Personal Checklist

For Riders on Trail Rides, All Expenses, Spot or Base Camp Trips


  • Chevron down Our Services
  • We supply horses, saddles, food, kitchen and eating utensils, and camping equipment. Dormitory tents will be provided for men and women. Private tents for couples or singles will be reserved by request. Food will be plentiful and deluxe in quality. We provide the preparation of meals; any help is appreciated but not mandatory. Those desiring to learn how to pack may participate in making uploads and packing the mules.

    • We provide a small saddle bag for trail necessities. Please do not bring your own saddlebags or daypacks unless they are pocket size. Participants may not carry large camera cases with extra lenses on the saddle. If you have extra camera equipment, it can be packed in your duffel or in a safe place on mules.
    • You will be limited to 3 lbs. in the saddle bag, which includes your lunch. Your jacket and rain gear are not included in the 3 lbs. and may be tied on the back of the saddle. No day packs allowed on riders’ backs.
    • Each person is assigned a horse for the duration of the trip with regard to the guest’s weight, height, and ability.
    • Dunnage limit is 30 lbs. per person (this includes sleeping bags, fishing equipment, liquor, etc.). There will be a surcharge of $3 to $10 per pound on dunnage in excess of the 30 lbs. You may bring your own tent if under 10 lbs. which will not be included in 30 lb. weight limit.
    • Trip fee does not include alcoholic beverages or lodging night before and after the trip.
    • Gratuities are optional and a personal choice.
    • The trip will terminate in the late afternoon of last day.
    • Free shuttle back to Virginia Lakes Pack Outfit for trips terminating at other road heads.
    • A reservation form must be accurately completed. The information on age, height, weight and riding ability is used to assign riding animals. Failure to provide accurate information may result in the participant being denied going on the trip with loss of trip fee.
    • We advise guests to purchase cancellation and trip travel insurance.
    • Participants will be sent an assumption of risk and a liability release form. All guests must assume the risk and sign the forms before using Virginia Lakes Pack Outfit’s service. Our forms have excellent guidelines for riding safety that we ask you to study.
    • The pack station does not boil or treat water. Campsites are remote enough that we feel safe in using the water. If you want to purify water, bring your own filter pump or purification tablets.
  • Chevron down Personal Checklist
  • Remember – try to minimize the weight of your dunnage by packaging only the amount of any item you will need (like soaps, lotions, and medications). You will be given a small saddle bag that goes on your saddle horn to carry your lunch and a few personal items. (Weight limit 3 lbs – including lunch).

    • Bring belongings in stout canvas or nylon duffels; side zipper recommended, ideal size approximately 14″ x 32″. It is a good idea to use a large plastic bag INSIDE of the duffle to protect contents from external moisture.
    • Sleeping bags can be in separate duffels – again, line the inside of the duffle against rain.
    • Place all cosmetics, soaps, medications, etc into small plastic containers with close-fitting caps, THEN into sturdy resealable plastic storage bags. If anything breaks or bursts from altitude changes, the plastic bag contains the spill.
    • When possible, it is a good idea to transfer alcoholic beverages to sturdy plastic bottles with well fitting caps – it will save weight and protect against breakage.
    • Check-in fishing worms and bottle goods separately; don’t put in a duffel. Place fishing rods in metal or plastic cases.
  • Chevron down Recommended Items
    • Sleeping bag with a comfort range of 20 to 60 degrees and a moisture-proof ground cloth.
    • Air mattress or small 1/4″-1/2″ foam hip pad recommended – your night’s rest will affect your next day’s enjoyment. Bring the best sleeping pad you can manage.
    • A broad-brimmed hat is essential for protection from the sun at high altitude. It must have strings to keep from blowing off.
    • Sunglasses (RX glasses) – high altitude sun is BRIGHT!
    • Coffee mug (plastic for camp)
    • Pint water bottle for your horn bag
    • Pocket knife or small multi-tool
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Camera and film (sturdy strap)– if using digital – don’t forget an extra battery and card
    • Rain jackets and pants or slicker (rolled up you can tie them to the back of your saddle)
    • Hat protector (to keep your hat dry)
    • Light jacket (windbreaker)
    • Wool or fleece pullover/sweater (layers will keep you comfortable)
    • Heavy jacket
    • Bandana
    • Woolen cap (evenings can be cold)
    • Gloves (recommend gloves for riding, may want warm gloves for evenings)
    • Socks
    • Riding boots
    • Shoes for camp (moccasins, athletic shoes, etc)
    • Shirts and pants (long-sleeved shirts offer sun, bug and branch protection)
    • Underwear
    • Bathing suit
    • Bath towel/washcloth/soap (try a multi-use bar or liquid for use on hair, body, and laundry. Biodegradable choices are available.)
    • Insect repellent such as Cutters
    • Toothbrush/toothpaste
    • comb/brush clips/pins/ponytail holders
    • Shaving kit (a small mirror is helpful)
    • Sun Screen (lotion, cream or stick)- use liberally for sunburn and chapping prevention.
    • Chapstick with sun protection SPF 15 or better
    • Moisturizer (cream or lotion – altitude and sun can be dry and chap skin)
    • Prescription medicine (if required – if you have any allergies, remember to bring appropriate medication)
    • Band-aids, aspirin, ibuprofen, eye drops, moleskin for any blisters
    • Baby powder/Talcum powder (helps to relieve any raw or irritated areas from boots, clothes or saddles)
    • Kleenex
    • Jogging suit (sweats are comfortable for after-swim and campfire lounging)
  • Chevron down Optional Items
    • Small notepad and pencil
    • Collapsible plastic wash basin (optional)
    • Solar shower (optional)
    • Water filtering pump (optional)
    • Liquor (be sure to check in with the packers to see that your liquor is packed safely)
    • Fishing equipment (optional)
      • CALIFORNIA FISHING LICENSE. Please note that fishing licenses are NOT available at or near the pack station. Be sure to get one BEFORE you arrive for your adventure. You can find information on California fishing licenses and online purchase at TakeMeFishing.org.
      • Rod/reel/line (a rod that breaks down into 3 or more pieces is recommended)
      • Compact metal rod case to carry on the saddle
      • Canvas creel (no tackle boxes)
      • Leader material (1-3 lb.)
      • Flies: black gnat, mosquito, grey hackle, brown hackle, & royal coachman (No. 12-14 hooks)
      • Bait: worms & Pautzke red eggs
      • Egg hooks, worm hooks (No. 10-14)
      • Split shot
      • Lures (personal choice)
      • Pliers
  • Chevron down Low Impact Guide For The Wilderness User
  • We are dedicated to conducting our trips so that others following us will find the country unspoiled. Livestock is a natural part of the wilderness and when properly managed enhances man’s enjoyment of our unmechanized wilderness area. Today, just as it was when the entire west was mostly wilderness, the horse and mule remain our companions and servants in wilderness travel. We practice and expect you to observe the following during your trip.

    • Keep horses on the trail; do not cut switchbacks (corners).
    • Tie horses 200 feet away from streams, trails, and campsites. At camps, horses and mules are tied to picket lines, stretched between trees on granitic soil.
    • If you can’t tie the animal to picket line use a tree greater than 8″ in diameter, not on grass. Tie high and short (2-3 ft.) so the horse doesn’t get its foot caught in the rope.
    • Choose a tent site at least 100 ft. from water (THE LAW) where drainage will not be a problem, avoiding the need to trench. No tents or camp area allowed on grass or Meadowlands.
    • Utilize pre-existing fire rings where possible. Don’t surround fires with rocks! Dig a hole in sand and cover when finished. When you leave camp, bury ashes from fire rings. Leave existing fire rings clean for the next user.
    • When breaking camp, return the spot to its natural state and broadcast a covering of needles and cones. Scout the area to make sure nothing will be left behind. Remove the smallest pieces of aluminum foil and trash.
    • Pack out all trash. Don’t bury garbage, scatter organic wastes or leave foil in campfire pit. Burn cans and flatten. On our group trips, we have a bag for cans and aluminum foil.
    • Don’t use soap (even biodegradable) in streams or lakes, Wash yourself, clothes and dishes away from water sources.
    • Bury human waste 200 ft. from water, campsites, and trails. Dig a hole 4-6″ deep and after use tamp with sod.
    • Don’t pick flowers or cut branches from live trees. Use only downed wood for fires.
    • You are required to keep bears from getting to your food at all times. Please ask for current regulations and suggestions on how to prepare for your trip.

For Hikers on Pack Stock Supported Trips


  • Chevron down Personal Checklist
  • Dunnage limit is 30 lbs. per person (this includes sleeping bags, fishing equipment, liquor, etc.). You may bring your own tent up to 10 pounds in addition. The PCT 28-day trip allows 35 pounds of duffel.

    • Bring belongings in stout canvas or nylon duffels; side zipper recommended, ideal size approximately 14″ x 32″. It is a good idea to use a large plastic bag INSIDE of the duffle to protect contents from external moisture.
    • Sleeping bags can be in separate duffels –again, line the inside of the duffle against rain. Place all cosmetics, soaps, medications, etc into small plastic containers with close-fitting caps, THEN into sturdy resealable plastic storage bags. If anything breaks or bursts from altitude changes, the plastic bag contains the spill. When possible, it is a good idea to transfer alcoholic beverages to sturdy plastic bottles with well fitting caps – it will save weight and protect against breakage.
  • Chevron down Essential Items
    • Footwear. For this trips a medium-weight pair of hiking boots. We do not recommend lightweight hikers or tennies since they give little ankle support and the soles are often thin.
    • Camp Shoes. A lightweight pair of tennies or Tevas to wear in camp. This will reduce vegetation damage at our campsites.
    • A day pack. It should be large enough to take water, extra clothing, rainwear, camera, etc during the days.
    • Sleeping Bag. Most summer trips are warm and a bag rated to about 25°F will be plenty warm enough. We much prefer down bags, and good quality ones at that. Your bag should weigh in around 3 pounds.
    • Sleeping pad. A 3/4 or full length closed cell foam or Thermarest. If you bring a Thermarest also bring a repair kit to fix pesky holes!
    • Coffee mug (plastic for camp)
  • Chevron down Clothing
    • 2 pair synthetic liner socks.
    • 2 pair heavier synthetic or wool blend socks.
    • Long underwear top. Capilene, some other synthetic or the new pure Merino wool types.
    • Long underwear bottom.
    • Warm pants. Tights or Expedition Weight Capilene.
    • Warm shirt. Synchilla or R2 weight works well.
    • Another fuzzy sweater top or pile jacket of some sort
    • Gore-Tex Jacket and Pants. A lightweight set is sufficient and heavy bulky clothing is unnecessary. Side zips on the pants should be long enough to slide over boots. The jacket must have a hood. Do not skimp on your rain gear. Nylon ponchos are not acceptable.
    • Shorts for on the trail
    • Tee shirt for on the trail
    • Lightweight Capilene or similar gloves.
    • Warm hat. Synthetic or wool.
    • Sunhat

  • Chevron down Miscellaneous
    • Sunglasses.
    • Water Bottles. Two quarts (1 liter) wide mouth bottles and/or a hydration system holding up to 50oz. (2 liters). Don’t bring bike bottles or any bottle that doesn’t have a wide opening.
    • Headlamp and a spare set of batteries!
    • Pocket knife. Swiss army style.
    • Personal toiletries. It is not necessary to smell like a rose each day so do not overdo it.
    • Earplugs are great to have in a noisy tent.
    • Personal Medical Kit. The guide will carry a large kit so yours will predominately consist of foot repair items, mild painkillers such as Advil and band-aids.
    • Sunscreen and lip screen. SPF 30+. A 1oz. bottle will be enough. Make sure the lip stuff actually contains a sunscreen.
    • Bug repellent.
    • Camera. A spare battery and card are good backups
    • Ski/trekking poles. These are not essential but can be handy on the trail. It is your choice, but they do save wear on the knees.
    • Plastic trash bag. Handy for keeping gear outside the tent should it rain.
  • Chevron down Optional Items
    • Optional reading material, etc. OPTIONAL ITEMS:
    • Small notepad and pencil
    • Collapsible plastic wash basin (optional)
    • Solar shower (optional)
    • Water filtering pump (optional)
    • Liquor (be sure to check in with the packers to see that your liquor is packed safely)
    • Fishing equipment (optional)
      • CALIFORNIA FISHING LICENSE. Please note that fishing licenses are NOT available at or near the pack station. Be sure to get one BEFORE you arrive for your adventure. You can find information on California fishing licenses and online purchase at TakeMeFishing.org.
      • Rod/reel/line (a rod that breaks down into 3 or more pieces is recommended)
      • Compact metal rod case to carry on the saddle
      • Canvas creel (no tackle boxes)
      • Leader material (1-3 lb.)
      • Flies: black gnat, mosquito, grey hackle, brown hackle, & royal coachman (No. 12-14 hooks)
      • Bait: worms & Pautzke red eggs
      • Egg hooks, worm hooks (No. 10-14)
      • Split shot
      • Lures (personal choice)
      • Pliers
saddles
virginia lakes sign with mountains in background