Having just come back from guiding The Patagonia Trail in Argentina, we are again SO thankful that we’ve got this whole packing-for-a-riding-holiday thing down to a fine art. There’s nothing quite like that moment when the heavens open and you can pull on your trusty waterproof jacket, strap on your jockey goggles to keep the rain out of your eyes, take a swig from your hip flask and pass around the emergency chocolates to your Globetrotting comrades!
But it’s taken YEARS to perfect the art of packing, and rides in mountainous regions, where the weather can change at the drop of the hat and you need to be prepared for all extremes, are definitely the most challenging to prepare for. Not to mention the good probability of a baggage weight limit if you’re taking regional transfers, and the (very) limited laundry facilities that will be on offer – it’s more important than ever to pack exactly what you need, no more and no less.
Once you book on a horse riding holiday, you’ll be sent a packing list that’s tailored specifically to that ride – but in the meantime, the following is a great starting point for rides such as those in Argentina, Chile, Mongolia, Iceland, and the mountains of New Zealand, southern Australia and the US.
Before you leave
As for packing, most of these more intrepid rides will require your baggage to be handled quite a bit, either by you or by your guides and support team, so we highly recommend using a soft duffel bag rather than a hard, Samsonite-style suitcase. If you’re travelling light, The Chopper Bag is our go-to.
Also, compartmentalising your luggage is one of the smartest moves you can make – so it’s worth considering getting your hands on a few travel packing cubes to keep everything organised.
Riding boots (long, warm and waterproof, if you’re not bringing chaps)
Chaps (optional – see our post on long boots vs chaps)
Comfortable riding pants (check out our recommendations for jeans, jodhpurs, tights and bombachas!)
Riding gloves (preferably warm and waterproof like these Sealskinz gloves)
Warm socks (we swear by possum socks!)
Long & short sleeved shirts made of natural fibres, e.g. wool, cotton, hemp
Warm jacket & fleece
Waterproof jacket (some brands need to be re-waterproofed every now and again, so make sure to test your jacket before you leave home – this is one surprise you don’t want to have when you’re days away from the nearest outdoor store!)
Casual, warm clothing & footwear for when you’re out of the saddle. We recommend bringing plenty of warm layers with zips so that you can warm up and cool down on the go. Natural fabrics like wool are great because they’re breathable and easy to layer, and thermals will be a godsend.
Swimsuit (you can never be too sure – even in Iceland, there are natural hot springs to be enjoyed!)
Camera with spare batteries & charger
Toiletries – lip balm, personal medications, etc
Sunscreen & sunglasses (we love this SPF tinted mousturiser)
Head torch & batteries
Portable battery pack or solar charger
Universal travel adaptor
Helmet visor (our globetrotters swear by these for protection from sun, wind and rain!)
Vest (great for layering!)
Seat saver (if those long hours in the saddle are a real concern for you. *preferably water-resistant)
Sleeping bag liner (if you tend to feel the cold)
GoPro (here are our tips for using a GoPro on horseback)
Light scarf, bandana or buff (for dust)
Jockey goggles (for the wind and rain)
Wet wipes (preferably compostable), tissues or toilet paper
Dry shampoo (if you’ll be going a few days between showers)
Sports bra (personal discretion needs to be applied here!)
Ziplock bags for storing rubbish for later disposal (for remote regions)
Biodegradable laundry detergent/body products (for remote regions)
Do you have any recommendations to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!