What to Take Packing
When out packing with animals what you carry is usually decided upon where you are going and how long you will be staying. Of course if you are camping you will need many more items then if you were just going out for a lunch trip. There are some items however that you should always take with you.
I have backpacked with dogs, goats, llamas, horses, our donkeys (both the animals and I each wore packs) and of course my wonderful husband who always made the trips lot of fun. Each one wearing their own pack.
While out packing when I run into other humans/people they always ask "What is in the packs?"
This is a list of items I carry in my packs, no mater what species of animals I go packing with. I will be adding a list of items that will prove necessary while hiking and camping in the back woods soon, plus what is in my first aid kit.
What I carry in my Panniers
First Aid Kit
Extra socks in a zip lock bag
Extra Gloves in a zip lock bag
Small Paper Pad and Pen
Small Cook Stoves
Stove Fuel (wait til you see my new one Deron made
Fire Starter ~ Pinecones dunked twice or three times in hot wax
Matches that were dunked in hot wax to keep them dry and intact
Sit Upons (used next to the goat for cushion)
Pots and Pans
Cream and Sugar, Instant Coffee, Tea, Hot Cocoa, Tang (yes, I do take them all, ever had Tang Hot?)
Plastic Insulated Cups
Plastic (the kind that you get at camping places that are very hard to break) silver ware
Tie Outs for animals
Pillow Case (your sit upons to be tucked in for pillows)
Small Radio with weather channel and fresh batteries or wind up type radio
Flashlight (I carry at least two, one is the lantern type)
Wet Wipes in a zip lock bag, doubles as toilet paper, well, not doubles but can be used as toilet paper and cleaning items
Water Bowl or Frisbee for animals to drink from
Light weight roll up woven reed beach sit upon for setting packs on
Rope for many things including tying up food - several lengths and widths
Recorder and/or Ocarina and music
a fleece/knitted stocking type hat (I carry it all seasons, you never know)
about $60 cash ~ you never know
my name and telephone number written on a piece of paper in case I get separated from my animal and or my pack
I am sure that I carry more... that's all I can remember of right now.
The Bandanna; what an important piece of hiking, camping, jogging, horse back riding, sports, everyday, equipment it is. It can be used for so many things and it might even become your life line.
I always carry a few. I put at least a couple into the backpacks/panniers as well as put bright colored ones around my animals necks for visibility. Many times I wear one myself, either around my neck or around my head to keep my ears warm and the wind out of them.
Bandannas can simply be used to wipe the sweat off your face or dampened to get the dust off your clothing. Use it for a knee cushion while praying or working around the camp.
It can also be used as a wash cloth, dry it out and put it around your neck to keep you warm, or wet to keep you cool. It can become a sling for a hurt arm, a band aid, a leg wrap for animals or it can be used to hold splints to a broken leg.
It can become an extra collar for your animal or even repair some holes in packs (double or triple the bandanna over and set it into the place where the hole is in the pack).
You can put a bandanna on your face, stage coach robber style, in a wind storm or snow storm. It will keep the dust and or snow out of your face. Use it as a neckerchief to keep you warm or to keep the hot sun from burning you.
Your bandanna when rolled or scrunched up, can become a pot holder or a cushion for a bucket handle that the plastic broke off of. You can use it for a napkin at dinner or to blow you nose in or cough into.....don't use it for your nose then the same one as a napkin....see why I take more then one?
Use bandannas when packing between pots and pans to keep down the rattling. And for washing those dishes in camp.
Something else that is really fun is to teach your goat to bring you the bandanna (as a trick, see the trick page here at this site). You can dazzle your friends with the trained goat....have the goat bring it too you off the ground, out of someone's back pocket, from a distance....
You can also make your own bandannas with fun and even goaty prints. When looking at fabric in the fabric store double up a corner (triangle shaped) of the cotton (or cotton blend) print you like and that is how much fabric you need. That doubled piece of fabric in your hand will make two (four if you cut out the triangle) bandannas.
See our 101 Uses For A Bandanna Page....there are of course, more uses than I have listed there.
What to carry in the First Aid Kit
You should carry First Aid items in your First Aid Kit with both people and animal items included. Your animals depend on you and you might be all they have to help them if injured while on a packing trip. Don't let them, yourself or another human down by saving weight in your packs and not being prepared at least for elementary first aid. Some of the items can of course be used for both animals and people.
Band Aids in several sizes
First Aid Cream
First Aid Tape
at least one Kotex (woman) can be used for so many uses
Small Bright Flashlight
Mole Skin (found usually in the shoe department, wonderful stuff!)
Antibacterial Hand Cleaner
A few Q-Tips in a zip lock or small container of the same
Break and Shake type Ice Packs
Clean Bandanna in a zip lock to keep it clean for first aid use only
4 or more latex gloves, also carried in a zip lock to keep clean
Small Safety Scissors
Needle Nose Pliers (porcupine quills)
more to come
What is in that Sewing Kit?
Your sewing kit should be small and safe. It should be kept in a small and well closing think plastic container. If you have the flip top type, put at least one rubber band around the case. To pack your needles, first thread them. One with light thread another with black or dark thread. Get an index card, doubled over, or some sort of backing/packaging cardboard and stick the needles through it. You might even wrap this in a small piece of fabric or place a small piece of webbing on either side of your needle holder. Place your needles in the Sewing Kit toward the middle of the kit so that if your container should break or crack the needles are safe and not against your animal.
At lease two needles in different sizes
at lease one 4" piece of webbing that has been burned on each end
Safety Pins in several sizes, including a couple diaper pins
Buttons, at least three and in different sizes
A patch, maybe a 5" square of denim or the like
more to come
Items We Tie Onto Our Packs
Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, small tents, camp chairs and the like can be tied up on top of most Sawbuck Saddles.
Ideas To Use/Pack Less
It is always a great idea to carry lighter weight items and smaller items when you go packing. Many times a smaller items, such as a flashlight, can work just as well as a larger on and weigh less and take up less room. There are many items like this in camping equipment stores and catalogs. They are not just cute, they are very useful. Look around for items such as these in all kinds of places, including garage sales and dollar stores. It does not have to cost you a fortune to go packing with the correct equipment.
We bought these wonderful little light weight skillets for $1 each at a store called The Dollar Store. We cook in them and eat right out of them, using the handle to hold it with when no table is available.
Many times you can prepare your food enough before leaving home so that you will not need to carry spices with you. Add your spices at home to the foods before you pack them. If you are going out just for a brunch hike, put your eggs (out of the shell), butter a splash of milk, salt and pepper into a clean plastic jar and put the top on tight. Give the jar a shake before packing and as you/the animals walk your scrambled eggs are being prepared, just cook when the fire is ready.
Two even four Sterno or Sterno type stoves will take up less room then a camp stove and fuel.
Carry a pillow case and stuff clothes into it rather then taking a pillow with you on the trip.
Additional Items You Might Need
There are some camping items you might get to camp and need, but did not want to, or have room for, to carry in your packs.....here is a great excuse to buy and train another goat. Goat Packing can be so much fun. But if you get to camp and do not have an item you need, especially if a person or animal gets hurt, it can also be a disaster. Always be prepared for the weather to change, even if they did not predict it on the weather channel. An extra jacket and heavy socks could ward off hypothermia.
Of course you can not take everything when you go packing. It is not like car packing where you just fill the vehicle and pull up to the spot and set up your tent. It is certainly not like the big old "campers" that are really houses on wheels, I have never called that camping myself, but I guess many people do.
You want to stay light weight when packing, but there are some items you will might wish you would have thought of and brought with you. Items such as extra charcoal for those campsites that do not allow campfires, but you can have a grill. Charcoal Starter. It may not be a campfire, but it can be nice ambiance.
You, your goats and your equipment can run into skunks. If you carry a small can of tomato paste, a can opener, peroxide, and a bit of backing soda, you can at least take care of some of the smell, if not all of it.
Let's face it, if your animals run into a porcupine you will need a small set of needle nose pliers.
Spring and Fall can turn deadly in some parts of the world. A coat, hat, extra gloves, an extra pair of heavy socks, a goat coat for your animals, might just save your life it the weather turns bad and you are stuck in camp longer then you had planned.
If you will be gone for the week end or for a week, it is a good idea to take a little extra food and extra drink mix just in case you do get stuck there or if you are a bit hungrier then expected. The idea of taking goats is so that you can enjoy yourself in camp and on the trail, carry a little extra.
Take Tang Drink Mix. It, as compared to other mixes, is pretty good for you. Mushers (sled dog racers) drink it hot, and it is good hot! You can give it to children for a hot drink too and it does not have caffeine in it. Hot Tang is especially good at breakfast or before bed.
If you have an extra goat you can also carry more First Aid and other items for emergencies with you too. If you are hiking way out and staying there for a few days, the more you have with you for emergencies, the better. Of course we all hope that First Aid items remain right in the packs and are never used.
Chairs in camp are so nice to have. Some folks carry "Sit Upons". But when you go packing with goats, everyone can have a chair. You can take those nice fold up chairs that come in the fabric sleeves or you can fashion a cushion on the top of a bucket top and use the bucket for packing items into and as a chair in camp.
If you are packing with children, they bore easily. You can carry a few crayons, a notebook for them to sketch and write about their trip in, and a coloring book. You might bring a doll and or some small cars and or trucks. Kids love those break and use tube lights and jewelry too, those might even help a child feel safer in camp and sleep better.
Cameras. Everyone has a favorite. But they all need to be taken care of. Packing your camera correctly can mean having good or any photos when you get home, as well as having the same camera for other events. If it is a small camera and has a case, you still might want to have it wrapped up and cushioned. Many people take a couple of cameras with them. Cushion each one and be sure to put it up safely at night...away from where goats could find it and use it for a toy.
If you are camping for the week end or for a week you might want to take your favorite novel and or your journal and a pen with you. I love sitting around in camp talking and laughing and joking with friends, but I also love those quiet times when I sit over by my animals and read as the animals sink down next to me as I rub their ear or their neck.
"Packing out" is what is known as things you carry home with you. Along with all of your belongings including all of your trash and dirty clothes, you might find a rock or two you would like to own/you would like to take home.
If you are on public property you probably can not take it with you. No rocks, no fossils, no flowers, no seeds, nothing that others might enjoy on their next trip. Those items are to be left behind by law.
However, if you are on private property or your own property or even some, very few, but some public properties, you might be able to carry off rocks, fossils, arrrowheads, and other interesting items.
You may find it is in the rules or laws of the area you are hiking to pack out your own poop (no, not kidding) and leave every rock and seed behind....as well as to stay RIGHT on the trail.
But either way, keep your eyes open and have a look around. There are some amazing things out there. Be sure to get photos of them.