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My hunting buddy and I were packing up. We were about to head back to the trailhead after a week in the backcountry. I was loading and weighing the panniers while John was saddling the pack burros when a couple of out-of-state, neophyte bow hunters who were camped up the valley walked into camp. They looked concerned. They began to explain when they returned from their morning hunt they discovered that cattle had wandered into camp. The alfalfa pellets that were left on the ground had been eaten. It was all they had for their horse. Plus, the cattle had...

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Pack Animals -

There are many reasons why people choose to use long-eared critters. It seems that donkeys are becoming more and more popular. They are being utilized as farm companions, they're great under saddle or as pack animals, and folks even compete in halter class and other arena events with them. Donkeys have many positive attributes. If you ever ask a donkey owner why they like them, chances are you'll get an earful. As a packer, one of the positive things about utilizing donkeys and mules is their ability to survive on lower quality forage and less water than a horse. It...

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Hunting Equipment, Hunting Gear, Hunting Panniers, MRG, Pack Animals, Pack Mule, Pack Saddle, Packing Equipment, Packing Supplies, Packing Tips, Panniers, Rockies -

Many skills are required to properly haul loads with equines. Knowledge of proper lashings and hitches seems to be a lost art. I've seen some crazy stuff when it comes to inexperienced people tying down loads. Whether it’s a box hitch, diamond hitch or squaw hitch, folks who regularly pack with broom tails will always have their favorite method. An old packer once commented about the controversy of which hitch is best: "If you get from the trailhead to camp without losing any packing gear or injuring humans or your animals, then you probably did something right." Although this has...

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Backpacking, Camping, Day Pack, Hiking, Outdoor Gear, Packing Equipment -

I had an idea to build a pack that would mount on my panniers and double as both a large side pouch and a small day pack. Whenever I design a new product, I always keep simplicity in mind. It has been my experience that some of the best made outdoor gear is overbuilt, not over-designed. When I finished the prototype I was satisfied that this pouch/day pack would stand up to anything the backcountry could throw at it. There was only one problem: what should I name it? I have four children -- three sons and a daughter. All...

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Backcountry, Backpacking, Colorado, Deer Hunting, Elk Hunting, Hunting Equipment, Hunting Gear, Hunting Season, Mule Deer, Outdoors, Pack Mule, Panniers, Trail Riding, Wilderness -

The highlight of owning pack animals is to take them into the wilderness, making it possible for a more fulfilling backcountry experience, whether it’s hunting, fishing or just camping out with family. I am constantly planning and thinking about my next trip. When spring comes and the snow begins to melt in the mountains, I can hardly wait to hit the trail. When the packing season nears its end, I am often planning trips back-to-back, never wasting a moment. Without fail, the last one of the season is bittersweet. It was my second hunting trip of the season. I had...

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