Dress for Success: A Clothing Blog

Practical Outfitting for Your Long-Distance Riding Trip

by Clifford Fowler

If you are hoping to take your horses through an extended trip in the wilderness, you know the preparedness is everything. While you can bring everything you need with you for the trip, some of the most important supplies will be the clothes on your back. Even as a seasoned rider, long-distance travel on a horse can get uncomfortable if you're not wearing the right clothing.

Here are some tips for practical outfitting when you're getting ready for your long-distance riding trip. 

1. Choose an all-weather exterior jacket.

Out on the wilderness trail, you'll face kinds of weather, and you need a jacket designed for riding that will protect you. Choose a heavy-duty, oiled slicker that will keep the water completely off you. The slicker should be long enough to cover your thighs when riding so that water runs off your legs and away from your feet. 

Slickers have venting that prevents you from getting overheated during warm rainstorms, but they are heavy enough to provide warmth in the chilly early-morning air. They also can be layered with sensible warm-weather clothing like wool sweaters and moisture-wicking undergarments if you're concerned about cold weather. 

The best thing about a riding slicker? They are not bulky, like a padded coat would be, so you can easily stow it in a spare saddlebag. They can also be used in a pinch to provide a moisture barrier between you and the ground if you need a place to sit down for a rest during meal times. 

2. Make sure your jeans can handle the wear and tear.

Jeans are the pants of choice for most trail riders and yours need to be ready for doing the job. Make sure you wear jeans that are comfortably broken in; you don't want to deal with rubbing seams or digging waistbands after hours in the saddle. However, your jeans should also have plenty of wear left. The time in the saddle wears away the rear and inner thigh area of your jeans, which can put holes in fabric that is already close to the end of its lifespan. 

Skip shorts or jeans that are too wide in the legs. Even though it might be hot out on the trail, shorts don't protect your legs from insect bites, scratches from branches, and other minor but annoying injuries. Wide leg jeans with extra fabric will catch on brambles or get dirty in areas with mud. Boot cut or straight leg jeans are most suitable. 

3. Bring an extra pair of boots.

Your boots are an important tool when riding. Choose a common-sense boot cut that provides plenty of flexibility through the ankle. The boots should allow for warm layering of wool socks, and they should have latches or laces that stay tied, instead of loosening with wear. 

Leather is a great choice for boots. A low heel is important for riding because it prevents the heel from slipping through the stirrup. Waterproofing treatments should be employed for leather boots because moisture on the trail can deform the material.

Finally, bring an extra pair of boots. Mud or moisture can make one pair unwearable, and having a back-up pair is essential for your riding safety. 

4. Don't forget the accessories. 

Accessories matter. You will need leather gloves (or a glove made with similar durability) to protect your hands in chilly weather. You will also want a scarf or balaclava to protect your face from the cold wind, but also to protect from small debris that could blow up on a windy day. Keep your eyes trained on the trail with sunglasses that keep away the glare.

When packing shirts, always opt for lightweight material with a long-sleeve design. Long sleeves will protect your arms from sunburn and scratches. No rider is complete without a hat. Leave large cowboy hats for the show ring. Instead, opt for a durable leather hat with a brim that keeps the sun out of your eyes and provides waterproof protection from rain. 

For more information or ideas, contact Cowboy Up apparel retailers.