The Importance of Being Prepared

If anything can go wrong, it will. We are all very familiar with this saying and I have seen it in action on trail rides and pack trips more times than I care to count. I’ve found that the mountains are terribly unforgiving of any mistakes. And some of these were little mistakes that ballooned into a big mistake because the person was not prepared. So, after many years and many miles, here is a list of the items that are ALWAYS packed in my western saddlebags.

  • Human first-aid and horse first aid
  • Rain slicker to keep me dry
  • Jacket to keep me warm
  • Gloves
  • Emergency food (granola/protein bars, freeze dried meals)
  • Light-weight space blanket or bivy for an emergency shelter
  • Bear repellant
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Highline kit and/or hobbles
  • Collapsible water bucket
  • Water Filter (preferably a gravity water filter) or purification tablets
  • Folding knife or Multi-Tool
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • An axe or a hand saw (or both for longer trips). Nothing can take their place if you need firewood or have to clear trail.
  • A zippered plastic bag within another zippered plastic bag containing the following:
    • Several fire starters
    • Waterproof match container with matches
    • Partial roll of toilet paper
    • Lighter
    • Mini-Mag flashlight with extra batteries and bulb

Your personal "Must Have" list may vary somewhat from mine depending upon where you are riding, but you should definitely make a list, gather the items and leave them permanently packed in your western saddlebags. These items will at least make your trip more enjoyable and may even save your life, your horse’s life or the life of someone else who was not prepared.

Just so you don't think I am too serious. . . I also never leave home without my camera, fishing pole, lures and flies, not to mention my rubber raft in case I can’t cast to where the fish are jumping. I also bring camp chairs, because the rocks have gotten awfully hard in the last few years, and a roll up camp table , because there is no sense taking chairs without a table. Last, but not least, I take two mules to pack it on!

Would you like to go shopping?
Our Complete Line of TrailMax™ Western Saddlebags
TrailMax™ Highline Kit with In-Line Swivel
Human and Horse First Aid Kits
Our Complete Line of Pack Saws and Camp Axes

Would you like more information?
Russ On... Survival Tips: Preventing Hypothermia
Russ On... Rain Gear
Horse Hobbles