How To Go Horse Camping: What to Pack

How to go Horse Camping: What to pack

The most important thing you'll need to pack is water. Even if the campground you're going to has a source of water, you should pack your own. We keep a full water tank in our trailer at all times, even when just going on day trips or to shows since you never know if you'll have a flat or an accident and get stuck on the side of the road. As for camping, we were grateful to have a full water tank when we were camping on opening weekend at Yosemite's Bridalveil Creek Campground. The water lines hadn't been used all winter and were full of rust. While the maintenance crew came in and flushed the lines for us the next day, we used our own water until then. 

You'll need to bring all of your horse's regular hay and feed. You'll also want to pack some extra hay for the trailer ride. If you don't have a hay rack on your trailer, you may want to invest in a hay bag to keep hay from getting all over your truck or trailer. Some campgrounds or parks will require certified weed-free hay. If your usual feed store doesn't offer this, call the park's rangers. They may know where you can stop on your way in to the park to pick up the required hay.

How to go Horse Camping: What to pack - Hay Bag
Hay Bag Available at Riding Warehouse
I like to pack each day's grain and supplements into individual tupperwares labeled with the horse's name and day for feeding it. That way I don't have to pack bags of grain and multiple jars of supplements.

How to go Horse Camping: What to pack - Grain Bins

You'll need hay nets and water and feed buckets for your horses. Often, even if a campground has water, there won't be individual buckets or water troughs. And if the site does offer them, it's safer from a potential illness standpoint to use your own buckets. You can pick up cheap cooler buckets to act of water troughs. You may also want to invest in a hose to cut down on carrying water back and forth.

How to go Horse Camping: What to pack - Water Bucket
These also work well as muck buckets

Grooming Supplies
We have a separate set of grooming supplies that live in the trailer. If you don't, you'll need to pack all your regular brushes, hoof picks, sponges, sweat scrapers, etc. Make sure you have fly spray and fly masks packed. If you boot your horse, pack your boots. Even if your horse is shod, you may want to pack some spare hoof boots in case you lose a shoe.

Blankets and Rain Sheets
Even if you're camping in the summer, it can be cold at some campgrounds, especially at high elevations. Last year it snowed in July in Yosemite. Your horse won't have access to a stall or shelter if it rains so a rain sheet can be helpful even if it's not cold. I like to put my blankets in travel vacuum bags. These can be flattened without a vacuum by rolling the air out. Then the blankets take up almost no room.

Miscellaneous Trailer Supplies
We keep all of these things in our trailer all the time, but you'll especially want to have them if you're camping:
Duct Tape
Tools for tack and trailer repair
Jack and tools for changing a flat
Extra halter and lead rope
Pocket knife/multi-tool
Muck fork and bucket
First Aid Kit - Both people and horse versions
Mosquito repellent and sunscreen

LQ/Truck Supplies
If you have a dedicated living quarters, you can store stuff in cabinets and closets. If you're tent or truck camping, get some large plastic bins. I don't think I've yet been on a camping trip where I don't get to the campground and inevitably realize I've forgotten something. To make sure the thing I've forgotten isn't terrible important (not having graham crackers for s'more is okay, but not having propane for the camp stove would be bad) I've made lists that are taped to the bins the items go in.

How to go Horse Camping: What to pack - Packed Supplies with list

Since we don't have an LQ with a fridge, we rely on coolers for all of our food and drinks. For short trips, we'll shove everything in one cooler. For longer trips, we'll use one cooler for drinks and one for food. We've managed 4 day trips with just coolers and ice without anything going bad. For longer trips, you could still manage without a fridge, you might just need to get some extra ice as the week goes on.

Food is probably the best part of camping. To me camping is basically an excuse to eat all the good food. And who doesn't love cooking over an open fire? I have a post coming soon on my favorite camping recipes, so stay tuned for that. There's no reason to exist on sandwiches and pre-packed food even if you don't have an LQ or motorhome with a kitchen.

How to go Horse Camping: What to pack - Food

Luxury Supplies
Even without an LQ, you can live it up while horse camping. A solar shower will heat up sitting in the sun and be ready for you to take a nice, hot shower after your ride. Some people hang them in their trailers for privacy. I don't like to get water in my trailer, so we hang ours from our EZ-Up and use a popup shower tent for privacy.

How to go Horse Camping: What to pack - Solar Shower

Even if you're camping in a tent, you can still stay warm when it's cold or cool when it's hot. We have a Little Buddy propane heater for staying warm and a Coleman tent fan for staying cool. The coleman fan runs on a battery that can be subbed in and out of your Coleman lanterns. And the batteries come with a car charger so you can top them up if you need to even if you're staying at a primitive campground. The propane heater doesn't require any electricity, just an extra propane tank.

Finally, even if you don't have an LQ, you can still be entertained. We like to take an iPad with us while camping and watch movies that we downloaded in advance.

How to go Horse Camping: What to pack - Camping Luxuries

Interested in going horse camping? Then check out the other parts of this series:

How to Go Horse Camping - Finding a Campsite How to Go Horse Camping - Where to Sleep How to go Horse Camping: Where to Keep your Horse

Labels: ,