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Techniques and Equipment
for Wilderness Travel with Stock

Equipment List

See Equipment Sources for addresses.
Costs are in 1992 dollars.


Sleeping Gear

Air Mattresses

Description

Air mattresses are made from vinyl, rubberized canvas, or nylon material in I-beam and/or box-style. The I-beam style is made in a series of tubes. The box-style has a quilted appearance similar to a bed mattress. Air mattresses are available in single, double, queen, or king sizes with or without built-in pillows.

Air mattresses generally are comfortable, but do not provide much insulation. The human body cannot radiate enough heat to warm the large volume of air in the mattress.

Vinyl air mattresses are sensitive to cold temperatures and susceptible to puncturing.

Rubberized canvas mattresses are durable and not slippery. They are relatively heavy and tend to seep air in cold weather.

Nylon mattresses are the most durable, although nylon punctures easily.

Weight

5 ounces to 14 pounds (0.4 kilogram to 6.36 kilograms) per mattress

Sources

Cabela's
Campmor
Coleman Outdoor Products, Inc.
Don Gleason's Campers Supply, Inc.
Nelson/Weather-Rite
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
Local sporting goods stores

Cost

$2 to $55 per mattress

Foam Pads

Description

Most foam pads are made with open- or closed-cell polyurethane foam padding. Usually, the outer covering is non-skid breathable cotton or polyester fabric. Some pads have a water-resistant nylon bottom. Sizes range from 15 inches by 33 inches to 30 inches by 77 inches (0.38 meter by 0.84 meter to 0.76 meter by 1.96 meters). Closed-cell pad thicknesses range from 3/8 inch to 5/8 inch (9.39 millimeters to 15.74 millimeters). Open-cell pad thicknesses range from 1 inch to 3 inches (0.03 meter to 0.08 meter).

A foam pad is lightweight, compact, and doesn’t have to be inflated like an air mattress. Closed-cell foam will not absorb moisture and is efficient at retaining body heat. Open-cell foam has more capacity to absorb air, making a softer pad.

Weight

Open-cell: 24 ounces to 8 pounds (0.68 kilogram to 3.63 kilograms) per pad
Closed-cell: 9 ounces to 3 pounds (0.25 kilogram to 1.36 kilograms) per pad

Sources

Beckel Canvas Products
Cabela's
Crazy Creek Products
Don Gleason's Campers Supply, Inc.
The North Face
Northwest River Supplies
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
Sierra Designs
Slumberjack, Inc.
Therm-A-Rest
Walker's Pack Saddlery and Outdoor Supply
Local sporting goods stores

Cost

$13 to $70 per pad

Combination Air/Foam Mattresses

Description

The combination air/foam mattress is an insulated, lightweight open-cell foam core with an airtight, waterproof nylon shell that self-inflates by opening a valve. Sizes range from 20 inches by 47 inches to 26 inches by 77 inches (0.51 meter by 1.19 meters to 0.66 meter by 1.96 meters).

Combination air/foam mattresses combine the best features of foam and air mattresses. They give the comfort of an air mattress, while the foam prevents heat transfer to the cold ground, and they self-inflate by simply opening the valve.

Weight

1 pound 12 ounces to 6 pounds 5 ounces (0.79 kilogram to 2.87 kilograms) per mattress

Sources

Cabela's
Don Gleason's Campers Supply, Inc.
Jack's Plastic Welding
Northwest River Supplies
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
Therm-A-Rest
Walker's Pack Saddlery and Outdoor Supply
Local sporting goods stores

Cost

$45 to $100 per mattress

Sleeping Bags

Description

Most sleeping bags have down or synthetic fiber-fill insulation such as Quallofil, Hollofil II, Hollofil 808, or Kodel with a water-repellent nylon shell. Lengths range from 56 inches to 93 inches (1.42 meters to 2.36 meters). Comfort ratings range from 45 degrees F to -35 degrees F (8 degrees C to -37 degrees C).

Down insulation is lightweight, very durable, and gives the most warmth and compression per weight of insulation. Because down breathes, allowing body heat and moisture to pass to the outside, it has a wide comfort range. However, it is expensive, does not insulate well when wet, and dries slowly.

Synthetic insulation is odorless and non-allergenic, dries three times faster than down, and is less expensive. However, it does not compact as well as down and is heavier for equal warmth.

By eliminating extra material, a tapered bag design compacts better, weighs less, and is more heat efficient than a rectangular bag.

Weight

2 pounds 3 ounces to 6 pounds 14 ounces (0.99 kilogram to 3.12 kilograms) per bag

Sources

Buckskin Outfitters
Cabela's
Coleman Outdoor Products, Inc.
Don Gleason's Campers Supply, Inc.
Nelson/Weather-Rite
The North Face
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
Sierra Designs
Slumberjack, Inc.
Trail Rider Supply, Inc.
Walker's Pack Saddlery and Outdoor Supply
Local sporting goods stores

Cost

$60 to $285 per bag

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Tents

Dome, A-Frame, and Pyramid Tents

Description

Most of these tents are made of urethane coated or non-coated ripstop nylon, nylon taffeta, or nylon oxford. Several different types of nylon fabric may be incorporated into one tent design. A-frame, dome-shaped and pyramid tents are generally available in three- and four-person sizes.

These tents are more confining than wall tents but easier to put up. Nylon fabric must be coated with a thin film of plastic to make it waterproof. Tents made entirely of coated nylon cannot breathe, trapping moisture that condenses on the walls inside the tent. Nylon tents made with an inner, breathable tent covered by an outer waterproof rain fly perform best. The new Gore-Tex tents are lighter than a two-layer tent, but are more expensive.

Because they are sturdy and lightweight, A-frame tents are popular. Dome tents and variations of the dome tent offer more interior space, but generally are more expensive.

Pyramid tents require no elaborate support structures. A center pole, pole tripod, or a rope tied between two trees are all adequate to support the tent.

Weight

2 pounds 2 ounces to 47 pounds (0.96 kilogram to 21.34 kilograms) per tent

Sources

Cabela's
Campmor
Diamond Brand USA
Eureka! Tent
Don Gleason's Campers Supply, Inc.
Moss, Inc.
The North Face
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
Sierra Designs
Trail Rider Supply, Inc.
Walker's Pack Saddlery and Outdoor Supply
Walrus, Inc.
Local sporting goods stores

Cost

$33 to $600 per tent

Geotextile Ground Cloths

Description

Geotextile (scrim) ground cloths are made of coated, high strength polyester yarn with a vinyl compound. Sizes range from 8 feet by 8 feet to 20 feet by 20 feet (2.44 meters by 2.44 meters to 6.10 meters by 6.10 meters).

Geotextile ground cloths are fire retardant, mildew-resistant, highly wear-resistant, breathable, lightweight, and easy to clean. Geotextile is an open weave fabric that can be used as a ground cloth to protect vegetation and soils in camp. The open weave allows mud, water, and debris to fall through. Geotextile is also used in the manufacture of stock equipment to reduce weight.

Weight

3/4 pound (.3 kilogram) per square yard (2.7 square meters)

Sources

Wyoming Outdoor Industries, Inc.
Surplus from paper mills

Cost

$27 to $219 per cloth

Shelter Supports

Description

Shelter supports are poles or frames designed to hold the shelter off the ground and maintain its shape.

Personal size tent poles are usually made from flexible fiberglass or aluminum and follow the curvature of the tent’s design. Sizes range from 1 to 4 telescoping sections extending 3-1/2 feet to 9 feet (1.04 meters to 2.75 meters) in length.

Ridge poles are usually aluminum. They can be used as dining fly supports or replacement parts for tents. Their compact design telescopes 5 feet to 12 feet (1.53 meters to 3.66 meters).

Wall tent frames are usually made of galvanized steel tubing. Complete frame or wall tent ridge pole sections are available.

Angle fittings, pipe sleeves, and other parts come with the complete frame package or are sold separately. Frame sizes range from 8 feet by 8 feet to 16 feet by 24 feet (2.44 meters by 2.44 meters to 4.88 meters by 7.32 meters). Ridge pole sections range from 4 feet to 5 feet (1.22 meters to 1.53 meters) each.

Aluminum poles are strong, lightweight, and collapsible. They usually are standard with A-frame or dome tents, but optional on most wall tents. Self-supporting tents eliminate the need to gather tent poles at campsites, or tie ridge lines to trees. (See pages 43 through 48 for MTDC drawings)

Weight

Personal Size: 3-1/2 ounces to 2 pounds (0.084 kilogram to 0.91 kilogram) per pole

Ridge Pole: 3-1/2 pounds to 10 pounds (1.59 kilograms to 4.54 kilograms) per pole

Wall Tent Frame: 65 pounds to 100 pounds (29.51 kilograms to 45.40 kilograms) per frame

Sources

Campmor
Eureka! Tent
Don Gleason's Campers Supply, Inc.
Kwik Kamp
Thunder Mountain Tent and Canvas
Local sporting goods stores

Cost

Personal Size: $14 to $18 set of 4

Ridge Poles: $20 to $35 per pole

Wall Tent Frame: $98 to $281 per frame

Wall Tents

Description

Wall tents are made from various cotton duck fabrics in a number of weights and finishes, and may be water-, mildew-, and fire-resistant. Sizes range from 7 feet by 7 feet to 16 feet by 24 feet (2.14 meters by 2.14 meters to 4.88 meters by 7.32 meters). Custom made tents are available.

Wall tents are relatively heavy and bulky, need regular maintenance, and require lengthy set up and pack up time. A large, flat ground surface is needed. Significant impacts on soil and vegetation can result from leveling ground for a wall tent. However, wall tents are comfortable, roomy and can withstand extreme temperatures and harsh conditions.

Many items need to be considered when buying a wall tent. More wall height allows more efficient use of wall space. Fabric must be considered if the tent will be heated. Increased height adds volume for ventilation and helps prevent snow loads on the roof. Other considerations include overall quality of grommets, hem treatments such as ropes or webbing sewn into eaves, and accessories such as windows, extra doors, stove jacks, zippered closures, and wear spot reinforcement.

Weight

20 pounds to 55 pounds (9.08 kilograms to 24.97 kilograms) per tent

Sources

American Canvas Co., Inc.
Beckel Canvas Products
Big Sky Tent and Awning
Blue Star Canvas Products
Cabela's
Campmor
Colorado Tent Company
Dale Pack Station
Eureka! Tent
F. O. Berg Co.
Kwik Kamp
Last Chance Outdoor Supply
Merritt's Saddlery
Montana Canvas
Mountain River Tack
Outfitters Supply
Salem Tent and Awning Co.
Sims Stoves
Spokane Tent and Awning Company
E.H. Teasley and Company, Inc.
Thunder Mountain Tent and Canvas
Walkers
Local sporting goods stores

Cost

$80 to $776 per tent

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Stock Equipment

Collapsible Buckets

Description

Collapsible buckets are made of natural flax, canvas, or vinyl nylon. One gallon to 2 gallon (3.78 liters to 7.56 liters) buckets are available.

These buckets are strong, lightweight, and collapsible. They are handy for watering stock and for carrying water in camp.

Weight

1 pound to 2 pounds (0.45 kilogram to 0.91 kilogram) per bucket

Sources

Beckel Canvas
Blue Star Canvas Products
Ray Holes Saddle Company
Keyston Brothers
Sims Stoves
Soda Creek Western Outfitters
Trail Rider Supply, Inc.
Valley Vet Supply
Walker's Pack Saddlery and Outdoor Supply
Windridge Farms
Farm and ranch supply stores
Local saddle shops
Hardware stores

Cost

$6 to $14 per bucket

Stock Fly Nets and Face Screens

Description

A fringed fly net attaches to the brow band of an animal’s headstall and is secured with a throat latch. It hangs from the animal’s forehead to its nose.

Fly net face screens are fully adjustable with a breakaway Velcro throat latch and/or behind the ear latch. Face screens with ear covers are available in various sizes.

Face screens and fly nets are easy to put on stock to help control flies around the animals’ eyes. Stock stand quieter when not bothered by flies.

Sources

Colorado Saddlery Company
Equine Edition
Keyston Brothers
Farm and ranch supply stores

Cost

Face Screens: $6 to $11 each

Fly Net: $9 to $10 each

Manties and Sling Ropes

Description

Mantie ropes and sling ropes are made of polyester-polypropylene, soft cotton, softspun nylon, or dacron. They come in 32-foot to 35-foot (9.76 meter to 10.68 meter) lengths, or are sold by the foot. They are also sold in 100 foot rolls.

Polypropylene is light, will not absorb water or freeze like hemp rope, and comes in various colors. Generally, it wears longer than hemp or cotton rope. Nylon rope is strong, soft, flexible, and makes good pack rope, but is more expensive.

Weight

Varies with type and length of rope.

Sources

Dale Pack Station
Dave Fish Saddlery
Ray Holes Saddle Company
Keyston Brothers
Merritt's Saddlery
Morgan Horse Products
Soda Creek Western Outfitters
Walker's Pack Saddlery and Outdoor Products
Farm and ranch supply stores
Hardware stores
Saddle shops

Cost

32-foot to 35-foot (9.76 meter to 10.68 meter) ropes: $11 to $14 per rope

By the foot: $.12 to $.39 per foot (0.31 meter)

Manties

Description

Mantie tarps are usually made of heavy canvas; however, geotextile manties can be used for cargo that can withstand inclement weather. Sizes range from 6 feet by 6 feet to 7 feet by 9 feet (1.83 meters by 1.83 meters to 2.14 meters by 2.75 meters). Mantie material also is sold by the linear foot.

Manties are usually used with a Decker pack saddle. They are handy as ground cloths, to cover stock tack and equipment, and for other uses around camp.

Weight

6 pounds to 9 pounds (2.72 kilograms to 4.09 kilograms) per mantie

Sources

Big Sky Tent and Awning
Blue Star Canvas Products
Buckskin Outfitters
Dale Pack Station
Ray Holes Saddle Company
Merritt's Saddlery
Mountain River Tack, Inc.
Petty Mountain Outfitter Supply
Wilderness Trader
Wyoming Outdoor Industries, Inc.
Local canvas shops

Cost

$20 to $45 per mantie

Nose Bags (Feed Bags)

Description

Nose bags are made of canvas, nylon, nylon mesh or geotextile and are available in cylindrical or cavalry style. The cylindrical style has air holes, a single head strap, and fits over the animal’s nose. The cavalry style fits under the neck and around the nose, using a neck strap and head strap.

Nose bags eliminate waste when feeding pellets or grain. The cavalry style further reduces waste because feed does not fall out when the stock throws its head. A day’s ration can be folded inside this bag and carried on the trail. Nose bags made of nylon mesh allow dust to fall out of the bag and allow the animal to breathe easier. See page 49 for specifications for a cavalry style nose bag.

Weight

1/2 pound to 2 pounds (0.23 kilogram to 0.91 kilogram) per bag

Sources

Beckel Canvas Products
Big Sky Tent and Awning
Blue Star Canvas Products
Buckskin Outfitters
Colorado Saddlery Company
Crooked Pine Saddle Shop
Dale Pack Station
Decarteret
Ray Holes Saddle Company
Keyston Brothers
Montana Canvas
Morgan Horse Products
Ralide-West
Salem Tent and Awning Company
Chris Tornow
Valley Vet Supply
Whip and Spur Saddlery
The Wilderness Trader
Windridge Farms
Wyoming Outdoor Industries
Army surplus stores
Local saddle shops

Cost

$10 to $26 per bag

Panniers and Pack Boxes

Description

Panniers and pack boxes made of nylon, aluminum, plastic, fiberglass, heavy canvas, canvas and leather, or wood are available in various sizes. Panniers and pack boxes are easier to use than manties for many loads, but are not as versatile for tools or odd-sized items. Panniers and pack boxes offer convenient access to supplies and equipment while on the trail, and are handy for storing items in camp.

Weight

4 to 45 pounds (1.82 to 20.43 kilograms) per pannier

Sources

Aarons Water Packers
Back Country Super Packs
Beckel Canvas Products
Blue Star Canvas Products
Buckskin Outfitters
Cabela's
Colorado Saddlery Company
Colorado Tent Company
Crooked Pine Saddle Shop
CW Classic Welding
Dale Pack Station
Bill DeCarteret
Glenn Sports
Ray Holes Saddle Company
Keyston Brothers
Kwik Kamp
Last Chance Outdoor Supply
Montana Canvas
Morgan Horse Products
Mountain River Tack, Inc.
Outfitters Pack Station
Outfitters Supply
Petty Mountain Outfitter Supply
Ralide-West
Robertson Enterprises
Salem Tent and Awning Company
Sims Stoves
Singletree Saddle Shop
Soda Creek Western Outfitters
Thunder Mountain Tent and Canvas
Chris Tornow
Walkers Pack Saddlery and Outdoor Supply
The Wilderness Trader
Wyoming Outdoor Industries, Inc.

Cost

$115 to $400 per pannier

Temporary Horseshoes

Description

Temporary horseshoes are made of urethane, heavy gum rubber, polyvinyl, or neoprene. They fit over and around stock’s hooves like a boot, and are made in a slip-on style, or with plastic or Velcro fasteners. Small, medium, or large sizes are available in horse or mule models.

Temporary horseshoes are easy to put on the horse or mule, but the hooves need to be shaped for proper fit. They provide good traction on rock and ice and holes can be drilled in the bottom to let water out. They are very useful in protecting hooves with injuries to the sole or frog, and to keep hoof treatments from being worn off or exposed to dirt. Occasionally, the shoe may be pulled off by mud. Stock adapt quickly to their use.

Weight

13 ounces (0.37 kilogram) per boot

Sources

Colorado Saddlery
Ray Holes Saddle Company
Keyston Brothers
Morgan Horse Products
Trail Rider Supply, Inc.
Local saddle shops

Cost

$5 to $25 each

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