Author: Krystal Kelly
Community based Knowledge
We asked Equestrian Adventuresses from around the world what their essential horse riding gear is on their adventures and horseback riding vacations.
We’ve grouped together the 40+ items into several different categories:
- Riding Equipment
1. Quick Dry Riding Tights
Irideon Bootcut Jodhpurs are my favorites! I used these in the Mongol Derby and many other adventures. The thing I love most about them is they are a material which dries quickly if wet, doesn’t smell even after a week of riding and not washing and is cooling in the heat! Plus they are quite fashionable and I’ve worn them during non-horse related travels as well (they make great yoga pants!)
Janine from Ireland says, “I also use Irideon Essential Tights, been using them for years! From Crossing the Andes to Crossing the Namib Desert, Riding the Pyrenees from Spain to France to Andorra to the hot sun of Madagascar……I’ve used them everywhere.”
Irideon Bootcut Jodhpurs
2. Vented Riding Helmet
Pro Tip: I personally have a stylish helmet bag which fits my helmet, gloves and essentials (like my sunglasses) and I’ve even doubled my horse riding helmet bag as my purse on shorter trips where packing light was higher up on my priorities! Doubling my helmet bag for my purse, I was able to fit my bulky riding boots and clothes into my carry on without trying to figure out how to pack my helmet (something that takes up a bit of space in a suitcase.)
Equine Couture Helmet Bag
3. Knee Relief Stirrups
“I can’t live without my Sprenger Stirrups after trying many other brands when I had a lot of knee pain. I started using the Sprengers after doing 120km FEI ride and having loads of issues with my knee and pins and needles in my feet and I kept having to change stirrups and footwear between loops. I’ve had no problem at all since I switched to Sprengers.” -Kelsey from the U.K.
Sprenger Knee Relief Stirrups
4. Waterproof Paddock Riding Boots
“Bring waterproof paddock boots that are comfortable enough for an hour or two hiking. I like the Ariat Devon Pros. Wore them for nearly 3 weeks straight in South America, riding, hiking, walking in the cities and airports. They aren’t bad looking either.” -Werden from the USA
ARIAT Devon Pro VX Paddock Boot
5. Half Chaps
“I suffer from prickly heat so in hot countries I always use Just Chaps Cool Mesh Chaps. They protect the inner leg but the rest is mesh. No more embarrassing, sore lower legs.” -Maz from the UK
Easy Care Cool Mesh Half Chaps
6. Tall Weatherproof Riding Boots
I personally can’t be seen without my tall boots. They are comfortable to walk in all day and protect my feet from mud, cold and getting wet. I use the Ariat Country Boots currently and also love my Dublin boots which I’ve used in the past!
Pro Tip: “Don’t bring your new fancy riding boots on a week trail ride, 7 hours a day, because your feet will regret it for sure. Bring comfortable boots and break them in first!” -Paloma from Spain
Dublin Pinnacle Equestrian Boot
7. Riding Gloves
“Bring gloves that are appropriate for the expected temperature and conditions. Never go without gloves! They protect from the sun, insects, wind, blisters, cold…they are crucial.” -Werden from Pennsylvania
Heritage Crochet Riding Gloves
8. Sheepskin Saddle Cover / Stirrup Leather Cover
This just adds added comfort for those long days in the saddle. Fits most saddles but check in advance. They have them available for English and Western Saddles but many stables abroad ride English so if you ride western at home you may need to start practicing English!
Genuine Merino Sheepskin Horse Saddle Cover
9. Go Pro & Chest Mount
“A chest mount is much better than a helmet mounted camera for your adventure filming, I used this on my riding holiday in Spain and it was amazing!” -Maria from New York
Go Pro Hero7 Waterproof Action Camera
10. Solar Charger
“One of my FAVORITE items is my Anker PowerPort Solar. It’s a portable solar powered charger so you won’t ever be without a working phone when you need one. It packs down flat and if you’re hiking it’s easy to hang over your rucksack or over a pack animal’s gear. Or you can just hang it from a tree when you reach your destination. I used this in Austria when at the 2017 Pack Animal Meeting. The first couple of nights we were in guesthouses with our own rooms and plug sockets, but once we got up into the Alps it was much more practical to use the solar charger.” -Sari from England
Anker Solar Charger
11. Power Bank
“I have never had much success with solar chargers working that effectively whereas my Anker power bank is very reliable and I can charge my iPhone, GoPro and LED head-torch from it. -Holly from the U.K.
Anker Power Bank
12. GPS Watch
“I carry very little, as I ride in long distance competitions, usually just my phone and GPS watch. I started using the Gaia GPS App riding with my sister in New Zealand this winter. Personally, I use a Decathlon OnMove GPS watch in all my endurance competitions. But I have to say that, when exploring in different countries I now use downloaded satellite and open cycle maps on the app so that I can find my location when I don’t have signal. I have a spare phone now with a PAYGo SIM card in it just for that purpose.” -Kelsey from the U.K.
Decathlon GPS Sport Smart Watch
13. LED Head Torch
These can be adjusted to fit on your helmet and are incredibly useful when you need a hands-free light!
Rechargeable LED Head Torch
14. Pocket Knife
“I like a multipurpose tactical knife with LED light. I’ve used it to fix fenders, cut free tack in an emergency and open wine in the evenings.” -Heather from Jersey.
Manuela also says, “A good knife is always an essential here in Patagonia, in case the leather gear breaks or anything!”
Survival Tactical Knife with LED Light
15. Phone which is SIM Card Unlocked
I use my iPhone 7 (SIM unlocked) in all my travels. Just get a new SIM card upon arrival in your destination country and have access to internet and phone with a local plan…without the expensive roaming charges! Most SIM cards can be purchased at the airport directly, I’ve even seen Vending Machines with them!
16. Shockproof Camera
While riding, I prefer to have a camera with me for taking higher quality photos. I hate taking my phone out while in the saddle because I always feel like I will drop it, but with a shockproof camera I know it can take a beating. I also have a string tied to it to wear it around my wrist and the action mode burst setting is great for those galloping shots! Be sure to bring spare SD cards!
Fujifilm Shockproof/Waterproof Camera
17. Fanny Pack / Leg Bag
“Though they aren’t really glamorous (although I hear they’re making a comeback…) they are super handy. I always wear a bumbag on trail rides. I use it pretty much every time I ride, most recently in Morocco, South Africa, Botswana, and the Azores.” – Iris from France
A “leg bag” works just as well as a fanny pack. The only real difference is your personal preference and whether or not you feel comfortable with a bag on your waist or on your thigh! Try the Canvas Outdoor Multi-Pocket Thigh Bag
Leather Waist Pack
18. Water Purifier Bottle
“I use the Grayl filter water bottle. I never have to worry about having clean water anywhere in the world. It doesn’t hold a lot, so I usually fill/filter as many times as needed to fill a normal bottle, then fill the Grayl again. I keep a carabiner on it to clip onto things or put it in my backpack or saddlebag.” -Werden from Pennsylvania
Grayl Ultra light Water Purifier
19. Waterproof Bags
These come in all sizes, fit easily in your saddlebags, fanny packs or camel-packs and are perfect for storing your valuables, electronics and anything you don’t want to get wet!
Waterproof Dry Bag Set of 3
20. Buff Scarf
“Either a light one for hot climates or an insulating one for cold climates. Protects your neck and face from sun, wind, sand, insects, cold etc.” -Werden from the USA
Buff UV Multifunctional Headwear
21. Re-Usable Water Bottle
Not only does this reduce plastic waste but you can also use it on your adventures as a home-made “hot-water bottle heater.” “In case of cold/wet/miserable weather, take your aluminum water bottle and fill it up with hot water. Then put a sock over it and into the sleeping bag it goes. You’ve won the first battle to get warm.” -Renee from the Netherlands
22. Reactor Sunglasses and Lanyard
“When you go into woods they go clear and turn into sunglasses out in the open. They also protect from dust, sun, kicked up mud, branches and horse hair. I wear mine everywhere.” -Amanda from UK
23. A Camel Pack
(Depending on the ride) This is something that may be required to carry on a long distance, fast-paced ride. In this case saddle bags aren’t really an option…nor is getting on and off your horse which is why carrying water on your back, along with a few of your small “essentials” can be quite handy. You can also drop your Iodine or Water Purifying tablets into the pouch if you plan on drinking the local water.
Insulated Hydration Backpack
24. Cereal bars / snacks
When thinking of your Horse Travel Packing List essentials, I would say that snacks are high on the list. Then again, I am the type of person that gets “hangry.” If your like me, do yourself and your travel companions a favor and stock up on small snacks which can easily fit in your saddle bag or fanny pack.
25. Ear Plugs / Eye Mask
Pro Tip: “If you’re a light sleeper like me, take ear plugs and an eye mask for those nights in tents, or guest houses with ineffective curtains.” -Emily from the UK
26. Spare Cord / Boot Laces
“I always take a pair of long boot laces (or cord) to loop through the saddle D-rings to tie on a waterproof or long sleeve shirt. So simple but effective!” -Jane from the UK
27. Duct Tape
“I have to add duct tape or gaffer tape for the British. Never travel without it. It mends tents, sleeping mats, flip flops and we have even used it as a temporary measure to hold on horse shoes!” -Catti from the UK
28. Cell Phone Lanyard
“I can vouch for having a lanyard for your phone!” -Jane from the UK
29. Diaper Rash Cream
“I usually bring a tube of Sudocreme, an essential for long days in the saddle.” -Janine from Ireland.
Coconut oil also acts as a natural diaper rash cream and is great for its anti fungal and anti bacterial properties.
Christine from Colorado says she never leaves without Vaseline! “I won’t do an endurance ride without it. Apply liberally!”
30. Small pack of Biodegradable Tissues
“I get camping ones that are extra large and wipe down daily when showers are not available. Really helps with not feeling super gross and helps prevent rashes if you have sensitive skin like I do.” -Werden from Pennsylvania
Biodegradable Wet Wipes
31. Dioralyte/Rehydration Powders
“Drink plenty of water. It’s not fun getting dehydrated in Africa. Gin and tonics don’t count, sadly.” -Janine from Zimbabwe
32. Blistex Chapstick
(And spares for your spares!) “I have learnt the hard way that sun, wind, salt and general dryness is a guaranteed way for me to get cold sores… In the Atacama desert on a trail I ended up wearing my neck scarf over my face like a bandit to protect my lips as I thought they were going to fall off…!” -Emily from the UK
33. Sunscreen SPF 50
“I’m a guide here in Spain and there’s a few things I will always recommend, like sunscreen. It’s not nice to get sunburns and we don’t realize how long hours we spend on the horse. And something that is very, very, very important: FOLLOW YOUR GUIDE’S INSTRUCTIONS!!!” -Paloma from Spain
“It’s a cream that doubles as a chapstick, mosquito bite reliever, congested nose reliever and much more.” -Manuela from Chile
*We Recommend: Mentholatum Ointment
35. Hand Sanitizer
When assessing your horse trail riding gear must haves, it can lead you to want to travel as light as possible. More often than not, we tend to forget about the small details. I personally never go to India, Africa or most places without a carry-on, purse-sized bottle in my bag!
36. Mosquito Repellent
No Horse Travel Packing List is complete without mosquito repellent as you never know when you’ll be riding into camp in the dark!
37. First Aid Kit
“You can find small travel sized one’s for your car which are pre-packed. I usually take it with me in my saddle bags if I’m leading a group, otherwise I rely on the guide to carry one!” -Edda from Germany
Travel Sized First Aid Medi Kit
38. All Your Own Medications
“No chemist or pharmacist here during some of our safari rides…” -Janine from Zimbabwe
39. Emergency Numbers Written Down
You never know when your phone might die or an emergency might occur! Having the numbers written down in advance could save you from a lot of trouble later.
40. Swim Suit
If it’s summer, bring a swim suit to go swimming with horses. “There’s always a beach, stream, pond or water hole to splash into.” -Valery from Uruguay
Why not take an Official Equestrian Adventuresses T-Shirt, Tote Bag or Hoodie on your next trip?
41. Rain Jacket
“There’s no such thing as bad weather when you have the right gear!” -Valery from Uruguay suggests purchasing a “real rain jacket” with sealed seams and covered zippers. “Machine washing can cause the seals to fail after some time so be sure to replace your rain coat every 2-3 years!”
Julie-Anne from South Africa also says, “A good water proof rain coat that is light and can be tied to the saddle or stuffed in a saddle bag is essential. I am always surprised when people arrive on our riding holiday without one. One cannot predict the weather, especially on the wild coast in South Africa! It’s not just for rain or a storm, but a windy day can be cold.”
42. Cycle Tops with Pocket for Phone
“I used to have my phone in a pouch on my saddle which was very stupid because, although it is extremely rare that I fall off, one of my horses bucked me off very close to home while I was messing with the maps on my phone (my dog who rides with us every single time scared him) and the only reason I still had my phone to call someone to catch him was because it was in my hand when I flew through the air and not on my saddle. Now in the summer I ride in cycle tops which have a pocket on the back of them.” -Kelsey from the U.K.
Racerback Shirt with Pockets
43. Seamless Undies
(And lots of spares!) “I use Patagonia Nylon Panties, they are comfortable, no chafe, and quick dry.” -Werden from the USA
44. Long Sleeve Shirts
“For added protection against the sun or to stay warm!” -Paloma from Spain
45. Poncho / Sarong
“Always bring a nice poncho, it works to protect us from the rain and wind and also as a picnic blanket during our stops! I’ve used all these items while riding around herding cows, sheeps and riding for fun!” -Manuela from Chile.
“A sarong, I find them one of the smallest and easiest things to pack and carry on a horse. Multiple use: need some extra sun protection, a sarong, wrap up for privacy after a swim, a sarong, dash from bush shower to tent, a sarong, need to add a little glam at night, a sarong. Bum getting sore in the saddle fold up your sarong and sit on it. The list goes on.” -Janine from Zimbabwe
Sarong Wrap From Bali
46. Woolen or Cotton Socks
(And plenty of spares in case they get wet!) “Wool socks and shirts, even for hot climates is my favorite. Wool is naturally antimicrobial and breathes well. It is the best travel fabric, in my opinion. You just get different weights for hot or cold climates. I love my Odlo Ceramiwool stuff. Very light, cooling, and don’t smell after days of wearing without a wash!” -Werden from Pennsylvania
Do you like our essential packing list for equine adventures? But you are wondering how to fit all this in only one backpack? If you are one of those extreme adventuresses, then have a look at our packing list for the Mongol Derby. One challenging rule of the Derby is that you are only allowed 5 kg of gear. We share a few crucial errors that nearly cost our Adventuress Krystal the finish. So here it is, everything you need to know about what gear to bring to help you survive the “Mongol Derby.”