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Gearing up for pack trip into Yellowstone in a month.!!!1

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  • Gearing up for pack trip into Yellowstone in a month.!!!1

    Last summer, hubby and I did the RV loop through the Black Hills of SD, Wyoming, parts of Montana and ended up doing Yellowstone, the Tetons and Jackson Hole.

    I absolutely love this area. NO Humidity, meaning no sweating!!! Here in Central Florida, if you aren;t up, gone and back to the trailer by 10 a.m., you will be soaked to the bone. Hard on the horses to say the least.

    Anyway, 6 of us are heading back out to the Tetons and Southwest Yellowstone area for a week long pack trip . There will be 2 others joining us, so with wranglers and guests, we will be 11 strong. Am so excited!!! We go the first week of Aug.

    The outfitters, Dry Ridge Outfitters of Driggs, ID, put the trip together for us. We are plodders if you will, when we trail ride, mostly walk, some trotting or gaiting, but mostly we socialize and visit and enjoy the Florida woods. We go usually anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. So this particular outfitter meets our needs very well. Some outfitter groups offer rides that involve a lot of trotting and cantering for many hours in the saddle. Something that might have caught my interest many years ago, but now my body shivers with the pain involved!!!!

    Anyway, we were sent a list of things to bring and to limit our weight to 25 pounds. Most of us think camping involves either a plug in or gas for our generators for our RV!!! We will be sleeping on mats in a tent on the ground. Someone will have to pull me up---knees don;t bend well!!!

    Some of the things made sense and we were able to purchase the basics from Wally world. Others we had to go on line for --try buying long underware for weather below 30 degrees in Florida any time of year, much less Spring or Summer!! Wool sox are about the same, coolmax sock liners--yeah right. Oh we have the Sports Authority, Gander Mountain, Bass World type of stores here, but they are really geared to the southern red neck fisthermen or hunter.

    One of the really strange things we had to purchase was a no see um head net. I found several on line but settled for one that ran with shipping around 5 bucks. When it came, I put it on and scared myself and my dog!!! The running joke is we could all put on our head nets and rob a bank--no one would know who we were!!!!

    Everything is to be packed in waterproof bags. My ariats never have been waterproofed. So I splurged for one pair of water proof ones and then bought a 3 dollar can of silicone based waterproofing spray. Haven;t tried the boots yet that I sprayed.

    Cowboy hat is a must--again!!! Did a wagon train 3 years ago out in Clark WY north of Cody and drove up to Red Lodge. Carried cowboy hat on plane and left it in the cabin when we came home, what a PITA to carry on, but I know the cost of things like that out west. Bought a TSC hat 10 special. Water proofed it, and then made a hat band from the tail hairs of 3 horses I have lost through the years. And am now adding some stone bead work for a little natural bling. Might as well look like a tourist!!!

    Am tossing around if I will ride in my usual riding britches (I ride in an dressage saddle even on the trail) or try blue jeans. Did stretch blue jeans 3 years ago (we had a riding horse as well) and did okay. Just so hot.

    Anyone ever have done this sort of thing before? I am open to any ideas for packing or gear.

  • #2
    You'll most likely be riding in western saddles. There are some jeans that are made for riding...wrangler Aura are some that I really like. Plenty of stretch too. Oh gosh I'm jealous!!! That is my dream trip. My dad grew up in Montana and i've made a couple of trips out that way. Absolutely beautiful country, stunning, really. Something that every American should see at least once. I have relatives in Billings but, sadly, none are horsey.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


    • #3
      This sounds pretty awesome

      I would suggest you talk to/email some riders who have done some very long distance rides over many days or weeks: http://xprides.com/

      Also, I wouldn't recommend riding in jeans if you usually don't ride like that, especially in a dressage saddle. Don't change anything about your riding outfit if it has worked in the past, just bring more of everything and make sure it's wicking material. (Love all tights and breeches from Kerrits!)
      Riding only 2 to 4 hours a day is not that much, so focus more on your comfort off the horse, i.e. your sleeping arrangements.
      I'm off to an endurance ride in Lassen Natl Forest this weekend and while it will be in the 70s during the day, temps will be in the lower 40s at night. So I dress in my ski underwear and various layers of fleece plus wool socks and I have a sub-zero sleeping bag from REI. And I wear a fleece hat while I sleep! Getting a good night's rest is essential so make sure you are always warm and dry.

      I can also highly recommend the travel towels from REI which pack very small and are very absorbent and dry quickly. I also find that when packing I can fit a lot more when I roll everything tightly rather than "fold and stack."

      Hope this helps! Have fun!


      • #4
        MY DH and I pack quite a bit in the Cascades, hence user name.

        Your outfitter will be providing most of the essentials but I like to carry my own stash of "stuff" like bottled water, sunscreen, hoofpick, several bandanas (for dust or whatever), extra snacks for the trail, etc. I recommend you get a container of Mallard Wax and apply liberally to your boots. It's easier if it's a little warm before applying, the silicone just doesn't work that great as far as waterproofing.

        Pack extra socks even if you think you won't need them. Rain gear, get yourself some rain pants and top, also a long rain coat for riding in. Keep the coat tied behind your saddle so you can grab it in a hurry. Camp shoes are nice to have unless your boots are very comfortable (and waterproof). Biodegradable soap, small trail sizes of moisturizer, toothpaste, etc.

        I like to ride in jeans but wear what you're most comfortable in.

        Most important - HAVE FUN!
        Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert


        • #5
          Essentials for that neighborhood

          What Mtn Trails said plus

          1. Bug spray. I favor Deep Woods Off myself. Keep it handy to use on self and horse.
          2. You need to be prepared for all possible weather when riding, anything from low 80s one minute to sleet or snow the next. Layers, especially given your packing weight limitations.
          3. Bear spray. Presumptively your guide will be packing heat, but we 'all' need to wander solo into the bushes for meditation during the day...


          • #6
            How great! I am envious. Teton and Yellowstone Ntl Parks are my two favorites, I grew up around there and go back every year. It was snowing in Jackson this morning. Have an amazing time!
            We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


            • #7
              I ride that area every summer. You will have fun. The wild flowers peak around the 3rd week of July. So you will miss the peak, but there will still be plenty of flowers.

              I've never needed the no-see-um head net.
              I don't even take any thermals in the summer. It's not that cold.

              Packing 25 lbs doesn't allow you a lot of extras. Plan on wearing dirty cloths. You just can't change everyday. But I always keep two sets of cloths. One set just in case I get wet and want something dry to put on.

              Good rain jackets. I like chinks to help shed the rain or wet bushes. It can be sunny and 80* in the morning and a thunderstorm can roll in and rain for 2 hours in the afternoon and temps will drop.

              I write more later, I've got to run to my daughters dance recital now.

              Here is a friend and his two daughters I led into yellowstone last July 24th.
              The one daughter fell off her horse while crossing the Bechler river. I don't care how waterproof your boots are. When they are under 3 feet of water, your feet get wet.

              This is over by Jackson

              You can see we are comfortable in shirt sleeves and bluejeans


              • #8
                My neighbors and I do pack trips 3-4 times a year. Tons of fun. I ride in my britches as that is what I use at home and am comfortable w/.

                A head lamp is nice to have for reading/getting around at night. Chapstick is a must and within easy reach. Gloves - wear them as much as you can. Your fingers will crack and these can get painful. Our cure for this is of all things shoe goop - kind of glues the cracks together. I am lucky and don't suffer from these but every one of my packing buds do and after 3-4 days they all have issues w/their hands. Even if you don't bring it on the trip you might want to have a tube in your vehicle.

                We always bring a deck of cards but never end up playing.

                One thing that we do on occasion is use fishing vests. Lots of pockets. One trip I forgot to brush my teeth before we left. I just reached into the vest found my toothbrush and brushed while riding. I bring a minature hair brush, collapsable toothbrush, and sanitizing wipes or spray. You can find lots of good, mini versions of sanitary stuff in the travel/sample aisle. Easy slip on shoes for walking around camp/quick night trips - I bring little water slippers.

                You will have a BALL. Yellowstone in August can be really, really cold at night.


                • #9
                  I did that RV loop too. You are going to have a great trip. Wear those boots around to be sure their comfy. Ride in tights, not jeans. Bring jeans to change into for camp.

                  I spent a week riding in France in 03. I brought my tights, half-chaps, EZ Stirrups, helmet, tush-cush, and small saddle bags. Brought spurs too, but didn't need them! I was the envy of the group. None of the riders rode more than an hour at a time, except me, and we were in the saddle 6-8 hours a day.

                  Bring Advils.
                  There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


                  • #10
                    We do pack trips in the Greater Yellowstone area nearly every weekend in the summer-we live here.

                    I really recommend wearing jeans-they aren't as comfortable as breeches but they will hold up to the brush and protect your legs from everything from deer/horse flies to branches. I switch to shorts when I get to camp if I have that much time. We usually ride long hours. If you want to look like a tourist breeches will do it for you! LOL Be comfortable, though, if jeans really don't work for you wear what does!

                    I always wear lightweight wool socks; they treat your feet better and if you get caught in cold/wet weather they will keep your feet at the right temps. A fleece hat to wear at night is a good idea. A little inflatable pillow is good too-I can't sleep without a pillow.

                    I've never used the little bug nets but I have been in situations where I would have if I had one-that was a good idea for them to suggest. In fact I have them on the list for this year b/c my 12 year old goes crazy when the bugs get bad. The little gnats that stick around the elk/buff herds are terrible and they'll be in your eyes, nose, mouth and you can't get away from them. Bring lots of bug dope of a couple different types-the mosquitoes will be a factor this year. In our experience, DEET is the only thing that works on the horse/deer flies for horses or people.

                    I always bring baby wipes, always. Also a headlamp-invaluable! We usually throw in a paperback book also. I rarely wear gloves but always have them with me. Binoculars. Advil.

                    Riders rarely see a grizzly up close and it's nearly unheard of to have a close encounter with one if the group has more than four horses. If you plan on hiking or fishing on your own though definitely bring bear spray. Listen for the wolves at night-it's an incredible experience to hear them, like nothing else.

                    I always make sure each of us has a lighter and a knife in our pockets and the kids have whistles on them. For clothes, I take jeans, shorts/sweats, a tank top, tshirt, sweatshirt, rain jacket, and full-fledged winter coat. The winter coat sees more time used than you would think in August! Camp shoes are good, I bring sandals usually.

                    It's extremely cold and wet here this spring-we had snow here today too. Most likely it will dry and hopefully warm up by August but so far record cold and rain here this year. Because of that there's a higher chance of being in the mud and at least close to the snow, odds of being wet and cold are good! But the flowers are going to be out of this world and you should luck out on low fire danger. Bring extra camera batteries and memory cards if you're a picture taker-it's going to be beautiful!

                    ETA-moleskin is good to bring along for blisters, also

                    Enjoy your trip-we go all the time and still can't get enough of it!
                    Last edited by cowboymom; Jun. 18, 2010, 11:15 AM.
                    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                    • #11
                      My breeches did not survive a half hour off-trail 'bush whacking' in the mountains. They snagged and ripped holes. I would DEFINITELY find something tougher to wear. Riding jeans with the seams off your inseam would be my choice.


                      • #12
                        Stretch jeans are comfy. Be sure to take bandaids in case you start to rub blisters from your new boots. If you got the Ariat Paddock boots that are waterproof & lace up you need to wear socks that are really thick near the gromments as they will bother your ankles till you get used to them

                        If you don't alread have a camera, get on. Along with a camera case with extra batteries & memory cards.


                        • #13
                          Do you ride in chaps at all? I hate riding in jeans, so on the pack trips I've been on, I wore my britches and full chaps. The cowboys thought it was funny, but I was quite comfortable. I think britches alone wouldn't work so well - they'd get snagged on everything, and also the bigger flies can bite you right through them.
                          RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.


                          • #14

                            I wear chinks, which give you protection against bushes and limbs, but aren't as hot or restrictive as chaps.

                            One of those plastic rain ponchos that fold up into a tiny pocket/pouch. Easy to put on, easy to take off and stash in your pocket.


                            • #15
                              lots of great advise. I've done 12 riding trips in Wy, Utah, Arizona, & Mo and learned what was good to bring

                              silk long underwear is lightweight, but warm www.campmor.com

                              ditto on the moleskin - much better than bandaides for blisters. someone loaned some to me on my first trip in Wy and after that I always brought some with me and returned the favor to others. One lady was so grateful she sent me a huge box of speciality coffee after the ride

                              seat saver - I could have sold lots of these to people with sore butts!

                              I always preferred jeans with no big inseams

                              We had snow on June 1st in Wy - and the cold gets to me so I always bring plenty of layers. I like to oilskin dusters for raincoats and as the top layer.

                              horn saddlebags hold alot of stuff and easy to get to


                              • #16
                                Yellowstone in the summer is probably a lot like your winter temps in Florida. 70-80* for day time highs and nightime lows down to low 30's. Those are not extreme temp ranges. Rather than heavy coats and thermal underwear, I worry more about staying dry and avoiding hypothermia. Light layers that will stop the wind and rain are much more important. Something that you can tie behind the cantle and pull out and slip on if you get caught in a thunderstorm.

                                Since this is a vacation and you are coming from out of state. You will probaby ride regardless of the weather, We do get monsoon season around here in late summer. I've ridden into wilderness areas and had it rain for 3 days straight. Not the frog strangling rain you folks get int he South East. But a steady drizzle. I like a polarfleece jacket. They are light, warm and dry quickly if they get wet. Over that I pull on a rain slicker. A good felt hat. If you are wearing a helmet, Make sure the hood on your rain slicker will get over the helmet. I hate rain running off the helmets and down my back.

                                Keep some matches in a waterproof container on your person. If you get wet, you can start a fire and get dried off. Learn how to start a fire. If it has rained for 3 days. Finding dry wood can be a challenge. A brief snow squall or heavy rain is not a big deal if you stay dry. Getting chilled and hypothermic can kill you.

                                Most folks from lower elevation areas don't drink enough water when they come out west. Altitude sickness is very real and can totally incapacitate you. The best way to avoid it, is to DRINK LOTS OF WATER. People just don't think they are getting dehydrated because they are not sweating due to the cooler temps. But you loose lots of water out of your body due to the low humidity. Pop and Beer don't count for staying hydrated. You need water. If you are a diet Coke addict. Realize you are going to be off the caffine for your trip. Better to go through the caffine headache withdrawels before the trip than combining them with altitude sickness.

                                You will be in bear country. Which means NO FOOD in your tent. Your guides will cook dinner and provide the main meals. They will clean up after themselves. If you are like most individuals, you will want to bring some snacks to eat during the day. Thats great. Put some jerky, nuts, trail mix etc in your horn bag where it's easy to reach as you ride. But don't bring it into your tent at night. I keep a clean set of clothes to sleep in. The clothes I wear to cook, fish or clean game animals when hunting, get left outside high in a tree.

                                I second the chap stick. also like a small tube of some kind of lotion. My hands get pretty dry. They are always wet from horse lead ropes, cooking and doing dishes etc. Depending on the season, Mosquitos can be bad. But I have not had many probllems with flies and other bugs on me, The deer flies can be murder on the horses tho.

                                I always leave a clean set of clothes in the truck for the trip home. 4-5-6 days standing around camp fires can really get a set of cloths dirty and stinky.

                                Most of all, take lots of pictures and have fun.

                                Buffalo along trail

                                Afternoon Thuderstorm rolling in.

                                Granite Basin near Driggs


                                • #17
                                  I like the Aura jeans by Wrangler but you must try on every pair to ensure they fit. In no way shape or form do they run true to size.

                                  Smart Wool socks.

                                  Turtlefur to sleep in. I wear one around my neck in camp and put it on my head for warmth while sleeping.



                                  a roll of vetrap. If you rub your knees raw on the inseam it's a Godsend.

                                  Good hand lotion, thick stuff to offset the dry air.

                                  A horn bag you like that you are used to. Don't buy cheap stuff. Buy a good one.

                                  A headlamp- I like the kind that clips on a visor bill or ball cap.

                                  A good digital camera, ample batteries, and tons of SD or memory cards.

                                  Have fun!


                                  • #18
                                    OMG I miss Wyoming....

                                    DEFINITELY not breeches. Jeans, I recommend Levi's - I don't normally wear them but after a summer out west my Levi's I got halfway through (my 4 other pairs of jeans were completely destroyed) were definitely the most durable, and still going strong by the end of the summer.

                                    Appropriate (read: waterproof!!) rain jacked & trousers. My hiking waterproof trousers (North Face) were AMAZING last summer, for rain as well as wind.

                                    Fleeces, and lots of non cotton layers. Mt Hardware fleece gloves are amazing for time out of the saddle.

                                    PLEASE respect the 25lbs rule - they have to balance the packs very carefully on either side of the pack horses down to the last .5lbs, I assume they will reweigh your packs when you arrive. You will most likely carry a small day pack on your horse for essentials like water, snacks, lunch, rain gear, etc.

                                    Expect to wear the same things over and over - for a week my co wrangler (I didn't get to go on the pack trip as my Family was visiting that weekend) took 1 change of clothes in case stuff got wet.

                                    Most of all, have an amazing time. Wyoming is the 2nd most beautiful place in the world, only 2nd to the Scottish Highlands (though I am biased!). Take plenty of pictures!!

                                    ETA: Definitely 2nd smart wool socks - I lived in them last summer, very comfortable! Also third lots and lots of chapstick (Burts Bees = lifesaver!).
                                    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                                    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                                    • #19
                                      I live in MT, and have done a horse trek overseas (Mongolia) and have found that Jeans are the pants for trail riding. As mentioned, they will protect form bugs, branches, burs, ect, better than breeches. They also don't feel as icky after wearing them for a week. I like half chaps for trail riding personally. Waterproof them, and then practice folding your jeans to lie flat and comfy when zipped up.

                                      Do not forget baby wipes. When you can't take a shower they are the best alternative. In Mongolia we only got two showers in 10 days, and the wipes where great for keeping us and, in turn, our sleeping bags clean.

                                      Lots of bug spray. Deep Woods Off seems to work the best.

                                      A good Water Bottle!

                                      Something to keep essentials close by. A saddle bag works well, but a little back pack is nice to have for cameras, ect.

                                      Have a wonderful time!


                                      • #20
                                        Kevin of Dry Ridge Outfitters is my cousin. He and his wife Debbie and sons run the outfitting business. Good people that enjoy what they do. I live 5 miles north of Driggs on the highway. Our Great grandpa's were brothers. I would guess you drive right by my house at least once or twice on this trip.

                                        Ask Kevin about a pair of little grey ponies that my kids drive. He will quickly tell you my name and point out the house. PM me if you want a little insider information to make Kevy squirm while sitting around the fire.

                                        What ride are you doing with them? LF
                                        Lostfarming in Idaho