trail mix)
  • Map (especially if you haven’t a guide)
  • First Aid kit(s) for humans and horses
Pack trip in the Trinity AlpsMake it a pack trip to remember!

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? 

For Your Horse

Let your horse wear his halter under his bridle for the duration of the trip.

  • Grain bags filled with grain rations
  • Hoof pick
  • Emergency electrolyte paste (optional but highly recommended)
  • Halter
  • Lead rope
  • EZ boots (optional but very handy when needed)
  • Collapsible water bucket (optional)
  • Ground tie steak(s) for grazing time (optional)
  • Rope for highline tie
  • Brush or a curry comb

Saddle Bags for Your Horse Pack 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!

Stuff for Camp

  • Tent
  • Tarp(s)
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Folding Shovel
  • Cook Stove with fuel
  • Coffee Pot and cups
  • Cook pans
  • Utensils and dishes
  • Dish soap
  • Matches (bring extra in a water tight container)
  • Can opener
  • Hand towel
  • Lantern with fuel
  • Hatchet
  • Scale (if packing your own pack animals)
  • Extra length of nylon rope (great for high lines, hanging tarps securing packs or whatever else you need it for)

The More Pack Animals You Have...the More Luxuries You Can Bring on Your Horse Pack Trip

  • Fishing gear
  • Harmonica
  • Radio
  • Solar shower
  • Sleeping pads
  • Small shoeing kit
  • Portable electric fence

Camping with Your Horse

Is your horse ready for the rigors of a pack trip? Get pack ready.

Equine Camps

Tips for camping at designated horse friendly camps.

Back Country Horsemen

Interview with Carol Polasek on Back Country Horsemen of America.

Horse First Aid Kit

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

Get tips for packing in for a successful pack trip.

Mule iPhone 5 Case
Mule iPhone 5 Case by Artist Cathy Cleveland

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