Good Gear Matters on Pack Trip

We welcome our very own marketing director, Emily Thomas Luciano, as a guest columnist this week. Here’s the second installment from a Montana horse pack trip:

Read Part I

IMG_6163To make it in the back country, one needs more than good horses and good food. I know this because when we headed out on Tuesday for camp, it was a gorgeous Montana day– no clouds in the sky, a slight breeze and about 85 degrees. Divine, right?
We had a lovely ride into camp that first day, and even got a little warm while we were scurrying around unpacking and settling in. The night was clear, not a cloud in the sky, and perfect for star-gazing.
Imagine my surprise the next morning when I woke to find that it wasn’t only cold– I’m talking 35 degrees or so– but rainy to boot. Ick! The day before, I wore short-sleeves and jeans. That wasn’t going to cut it in this weather. I was so thankful to find my Rambler’s Way wool base Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 5.11.49 PMlayer in my bag as I was digging through to find layers. I had thrown it in as an afterthought. Talk about a lifesaver! I ended up pairing that with a long-sleeved button up under a nylon not-so-water-resistant-but-almost coat. I was sure wishing I would’ve packed my Cotopaxi waxed canvas barn coat! Rookie mistake.
On my feet I wore tall, Darn Tough wool boot socks under my Ariat Terrains. I was ever-so-thankful for both. The Terrains were comfortable to ride, mill around camp and hike in. They were perfect for the trip and the only pair of boots I brought. However, I do wish I would’ve sprung for the waterproof version because my feet got pretty soggy on the rainy day, as did the rest of my body.
Toasting toes by the campfire

Toasting toes by the campfire

Once the rain let up, we all gathered around the camp fire to warm up and dry out. I had my boots off and my poor, wet Darn Tough socks drying by the fire with my Ariats.
After my feet were try, I socked and booted back up. Then, I proceeded to stand by the fire using my rotisserie method: standing and turning slow circles to warm up and dry. Once I felt all dry, I went to use nature’s ladies’ room. As I was tucking my shirts back in, I felt a hole about halfway up my back in my Rambler’s Way base layer. “Oh no!,” I thought. “What did I do?”
I found a cool coal under my clothes next to my skin. I’d caught a coal in the back while I was standing next to the fire. Although it burned through all three Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 5.11.52 PMof my layers, it cooled down by the time it made it to my skin and I never felt it. So bummed that my all-time favorite fall and winter shirt now sports a quarter-sized hole.
The next day it was another bright, warm Montana summer day. I was glad to have my Liberty Bottleworks bottle looped through my saddle strings to stay hydrated. Get one for free here!
While good horses are the backbone of back country packing and camping, I was so very thankful that I had a bit of good gear to keep me warm, cool and comfortable.
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